I’ll be honest. I wasn’t paying real close attention to the San Francisco Giants or the San Diego Padres this afternoon. The beginning of the game was spent trying to parse the 49ers’ atrocious effort in Minnesota, the middle was spent editing and uploading the “Gangnam Style” montage from videos I shot in the Giants’ clubhouse last night, so it wasn’t until the end of the game that I was focusing on every pitch.
One of those pitches was crushed by Aubrey Huff into the “LEVI’S LANDING” sign at the top of the right field wall. The ball ricocheted back to Chris Denorfia who held Huff to yet another power-single. Huff was replaced by Brandon Crawford on the bases, even though:
I asked Bochy about Huff afterward, and Andrew Baggarly followed up with a question about Huff’s status as a postseason-ready pinch hitter. Here’s the transcript, and I dare you to read this and not come to the same conclusion I did — Huff is making the postseason roster.
BASG: Aubrey Huff barely missed a home run today. Is it almost like a surprise to you when he doesn’t get on base when he’s pinch hitting these days?
Bochy: Right, it does. He’s throwing up some great at-bats. Good piece of hitting there. He’s comfortable doing that. I’ve said this, he’s got experience coming off the bench. He’s worked hard, he’s taking his batting practice and kept himself ready. He finds a way to get on base, he’s always been a good on base guy. To see him come off the bench and swing the way he’s been swinging, it’s nice to have.
Baggs: You’ve got a lot of decisions to make for the playoff roster, there’s a lot of time to make them. In the case of Huff doing what he’s doing off the bench, but also knowing you may need to carry another guy to pinch run for him, how do you sort of see that situation maybe playing out?
Bochy: Well, you have to like his at-bats. Those are big at-bats. Guys come off the bench, and he’s doing a great job at that. It’s so valuable for a club to have a good left-handed pinch hitter. Especially when you’re facing a closer late in the game, game’s on the line and a guy that has that experience. As far as the pinch running thing, maybe there are times I don’t pinch run for him. But we have a nice, quality at-bat when Huff goes up there and that’s something we’ll have to think hard about.
I think the thinking has already been done, and Huff will be one of the 25 men chosen for the Giants’ first postseason series. When you consider what Huff has gone through this season, with his anxiety problems and the nagging knee injuries, Huff becoming a vital cog in Bochy’s eyes shows yet again that things can change pretty drastically over the course of a long season.