Since it was obvious to anyone who can count that Santiago Casilla wouldn’t enter Monday night’s series opener against the Dodgers under any circumstances, the only thing for people to question (translation: bitch about incessantly) was why Buster Posey was on the bench. Posey was the lone offensive force of note on Sunday and had a pretty fantastic series against the A’s, while the Giants’ three main non-Posey contributors (Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval) combined to reach base zero times on Sunday in 11 plate appearances.
However, questioning Bochy for keeping Posey out, simply because the Dodgers in town, is exceedingly foolish for a few reasons. First, just because Posey is producing doesn’t mean he’s pain-free (far from it, he’s just tougher than the average person and wouldn’t dare mention publicly that he’s hurting). Second, the Giants play the Dodgers about 30 more times (estimated). Third, the Giants weren’t exactly a bad team this year when Posey rests — a record of 7-2 after Monday’s 8-0 win over L.A., to be exact.
I asked Bochy if the team’s record on Posey’s rest days is encouraging.
“When you do give him a day, it’s nice to get wins. Makes it a little bit easier to give him a break, which he needs occasionally,” Bochy said. “That game Saturday, that’s a long game for him to catch over four hours, he caught a lot of pitches and then had to come back and catch Sunday’s game.”
— It makes it easier to produce runs when the same guys who went 0-for-11 on Sunday all have multihit games. Cabrera, Pagan and Sandoval combined to go 7-for-12 with a walk against the Dodgers, including a 3-for-3 day for Sandoval (plus a sac fly). Sandoval talked to reporters after the game, and talked about the process of regaining strength in his injured hand.
Sandoval has been swinging pretty hard lately with mixed results (until Monday), and that’s because he’s been compensating for a left hand that might not be sore, but isn’t yet fully recovered.
“No pain, no pain. What’s tough is the strength,” Sandoval said. “When you have the power in your hands and the wrists, you don’t try to do to much.”
— Sandoval touched on working with Hensley Meulens in the previous video. Apparently they talked quite a bit on Monday afternoon, and Henry Schulman pressed Sandoval on what exactly they worked on.
“We talked about a lot of things today,” said Sandoval, who didn’t want to get too much into specifics. “Watch videos, all the things that we did last year and during the season, so we put it together today.”
— I asked Sandoval if he thought the ball he hit high off the right field wall was a home run, and what pitch he connected on (it was a slider):
— Hector Sanchez told reporters that he was fine after taking a foul ball off the side of his head late in the game. He certainly looked no worse for wear, although these days it’s almost impossible to convince anyone that you’re concussion-free whenever you take a shot to the noggin.
— Ryan Vogelsong seems like he’s making an effort to loosen up before his starts. The gameface will probably be in full effect tomorrow as he gets set to face Clayton Kershaw, but Vogelsong’s intensity has been seen on nights before his starts as well. On Monday night, he was all smiles and joking around with the players sitting nearby — Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and George Kontos.
— Bumgarner seemed to be having a ball as he sat in his leather chair after the game. Kontos (who nicely escaped a 2-on, 2-out “jam” with the Giants up big in the 8th when he struck out Jerry Hairston) was halfheartedly complaining about how Bumgarner always gives him a hard time. About what, I’m not sure. Bumgarner sure didn’t seem to feel guilty, either way.
— Barry Zito’s postgame comments usually aren’t all that exciting, and today was no exception. But it’s worth watching the following video where he talks about the standing ovation he received as he walked off the field after the 7th inning, just to see what he’s wearing on his head. Usually people wear beanies like these to keep their dreadlocks under control, right?
— I’ve seen Zito wear the kind of hippie clothing I used to always see at UC Santa Cruz, as well as one ensemble about a month ago that included a black leather jacket, black t-shirt and tight black jeans tucked into a pair of black combat boots. Zito seems like a guy who probably hung out with every clique in high school … or at least he dresses that way now.
— I’ll give credit where it’s due. I figured Zito would get rocked on Monday night after the way he’s been pitching lately, and San Jose Mercury News beat writer Alex Pavlovic disagreed, based on the Dodgers’ hodgepodge of “hitters” they’re calling a lineup these days. Zito nibbled early (not surprising since Bochy mentioned before the game how Zito was too intent on pounding the strike zone in his last outing, when he allowed 8 earned runs in Anaheim), but ended up pitching 7 shutout innings on Monday, allowing 3 hits and 3 walks.
— Alex and I had this conversation in the media dining room, after I squeeeeezed into my seat. There wasn’t much room, because the guy behind me had his chair backed right up to mine. The guy in that chair? Vin Scully, who was eating and chatting with Jon Miller. I felt kind of stupid after I realized who I was hoping would give me some wiggle room. Scully deserves the extra space much more than I do.