Tag:Bruce Bochy
Posted on: October 19, 2010 2:02 pm
 

Giants order: Renteria leadoff, Uribe at third

SAN FRANCISCO -- Juan Uribe's MRI exam was "clean", according to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, with "nothing structurally wrong. It did show some inflammation, but he was fine once the swelling went down."

So consequently, this is how the Giants' Game 3 lineup shakes out Tuesday afternoon against the Phillies: Edgar Renteria is playing shortstop and leading off, Uribe is at third and hitting seventh and Aaron Rowand is playing center and hitting eighth.

Makes as much sense as anything the Giants could run out there, being that with Andres Torres on the bench, they don't exactly have the consummate leadoff hitter. Renteria's on-base numbers against Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels (.333 on-base percentage, .250 batting average at 6-for-24) qualifies him as much as just about anyone else.

Not exactly a powerhouse, but that's how the Giants and Bochy have won all season, by moving parts around and patching things together.

Meantime, lefty Aubrey Huff is dropped to sixth against the lefty Hamels, with Buster Posey hitting third, Pat Burrell fourth and Cody Ross fifth.

"We felt like we needed a leadoff hitter, and Edgar is our best option with Torres not in there," Bochy said.

Things still could shift if Uribe does not react well during batting practice today. In that case, the Giants would scratch him and play Pablo Sandoval at third.

Meantime, Bochy expects the struggling Torres (3-for-25 this postseason with 12 strikeouts) back in the lineup for Game 4 against the Phillies' Joe Blanton.

"I think stepping back will help him out," Bochy said of Torres. "And you say that about a lot of hitters who are struggling a little bit. And there's a lefty going today. And there were times when we gave him a day against left-handed pitching.

"But I think sitting back, watching the game, will give him a break. Especially mentally more than anything."

 

Posted on: October 18, 2010 9:33 pm
 

Batting around Giants Game 3 lineup options

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants went home from Monday's off-day workout expecting lineup changes for Game 3 but not quite sure what they would be.

Infielder Juan Uribe underwent an MRI exam on his bruised wrist and manager Bruce Bochy indicated he would not know whether Uribe would be a go until Tuesday.

"Yes, it will impact our lineup," Bochy said as the Giants worked out Monday. "If he's good to go, he'll be out there. So it's just a matter now of waiting to see how he feels and the results from the MRI."

The best guess as to the Giants' Game 3 lineup goes something like this: Edgar Renteria likely will play shortstop, either Uribe or Pablo Sandoval will start at third base and Aaron Rowand probably will play center field.

Bochy wasn't definitive as he finished preparations for Game 3, but there were indications that the Giants had seen enough -- for now -- of Mike Fontenot's shaky third base defense and of leadoff man Andres Torres' continued struggles (3-for-25 this postseason with 12 strikeouts).

On whether Uribe would play short or third if he's able to go at all, Bochy said, "I can't answer that right now. I'll talk to the guys as far as the whole lineup. But getting back to Uribe, he will impact how we go. We have a couple of options. We know whether Pablo is at third or Edgar plays short, Uribe at third, or if Juan can't go, you've got Edgar and Pablo."

A bit later, Bochy made it crystal clear: "If Juan is not available, yes, Pablo will be out there."

As for Torres, Bochy left that hanging, too -- with hints left all over the place.

"I'm not prepared to tell you what we're going to do until I talk to the players," Bochy said. "I know Andres is battling it right now."

So assuming Renteria is at short, Uribe or Sandova (likely Sandoval) is at third and Rowand in center, that leaves one more big question: Who will supplant Torres atop the lineup?

Hot-hitting Cody Ross is one option. Rowand is another. So is Renteria.

Looking at the numbers against Phillies starter Cole Hamels, Ross or Renteria would appear to be the best options. For his career, Ross is batting .300 (9-for-30) against Hamels with a .323 on-base percentage, four home runs and six RBIs. Renteria is at .250 (6-for-24) with a .333 OBP. Rowand is only hitting .200 (3-for-15) with a .200 OBP.

"Ross has done it [batted leadoff]," Bochy said. "When Torres wasn't in there, Row's done it. Edgar has done it. So these are things that we're talking about now."

Likes: No surprise that Tony La Russa will be back with St. Louis in 2011. How would any manager in his right mind leave a team whose centerpieces include Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday. ... Supposed to be beautiful 70 degrees when Game 3 of the NLCS starts here at 1:07 p.m. local time Tuesday. ... Critics are giving solid reviews to the new Elton John/Leon Russell disc The Union. But I may have to buy it just for the goofy cover shot of two weirdos at the piano. ...

Dislikes: Sure am glad I wasn’t on the road when Junior Seau drove off the cliff in my home town. Glad my wife wasn't on the road, too.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I'm just a guitar in the pawn shop on the corner
"Hey come on by and listen to my song
"I've seen at least a million of those tiny smokey barrooms
"And I've helped to heal some heartaches
"And I've helped to sell some beer
"And the last one to help me
"Just couldn't wait to sell me
"For 20 dollars and left me hanging here
"But I dream about the spot light
"And the roaring of the people
"And I wonder if I'm ever gonna hear 'em sing along"

-- Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song

Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:17 am
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Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:16 am
 

Andres the Giant not so giant

PHILADELPHIA -- The most painful part of Sunday's 6-1 loss for San Francisco might have been watching the continued struggles of leadoff man and center fielder Andres Torres.

After fanning four times against Philadelphia starter Roy Oswalt, Torres now is 3-for-25 this postseason with 12 strikeouts.

He's whiffed six times in nine at-bats in this NL Championship Series.

Suffice it to say, if only for his own good, the Giants are going to have to make a move with their lineup for Game 3 Tuesday in San Francisco.

"It's obvious his timing's off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "This kid has had a great year for us. He's a big reason why we're here."

Not only did Torres help the Giants take off once Bochy installed him as an everyday player by the end of April, he made a gutsy comeback from appendicitis a couple of weeks earlier than doctors expected. Stricken on Sept. 12, Torres was returned to the lineup Sept. 24.

After never having played more than 75 games in a season, Torres appeared in 139 for the Giants this season. His 570 plate appearances more than tripled his previous career high of 185 in Detroit in 2003.

"There's no question he's struggling, but other hitters are, too," Bochy said. "He's fighting it a little bit.

"He got here early and was working on some things. But you get in a rut like this, you start battling yourself a little bit. I think that's the case with Andre. He's certainly a guy who makes us go when he goes. It would be nice to get him going, no question."

As for whether Aaron Rowand might replace Torres in the lineup, or even whether Pablo Sandoval could play third instead of Mike Fontenot -- who had a rough day defensively Sunday -- in Game 3, Bochy was not prepared to address that in the immediate aftermath of Game 2.

"These are things we'll talk about on the flight back," he said. "Facing a left-hander [Cole Hamels], you'll see a couple of changes."

Likes: The late Harry Kalas on the Citizens Bank Park big screen leading the crowd in "High Hopes" after a Phillies win. ... Tim Lincecum's reaction to the whole wolf-whistle thing in Game 1 in Philadelphia on Saturday. He handled it perfectly -- with humor. ... Looks like Texas and the Yankees is going to be quite the shootout. Both the ALCS and NLCS are setting up very well for those of us who like lots of drama. ... The cheesesteaks at Carmen's in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal. ... Glad to see Michigan State remain undefeated, fun to see highly ranked Ohio State and Nebraska go down. What a great Saturday in college football. You just never know. ... Another great run Sunday along the Schuylkill River on a gorgeous fall day. Fun cruising by the blues band that was playing in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum, entertainment for a charity walk raising money for breast cancer.

Dislikes: Aw, terribly sad to see June Cleaver -- Barbara Billingsley -- pass away over the weekend. One more harsh reminder of time marching on.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Here comes my baby, flashin' her new gold tooth
"Here comes my baby, flashin' her new gold tooth
"Well she's so small, she can mambo in a pay phone booth
"Now flip, flop and fly, I don't care if I die
"Now flip, flop and fly, I don't care if I die
"Ah, don't ever leave me, don't ever say goodbye
"I'm like a Mississippi bullfrog, sittin' on a hollow stump
"I'm like a Mississippi bullfrog, sittin' on a hollow stump
+I got so many women, I don't know which way to jump"

-- Big Joe Turner, Flip, Flop and Fly

 

Posted on: October 9, 2010 2:23 am
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

One small step for the Atlanta Braves, one giant leap for major league baseball.

Oh, and a belated Merry Christmas to the Braves as well.

Yessir. When the Braves agreed to terms with Troy Glaus last Christmas Eve, they did not exactly envision him playing third base with the season on the line in the 10th inning of the NL divisional playoffs.

Fact is, they did not envision Glaus playing third. Period, end of sentence.

So what was he doing, all brittle and lumbering, starting the Braves' most crucial 5-4-3 double play in years as they seized another game with their last licks and evened their series with the Giants at one game apiece with a 5-4, 11-inning, Rick Ankiel Special on Friday night?

Excellent question.

Short answer is, quite simply, it's the beauty of the game. Sometimes the best-laid plans are forcibly scrapped at the most inopportune times, and the game reverts back to the schoolyard. You play here, you play there, and we'll see what happens.

Long answer? Desperate for offense and with a hole to plug at first base, Braves general manager Frank Wren gambled that Glaus could learn a new position and add the bat Atlanta needed. It was a sizable gamble, too, in that the shoulder surgery Glaus underwent in January, 2009, allowed him to play in only 14 games for St. Louis that summer.

It worked fine for a time, especially in May, when Glaus collected 28 RBI in 27 games. But his production diminished as the summer wore on and then, on Aug. 12, came a season-changer: Chipper Jones was lost for the rest of the year to a knee injury.

So what happens? Wren acquires first baseman Derrek Lee from the Cubs ... and Glaus is such a team guy, such a Bobby Cox devotee, that he's all for bringing Lee aboard and volunteers to play third base while he's at it.

Not that the Braves took him up on it. Are you kidding? He's 33, he's 6-6 and 250 pounds, and Glaus had reached the part of his career where, if he did play third, the odds were far greater that he would hurt himself (and the team) than much good would happen.

Until Friday night became just late and crazy enough that the Braves were left without many options. And Glaus entered the game as an, ahem, defensive replacement in the 10th.

It figured that the first batter in the 10th, Edgar Renteria, immediately dropped a bunt in Glaus' direction. Do you know how many total chances Glaus has had at third in the past two seasons? Nine, that's how many. And just one this year, in the one appearance (two total innings) he had made there.

Renteria reached base, of course. And so did two other Giants.

And there in the bottom of the 10th, with one out and the largest crowd ever to gather at AT&T Park roaring, what should Buster Posey do but roll a 'tweener grounder -- it wasn't hit hard, but it wasn't a soft grounder, either -- in Glaus' direction.

And the big guy came up with it, wheeled and threw to second to start the 5-4-3, and the relay to first barely beat Posey. Said later throwing home for the force out was never an option.

One false move in the play, and Renteria scores and the Giants win.

Instead, Glaus was perfect, in both the plan and the execution.

And next inning, Ankiel blasts a fastball into the water. And somehow, Kyle Farnsworth keeps the Giants off the board in the bottom of the 11th.

Not only did it complete a rousing comeback for a down-and-out team that had seen Cox ejected nine innings earlier, it also breathed life back into a postseason in dire need of mouth-to-mouth.

Six outs from a fourth series going 2-0 when bearded Giants closer Brian Wilson was summoned by manager Bruce Bochy, baseball was edging close to four sweeps, a first round ending by Sunday evening, the next round not slated to begin until next Friday.

So what were we all supposed to do if the game went dark Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?

Convene a national convention to bitch about the umpires?

But enough about a downer of a first round, something that has become an all-too-familiar event and might warrant baseball reviewing the playoff format.

Right now, all the Braves care about is that, somehow, they live.

And bleak as it may look with Jones and Martin Prado (oblique) done for the year -- and, quite possibly, closer Billy Wagner (oblique) to follow after he hurt himself in the 10th inning Friday -- Tim Hudson getting the ball for Game 3 in Atlanta on Sunday looks pretty darned good.

After they scored zero runs in their first 14 innings against the Giants, the Braves finished Friday with five in the last six innings.

They get a couple more Sunday, Hudson steps up and the Turner Field magic kicks in (the Braves' 56 home victories led the majors), who knows? The Giants -- and baseball -- might have a fight on their hands yet.

Posted on: September 22, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 5:37 pm
 

Towers, others know where bones buried in West

Welcome to the start of Frontier Days in the NL West.

Everything is set but a Duel from 50 paces.

Arizona has hired Kevin Towers to fill the job for which it turned him down for five years ago.

And as the Diamondbacks general manager, Towers now will take direct aim at the man who fired him in San Diego last October ... and the man who was running the Diamondbacks back in 2005 and declined to hire Towers then: Jeff Moorad.

Survivor?

Let's see some network reality show beat this.

Nothing fuels rivalries more than when they're personal. And if guys privately wanting to gouge out other guys' eyeballs qualifies as personal, well, this has become the NL Wild, Wild West and the next couple of years could be incredibly bloody, er, juicy.

Start with Towers, who is still stung by the sudden end of his 14-year run in San Diego as the most successful GM in Padres history. And as this year's club of overachieving Padres built largely by Towers has contended for the NL West title, the wound remains raw.

Move next to Moorad who, as vice-chairman and chief executive officer of the Padres since January, 2009, continues to own a share of the Diamondbacks.

Sound funny, a guy who will be majority owner of the Padres who still owns a piece of the Diamondbacks? It should. Baseball rules preclude it, which is why Moorad has been working toward divesting his shares of the Arizona club.

Except, privately, according to sources, Moorad and the Diamondbacks have been unable to agree on a price for his shares. Moorad values his piece of the Diamondbacks much higher than Arizona owner Ken Kendrick and Co. think it is worth. The dispute has moved to the Commissioner's Office, and the stalemate continues.

Given the antipathy between Kendrick and Towers and Moorad, we probably won't even have to wait for the 2011 season to start before the two sides go at it. Do not be surprised if Towers raids the Padres and recruits some of his former colleagues as he builds his staff in the desert.

Meantime ... Moorad and the Padres this month hired A.J. Hinch as vice-president and director of pro scouting. Hinch was fired as the Diamondbacks manager on July 2, barely more than one year after he was named as manager to replace the fired Bob Melvin in Arizona by ... Moorad and Co. Specifically, by then-GM Josh Byrnes, whom Moorad picked over Towers in '05 (and whom the Diamondbacks fired, along with Hinch, on July 2).

While the Diamondbacks and Padres now have all the ingredients for a classic shoot-'em-up, don't discount the other angle in what has become an incredibly incestuous viper pit of a division.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy essentially was told by the Padres to go look for greener pastures when Sandy Alderson was the CEO following the 2006 season. Bochy worked under Towers in San Diego for 11 of his 12 years as Padres manager before, with a year left on his contract, Alderson made Bochy feel like he'd better go explore other options.

Time was, before Padres owner John Moores' marriage hit the skids and he became an absentee (and broke) owner, Moores told Towers and Bochy they would be in place as long as he owned the team.

Bochy still maintains a home in San Diego in the off-season. And though time has eased some of the rawness of his Padres departure -- he's in his fourth season managing the Giants -- no question that as San Diego, San Francisco and Colorado sprint down the stretch this September, beating the Padres is personal with Bochy (and his third-base coach Tim Flannery, who both played and coached for the Padres before being let go).

As for Towers taking over the Diamondbacks, the hiring is a coup. Working mostly with underfunded budgets during his 14 seasons in San Diego, Towers still managed to build four NL West winners, and one NL pennant winner (1998).

Known especially for his adroit work in building a pitching staff, it was Towers who acquired key members of a Padres bullpen that has been the most airtight in the majors this summer. The Padres' majors-leading 2.85 bullpen ERA and has been one key reason for the club's contending status.

If he can work that kind of magic with what has been a historically bad Arizona bullpen in 2010 -- the Diamondbacks relievers rank last in the majors with a 5.82 ERA -- then changing fortunes for the beleaguered Snakes could come sooner rather than later.

Already, well-respected interim GM Jerry DiPoto -- who will leave the organization after not being named to the permanent post -- has helped re-stock the rotation with a couple of July acquisitions, most notably that of young Daniel Hudson.

Among the details awaiting Towers is the fate of interim manager Kirk Gibson, who is expected to be retained for the 2011 season while the new GM gets the lay of the land. The two men met Wednesday morning in what was originally scheduled to be a 30-minute session. Two hours later, they were still gabbing.

"I liked the look in his eye and what he had to say," Towers said. "He probably deserves more time to set a foundation in a spring training-type environment."

Towers pointed out that Gibson has learned from "some great people", baseball men such as Jim Leyland and Sparky Anderson.

"He's an intense guy," Towers said. "I like him."

But don't expect Towers to need much time to assess the lay of this land. The game's longest-tenured GM when the Padres let him go last October, Towers knows this land very well. A little too well even, in spots.

Towers' nickname? Gunslinger.

Perfect

 

Posted on: September 12, 2010 3:11 pm
 

Giants lose Torres to appendicitis

SAN DIEGO – The ebb and flow of the stretch run took another unexpected turn Sunday morning, the San Francisco Giants suffering a big blow as a result: Center fielder Andres Torres, in the midst of a career year, underwent an appendectomy and is expected to miss at least 10 days to two weeks.

Torres reported severe pain to the Giants' medical staff about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Manager Bruce Bochy said he thought Torres had some discomfort toward the end of Saturday's game, though at the time it did not appear to be anything significant.

Torres, who was said to be undergoing a laparoscopic appendectomy on Sunday morning while the Giants prepared for the finale of their showdown series here, is hitting .269 with 14 homers and 60 RBI this season and had emerged as the Giants' everyday center fielder.

"These things happen," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You hate to see it. I feel terrible for Andres with the year he was having. But we have some depth here. There are guys here who should look at it as a great opportunity.

"You move on. That's what we have to do."

In Torres' place atop the lineup, Bochy penciled in veteran Aaron Rowand (.235, 10, 32) in the leadoff slot. But that was in pencil, not pen, and for one day.

The Giants' plans going forward in center field and with the leadoff slot?

"Today, Rowand is in center field," Bochy said. "I'll leave it at that. We'll huddle up after the game and on the day off to talk about what we may do."

The Giants are off Monday before beginning a six-game homestand Tuesday against the Dodgers. Milwaukee follows Los Angeles into San Francisco.

Torres had slowed lately with the bat, having hit .106 (5 for 47) with 17 strikeouts over his past 12 games. Still, his 64 extra-base hits are tied for sixth-most in the NL. Torres has started 116 games for the Giants this season and appeared in 130 of 143.

Posted on: September 9, 2010 2:07 am
 

Padres sweep Dodgers, Giant showdown next

SAN DIEGO -- Following a victory over German troops in Egypt during World War II in 1942, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

And as they were saying in the San Diego clubhouse after sweeping the Dodgers with a 4-0 whitewashing on Wednesday night to regain traction following that vicious 10-game losing streak. ...

"The baseball season is long and there are ebbs and flows," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Our season, up until that point, was pretty steady. I think it's a tribute to our guys. We hit a bump in the road, and I thought our guys showed resolve. We pitched well, played sound defense and executed."

Their breath back, the first-place Padres now head into a colossal four-game, showdown series with San Francisco beginning on Thursday evening, a season hanging in the balance.

With the Giants losing in Arizona on Wednesday, the Padres pushed their NL West lead -- six games as recently as 12 days ago -- back up to two games.

The Padres have beaten San Francisco in nine of 11 games this season, but the Giants have undergone significant changes from what the Padres saw in April and May (Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Cody Ross, Madison Bumgarner).

The exclamation mark for the four-game series comes at the end, when aces Mat Latos and Tim Lincecum oppose each other on Sunday.

Latos, signed by Padres scout Joe Bochy, brother of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on Tuesday set a major-league record by working his 15th consecutive start in which he worked at least five innings with two or fewer runs allowed.

With the Giants on deck and a two-game lead in their grasp, it turns out that 10-game losing streak was not the end for the Padres. Given their sweep of the Dodgers, it probably was not even the beginning of the end.

But it clearly was the end of a beginning that saw them join the Yankees as the only teams in the game not to lose more than three in a row, the end of a beginning that was almost too smooth to believe.

Now, in whipping the Dodgers, the Padres looked like themselves again.

They won Wednesday's game behind six shutout innings from rookie Cory Luebke, 25, who was making just the second big-league start of his career. Just fill in the blanks by day, the pitching has been excellent. Black said Luebke will get the ball again for another start five days hence in Colorado.

The three-run sixth against Chad Billingsley was as good an indicator as anything that the whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-th
eir-parts Padres were back: Lefty Will Venable dropped an opposite-field blooper down the left-field line for a single, speedster Everth Cabrera bunted for a hit and pinch-hitter David Eckstein beat out a bunt attempt when Billingsley threw late to third.

Bases loaded, speedy leadoff man Luis Durango dropped a two-run single into left. Then, slugger Adrian Gonzalez cracked a sacrifice fly.

"We're getting back to the way we play," Eckstein said.

"These are the things we've worked on because we knew we needed to do them," Black said. "When they go our way, it doesn't surprise us. We've worked on these things as far back as February."

Gonzalez, in a conversation before the game, said that the first several games of the losing streak was simply business as usual for the Padres -- they were playing sound ball but were simply losing. Toward the end of the streak, though, Gonzalez said he could see some of the players pressing. That eased immensely, he said, with the first two wins over the Dodgers.

So ... a new beginning for the Padres?

"We hope so," Eckstein said. "We're not going to answer that question until we clinch or don't clinch, because we'll hear about it the rest of our lives if we don't. We just have to focus on playing our game."

Likes: Trevor Hoffman earning career save No. 600. Congratulations to a man who has had a very difficult season but remains pure class. ... Former Cincinnati ace Gary Nolan visiting with the Reds in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. ... Intense scoreboard watching every night now. ... The portable iPod players. It's given yet another new life to my iTouch. Reds manager Dusty Baker has one that travels with him -- it's usually queued up in the manager's office -- and he jokes that it's his "roommate." ... The Arcade Fire's new disc, The Suburbs. ... Digging this season of Mad Men. ... Ah, back to school. A young lady was wearing this T-shirt in the St. Louis airport the other day: "We didn't come to college to find our husbands. We came to find our bridesmaids."

Dislikes: The Dodgers are playing like they've quit. Totally disinterested. ... Arizona manager Kirk Gibson being stung by a scorpion at his Arizona home this week. Among the only things more disgusting than scorpions are tarantulas. ... Human beings continue to get larger and larger with each generation. Airplane aisles continue to get smaller and smaller. The future of air travel? I don't even want to know. Let's just say that the larger people and smaller aisles are going to clash pretty badly here in a few years.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Everyone I know
"Everywhere I go
"People need some reason to believe"

-- Jackson Browne, Running on Empty

 

 
 
 
 
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