Bay Area Baseball

Follow the latest news and notes on the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics

May 4, 2013
Saturday lineups: Belt 8th, plus Giants have a decision to make

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt is batting eighth in the Giants' lineup tonight for the fifth game in a row. Manager Bruce Bochy, though, isn't ready to make that a permanent thing.

"It's working right now," Bochy said. "Whether you're superstitious -- he's comfortable there, right now we're winning. So he'll stay in the eighth spot."

Belt hit eighth just three times last year. He's 3-for-13 with two of his three homers this season out of that spot. Bochy was also asked whether hitting Belt eighth could have the effect of getting some better pitches for whoever's hitting seventh (Brandon Crawford tonight), and said: "There could be, sure."

Here's the full Giants lineup tonight against Dodgers right-hander Matt Magill, who will be making his second major-league start after the Dodgers placed Ted Lilly on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a right rib cage strain:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
LF Blanco
SS Crawford
1B Belt
P Vogelsong

And the Dodgers' lineup against Ryan Vogelsong, who is off to a very un-Vogelsong-like start:

LF Crawford
C Ellis
1B Gonzalez
CF Kemp
RF Ethier
3B Uribe
2B Schumaker
SS Gordon
P Magill

* Vogelsong has one quality start in five outings this season after starting last year with 18 in his first 19. Bochy said he talked with Vogelsong in Arizona and the right-hander thinks he caught and fixed some mechanical issues that might help. Vogelsong was great against the Dodgers last year, going 2-1 with a 0.71 ERA (two ER in 25 1/3 innings).

* Bochy repeated today there's a legitimate chance the Giants could keep 13 pitchers when Jose Mijares returns from the bereavement list Monday. The biggest factor is starting pitching -- namely that the Giants' rotation hasn't been going as deep into games this year as has become the norm.

"We're not quite getting the length we normally get from our starters, so you're going to use your bullpen more," Bochy said. "By going with 13 (pitchers), you're going to keep them all fresh. Because if you wear those guys down, it's a domino affect. It's going to affect everybody."

Bochy pointed to last night's game as an example -- Barry Zito threw nearly 100 pitches in five-plus innings, causing Bochy to use five relievers to cover the final four innings.

"By keeping another guy, it helps keep guys fresh," Bochy said. "Sure, it may limit some moves, but that's what you have to weigh. What's more important for us right now -- having a third catcher, having that extra pinch-hitter or having the extra pitcher?"

How long Vogelsong and Matt Cain tomorrow go in their starts may play a part in the decision, Bochy said. If the Giants do go with 13 pitchers, it may mean a brief stay for Francisco Peguero, who was called up Friday when Hector Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A. If they replace a pitcher, Jean Machi would be the likely candidate.

* A couple follow-up items to last night's 2-1 Giants win, in which Buster Posey hit his first walk-off home run in the majors (courtesy of the Giants' pre-game notes) ...

The Giants have 10 comeback wins this season, tied with the Orioles and Royals for the most in the majors. That includes their last four wins.

Posey's homer was the Giants' seventh that has either tied or put them ahead in the eighth inning or later, which leads baseball. It was also the 11th walk-off homer a Giants player has hit against the Dodgers since the teams moved to California in 1958, and the first since Juan Uribe did it on Aug. 12, 2009 -- off Guillermo Mota.

Finally, Posey's last walk-off homer came when he was playing for Class-A San Jose. On June 5, 2009, he homered in the 13th inning to give the San Jose Giants a 4-3 win over the Bakersfield Blaze. The pitcher who gave it up, Zach Phillips, attended Galt High School, played at Sacramento City College and is currently pitching for Triple-A New Orleans in the Pacific Coast League, all according to baseball-reference.com.

* A funny scene this afternoon -- the Kentucky Derby began just after the Giants took the field for batting practice and was put up on the video board in center field. Pretty much the entire team, gathered around the batting cage, stopped to watch -- "watch" being a more interactive thing for some players than others. That included Andres Torres urging his horse on with arm motions and Angel Pagan mimicking riding a horse. Hunter Pence also seemed to be getting into it.

Bochy said he thought the winning horse, Orb, may have been reliever Chad Gaudin's in the team pool, which would be ironic -- as the horses crossed the finish line, Gaudin was in the cage bunting.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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