Bleary-eyed Giants, Cardinals ready for NLCS, etc.


Bleary-eyed Giants, Cardinals ready for NLCS, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO -- To his best recollection, Bruce Bochyshead hit the pillow around 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The Giants manager knowsfor sure he was awake by 9.

So youll forgive a bout of momentary confusion, such as whensomeone asked him about sharing the Sunday spotlight in the Bay Area with the49ers.

Yeah, Bochy said. Who are the Giants playing again?

He smiled as he realized his mistake.

Well, it is a bit confusing. the 49ers are playing thefootball Giants. The St. Louis Cardinals are playing the baseball Giants. Andwe probably shouldnt confound the situation, but the football Cardinals areplaying the Buffalo Bills.

Heres the important part: Bochys Giants and Mike MathenysCardinals both landed at San Francisco International Airport past 5 a.m. aftera crazy, hazy night for both clubs.

The Cardinals got on a plane after coming back from a 6-0deficit, refusing to bow out 13 times when down to their final strike, andscoring four in the ninth to stun the Washington Nationals Saturday night atNationals Park.

The Giants, stuck in Cincinnati following their clinchingcelebration Thursday night, watched the Nats rattle off a big lead from ahospitality suite in their hotel. They left around the sixth inning and by thetime they boarded their plane, the game was in the ninth.

The timing was perfect, Bochy said. Everything was goingwell.

Players watched the game on their iPads and phones. Severalwives and girlfriends were calling with updates, since the Internet broadcastwas delayed by a few seconds.

Oh, it was funny, Posey said. It was a sight to see. AndIll tell you what, whoever made the call to wait until the end of the game,that was a good idea. I was ready to take off to DC.

But the Cardinals worked a series of impossibly tough, grindingat-bats against Nationals closer Drew Storen. Posey watched carefully, knowinghe might have to game-plan to get these hitters out in two days.

I love watching games this time of year, Posey said. If Ican pick up even something subtle, it can lead to an advantage. Thats the funthing about baseball. Each game is so different. You have to be able to changeas the game progresses. I enjoy the chess match, you could say, of makingadjustments game to game, at-bat to at-bat and even within an at-bat.

RATTO: Posey, Molina: Different version of same guy

The Cardinals won and the Giants, while not necessarilyrooting for either team, were glad to be going home.

There was just one problem: The plane only had enough fuelto go to Washington. So they had to wait for a refueling truck to arrive. Thenthey had an even bigger problem: A hydraulic system didnt pass the pre-checkinspection, and it took almost three hours to repair it.

Bochys wife watched a whole movie before the plane tookoff. Were assuming it wasnt Gandhi.

Darn shame, Bochy said. We were going to get in before2.

Instead, they beat the Cardinals flight to the tarmac byjust a few minutes. Hey, at least theyre all in the same boat. (Yes, thats amixed metaphor. Im sleep-deprived too, OK?)

Jeremy Affeldt threw off a bullpen mound and said he feltfine, but his left thumb was wrapped and his entire hand was immobilized in asplint that ran up his forearm.

Bochy didnt expect to have to replace Affeldt on the NLCSroster, which is due at 10 a.m. But the manager wasnt ruling anything out withhis calamitous lefty, who is more injury prone than Scooby Doo surrounded byball bearings and banana peels.

He thinks hell be back to normal, Bochy said. But hestill has to go home and cook or something tonight.

The Cardinals will not change their roster from the NLDS,Matheny said.

Matheny said the dugout even before the Cardinals begantheir comeback was borderline high school football in its intensity andrelentless positive energy.

And to think, they dont even have a Hunter Pence.

STUHLBARG: Beltran shies from pence comparison, expects 'crazy' fans

Someone sent Brandon Belt a video file of his play inCincinnati, when he dived into the stands chasing a foul ball. As Belt wasstretched out over the railing, a young lady seized the opportunity to slapBelts uh posterior.

I never even felt it, said Belt, who found the cliphilarious.

Posey told an interesting story. He said when he waslearning to catch his sophomore year at Florida State, nothing helped him morethan watching major league games on TV.

Id try to study how guys set up with runners on base, howthey framed pitches, Posey said.

When Posey arrived in big league spring training, what tapes did bullpen catcher Bill Hayes send to him?

"Old video of Matheny," Posey said. "Billy raved about the way he blocked balls."

OK, I lied. Heres one more gem from Game 5 in Cincinnati,courtesy of our Drew Shiller:

Buster Poseys grand slam landed in the second deck at GreatAmerican Ball Park, 434 feet away.

Poseys first career home run came June 9, 2010. It landedin the second deck at Great American Ball Park, 439 feet away.

That last one traveled 5 feet shorter, but carried him so much higher.

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”