Giants

EXTRA BAGGS: Zito says time is now to capitalize vs. Dodgers

802006.jpg

EXTRA BAGGS: Zito says time is now to capitalize vs. Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO Barry Zito said all along that two of hisprevious three losses hadnt been terrible starts, except for the result in thebox score.

Its true, the Rangers and Angels can take the cheese graterto a starting pitcher better than almost any team in either league. Zito felthe hadnt made too many terrible pitches while staying aggressive. He didntfall into the trap of nibbling and walking hitters.

Zito plugged the leak against the Los Angeles Dodgers bydoing a little of both.

He returned to his winning ways while holding down a Dodgerslineup that didnt exactly resemble a first-place murderers row. They managedjust three hits against him, and Zito pitched around three walks in the firsttwo innings. Handed a huge lead, he cruised as he normally does.

And he offered some pretty strong postgame analysis, too.

Theyre pretty banged up over there and weve got tocapitalize on that, Zito said. We were banged up early and they capitalizedon that. Its the nature of the game. Its a marathon, and were happy withwhere were at.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy noted that Zito might have beentoo aggressive in the strike zone in those losses to the Rangers and Angels; hesaid Zito learned from those experiences and did a better job being focused onmaking quality pitches, and using all his pitches.

Zito was 0-4 in his last eight starts against the Dodgers,even though he posted a 2.92 ERA over that span. He beat them for the firsttime since May 8, 2009. And yes, he acknowledged it was a big deal for him.

Yeah, definitely, he said. Its the biggest rivalry inbaseball, and well be playing them down the stretch in crunch time, inSeptember. So no doubt.

--
Catcher Hector Sanchez said he was fine and that doctorsconcurred after he took a foul ball off the side of the mask in the ninthinning Monday night.

Sanchez had turned his head slightly when he absorbed theimpact. It appeared small pieces of debris flew off his mask and trainersrushed out to check on him. But he told them he could finish the game, and wasnot woozy.

Afterward, Sanchez gave Barry Zito a hug and was lucid as hespoke with reporters. He had two hits including an RBI double in place ofBuster Posey and helped Zito to his third start of seven shutout innings or morethis season.

Posey is expected to be back behind the plate to catch RyanVogelsong on Tuesday.

--
Even with the Giants up 7-0 after the second inning, Bochynever took out any of his starters early. Even guys like Angel Pagan and MelkyCabrera, who are playing every day and a little nicked up, stayed out there tothe end.

Sure, its June. But its also a rivalry game against thefirst-place team, and Bochy wasnt about to take any chances.

--
This was like a win-win-win for the Giants. Not only do theysave the bullpen and have no need for closer Santiago Casilla, who wasunavailable after being taxed over the weekend, but they were able to givePosey a break. The Giants are 7-2 in games when Posey doesnt make anappearance in the box score, according to BayAreaSportsGuy.com.

Obviously, the Giants are a better team with Posey in thelineup. But a stat like that makes it a little easier for Bochy and maybesome Giants fans to stomach his needed days off to rest his ankle. The clubwont be able to afford that luxury in September, so they might as well takeadvantage of it now.

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew McCutchen has spent his entire career as a center fielder. With a new team comes a new position. 

Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed on Tuesday that McCutchen will move to right field for the Giants, with Hunter Pence sliding over from right to left. Bochy said he talked to McCutchen about the plan -- one the Giants had throughout the McCutchen chase -- after Monday's trade. 

"I'm looking forward to right field," McCutchen said. "That's one place people can't pick on me saying that my defensive metrics are so bad. I'm looking forward to playing right. I know there's a lot of room out there to run, so it's definitely going to be almost like playing center."

McCutchen said he's looking forward to picking Pence's brain about patrolling right field at AT&T Park. Bochy has already spoken to Pence and said his longtime right fielder is on board with the plan. 

"He's just so excited about getting Cutch on this club that he's good with anything or whatever is best for this club," Bochy said. "So that's the plan right now."

McCutchen has played 11,621 defensive innings in his career and all but 115 1/3 of them have been in center field. He briefly moved to right field last season but shifted back to center when Starling Marte was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. McCutchen was a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012 but his defensive metrics tailed off in recent seasons. He was worth negative 28 Defensive Runs Saved in 2016 and was at negative 16 DRS last season. 

McCutchen had wanted to stay in center in Pittsburgh, but said it's a new case with a new team.

"I wasn’t too keen on (moving at first) because I felt that I had more there, that I could do something there (in center)," he said. "I honored (the Pirates) once they wanted me to play a little shallower and that backfired on me. I was basically asking for another shot but I didn’t get that chance or opportunity. But now that I’m going into the Giants organization and this is something they want me to do, I’m all for it.

"San Francisco has a huge field. It’s bigger than PNC Park. They’ve got Triples Alley and it’s called Triples Alley for a reason. For me, it’s another center field. I’m moving over a little and if it’s saving my legs and I can get more stolen bases, I’m all game and I’m all for it.”

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

mccutchen-andrew-pink-panik.jpg
USATSI

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — There was a sense of celebration within the Giants organization on Monday after the addition of Andrew McCutchen. He is easily their best outfielder, a potential solution atop the order, and a player who is known for being a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. 

If the Giants had any doubts, though, they surely felt better after seeing the quotes that came out of Pittsburgh. In a series of statements, Pirates officials made it clear this was a difficult trade to make, with chairman Bob Nutting calling it “one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure.”

Nutting, in a statement, said that McCutchen’s smile and energy were infectious even as a teenager. Later, McCutchen got the Pirates to three straight postseason appearances. 

“He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace,” Nutting said. 

Team president Frank Coonelly described the trade as painful. 

“(No) individual was more responsible for the success that we had from 2013 to 2015 than Cutch,” Coonelly said in a statement,” And no player was more disappointed than Andrew that we did not break through and win a World Series Championship for the City of Pittsburgh.”

McCutchen was Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2005 draft and made his debut in 2009. In nine seasons with the Pirates, he was a five-time All-Star and a perennial MVP candidate. He won the award in 2013 and finished in the top five of voting for four consecutive seasons. 

General manager Neal Huntington said the decision to actually part with the franchise player was “incredibly difficult.”

“Watching Andrew patrol center field with grace, fly around the bases, drive the ball all around the ballpark, celebrate with his teammates or interact with his family, friends or fans has created lifelong memories for me and many, many others around the game of baseball,” he said.