Game 1 proves we know nothing


Game 1 proves we know nothing

Programming note: Tune in to Giants October Quest for complete wrap-around coverage of Game 2 today at 4pm leading up to the first pitch, and again right after the final out, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

We are one game into this World Series, as you have probably deduced, and already this is shaping up as one of those series where we all discover how much baseball we actually dont know.

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We learned (or maybe re-learned, depending on how well we are able to process new information in place of old) that if you cant have a 97-mph fastball, its good to face guys who like to swing at 97-mph fastballs while youre throwing them 84-mph fastballs. And we also learned that 84 and located properly is as good a plan as 97.That would be Barry Zito.We learned that our preconceptions of employees have to be revisited from time to time. The Giants, who used to swing from each others heels because swinging from their own heels seemed too disciplined an approach, have actually become careful and well-trained hitters who will hit a bunch of foul balls to get to the one they want to put fair. They have developed their skills so that they can force Justin Verlander to throw 38 pitches in an inning, and have 27 of Verlanders pitches be fouled off. Thats in four innings.And thats Hensley Meulens, the hitting coach.We learned that we dont know nearly as much about pitching construction as we thought we did. We thought Madison Bumgarner had to make only one start in this series because of his mechanical problems. We thought he had to paired with Tim Lincecum because of Lincecums newfound ability to throw in long relief. We learned that Tim Lincecum isnt shackled to any one strategy, but is for the moment a true long reliever, used to put out the first fire on the horizon rather than the one that threatens the village. And we found out that Matt Cain isnt the ace in every situation, because the hot hand must always be served.RELATED: Giants,Tigers World Series capsules
And thats Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti, who if they were interested in what you thought of their sense of structure would say, We dare you to outthink us.We learned that Pablo Sandovals weight fluctuates at-bat to at-bat as opposed to meal-to-meal, and when he hits as he has been, he cuts quite the svelte figure. We learned that Melky Cabreras talents can be replaced, though not in the linear ways we thought. We learned that individual matchups dont matter nearly as much as team constructs, as in Buster Posey doesnt have to be the key to the series, as long as hes at least one of them. We learned that its not always a stupid idea to pitch around a pitcher. We learned that defense matters, and defense requires athleticism as well as judgment.And we learned that the World Series doesnt always revolve around one guy, especially not a starting pitcher -- in this case, Verlander. Or maybe we have learned all these things, but forget them from time to time. Or maybe we know them but the need to talk incessantly between games makes us fill the day with nonsense about this guy-vs.-that-guy, and this trend-vs.-that historical anomaly. Or maybe were just better off zen-ning the whole thing, letting it unfold before and admiring the event instead of trying to prefabricate it. That last part, though, probably takes discipline than we have. We too are free swingers, in a game that demands of everyone a whole lot more patience and precision than sweeping vistas and giant presumptions allow.In short, we are one game into this World Series, and we know nothing. And let us embrace it.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.comAP Images

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.”