Giants fans rock the vote, elect three All-Star starters


Giants fans rock the vote, elect three All-Star starters

SAN FRANCISCO Third baseman Pablo Sandoval was asked howmany All-Star ballots he punched or mice he clicked.

I dont, I dont, Sandoval said, laughing. I dont havetime to vote.

Everyone else in the Bay Area did, apparently. Giants fanswere the story of All-Star selection Sunday, overwhelming the final vote totalsin a flood that was sufficiently large to generate suspicion.

Catcher Buster Posey, outfielder Melky Cabrera and Sandovalwere elected as starters to the NL squad, marking the first time that theGiants had three players lead the fan balloting at their positions since 2001.

Matt Cain was the only representative from the Giantspitching staff. If he gets the nod for the NL team, the Giants could have fourstarting players out of nine.

But thats only half the story. Posey, Cabrera and Sandovaldidnt just receive a final push in the voting. This was a gigawatt-sizedsurge.

Posey didnt simply lead all NL vote getters. His 7,621,370votes were the most ever for an NL All-Star. Cabrera didnt just catch reigningMVP Ryan Braun to make the starting outfield. He led all outfielders and his7,521,784 votes were second to Posey on the NL roster.

The biggest surprise was Sandoval, who missed a monthbecause of a broken hamate bone in his left hand and yet was able to pass theMets David Wright, who is hitting .355 and has led the NL in batting averagefor most of the season.

But nothing symbolized the ballot-box stuffing more thanthis: Freddy Sanchez, who hasnt played an inning in more than a year becauseof shoulder and back issues, ranked fourth among NL second basemen with2,289,147 votes.

I was getting nervous, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said,tongue in cheek. Because I didnt have Freddy all year and here he was goingto get a shot to start the All-Star Game.

The Giants fan influence was felt throughout the ballot.First baseman Brandon Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford finished second attheir positions. Belt drew 3.9 million votes to finish well behind CincinnatisJoe Votto; Crawfords 3.6 million votes were just 300,000 fewer than theCardinals Rafael Furcal. Crawford outpaced much bigger names such as TroyTulowitzki and Jimmy Rollins.

Angel Pagan finished fifth among NL outfielders, finishingahead of Matt Holliday, Andrew McCutchen and Hunter Pence, among others.

Our fans our fans are crazy, Belt said. I mean, itsamazing.

The last time the Giants had three elected starters, secondbaseman Jeff Kent, outfielder Barry Bonds and shortstop Rich Aurilia led theballoting.

The Giants could add another representative if there areopenings on the NL pitching staff due to injury or starters being ineligible ifthey pitch the final day of the first half. That could open up a spot for RyanVogelsong or Madison Bumgarner, both of whom have the numbers to go.

As it stands, Cain is the lone representative from a Giantsstaff that is the primary reason the club has ascended to first place in the NLWest.

Who wouldve thought this is the way itd go for theAll-Star Game? Bochy said. Pitching is our strength and its the reason weare where we are.

Im surprised, but at the same time, Im not surprised.Because here again, you are hearing from these great fans. Its amazing whattheyve done and how theyve supported the players

I mean, when you see Freddy Sanchez get 2 million votes thats one of themore amazing things Ive seen.

Cain, who threw the 22nd perfect game in major league history on June 13, was among the selections from the player ballot; itshis third All-Star team and for the first time, hes eligible to compete in thegame. The previous two times, he was injured (struck on the elbow by a linedrive) andor ineligible because he threw on the Sunday before the break.

What if Cain gets to throw to Posey during the game?

I mean, thatd be perfect, said Cain, choosing anappropriate word.

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

MiLB/Sacramento River Cats

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

Every time the Journey song “Lights” plays throughout AT&T Park, the lyrics When the lights go down in the City ring too true for the Giants’ offense. There’s a power outage in San Francisco. 

The savior to this issue can soon be prospect Chris Shaw, who turns 24 years old on Oct. 20. Shaw, along with five other Giants prospects, is continuing his 2017 season among a multitude of baseball’s best young up-and-comers in the Arizona Fall League. As he takes the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Shaw’s bat is far from the top focus for the Giants. 

After playing right and left field at Boston College, the Giants turned Shaw into a first baseman once they selected the 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty in 2015. This year, the Giants’ front office decided to make a change. As the big league team continued to look for their own answers, Shaw saw himself in left field in 94 of the 125 games he played between Double-A and Triple-A this season. 

“I saw improvements through the course of the year,” Brian Sabean said about Shaw’s outfield defense on The Giants Insider Podcast. “The problem is playing left field in our left field isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.” 

The AFL is all about reps in left field for Shaw as the Giants have already said he will get a long look in spring training. He earned that right after a breakout year at the plate.

One week into the AFL though, Shaw’s bat is way behind. Through four games, Shaw is batting a pedestrian .133 (2-for-15), both hits being singles. But even in such a slow start there are positives. 

Shaw has walked three times to only two strikeouts. His only downfall at the plate once he reached Triple-A Sacramento was his on-base percentage fell from .390 in Double-A to .328 at the higher level. With the River Cats, Shaw struck out 106 times, leading the team, while taking his base 20 times.

Early on in the desert, Shaw is showing more patience and putting the ball into play more often. The ball simply isn’t finding grass.

In the outfield, every ball Shaw sees -- practice or game -- during the AFL is a step in the right direction for he and the Giants. He is yet to make an error in his short time at the AFL. The big lefty will never be a guy to make the spectacular play, but if he improves his instincts with the glove and improves his eye at the plate, the Giants can finally have their left fielder of the future. 

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.