Giants

Giants notes: Lincecum's playoff catcher undecided, etc.

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Giants notes: Lincecum's playoff catcher undecided, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO In the words of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, youllprobably see some tweaking here real soon as he aligns his rotation for thepostseason.

But Bochy doesnt plan to coast over these final nine games.He penned a regular lineup for Tuesdays series opener against the ArizonaDiamondbacks and said the starters would play the entire game, as long as thescore doesnt get out of hand.
LINEUP: Posey at first for another Lincecum start

It is back to business, said Bochy, who still has Matt Cain and Barry Zito listed to start the last two games of this series. We will be playingthe game the way it should be played.

Hector Sanchez, not Buster Posey, is catching Tim Lincecum.But Bochy wasnt ready to answer whether that meant Sanchez would catchLincecum in the postseason.

I think (Lincecums) next start will tell you which waywell go there, said Bochy, adding that he hasnt ruled out pairing Posey withLincecum again.

The Giants are expected to start Cain, MadisonBumgarner and Lincecum in the first three games of an NL Division Series, withthe order somewhat dependent on opponent and more so whether Bochys club opensat home or on the road.

Bochy did not rule out using just three starters, but thatsituation likely would happen only if the Giants are down 2-1 and faceelimination in Game 4. A better bet is having either Barry Zito or RyanVogelsong as the Game 4 starter; Bochy already said the plan is for bothpitchers to be on a playoff roster.

You look at all the starters and theyve all thrown verywell, Bochy said. We wouldnt be here without any of them. Its unique wehave five starters with double-digit wins.

The Giants also have to decide whether to carry 11 or 12pitchers. The Giants would be able to use their fifth starter as a long man,but they might prefer to keep an eighth reliever anyway because they are somatchup-dependent with a closer-by-committee approach. On the other side of thecoin, the team wants to carry Aubrey Huff as a bat off the bench -- and for allpractical purposes, he requires a pinch runner.

Huff could make some starts at first base down the stretchto gauge his running ability.

And what about the thought that the Giants (89-64) arebetter off in their current spot as the No. 3 seed, who opens the first roundwith two home games? Could it be a disadvantage to pass the WashingtonNationals (93-60) or Cincinnati Reds (92-61) in the victory column?

The top seed, after all, wont know where its going tostart an NL Division Series until the one-game wild card playoff game. Andalthough the top two seeds would play games 3-5 at home, theyd only beguaranteed one home playoff date.

Bochy said hes already spoken to some players and remindedthem that they are playing to win.

If it ends up that way, so be it, Bochy said. Theres no otherway to play the game. I cant say theres a preference. Weve got a pitchertrying to win a game and weve got fans watching. We still want to go out thereand play good baseball.

--
During the managers session, I made a joke that France, Bochysbirth country, is getting jobbed again in the World Baseball Classic. I didntrealize that France actually has a team that is trying to qualify for the WBCfor the first time. In fact, their pitching coach is 2003 Cy Young Award winnerEric Gagne.

And I didnt know that French officials asked if Bochysson, Brett, would be able to pitch in a bleu uniform.

Unfortunately, that wont happen. Brett Bochy was shut downas a precaution because of arm fatigue. The connection is tenuous, anyway.Bochy was born on an army base in France, left with his family in his infancy,and didnt return until he was in his 50s for a vacation.

He thought he found the village where he was born, Landes deBussac.

After we got back, I figured out we went to the wrongBussac, Bochy said.

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

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Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

Fueled by Hernandez's home run trilogy, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping this group of Dodgers. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and Justin Turner anchoring a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last championship in 1988.

The Dodgers will host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS heading into Game 6 at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

The Dodgers made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when Los Angeles was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

He was just OK in his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' loaded lineup picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts in his sixth career playoff win - matching Burt Hooton for the franchise record.

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on. The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small, but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitor's dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"

Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

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Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

Chili Davis spent the first seven years of his big league career with the Giants where he made two All-Star teams and hit 101 home runs. 

Fast forward 37 years from his debut in 1981, and Davis may now be the one teaching Giants how to hit balls over the wall in 2018. The Giants met with Davis Thursday about becoming the team's new hitting coach, according to The Mercury News

The only problem is, there is no open vacancy on the Giants' coaching staff. 

Current hitting coach Hensley Meulens is a candidate for the Tigers' head coaching vacancy, but reports surfaced Thursday that former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will take that role. Meulens could become a candidate to manage another team or take a different spot on the Giants' staff. 

The Giants' offense sputtered in 2017. Overall, the offense ranked 23rd in batting average (.249), 29th in runs scored (639) and last in home runs (128). By comparison, the Pirates were the next worst team at hitting home runs in 2017 and still launched 23 more long balls than the Giants. 

Over his 19-year career, Davis hit 350 home runs. He has spent the last three years as the Red Sox's hitting instructor.