Scutaro, Giants feel right at home in another road romp


Scutaro, Giants feel right at home in another road romp


ST. LOUIS Third baseman Marco Scutaro is still marveling over the diving play that shortstop Brandon Crawford made in the fourth inning Wednesday night. What most impressed Scutaro was the way Crawford scampered to his feet and unleashed a smooth, strong throw to first base.

Hes great, man. Hes very steady defensively unbelievable, Scutaro said, following the Giants 15-0 plucking of the St. Louis Cardinals. His arm, too. I (asked) him if I can have a little of his arm. He has too much.

Suuure. Says the guy who had seven RBIs.

Scutaro became the first Giant to drive in seven runs since Jeff Kent on May 1, 2001. Hes the first Giants third baseman with seven knocked in since Cory Snyder in 1992.

Elevated to the No.2 spot in place of a slumping Ryan Theriot, Scutaro had an RBI single in the third inning, a two-run double in the eighth and a grand slam in the ninth that might best be described as happy overkill.

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Theyre always welcome, Scutaro said of the RBIs. The last at-bat, with two strikes, I was just trying to put the ball in play. That guy had a lot of movement on his fastball. It went over the fence.

What kind of movement best describes the Giants this season? Well, there seems to be more than one of them. On the road, they are averaging a major league-best 5.18 runs per game including 56 runs on this current trip while winning five of six thus far.

I did not know that, said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, after a stunned pause.

Ah, but at AT&T Park, their 3.27 runs per game is the lowest home output among NL clubs, and better only than the Seattle Mariners in the major leagues.

Its hard to explain, Bochy said. Obviously, AT&T is not conducive to hitting and we know that. But for us to be where were at, thats amazing to me, really. Thats not the type of game we play, but its good to see us swing it on the road.

Hunter Pence had a pair of RBI hits, one following a pitch-around walk to Buster Posey, to help the Giants build a lead for Ryan Vogelsong. Theyve scored in the first inning in seven consecutive road games, something no major league club has done since the 2006 Mets.

It took a road trip for new additions Pence and Scutaro to feel at home. They appear settled in now, and perhaps that will make a difference when the Giants return to the shores of McCovey Cove on Friday.

These two guys are really good players, Vogelsong said. Marco has been a solid player everywhere hes gone and Hunter is a front-line player in this league.

Said Scutaro: I dont see any reason why this cant continue, especially when we get Pablo back.

That would be Pablo Sandoval, whose activation could come as soon as Sunday. Bochy acknowledged that Scutaros play merits an everyday role for now, although his versatility could allow him to mix in with Theriot at second base, take occasional starts for Crawford at short and yes, play third base with Sandoval moving to first.

Right now, sure, hell continue to be out there, Bochy said. He gives you depth and the ability to rest guys, and against righties, even an option to put Pablo at first base, if we wanted to go that way.

Hes been a great addition. Hes going to give you professional at-bats and good defense. Hes been a shot in the arm. Weve always thought a lot of Marco and its nice to have him here helping out.

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.