SAN FRANCISCO The Giants cued up plenty of video onright-hander Johnny Cueto, who takes the mound Saturday night in Game 1 of theNLDS at AT&T Park.
That isn't their only source of information, though. In fact, the player whohas faced Cueto more than any other major league hitter has a locker in the middle of the Giants clubhouse.
Ryan Theriot wont be in the Giants' starting lineup for Game 1. Not even JoeMorgan would start at second base right now over Marco Scutaro, who has a .436average over his 20-game hitting streak.
NEWS: Game 1 lineups
But Theriot is a .302 hitter in 43 career at-bats against Cueto, and he isdoing his best to let teammates know what to expect from the Reds 19-gamewinner.
Well, for one, he stops the running game, Theriot said.Hes got a good move. And hes one of those guys who throws right-on-rightchangeups. So that makes him tough. Hes one of those guys if you get a pitchto hit, youd better hit it. Because you probably wont get it again.
You cant try to do too much. You really cant.
Theriot has a homer and two doubles among his 13 hitsagainst Cueto. The only other Giant with more than 10 at-bats against him isHunter Pence, who is a .276 hitter (8-for-29) with 11 strikeouts.
But Pence isnt putting much stock into those numbers.
Thats because I havent faced him in two years and whathes doing now is a lot different, Pence said. He added a hitch, a timingthing. Ive been looking at it on video. Last time I saw him, he was throwing95 with a slider. That changeup is something hes added. At least, I haventseen it.
Pence watched video of hits off Cueto, to see what pitchesthey came on and where they went. The pitcher gave up his share while postingan 8.22 ERA over three consecutive losses in early September, but ended theseason with three cleaner outings.
Theriot remembers a pitcher who keeps the ball off the barrelwith a late-moving fastball.
When he throws his fastball down and away, itll stayaway, Theriot said. Hes got that run to it. I dont think he tries to do it.Thats just how it moves. And his sinker, he can run in on your hands.
Hes a little more susceptible to left-handed hitters, whobatted 59 points higher (.279). So hell be keying on switch hitters AngelPagan and Pablo Sandoval. First baseman Brandon Belt looms as another X-factor.
Right or left, Cueto isnt afraid to throw any pitch at anytime.
Most pitchers you can try to game-plan and look forpatterns, Theriot said. With a guy like him, youre almost better offpatterning the catcher. He doesnt repeat pitches too often.
Pence said he might check out some of those Theriot-Cuetoconfrontations on video.
You cant go dead red on Theriot, Pence said, smiling.Hell take you deep.
Gregor Blanco already saved Matt Cains perfect game withone of baseballs most outstanding catches of 2012. Now he hopes to be an assetagain as he starts in left field behind Cain in Game 1 of the NL DivisionSeries.
Hes worked real hard for everything hes gotten and hedefinitely deserves it, Cain said. Its definitely good to have him in theoutfield running stuff down for us.
Its like running down a dream for Blanco, who was a non-rosterinvitee this spring after playing for the Washington Nationals Triple-A clublast season.
I never thought I was even going to make this team, Blancosaid. Now, this feels great. I thank the Giants so much for giving me thisopportunity and this experience. It gives me a lot of confidence to go out andsupport my teammates.
Blanco planned to lend support to one former teammate,suspended outfielder Melky Cabrera, who is eligible to return should the Giantsadvance beyond a fifth game this postseason. The club already has declared thatCabrera will not rejoin the roster.
Cabrera hasnt spoken to most of his teammates following hisAug. 15 suspension for testing positive for testosterone.
Blanco said he knew Cabrera would be watching Game 1, though. He planned tocall him before the first pitch Saturday.
Im going to try to get in touch with him, Blanco said.
The Giants had an uplifting experience before their flighttook off from Los Angeles Wednesday night. Prior to boarding their charter, theteam was allowed to take pictures of Space Shuttle Endeavour as it sat parked inan adjacent hangar at LAX.