Throwback look suits Cain perfectly in milestone win


Throwback look suits Cain perfectly in milestone win


SAN FRANCISCO Matt Cain is too superstitious to tip hiscap, even to a thunderous ovation. He doesnt break focus for a single pitch.He is not what youd call a showman.

So it was a stunning bit of theater on Saturday when Cainbloused out his 1912 throwback uniform, raised his arms over his head, wound uplike a windmill and delivered a first pitch worthy of Dizzy Dean on Friday.

The first one? said Cain, grinning. I was trying to go alittle throwback there. I was thinking about it yesterday. Jake Peavy alwaysdid it in San Diego. So youre thinking, 'Well, I dont know.' But well, itsonly one pitch.

You might as well try to be in character a little bit. Soit was fun.

He threw a ball. Cain didnt throw many more.

Cain didnt stay in character by perishing of consumption ordoing anything too extreme. Hes not a method actor, even if the Giants offensehas provided dead-ball era run support for him over his career.

Call him conditioned to his time and place. Cain made threesingles, a bases-loaded walk and a ground out work for everyone while pitchingthe Giants to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. For the first time allseason, the Giants are five games over .500.

And for the first time since he was a 22-year-old young buckwith a 17-17 record in 2007, Cain is at .500 for his career. Hes 75-75 afterstarting this season 6-2.

I guess it kind of stinks that its getting back to .500,but thats how it goes, said Cain, who claimed he wasnt even aware untilafter the game. I could care less what my record is, as long as we win.Getting back to .500 for my career, I dont worry about it.

Cain is a throwback in every sense. Perhaps thats why hewas in his white and navy uniform, pulling on those thick turn back thecentury socks, more than 90 minutes before the first pitch.

Yeah, it was funny, he said. Everybody was in uniform anhour, an hour and a half before the game to get comfortable. Its entertaining,definitely. Were a bunch of little kids in here.

I loved it. It was actually one of the most comfortablethrowback jerseys Ive ever worn. It wasnt heavy or uncomfortable.

Sergio Romo especially loved the sight of big MadisonBumgarner in that snow white uniform.

We called him Bum Ruth, the great Bum-bino, Romo said. Helooked so big in that uniform. We were having fun with it. He just fit themold.

And Romo, who always catches the ceremonial first pitch (anddont you love that about him?), got to receive the best fastball a 99-year-oldfan could muster. She was born in 1912.

She was smiling, laughing, Romo said. It was awesome.

Romo and Javier Lopez made sure the birds and bugs in thestands could head out to the cobblestones and trolleys in a good mood. It waspreordained that Cain would face just the first batter in the ninth, and hewalked Starlin Castro. But Lopez threw two pitches to record two outs, thanksto some deft fielding by third baseman Joaquin Arias as he started a doubleplay. And Romo threw three sliders to retire Alfonso Soriano.

It was the fourth career save for Romo. With SantiagoCasilla (bruised knee) out for the day and Brian Wilson (elbow surgery) out forthe season, Romo was effectively the man behind the man behind the man.

Yeah, I got an out in the ninth, Romo said. Its the sameas an out in the seventh or eighth. I guess its peace of mind for the staffand the front office that they put a pretty good pitching staff together.

Cain might have said it best: We all (in the rotation) feelwere No. 1-2 guys and all the guys in the bullpen feel theyre eighth-inning,ninth-inning guys.

That leaves the offense, and lets revisit that wholedead-ball thing. Incredibly, the club has hit just one home run in its lastSEVENTEEN home games (and thank Gregor Blanco for that surprising littleblast). Yet they are 10-7 over that span.

We scratched and clawed -- I guess a little like the 1912team, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. We didnt show much power but we founda way to get it done.

The first of Cains 215 career starts was a 2-1 game a lossto the Colorado Rockies. There have been 17 of them in his career. The Giantsare 9-8 and Cain has a 7-5 record in those starts.

Hes been so consistent and we needed it today, becausetheir guy was throwing the ball so well, Bochy said. Matty, hes amazing. Hejust keeps going and keeps competing so well.

Thats a quality that works in any uniform, in any era.

The first pitch, going over his head? That was awesome,said Romo, who apparently spent much of the game discussing the temporalissues.

What about the black and white Jumbotron? You cant tell methey had that back in the day. It makes you think what would they do, haveguys running around with huge posters?"

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.

One week 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.