Giants

Giants' main focus should turn to getting Bruce Bochy to 2,000 wins

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USATSI

Giants' main focus should turn to getting Bruce Bochy to 2,000 wins

In the seventh inning Thursday, the Giants had Conner Menez on the mound and an infield of Aramis Garcia, Chris Shaw, Donovan Solano, Mauricio Dubon and Corban Joseph. Joey Rickard, Mike Yastrzemski and Jaylin Davis made up the outfield. 

That's a September lineup, for sure, but it's not one Bruce Bochy really wanted to see. He still is trying to be competitive, but the Giants got blown out 10-0 by the Cardinals, losing for the 12th time in 16 games.

"We got boat raced today," Bochy told reporters in St. Louis. 

Thus, the line change in the late innings. The Giants will hope for better in Los Angeles. For now, here are three takeaways from the final game in St. Louis: 

A Rough One for Webb

Rookie Logan Webb pitched pretty well in his first three starts, but Thursday was one to forget. Webb was charged with eight earned and didn't make it out of the third. He has allowed 26 hits in 18 innings, which certainly is something to watch. The stuff was down a tick Thursday and Webb left plenty of balls up. 

"I was just getting behind on batters," he said. "Pretty much every batter."

The Giants need one of their young starters to break through with consistency, so Webb should be out there in five days, and five days after that. It'll be interesting to see how he bounces back. Webb, 22, is intense, and that showed as things were unraveling Thursday. He'll have a chance to regroup against the lowly Pirates next week. 

Mr. 2,000

Players spent most of the spring talking about getting Bochy back to the postseason in his final year. That possibility is gone, but the guys still have some work to do to get Bochy to a milestone. 

It seemed a lock that Bochy would reach 2,000 wins, and it's still a good bet, but ... the Giants do need to win seven more games. They have 22 to go, but that includes six against the Dodgers and a tough Boston/Atlanta road trip. The Giants do have the Pirates and Marlins coming to town next week, but they also just went 1-5 during a homestand with the Diamondbacks and Padres. 

There's one other mark at play here. Bochy now is 1,042-1,042 as Giants manager. It would be nice if he finished his career at or above .500 with the Giants, but at the very least, this group needs to pick up those seven wins. 

[RELATED: Why Cueto, Giants not too concerned about rehab setback]

Silver Linings

Hey, at least the Giants don't employ Antonio Brown. So there's that. Thursday could have been worse. 

They did, however, hold their fantasy draft on Monday. So somebody in that clubhouse went through a 10-0 loss and then came in and found his depth chart had been wrecked on the first day of the NFL season. That's the opposite of a #HappyFlight. 

How Gabe Kapler plans to handle the core members of Giants lineup

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

How Gabe Kapler plans to handle the core members of Giants lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler spent the last month talking to Giants employees about why he would be the right fit for the job, and on Wednesday he spent nearly an hour on a podium discussing his past and his future. But now Kapler plans to listen.

The new Giants manager is three months from the start of spring training and soon after that he'll have to start putting together lineups. On the Giants Insider Podcast, Kapler said he plans to talk to core players before revealing any preferences. 

"An executive in Los Angeles once said to me: 'Know where they've been, know where they are, know where they're going," Kapler said. "In order to know those three things, I need to be able to ask those questions and hear what's going on in their brains."

The arrival of Kapler -- and general manager Scott Harris -- should lead to big changes even if the Giants aren't able to trade any veterans. Bruce Bochy had too much respect for Buster Posey's past accomplishments to move him out of the heart of the order, but Kapler enters without that history. Brandon Crawford is coming off a down year and could lose time to Mauricio Dubon or a newcomer. Brandon Belt didn't hit for much power last year, but Bochy hit him leadoff at times because of his ability to have good plate appearances, and Kapler complimented Belt during his press conference Wednesday. 

"I've thought a lot about Brandon Belt (and) how impressive it is to watch him take an at-bat, independent of the outcome of the at-bat," Kapler said. "He tends to look over pitches and make really good swing-or-don't-swing decisions."

It'll now be up to Kapler to figure out the best configuration. He said he already has started digging into his new options, and he's excited about meeting the longtime Giants. 

"In preparing for an interview like this, you start to learn the players: The areas where they've taken off since you might have seen them last, the areas where they might have regressed a little bit," he said. "Before any real lineup decisions are made or any strategic decisions are made, tactical decisions, you have conversations with the players. I think that's a really important part of the process that sometimes gets blown past.

"I don't think it makes any sense for me to come in here and say Brandon Belt is going to lead off for us and Evan Longoria will hit in this spot and Buster Posey is going to play 'X' amount of games. All of those things we have an idea and a feel for, but much more importantly, before I make any decision like that or suggest any decision like that, I'll have a conversation with Buster, have a conversation with Evan, find out where they've been."

The perception in some circles is that Kapler was brought in partly because he can have those conversations but then take lineup suggestions from Zaidi, a close friend. But Kapler said he had autonomy in Philadelphia and doesn't expect a change, although he's happy to have input from the front office.

"I see it as a plus and a positive that Farhan will be invested in what happens on the field," he said. "That's the way it should be. But it's also important to note that I have a fairly strong personality. I've always shared my opinions. I always will share my opinions. We'll just come to the best decisions that help the San Francisco Giants win baseball games."

For more of Kapler's thoughts on strategy, bullpen usage, developing top prospects, his reunion with Zaidi, and those ice cream urban legends, you can stream the Giants Insider Podcast here or download it on iTunes here.

MLB rumors: Yankees interested in free agent pitcher Madison Bumgarner

MLB rumors: Yankees interested in free agent pitcher Madison Bumgarner

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but Madison Bumgarner will be a hot commodity in MLB free agency.

The Atlanta Braves reportedly are the favorites to land the three-time World Series champion, but now another title contender is hoping in adding Bumgarner's services in 2020, after his 11-year run with the Giants.

“I will definitely talk to Bumgarner’s agency,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reportedly told The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea at the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I haven’t. But I will.”

The Yankees' interest is far from a surprise. Not only does the franchise have one of baseball’s most expansive payrolls, but it could use a pitcher who sports a series of dominant playoff performances, considering the Yankees haven’t participated in the Fall Classic since 2009, despite seven postseason appearances in that span.

[RELATED: How Kapler explained 'problem solving' in 2015 blog post]

It remains to be seen how aggressive the Giants will be in trying to re-sign Bumgarner, but it’s clear they won’t be the only ones after the left-hander this winter.