Giants

Giants using opener 'upset the entire rhythm of the game,' Mike Krukow says

Giants using opener 'upset the entire rhythm of the game,' Mike Krukow says

"Big gulps, huh? Welp, see ya later."

Remember the infamous scene from Dumb and Dumber? The eight-second clip sums up the Giants' first experiment with an opener. But the decision to do so was far from dumb. 

The Giants had allowed 42 first-inning runs this season going into Tuesday, compared to scoring only five. Nick Vincent's first start of the year made it 45 first-inning runs for the opposition. 

"I was all on board," Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said Wednesday on KNBR. "Anything to shake it up." 

Vincent, who has made 14 appearances out of the bullpen this season, allowed three earned runs in the first inning of a 7-3 Giants loss. Krukow generally sways with the thinking of baseball traditionalists. This time, however, he was ready for a change. 

Once that change happened, though, he noticed a domino effect for the Giants. The first usage of an opener had the team all out of sorts, Krukow believes. 

"It seemed to me like it just upset the entire rhythm of the game," Krukow said. "Everybody was a bit out of whack." 

[RELATED: A running diary of Giants' failed first opener experiment]

That could be true, but it doesn't mean this needs to be the end to this experiment for the Giants. When a team is having this many issues with its rotation and sits at the bottom of the NL West standings, nothing should be off the table. 

"It's not a big enough sample for someone to say that it doesn't work," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after the loss. "I don't know when we would do it again, or if we would do it again, but we're not going to let one outcome dictate that."

Giants' Austin Slater embracing versatile role for Giants this season

Giants' Austin Slater embracing versatile role for Giants this season

When asked what position he'll play this season, Giants utility man Austin Slater went outside the box. Well, actually, he stayed right in the box

"Right-handed batter's box," Slater jokingly said Friday to KNBR's Mark Willard.

Slater, 27, fits the bill of what the Giants are looking for right now. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, along with manager Gabe Kapler, have preached positional versatility. And Slater might be San Francisco's very own Swiss Army knife.

Last season alone, Slater played four positions for the Giants -- right field, left field, first base and second base -- and that was over just 68 games. He also played 11 games at third base and three in center field for the Sacramento River Cats in Triple-A.

"I feel good all over the diamond, all over the outfield," Slater said. "Wherever they put me, I'm OK with it."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Aside from catcher, the only position Slater for sure won't be playing is the same one he actually was drafted at by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school. Slater was a star prep shortstop in Florida before missing his senior season due to a freak accident, and went to Stanford originally as a shortstop as well. 

He primarily has played the outfield while wearing an infielder's glove recently more often. But Slater still is waiting to play his childhood position in the big leagues.

"I'll jab at Ron Wotus every once in a while and ask him when I'm going to play short," Slater said. "But he'll tell me the same thing every time. 'Get off the drugs, sober up.' But it's fun and I enjoy working at each position." 

[RELATED: Why Giants' not-too-distant future could be extremely bright]

Slater hit a career-high five homers and nine doubles last season. He also had a .275 batting average off lefties with an .838 OPS. That should help him find playing time in the shortened 60-game season. 

More than anything, though, Slater's versatility could be his golden ticket. There will be plenty of competition for the Opening Day roster and beyond, but Slater gives Kapler a lot of options.

Funny Madison Bumgarner pitching routine shows some things never change

Funny Madison Bumgarner pitching routine shows some things never change

Some things never change. 

While Madison Bumgarner no longer is with the Giants, his time with the Arizona Diamondbacks is proving the switch of a uniform doesn’t mean the shift of a personality.

Prior to a recent simulated game, MadBum made sure his outing was all his:

He’s previously discussed some of the things he does, like participating in a rodeo under an alias Mason Saunders, that his hobbies are what they are, and he doesn’t “do anything just for fun, per se.”

So the music being shut off is a sentiment to that.

Perhaps this means he will thrive during the season as fans will not be in the stands due to the MLB safety protocol. However, some teams admitted they will utilize fan noise to be played out of the speakers with cardboard cutouts in the stands.

[RELATED: Madison Bumgarner gives funny response about facing MadBum]

Not sure that will be something he would be able to control, but he’s used to playing in front of crowds. Whether he’s listening to Max Muncy yell at him to fish a home run ball out of the ocean, or you know, throwing in a World Series, the noise never appears to distract him.

It’s nice to know he can control that -- at least for now.