Giants

Source: Giants to hire ex-A's pitching coach to fill same role on staff

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AP

Source: Giants to hire ex-A's pitching coach to fill same role on staff

SAN FRANCISCO -- With a crucial free agency period about to kick off, the Giants are about to fill out the rest of a revamped coaching staff.

Former A's pitching coach Curt Young will be announced as the new pitching coach on Monday, per a source, and the Giants will also officially announce the hiring of hitting coach Alonzo Powell. Young takes over for Dave Righetti, who was moved to a front office role last month after nearly two decades in the dugout. Powell will slide into the role vacated by Hensley Meulens, the new bench coach.

The latest hires just about set Bruce Bochy's staff for the upcoming season. The Giants still need an assistant hitting coach, but Young, Powell and bullpen coach Matt Herges will join the holdovers, with Meulens and Ron Wotus (third base coach) taking new roles. Phil Nevin is the lone departure from the organization, with other members of the 2017 staff taking on different job titles.

Young served two stints as the A's pitching coach and also briefly held the job in Boston. He was let go by the A's during the 2017 season. His hire fills two boxes for Bobby Evans, who led the overhaul of the staff. Evans wanted an experienced coach to take the job that was so capably filled by Righetti over the years, and he also wanted the organization to take a more analytical approach. Young (A's), Powell (Astros) and Herges (Dodgers) all come from organizations known for pushing the boundaries and trying new things.

Young's hire was first reported Friday by the San Francisco Chronicle.

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Cain's Perfect Game vs Legend of Bumgarner is Born

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AP

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Cain's Perfect Game vs Legend of Bumgarner is Born

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Giants Pregame Live at 5:30pm to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and A's conclude, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on.

1. Matt Cain's Perfect Game in 2012 

(From Matt Cain - Giants Pitcher from 2005 to 2017)

The Perfect Game was one of the most memorable nights of my playing career. 

I had always dreamed of throwing a no-hitter. I had come so close so many times throughout my career and in my younger years, but never had one. 

The ballpark was so electric that night. We had the TaylorMade guys out hitting golf balls. Dustin Johnson hitting monster drives into McCovey Cove, and I snuck one good swing in there as well. 

Pretty surreal day. I still think back to all the plays and pitches during that game. To have every single player on the same wave length and all realizing what was unfolding is truly something special. Everyone likes to say I pitched a perfect game and I get the credit for it but I’m in debt to everyone of the guys who made a play behind me , one that still doesn’t make sense in right center field, and I owe the most to the guy who called 125 perfect pitches behind the plate. 

Thanks to all the fans that have come up to me and shared there story about that night. So fun to hear them all!!

VS.

2. The Legend of Madison Bumgarner is Born

(From Javier Lopez, Giants pitcher 2010-2016)

I remember this night for so many reasons but first and foremost was that this kid was 21! What?! Let us all just take a moment and think about this? What were you doing at 21 and better yet what were you doing on Halloween? I can only answer for myself but I was back in college not going to class but just hanging out with all my friends planning on going to a party. I was telling stories of getting drafted that past June and how tired I had gotten from backing up so many bases because everything I threw usually ended up in the gap for extra bases but I digress. Let’s get back to it. Madison Bumgarner was pitching in a World Series game! Instead of partying or trick or treating he was carving up the Texas Rangers in their park. Eight shutout innings against one of the best lineups in the MLB at that time.

I think Bum has always had supreme confidence in his abilities. His whole career he has expected to win and will teams to win and often times that’s what happened. The Rangers had only been shutout 5 times all season long and here’s Bum going right through this lineup like a hot knife through butter. 3 singles is all they could manage. 3 measly singles off this 21 year old stud.

Fearless! I remember Aubrey Huff calling him that in a postgame interview. Aubrey had hit a 2 run shot in the third and Rookie of the Year Buster Posey would add a homer of his own off Darren O’Day but it was Bumgarner’s career in the postseason that was taking shape that night. Fearless was only one of the many words used to describe this country kid from small town North Carolina. Quiet, confident, one of a kind spectacular...all those work. I remember talking to Bum and him saying he may never get another chance to pitch in a World Series game so might as well give it my all. I laughed because I had played in 1 World Series prior to 2010 and remember how hard it was to get there and to win it. Little did I know we would go on 2 more rides to the World Series together. He would lead the charge like Washington crossing the Delaware and all of us ready to do whatever it took to reach our ultimate goal. 3 for 3 isn’t bad for anyone but I think if given another chance Bum will prove yet again why he was built for October.

VOTE HERE: 

How Giants will keep two promising rookie pitchers healthy in stretch run

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USATSI

How Giants will keep two promising rookie pitchers healthy in stretch run

SAN FRANCISCO — Last August, Andrew Suarez threw 8 1/3 dominant innings at Raley Field, tossing 107 pitches while holding Salt Lake to two runs. Five days later, Suarez was working on another gem, this time in Reno, when he was pulled after just five innings and 74 pitches. 

Suarez was confused at first. Reno is one of the toughest parks in the minors, but he had allowed just one earned run when pitching coach Dwight Bernard told him his day was over. While sitting in the dugout, Suarez put it all together. 

“I figured I was just going to go five innings every start from then on,” he said. 

The lefty was right. He threw five innings the next two times out and four in his season finale, tossing 73, 70 and 75 pitches. After that Reno start, Suarez was told that the organization was limiting his innings, and he did not receive a September call-up. 

Eleven months later, the coaches and spreadsheets are still keeping a close eye on Suarez, only this time he’s contributing to the major league rotation. Alongside him, Dereck Rodriguez is in a similar situation. Rodriguez spent the first half of the 2017 season as part of a six-man rotation in A-ball for the Minnesota Twins. He spent the first half of 2018 grabbing hold of a big league rotation spot, and like Suarez, he is in uncharted waters. 

The Giants will not make a run unless Rodriguez (2.89 ERA) and Suarez (3.94) continue to pitch well every five days, but neither has ever been through a six-month season, and both rookies will smash their previous career-highs for innings pitched. In an era where every warm-up toss and bullpen session is tracked, a lot of attention will be paid to two promising arms. At the break, the front office and coaching staff is confident that both rookies will hold up. The Giants don’t intend to give either one an extended breather as other organizations — notably the Dodgers — have done with young starters. 

“If they made every start, you’re looking at 180 innings for these guys, and that’s where you would want to get them,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re comfortable not skipping them or having to back off right now. Now, that could change in a month if they’re showing signs that they could use a break, but there’s no plan to back off either of them.”

Instead, the plan is to — carefully — ride this out. Rodriguez will pitch the opener Friday night and Suarez debuts Tuesday in Seattle, and pitching coach Curt Young said both are scheduled for up to 13 starts in the second half. The optimistic view is six innings per start, which would mean approximately 78 second-half innings for each rookie. The Giants, like many organizations, feel comfortable adding 20 percent to a starter’s workload each season. 

Rodriguez threw 101 innings in 2016 and 143 1/3 last season, so the Giants had him ready for about 170 this year. If he’s able to tack on six innings for 13 more starts, he’d end this regular season at 175, which is no cause for concern. 

Suarez is on a similar path after throwing 143 2/3 innings in 2016 and 155 2/3 last year. He was projected around 185 innings before the season, and the current schedule has him set for about 190. 

Of course, there’s a vast difference between facing the Salt Lake Bees and trying to beat the Dodgers in the middle of a division race. There are contingencies in place to help both rookies, including adding an extra day of rest between some starts and “backing it down a little bit” every third bullpen session. A similar plan is in place for Johnny Cueto, who nearly had Tommy John surgery in the first half and will get an extra day of rest before five of his first six second-half starts. 

The Giants will have every Thursday off over the season’s final five weeks, and Bochy has always used those additional days to give his starters an extra break. That won’t change, and the Giants are confident Rodriguez and Suarez will be humming along through that stretch.

“We understand the stress level and intensity of these games, but knock on wood, they haven’t hit bumps,” Young said. “You hate to put the reins on a guy when he’s throwing well.”

Rodriguez and Suarez echoed that sentiment. 

“If it’s not broken, keep doing it,” Rodriguez said. 

“I’m just going to keep doing me,” Suarez said. 

Both are well aware of the situation and said they would lean on veteran starters and try to get advice on how to handle a long season. But they have their routines, and they’ll stick to them. There were no signs of fatigue as a stressful first half came to a close. Rodriguez gave up two earned runs over his final three appearances. Suarez allowed four total runs over four starts before one bad inning on Sunday. 

Rodriguez will take the ball Friday night at the Coliseum and try to start the second half with another strong performance. Can he keep this going through late September and possibly October? 

“Ask me in September,” he said, smiling. “But I’m fine now, and I’m going to keep working hard. I’m not even thinking about anything else.”