LOS ANGELES -- Bruce Bochy has always been hesitant to hit his pitcher anywhere but ninth, even if that pitcher is Madison Bumgarner. But Bumgarner is hitting eighth tonight, and in an odd twist Zack Greinke is too. This is the first Giants-Dodgers game with both pitchers hitting eighth, and Bochy didn't mince words when asked about the move.
"I think it speaks for itself," he said.
Bumgarner is one of Bochy's best threats at the plate. Ehire Adrianza is batting .169. The problem for the Giants is that they need Adrianza at all tonight. Brandon Crawford had a wrap on his left calf after taking a 94 mph heater off the leg last night. He said the pitch caught him right in the meat of the calf, and he's pretty sore today. Crawford had just come back from a tight oblique, and now the Giants think he may miss a couple more games after this one. Crawford is optimistic, and said he hopes to miss just one game.
He's not the only regular out of the lineup. Nori Aoki has cooled off at the plate, Bochy said, when asked about that change. Gregor Blanco has a bit of a sore neck and Angel Pagan is back on the roster, so he's back in there tonight. The Giants also have a bunch of new guys on the bench. Cody Hall is here and said he's ready for anything; he has been stretched out in Triple-A and should be able to provide two- or three-inning relief stints if the Giants need him to soak up innings.
Alejandro De Aza is here and goes right into the starting lineup. Nick Noonan is here, but he's not starting tonight. Noonan saw plenty of time with the 2013 Giants and he was happy to return to the organization when the Yankees DFA'd him earlier this season. Noonan brought up Travis Ishikawa's name when talking to reporters.
"Maybe I can capture some of his magic," he said, smiling.
Noonan said he feels he has come a long way defensively since his last stint with the Giants, and the staff feels the same way. That's why he's here as a backup shortstop, second baseman and third baseman instead of Joaquin Arias, Kevin Frandsen or Everth Cabrera. Noonan said he also has a better idea of what he's doing at the plate. He's thrilled to be back in the big leagues with the team that drafted him 32nd overall nearly a decade ago.
"When I signed (back with the Giants) I was just looking for playing time and hopefully an opportunity," he said. "It kind of fell into place. Being familiar with the Giants, and they know me, it made the decision easier. They have open arms for everyone."
Well, not everyone right now. Justin Maxwell hasn't hit for months but he made it to September 1. Today, the Giants designated Maxwell for assignment to clear a roster spot for Noonan. He was hitting .209 and hasn't hit for any power recently. The glove wasn't enough to make up for those numbers.
"It's all about hitting," Maxwell said. "You've gotta hit. I'll continue to work on my craft and try to be a better hitter."
Maxwell said he was disappointed that the Giants didn't make the move on Aug. 31, which would have in theory allowed him to sign somewhere else and be playoff-eligible. The problem was the De Aza trade came together during last night's game, so it's not like the Giants could exactly make a swap and let him immediately search for a new job. It was a bit of a surprise when the Giants used the DFA instead of putting Tim Lincecum on the 60-day DL, but Bobby Evans had a good reason for that move. Evans said he'll likely add one more relief pitcher to this roster (Clayton Blackburn would be a good candidate) in the coming days, and he needed a way to add a player who isn't on the 40-man roster.
One other bit of housekeeping: Tim Hudson is listed with the relievers tonight, but that doesn't mean he's out of contention to start Friday at Coors Field. Bochy said that day's starter is "TBA."