Programming note: For comprehensive Giants-Cardinals NLCS coverage, watch “October Quest” today at 4 p.m. and immediately following the game on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO – Giants manager Bruce Bochy revealed a bit of Hunter Strickland news, Adam Wainwright praised A.J. Pierzynski’s “magic fingers” and Madison Bumgarner offered his opinion – but not his sympathies – for Randy Choate’s overthrow that led to the Cardinals’ loss in Game 3 of this NLCS.
But first … Ryan Vogelsong’s dietary habits.
The right-hander caused a spike in the consumption of chicken enchiladas two years ago, when he made the meal his ritual the day prior to his starts.
But the cheesy, saucy dinner didn’t work so well last season. So, as he told USA Today, he switched up.
After experimenting with spaghetti for a time, he’s now dead set on having a Super Duper burger, complete with grilled onions and jalapenos.
The Marina location usually provides his fix.
Vogelsong will try to beef up the Giants’ chances to clinch another NL pennant when he takes the mound in Game 4. (And I am so, so sorry about that.)
Now on to the actual pregame news:
--Bochy acknowledged he and Dave Righetti decided to steer clear of using Strickland in Game 3 after the right-hander threw a side session on Monday. Strickland has given up home runs to four of the seven left-handed batters he’s faced this postseason. He might have been used if the game went extra innings, but the preference was to give him time to clear his head.
--Jeremy Affeldt is available for an inning, Bochy surmised, but he wanted to see the left-hander play catch to further evaluate him. Affeldt threw two innings in Game 2 on Sunday, then tossed 1 2/3 innings in Game 3. And if the Giants limit him to just a batter or two, then they might still have his services for Game 5 on Thursday.
--This is my conjecture here, but Yusmeiro Petit and Tim Lincecum (and the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha) could come into play today. Bochy might consider his long relievers more in play than usual since he’s got Bumgarner going in Game 5.
--Bochy explained why he took the bunt sign off with Juan Perez after he fouled off the first two attempts in the 10th inning Tuesday night. Perez ended up hitting a single off Choate before Gregor Blanco’s bunt, and Choate’s errant throw, ended the game.
“I mean, the first two bunts, it looked like he was having a hard time even getting the bat out in front,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy who will hit into a lot of double plays with his speed. So I took it off. I just felt our chances were better now letting this kid swing. And a lot of times, you’ll see me not even bunt in that situation, especially with a (right-on left matchup) and two lefties coming up. I just wanted to get the winning run on second base, and Juan, give him credit. He didn’t get frustrated, he threw out a pretty good at-bat and got a hit.”
--Bochy was asked about whether he tells players to enjoy the moment, or to enjoy it when it’s over.
“A little of both,” he said. “You have to understand how hard you’ve worked to get here, so don’t ever lose sight of that. You’ve got to take in the moment, but you’ve also got to be in the moment.”
--What did Bumgarner think of Choate’s moment, especially after his own throwing error led to the Giants’ only loss against the Washington Nationals in the NLDS?
“That’s a heck of a way to win a ballgame on our side,” Bumgarner said. “That’s a heck of a way to lose a game on their side. I’m not here to feel sorry for the other team. We’re here to win games however we can get it done.
“It’s no fun being in his shoes, but everyone knows how good he is and I don’t think anyone’s going to question that.”
--Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina tested his strained oblique with a few swings in the cage, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny described them as “preliminary” and “just enough to realize it wasn’t worth pushing forward.”
Molina caught Trevor Rosenthal in the bullpen during Game 3, and in theory, he’s available to be used as a defensive replacement.
--A.J. Pierzynski is in the Game 4 lineup catching right-hander Shelby Miller, which came as a mild surprise to the scribes who cover the Cardinals. It sure sounds as if Pierzynski, and not Tony Cruz, could catch Wainwright in Game 5, too (although that would mean an extra lefty bat against Bumgarner for Matheny’s crew.)
“He always has called a good game,” Wanwright said of Pierzynski. “He’s got magic fingers. He’s called a couple no-hitters and been a world champion. He’s a big, wide target. So we like throwing to A.J. … Hopefully we’ll get him a ring this year.”
--As to Wainwright’s own struggles (he hasn’t completed five innings in either of his postseason starts despite insisting he is not tired and his elbow issue is minor), the right-hander acknowledged he is unhappy with his performance in October.
“You know, until last year’s NLCS, I was undefeated in the postseason,” Wainwright said. “I just don’t want to get a bad rap for not being a good playoff pitcher. That’s the time I want to shine the most. That’s the time every pitcher wants to shine the most, and I now I’m capable of doing that.
“I just have to have all my weapons out there with me, preferably. If not, I’ll grind my way through it and I’ll find a way to make it happen. But it helps when you’ve got all your weapons.”
--The Giants’ Game 3 victory was the first non-RBI walkoff win in the NLCS since Game 5 of the 1972 NLCS between the Pirates and Reds. (Bob Moose threw a wild pitch in the ninth that gave the Reds the pennant.)
--The Giants are up to 192 plate appearances since their last home run, Brandon Belt’s shot in the 18th inning to win Game 2 of the NLDS at Washington. Buster Posey doesn’t have an extra-base hit yet this postseason.
--Pablo Sandoval would break Barry Bonds’ franchise record if he can reach base in his 22nd consecutive game today.
--Ryan Vogelsong has a chance in Game 4 to match Curt Schilling’s all-time record of six consecutive postseason starts giving up one run or less.
--Finally, a stat that explains so much: the Giants are 12-1 in their last 13 postseason games decided by one run.