SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants keep track of every throw their relief pitchers make, and while Bruce Bochy will often mention that he’d like to “stay away from a guy,” he’ll never give away his full “do not use” list. There would be no point in letting the other manager know you’re playing short.
But it was clear Saturday that Bochy didn’t have all his weapons, and he admitted after a 9-5 loss that he was “trying to rest the ‘pen a little bit.” It cost the Giants. Long reliever Jake Peavy was brought in to bridge the gap and he turned a 3-2 game into a laugher.
“I’ve got to use everybody or I’ll wear them down,” Bochy said. “They’ve been working a lot. Jake’s been throwing the ball well.”
Bochy was hoping to get two innings out of Peavy, and he did. But Peavy allowed five runs as the Mets pulled away. That made for too large a deficit as the Giants started chipping away in the eighth.
Bochy wanted to stay away from Sergio Romo, who had pitched in three of four and then warmed up Friday night, and Hunter Strickland (three of four). Javier Lopez had pitched in three straight and George Kontos was limited to short work Saturday. The Giants are also being careful with rookie Derek Law, who is not far removed from Tommy John surgery.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Mets hit three homers, beat Giants 9-5]
Throw in the struggles for Cory Gearrin in his first night back from the DL and the ongoing issues Will Smith is having and, well, there weren’t a lot of easy ways to get through the final four innings. That’s what made Matt Moore’s start so hard to swallow. The trade deadline acquisition had a 30-pitch first inning and lasted just five.
“More than anything you want to keep the ball rolling,” he said. “It doesn’t help when you have that first inning, even if it was just one run.”
Moore allowed three hits and walked one, but the Mets ran into an out and limited the damage. In the third, Moore walked Jose Reyes and he came around to score. Yoenis Cespedes then blasted a long homer. A third walk was issued in the fourth, giving Moore 17 of them in his 23 innings for the Giants.
The left-hander said he has mechanical adjustments to make during his next bullpen session, noting that he’s “cross-firing” to the plate a bit, which is keeping him from commanding his fastball. For a guy who relies primarily on two pitches, the fastball and curve, a lack of command is a death sentence.
Moore’s next start will come in Los Angeles. The Giants put Matt Cain on the DL earlier in the week, clearing the way for Moore to join Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto against the Dodgers. He said he’s trying not to feel too much pressure.
“The Dodgers are another ballclub and obviously you can gain ground or lose ground in a hurry,” he said. “From the outside looking in, it’s a huge series. To myself and to us in the clubhouse, we take it one game at a time.”
Moore, a longtime Tampa Bay Ray, will learn in a hurry that Giants-Dodgers games are a bit different. The series will be played with first place up for grabs, and the Giants aren’t sure if they’ll be at full strength.
Angel Pagan was pulled Saturday after feeling groin tightness while chasing a fly ball to deep left. Bochy said Pagan was checked out and is fine.
“We think he’s going to be OK,” Bochy said.
Pagan will be off Sunday and the team is off Monday.