The Giants’ lineup today for their regular-season finale against the Padres features two players who appeared for them in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series. You can probably name Buster Posey off the top of your head.
The other might require a little more thought.
That’s Travis Ishikawa, a member of that 2010 title team who has taken a circuitous route back to the Giants this season. Ishikawa is in left field today and will probably start there on Wednesday in the wild-card game in Pittsburgh against the Pirates, who lost to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday to give St. Louis the N.L. Central title and put the Pirates in the top wild-card spot.
Ishikawa actually started the season with the Pirates, who granted him free agency in late April, after which he joined the Giants organization at Triple-A Fresno. This is only the third start of the season for Ishikawa in left field, but he has made a smooth transition to fill the void created by Michael Morse being injured and Gregor Blanco moving to center in place of Angel Pagan.
Manager Bruce Bochy was asked if Ishikawa is a good bet to start Wednesday and said: “I think so, that’s why I’m playing him today - to give him even more time out there in left field. He looks fine. He looks like he’s tracking the ball well. But still I’d like him to get some more playing time out there.”
Bochy remarked that it’s “funny how all this has really come around,” Ishikawa returning and quietly taking up a significant role in another postseason push for the Giants. The 31-year-old was drafted by the Giants, debuted in 2006 and played regularly from 2009-10. But since 2011 he has been part of five other organizations, shuffling between the majors and minors, and has now landed back where he started.
“He’s played in the World Series, so he’s got that experience,” Bochy said. “And he’s not hesitant at all out there. He wants to be out there, he wants to play, and that’s part of it. I love his makeup.”
The rest of the Giants’ lineup for Game 162:
And the Padres’ lineup against Heston, the right-hander making his MLB debut:
• This was the worst-kept secret the last week, but Bochy made it official Sunday morning that Madison Bumgarner will start Wednesday. Bumgarner finished the regular season 18-10 with a 2.98 ERA, was the Giants’ opening day starter and has been their ace and workhorse all season.
Perhaps the only thing that could have swayed the Giants’ minds was the performance of Jake Peavy, who went 6-1 with a 1.35 ERA in his last nine starts. But Bochy said it really wasn’t much of a decision.
“I think the way we look at those two, we could’ve gone either way there,” Bochy said. “But Bum’s our guy. The last few years, he’s just done such a good job for us. So I don’t think there was any question who was going to pitch that game.”
• Bochy didn’t shed much more light on his roster for the wild-card game, saying only the Giants have it pretty much whittled down. He said there are “still a couple calls we have to make,” but the Giants will likely go with “one or two less pitchers for this game and carry the extra players.”
• With the regular season ending, Bochy was asked to reflect a little on how it played out - in roller-coaster fashion for the Giants, who were 42-21 on June 8, nose-dived in June and July and recovered in time to make the postseason as a wild card.
Bochy said it “really has been a challenging year,” pointing to injuries to Marco Scutaro, Pagan, Brandon Belt, Matt Cain and recently Michael Morse. “But these guys, they kept going, and the fact that we’re in this position, I couldn’t be prouder of them,” he said.
“It’s a group that never talks about what we don’t have, or ‘pitiful me,’ ” Bochy said. “It’s part of baseball, and you have to deal with it, and they have always dealt with it so well and not let it be a distraction.”