Bruce Bochy’s decision to start Jeff Samardzija in Game 2 of the National League Division Series over Matt Moore drew some outside criticism after Samardzija lasted just two innings in the Giants’ 5-2 loss to the Cubs, allowing four runs.
Monday, Bochy stood behind that decision, saying there was “quite a bit of discussion” among the Giants’ staff and that they felt Samardzija’s 2.45 ERA over his last 10 starts during the regular season outweighed a rocky Sept. 1 start at Wrigley Field in which he threw 47 pitches in a three-run first inning.
“Everybody looks at one start – that’s what gets me,” Bochy said. “He’s been throwing the ball very well. This loyalty thing I’m hearing – this is who we thought was the best guy to put out there. It was the decision we came up with.
“You can look at a lot of starts and go, you wish you wouldn’t have started him. That’s not the case with him. We started the right guy.”
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Bochy said he wonders if Samardzija’s outing would have turned out differently had the right-hander gotten the call on a close two-strike pitch to Cubs leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler. Fowler ultimately doubled in a nine-pitch at-bat and scored on Ben Zobrist’s two-out single.
“Things change,” Bochy said. “But he’s a big reason why we’re here.”
Blach impression – Regardless of the outcome, this series reinforced one positive angle to the Giants’ last month. Ty Blach entered Game 2 in the fifth inning and retired all four batters he faced with two strikeouts.
The left-hander, who spent most of the season with the River Cats, has thrown 18 1/3 innings since being called up and allowed two runs on eight hits with 12 strikeouts. That included eight scoreless innings the penultimate day of the season against the Dodgers.
Bochy confirmed Monday that Blach will go enter next spring with an inside track to winning a rotation spot.
“He’s got great poise, a lot of confidence,” Bochy said. “Really believes in himself. It’s nice to have in this situation.”
Moore ready – Scheduled to start Game 4, Moore was left awaiting the outcome Monday night – with the Giants one game from elimination – to learn if he would pitch Tuesday. Moore said he would pay attention to the aggressiveness of the Cubs’ hitters against Madison Bumgarner, another left-hander.
“Not saying that’ll be the same as against myself,” Moore said. “But I just like watching Bum pitch because you can see the intent behind every pitch. He’s a very convicted man out there.”
Check swings – After Gorkys Hernandez was ruled out on appeal on a close check-swing call in the ninth inning of Game 1, Bochy wondered why such calls are not reviewable by major-league replay rules. Commissioner Rob Manfred, at AT&T Park for Game 3, was asked about that possibility.
“Our concept on replay – and you need a concept in order to decide a system –has been that we wanted to review and get right impactful plays in a game,” Manfred said. “I think the vast majority of the time, a check-swing call is not really an impactful play in the game, and that the additional delay that could take place as a result of adding that type of play to the replay process – probably not worth it, in my mind.”
Nunez update – Bochy indicated third baseman Eduardo Nunez (hamstring) is better but likely would not start until a potential Game 5, when the Giants would probably face left-hander Jon Lester.