There was an unusual moment in the Giants’ 17-0 loss to the Dodgers last night when Carl Crawford hit a slow grounder with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, hustled down the line and was called out at first base on a bang-bang play.
Crawford immediately motioned to the Dodgers dugout wanting the play to be reviewed. That put manager Don Mattingly in an awkward position. The Dodgers were leading 13-0 at the time, and challenging the call in that situation might well be seen as a violation of baseball etiquette.
On the other hand, Crawford had run hard out of the box despite the lopsided score. And after Mattingly ultimately did challenge, it was ruled that Crawford had beaten the throw to first, giving him a single and an RBI.
Asked about the play Sunday morning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he actually was sympathetic toward Mattingly’s plight. In fact, he said, when managers and general managers met in Arizona during spring training this year, somebody brought that kind of situation up as a hypothetical.
“You get in a game like that, there are certain unwritten rules, but you get caught in a situation,” Bochy said. “Your runner, he runs down the line hard, it can be the difference between a hit and making an out. He’s going to want you to go out there.
“(If) you don’t go out there, he’s probably going to be a little upset. I don’t think you ever stop backing up your players. … You don’t want to let him down, but you don’t want to go out there either because of the score. You’re in a tough spot. But the player, when he’s out there wanting a hit, you have to back him.”
Bochy acknowledged that put in the same situation, with replays showing conclusively that his player had beaten the throw, he would have challenged as well.
“I wouldn’t want to, but at the same time, they’re waiting for you to come out there,” Bochy said. “It’s not a fun spot to be in.”
In other words, don’t expect any kind of retaliation today for a violation of baseball’s unwritten rules. Even with only two weeks of the season remaining, there are still new wrinkles of the replay system to be experienced.
After the 17-run blowout, Bochy said the Giants needed to simply put that game behind them. Sunday morning, he said he already had. “I think that’s your only choice,” he said.
Especially with the Giants facing their nemesis today in Clayton Kershaw, who has a 1.40 ERA in 23 career starts against San Francisco. The lineup against Kershaw:
And the Dodgers’ lineup against Yusmeiro Petit:
• Brandon Belt will take live batting practice tomorrow, possibly against some of the Giants’ reliever call-ups, and Bochy said that if all goes well Belt could be activated “in the next day or two,” likely during the Giants’ series in Arizona.
• Bochy was also asked about catcher Hector Sanchez, whose season was cut short by a concussion. Bochy said the Giants haven’t decided whether they’ll ask Sanchez not to play winter ball in his native Venezuela but that, “I think right now we’re leaning toward him not playing. But I’ll answer that at the end of the year.”
• Bochy also talked a little more about bringing in his son, Brett, for the latter’s major-league debut in the sixth inning Sunday night. He said the anxiety for him was ramped up, and always has been, by the fact that Brett is a pitcher. “It just seems like there’s a little more anxiety instead of when they play a position,” he said.
“But it’s a time you dream of when they sign a professional contract and they start having success in the minor leagues, and you realize this dream could come true,” Bochy said. “I’m thankful, grateful that (general manager Brian Sabean) allowed this to happen and I get to spend some time up here with him.”
• Can the Giants solve Kershaw? He threw a three-hit shutout last time he faced them at AT&T Park in July. Petit, meanwhile, is coming off his 84-pitch complete game win over the Diamondbacks.