WASHNGTON, D.C. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said this morning the decision to leave Michael Morse off the N.L. Division Series roster was mostly about Morse’s long layoff and Gary Brown giving the Giants a measure of versatility off the bench.
Morse took batting practice and is "close" to being game-ready, Bochy said. But he has faced live pitching only once since the end of August and is not 100 percent recovered from his strained left oblique.
"His batting practice (Thursday) was pretty good," Bochy said. "Is he 100 percent? No. Taking that into play, along with he hasn’t faced pitching in about a month, we decided to go with Brown. He would give us a few more options versus the one pinch-hit appearance, maybe, by Morse."
Brown provides a speedy pinch-running option and strong defense for late-game moves. Bochy did say the Giants could send Morse to their instructional league team next week to get at-bats, keeping him a roster option if the Giants advance to the next round.
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As for carrying both Ryan Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit, Bochy said both are candidates to start a potential Game 4 in San Francisco, and both can also help the Giants in relief if needed over the next few days.
Here’s the Giants’ lineup for Game 1 against Stephen Strasburg, with each hitter’s career numbers against the Nationals right-hander:
CF Blanco (4-for-14, HR)
2B Panik (0-for-1)
C Posey (5-for-13, 5 K)
3B Sandoval (3-for-12, 5 K)
RF Pence (3-for-13, HR, 4 K)
1B Belt (1-for-6)
SS Crawford (3-for-9)
LF Ishikawa (2-for-3, HR)
P Peavy (n/a)
And the Nationals’ lineup against Jake Peavy:
* The Giants tabbed Tim Hudson to start Game 2 tomorrow despite Hudson going 0-4 with an 8.72 ERA in five starts in September. Bochy today explained that decision:
"I liked the way he threw the ball in L.A. (his last regular-season start). It looked like he was healthy again, able to execute his pitches. You have to like his experience.
"I think his biggest issue is that his hip was bothering him. I think he is over that really."
Hudson, who allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings in Los Angeles, said he never doubted he’d get an NLDS start if the Giants made it, despite his September struggles. He said this morning he feels "really good physically," and has been working the past week with pitching coach Dave Righetti on a few mechanical issues.
"Throughout the year you’re going to go through ups and downs, and mine just happened to be in September," Hudson said. "Going into my last start in L.A., I felt we got a good handle on some things mechanically.
"We did some good work over the last week or so on the side, and feel like we’re ready to go."
* Brandon Crawford, who hit the decisive grand slam in the Giants’ 8-0 win in the wild-card game, has hit eighth much of the season, but is batting seventh for the second game in a row ahead of left fielder Travis Ishikawa.
"I could go either way there," Bochy said. "I just like the way that Crawford is swinging the bat."
* Bochy said Buster Posey is likely going to catch every game this series, even with the possibility of the Giants facing a left-hander in Game 4 if the series gets that far.
Gio Gonzalez would likely start that game for the Nationals. Against lefties, Bochy has often taken the opportunity to give Posey a day off from behind the plate, playing him at first base with Andrew Susac catching.
With Brandon Belt back at first base now, though, and given the playoff circumstances, Bochy said he’d probably stick with his regulars against Gonzalez.
* The Nationals’ roster for the series features a pair of former Giants in Nate Schierholtz and Kevin Frandsen. Manager Matt Williams talked about their potential roles this morning. Schierholtz, along with Danny Espinosa, could come off the bench as a pinch-runner as, “They both have good speed,” Williams said. Frandsen, meanwhile, “could play left ... third, second, first, he’s our emergency catcher. He has begged to pitch; I’m not going to allow him to do that.”