In 2012, the Giants’ designated hitters in their two World Series games in Detroit were Hector Sanchez and Ryan Theriot. This time, they’ll have a DH who better fits the mold.
Manager Bruce Bochy on Monday confirmed that Michael Morse will be the Giants’ DH in Game 1 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night. Morse has just four at-bats this postseason after returning from an abdominal strain, but in his most recent, he hit a game-tying home run off Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek in the clinching game of the National League Championship Series.
Bochy said he gave little consideration to using Travis Ishikawa at DH and starting Juan Perez in left field for defensive purposes in the large Kauffman Stadium outfield.
“Ishi’s done a pretty good job out there,” Bochy said. “He’s done a real good job. So I don’t see any changes right now with how we’ll start the game.”
Morse has some experience as a DH – a .220 average with no home runs in 123 at-bats. He said the key for him will be to avoid dwelling on his at-bats afterward.
“When you’re playing in the field, you get a chance to go back on the field and focus on defense,” Morse said. “My biggest goal is, when the inning’s over, stay on my feet, go on the stationary bike, go hit in the cage – not look at my at-bats and see what I did or could have done.”
Bochy did not say where he will insert the right-handed-batting Morse in the lineup, but a possible spot is seventh between Brandon Belt and Ishikawa, both left-handed hitters.
On the run – Much talk during Monday’s World Series Media Day centered on Kansas City’s running game, which figures to be a key in the series. The Royals have stolen 13 bases in 16 tries this postseason; the next-highest total is the Baltimore Orioles with four steals.
“We’ve obviously got so many guys on our team that can take a base,” speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. “I’m sure somebody’s going to be stealing bases.”
The Giants shouldn’t be surprised. In the finale of their three-game series in Kansas City in August, the Royals stole seven bases, including five off the battery of Tim Lincecum and rookie catcher Andrew Susac.
“We’d like to keep them off the bases as much as we can to keep them from running,” said catcher Buster Posey, who added it will be important for Giants pitchers to vary their times to the plate and looks to occupied bases.
Madison Bumgarner draws that task first as the Giants’ Game 1 starter. While susceptible to the stolen base early in his career – runners were successful on 27 of 37 attempts off the left-hander in 2012 – Bumgarner addressed that the past two years. This season, he allowed just seven stolen bases in 17 attempts.
“He’s gone to a quick slide-step that he can use, and he’s got a better move over (to first base),” Bochy said. “He’s taken it upon himself to do a better job of holding runners.”
No roster changes – Bochy reaffirmed the Giants will keep the 25-man roster they had in the NLCS, when they used every player except Lincecum.
Lincecum, who last pitched on Sept. 28, threw a bullpen session Sunday after the Giants arrived in Kansas City. Lincecum said he threw 50 pitches with an emphasis on keeping “a sense of intense focus, locking in on every pitch.”
Though he has not appeared yet this postseason, Lincecum maintained he has not become discouraged. “Right now, I’m just kind of all ears,” the right-hander said, “kind of waiting for my chance.”
Cain along for the ride – Though sidelined by surgeries to remove bone chips from his elbow and, subsequently, his right ankle, Matt Cain has accompanied the Giants throughout the playoffs, except for their first trip to Pittsburgh and Washington.
“Just trying to be a part of the team,” Cain said. “If something were to happen, I try to be around if guys want support or to talk about things.”
Cain said the ankle surgery, like the elbow, was “just something that needed to get taken care of,” as the chips had bothered him for a while. He said it should not prolong his recovery time and he remains on track to begin throwing again in December.