Giants manager Bruce Bochy generated some buzz before Game 3 of the World Series on Friday by saying the team had considered bringing starter Madison Bumgarner back on short rest for Game 4 if the Giants trailed in the series.
The Giants do trail, two games to one, after their 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday evening. But Bochy said after the game it will be Ryan Vogelsong, not Bumgarner, getting the start in Game 4 on Saturday.
“There is a confidence we have in Vogey,” Bochy said. “He has experience; he’s pitched great in the postseason. … We’re not going to change things because we lost.”
Vogelsong is coming off a rocky outing in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, when he allowed four runs in three innings. But it was the first time in six career postseason starts that Vogelsong had allowed more than one run.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Bumgarner, meanwhile, has thrown 256 innings between the regular season and playoffs, and Bochy said that workload was a factor in the decision. Bochy said Bumgarner is “going to say he’s available; that’s who he is. (But) it’s not like he pushed real hard (for a Game 4 start).”
Vogelsong, who threw 52/3 scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers in 2012 in his only prior World Series start, said Friday he was preparing for Game 4 as he would any other.
“I think the biggest thing is just the experience of curbing the emotions,” Vogelsong said. “It’s definitely a situation where you have to be locked into the game; your thoughts need to be on the game. But you have to take a quick second to look around and take it all in.”
Bochy changes strategy – Starter Tim Hudson exiting with two outs in the sixth inning Friday night showed how the Giants likely will use their bullpen in the middle innings the rest of the series.
Left-handed specialist Javier Lopez replaced Hudson to finish the sixth, and Sergio Romo pitched the seventh. Both are relievers whom Bochy typically saves for the later innings.
Before the game, though, Bochy said the postseason struggles of Hunter Strickland and Jean Machi would require the Giants to re-evaluate their middle-inning relief. Tim Lincecum and Yusmeiro Petit could play bigger roles in those innings, Bochy said, while left-hander Jeremy Affeldt also could be used earlier than normal.
Machi has allowed runs in three of his five outings this postseason. Strickland has given up five home runs in his six playoff outings and had a high-profile meltdown in the sixth inning of Game 2.
Petit has mostly pitched in long relief and has little experience entering games in mid-inning with runners already on base – a major reason he was not used in that situation during the pivotal sixth inning of Game 2, Bochy said.
“But with that said, you’ve got to change things sometimes,” Bochy said. “And I think Petit could handle that.”
Along with his home run troubles, Strickland incited an exchange with Royals catcher Salvador Perez in Game 2 that nearly caused both benches to clear. But he expressed his regret for those actions, and Bochy said Friday he would still use Strickland in a “high-stress” situation if necessary.
“With his ups and downs and Machi’s, sometimes you’ve got to tweak your thinking in those situations,” Bochy said. “But sometimes you may not have that option. If you’ve used guys and he may be your best option, I don’t want him to think I’ve lost confidence in him.”
Affeldt streak continues – Affeldt faced four batters in Game 3 and retired them all, extending his streak of not allowing a run in the postseason to 20 consecutive appearances. It’s the longest current streak in the majors and tied for the second-longest ever behind former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera (23).
Affeldt was asked about the streak Thursday and gave a team-centered explanation.
“A lot of it has to do with defense,” Affeldt said. “I’ve had some pretty good defense behind me, and had some pretty good (relievers) coming in and bailing me out a few times. … A lot of guys have to pick a lot of people up to have a streak like that.”