Giants manager Bruce Bochy probably has dreams in which Brian Wilson takes the mound, calmly throws eight pitches and joins the handshake line. Then the alarm rings and Bochy is jolted back to reality, which usually means a tense ninth inning and a crate of whiskey with Pepto Bismol chasers.

Wilson needed 32 pitches for his first save Thursday and allowed a run in the process. (The Giants won 4-2). He also turned his left ankle, which he called a “nonfactor.” This is who the Beard is, bending but not breaking.

He had runners on first and second with nobody out before he struck out Wilin Rosario, allowed a pinch single by Jason Giambi to load the bases, retired Todd Helton on a scary line drive to Emmanuel Burriss, walked Tyler Colvin for the run then got Marco Scutaro to fly out to end the game when a single would have tied it.

“I feel more locked in when the bases are loaded,” Wilson said quietly. “How they got there, there’s a thousand different ways. It’s not like I want to get into that situation, but I think I’ve been successful more times than not.”

There was a difference in the way Wilson threw in this game. He relied on a lot of cutters that hit 89 mph on the gun, about 1-2 mph below where that pitch usually lies. That challenge fastball was not around, except when he decided to finish Rosario at 94 mph. Rosario swung and missed.

I can’t imagine that is an elbow-related decision, but we’ll have to watch that. If Bochy keeps his word we won’t watch it Friday. Bochy said he’s going to stay away from Wilson during the home opener after he threw in consecutive games at Coors Field, including today’s rigorous inning.


Two under-the-radar developments helped save this win for the Giants.

Javier Lopez provided the first, retiring Carlos Gonzalez on a groundball to second with two on to end the eighth inning and preserve a 4-1 lead. Bochy called that “a huge out. It probably won the game for us.”

Burriss also saved the game in the ninth, an inning after Bochy sent him in to play defense for Ryan Theriot. With one out and the bases loaded, pinch-hitter Todd Helton hit a sinking liner to Burriss’ backhand side. Burriss went down to a knee to catch it for the second out. Had it gotten through, it would have been 4-3 Giants with two on and one out.

As I was asking Burriss how difficult that play was, Theriot chimed in and said it was “one thousand percent” the hardest play an infielder has to make because the fielder does not know right away whether the ball is going to cut, hook or sink.

“It’s tough, but that’s what they pay me for,” Burriss said. “If I don’t make that play I won’t be playing. That’s what I”m here to do. I was lucky it stuck in there.”


Though Bochy did stick with a veteran (Aubrey Huff) through many slumping months last year, he is not likely to be as forgiving at the leadoff spot, where Angel Pagan is batting .130. Pagan helped his cause with a two-out RBI single against Jamie Moyer in a two-run sixth Thursday.

“I know he’s working hard to try to get going,” Bochy said. “It’s early, but until he gets it going we could tweak the lineup a little bit until he gets his swing. We’ve got (Gregor) Blanco to help out, Nate (Schierholtz) too. We’re going to go with matchups and use these guys too.”

Indeed, with the Giants at 2-4, Bochy does not even feel he is in a position to throw out his Opening Day lineup for the home opener Friday for the sake of ceremony. Brandon Belt did not start in the Colorado series, though I suspect he might get him into the lineup against the Pirates. Bochy hesitated to play Huff in the big outfield at Coors but will probably stick him in left for the opener.

Odds and ends:

  • Madison Bumgarner hit a ball that might have been a home run on a drier day in Denver or in some other ballparks. He can rake.
  • Brandon Crawford went 5-for-12 in the series, including a double Thursday. He’s rebounded nicely. He is 6-for-15 since an 0-for-8 start.
  • As I mention in the Giants Beat, Melky Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval were a combined 19-for-52 with five doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs on the trip. Sandoval had an RBI in each game until Thursday.
  • The Giants have scored at least four runs in all six games. Last year, they did so only 64 times in 162 games. They were 55-9 in those games. So far this year they are 2-4.
  • Still no Freddy Sanchez at Triple-A Fresno. The Giants sure could use his right-handed bat in the sixth spot.
  • The Giants did not commit an error Thursday after having a majors-high 10 in the first five games.

Source : On Brian Wilson’s ankle, Emmanuel Burriss’ ‘save’ and Angel Pagan’s average – San Francisco Chronicle (blog)