Notes: Relievers put bad inning aside

Notes: Relievers put bad inning aside

SAN FRANCISCO -- The top half of the seventh inning Friday was a car wreck for the Giants bullpen, as the Braves pushed across eight runs on just two hits en route to their 14-6 win.

Here's a report for the insurance adjuster from one of the perpetrators, Jack Taschner: "I don't know what was going on. All I know is I went out there and messed the bed."

Actually, Taschner does have a more detailed explanation for his horrible outing, in which he came on with the bases loaded and sandwiched two walks around a hit batsman.

"I was flying open [with his front side] a little bit," said Taschner, whose ERA ballooned to 135.00 after being charged with three runs. "It snowballed. Instead of stepping off and letting everything calm down before the next pitch, I just got up there and threw pitches that were worse."

Taschner's outing was no worse than Tyler Walker's. Walker came in at the start of the inning to try to protect a 6-4 lead, but didn't record an out while walking three and giving up a single.

Like Taschner, Walker attributed some of his woes to faulty mechanics.

"I was doing a lot of the same thing on each pitch, flying open with the front side and not driving the ball over the plate," Walker said

"I just didn't make the adjustment. If you're going to stick around in this game and have success, you're going to have to make adjustments from one pitch to the next. You've got to get 1-0 and come back with a strike, and I just didn't make the adjustment last night, and after that, it kind of snowballed."

Manager Felipe Alou said intermittent rain may have been a factor in the disastrous inning.

"It was a damp baseball, for the most part," Alou said. "Not a good night for breaking balls."

But Taschner discounted that theory.

"Everyone was pitching in that condition, that was an excuse," Taschner said. "Jeremy [Accardo] had to throw a wet ball and he did fine. [Matt] Cain did it, their relievers did it."

The key now, both relievers said, is to forget Friday and get back in a game as soon as possible.

"That's the beauty of being a reliever as opposed to a starter," Walker said. "A starter goes out there and has a bad one and has to stew on it for four days. We have the opportunity to come back the next day."

Geriatric Giants: The Giants' starting outfield Saturday of Barry Bonds, Steve Finley and Moises Alou is the oldest ever in the Major Leagues, according to research by Mike Carminati of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Bonds and Finley are both 41; Alou is 39. Their average age is 40 years, 309.7 days.

The trio is also believed to be the most prolific home run hitting outfield ever. Bonds (708), Finley (297) and Alou (298) began the game with a combined 1,303 home runs, and Alou added to his total with a two-run shot in the first inning Saturday.

Sleep deprivation: Friday's game was delayed by rain, and didn't end until a minute before midnight PT. Saturday's game began at 1:05 p.m. PT, leaving the Giants with little time to rest.

Fortunately for Felipe Alou, he keeps a place right across the street from the ballpark, so he got his rest in. Still, the short turnaround prompted a discussion of managers who have been known to sleep in their office, and Alou had a one-liner ready for each of them.

On Jim Leyland: "The story came out Leyland was sleeping in Colorado on the couch, and a couple of weeks later, they announced his retirement. It must have been a very uncomfortable couch."

On Buck Showalter, who had a Murphy bed built into his office while with Arizona: "Yeah, but that didn't work out so well for Showalter, did it?"

Faulty memory: Walker also pitched in Thursday's game and drew a base on balls in his lone plate appearance. It was Walker's first time on base in the Majors, but when asked about it, he came up with a different story.

"Sept. 7, 2002, first Major League start, against Philadelphia," Walker said. "I popped up a bunt and they got the out at second, and I was on on a fielder's choice."

Well, no. Walker went 0-for-2 in that game, striking out in his first at-bat and grounding out to end an inning in his second.

Still, he did get his first big-league win that game, which is what really counts.

Looking ahead: The Giants close out the three-game set against the Braves on Sunday, with right-hander Jason Schmidt (0-1, 5.14 ERA) matched up against right-hander John Smoltz (0-1, 9.00).

Alou said before Saturday's game that he expects Bonds to be in the lineup Sunday, and that he's not too worried about Bonds trying to move around a rain-soaked outfield.

"A guy like that knows how to handle that where another guy would be hurt," Alou said. "He's been there before many times on a field like that."

Tony Kuttner is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.