Giants' pinch-hitting options limited in Kansas City
By Barry M. Bloom
SAN FRANCISCO -- With the use of the designated hitter in the American League city, the Giants are going to have a shortened bench for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series on Tuesday and Wednesday in Kansas City.
Manager Bruce Bochy's five substitute position players are right-handed anyway, which puts the Giants at a distinct disadvantage against the all-righty Royals relief trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland late in games.
"We'll see how the games go," Bochy said. "It always dictates how you use guys. I mean, with the DH, you're probably not going to use a pinch-hitter like you normally would. Now, we could use some guys to pinch-run, maybe go in for defense. But I don't see as many moves being made with the DH as you would in the National League with those rules."
Here's how Bochy could utilize his bench players during the World Series:
Michael Morse: Morse will be the DH during the first two games, which takes away Bochy's best pinch-hitter in Kansas City. Morse was activated in time for the NL Championship Series against the Cardinals after missing most of September, the NL Wild Card Game and the NL Division Series because of a strained left oblique. He came back with a single in Game 2 and a big homer during the eighth inning of Game 5 that tied the score.
Juan Perez: Bochy had been using Perez as a late-inning defensive replacement for Ishikawa, subbing him in left field no later than the seventh inning in the first four games of the NLCS. But Bochy went against that grain in Game 5, leaving Ishikawa in to hit in the bottom of the ninth, and we know how that worked: Walk-off, pennant-winning, three-run homer. Perez has played in 13 postseason games, but has only two hits in 13 at-bats.
Joaquin Arias: Usually the pinch-runner du jour, Arias ran for Sandoval after the third baseman singled to open the ninth in Game 5 of the NLCS and was poised at second to score the winning run when Ishikawa hit his big homer. Arias has only two at-bats in the postseason, posting a hit, an RBI and scoring two big runs.
Matt Duffy: He hasn't played much in the postseason, getting only four at-bats without a hit. Duffy was one of Bochy's remaining pinch-hitting options at the end of Game 5 if Cards manager Mike Matheny had opted to take out right-hander Michael Wacha for one of his left-handed relief specialists. That, of course, didn't happen. Duffy never batted in the NLCS, but he said he's prepared mentally to take a crack at it if his name is called during the World Series. Considering Bochy's options, it probably will be more of the same.
Andrew Susac: The backup catcher to Buster Posey, Susac must be saved by Bochy in the event that his starting backstop gets hurt. To that end, Susac has been riding the pine for nearly the entire postseason. He has a single in two at-bats -- as a pinch-hitter during the ninth inning of Game 2 of the NLCS to tie the Cards at that point. Duffy pinch-ran and scored the tying run. The Giants lost in the bottom of the inning.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.