Giants notebook: Jonathan Sanchez continues to mature

PHILADELPHIA — Jonathan Sanchez began an unusual ritual when

Giants manager Bruce Bochy asked him

to hand over the baseball in the

Giants’ NL West clinching victory on

Oct. 3.

The left-hander stayed on the mound until his replacement

arrived, then delivered some fighting words of encouragement. He

did it again in Game 3 of the NL Division Series at Atlanta.

“We got this,” Sanchez said. “Let’s go. We’ll get this


There were times Sanchez appeared to lack motivation as a young,

inconsistent pitcher. Now he’s the one firing up the staff, and the

Giants signaled their confidence in

him by moving him up to pitch Game 2 today against the Phillies’

Roy Oswalt.

“This kid’s matured and showed so much better composure and

poise on the mound,” Bochy said. “At times he’s been his own worst

enemy. It looks like he’s gotten over that, and he’s pitching with

a lot of confidence, and that’s why we have him going.”

One key for Sanchez is to contain leadoff man Shane Victorino,

who is 6 for 15 against him and a threat to run. Nobody else in

their lineup has strong numbers against Sanchez; Jimmy Rollins and

Jayson Werth are a combined 1 for 28 with 10 strikeouts.

Assuming Sanchez doesn’t pitch a complete game, he plans to

deliver another pep talk when a reliever replaces him — even if

his encouragement didn’t work out last time. He departed with a 1-0

lead at Atlanta in Game 3 of the NLDS, but Sergio Romo served up a

two-run homer to Eric Hinske.

“It was too loud there,” Sanchez said, smiling. “I don’t think

he heard me.”

Oswalt is 1-3 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts this season against


Giants, but all three losses came

when he was with the Houston Astros, and Tim Lincecum outdueled

him. The offensively challenged Astros scored just four runs in

those three games.

Former All-Star outfielder and Phillies TV analyst Gary Matthews

can’t bring himself to root for the

Giants. But he’s definitely pulling

for Buster Posey to win Rookie of the Year.

Matthews is well aware that he’s the last

Giants position player to win the

award, in 1973. He also knows it’s one of the game’s most

impressive fraternities. The others are Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda

and Willie McCovey.

“I have a lot of pride to be in that club,” said Matthews, who

plans to have Posey sign a baseball for him. “Especially back in

those days, to be a

Giants outfielder, you knew you

were part of such a great tradition.”

Matthews considers Posey very worthy of joining the club.

“I like the way he hits. I like his demeanor,” Matthews said.

“He looks mean up there, and he covers the plate. You don’t see

many rookies hit to right-center field like he can. And he hits

with two outs, too.

“I know (Atlanta outfielder Jason) Heyward had a great year, but

I’m pulling for us to take the series and him to win Rookie of the


Bochy said it was a “tough call” to start Mike Fontenot at third

base but added that there was a chance Pablo Sandoval could start

“at least one or two games in this series,” possibly as early as

today against Oswalt.

“We know he’s a dangerous hitter, and he can do some damage,”

Bochy said of Sandoval.

Bochy and his coaches discussed adding left-hander Dan Runzler

or Barry Zito, perhaps even moving to a 12-man pitching staff. But

he elected to turn in the same roster he used in the NLDS.

Bochy lauded Zito’s professionalism and said it wasn’t easy to

tell him he was off the roster.

“He’s been great about it,” Bochy said. “He’s a stand-up guy. He

was honest, saying, you know, ‘I haven’t pitched as well.’ That’s

what it came down to.”

Is disgruntled outfielder Jose Guillen still part of the


“Best I can tell you, he’s available if something happened,”

Bochy said. “If we had to make a change and we wanted him, he would

be available.”

Perhaps a good omen for the

Giants: Announcer Dave Flemming

aced a par-3 Saturday morning at nearby Merion Golf Club.

For more on the

Giants, see Andrew Baggarly’s Extra

Baggs blog at . Email .