Bochy fills out NL lineup hopeful to win home field
Giants skipper tabs Mets' Harvey to start on mound for Senior Circuit
NEW YORK -- Bruce Bochy made it clear that the toughest lineup decision he had to make before Tuesday's All-Star Game wasn't actually all that difficult for him.
Bochy officially named Mets right-hander Matt Harvey the National League's starting pitcher Monday afternoon, selecting the hometown pitcher who was already widely expected to start in his first Midsummer Classic.
And Bochy went out of his way to say he wasn't just trying to play to the home crowd at Citi Field.
"Really wouldn't have mattered what city we were playing in with the year that he's had, the impressive numbers that he's put up," said Bochy, sitting alongside the 24-year-old Harvey. "He would have been the starting pitcher. But the fact that it is here, it's an honor for me to name Matt Harvey as the starting pitcher [Tuesday] night, and I look forward to the game."
Bochy also unveiled the rest of the NL squad's starting lineup, where another New York star will be in an important spot. With Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran and Reds first baseman Joey Votto occupying the first three spots in the batting order, Bochy opted to make Mets third baseman David Wright his cleanup hitter.
"I just talked to David Wright, and if you're the captain of the Home Run Derby, you need to hit cleanup," Bochy said. "So I'm going to add a bit more pressure to him and hit him cleanup."
Wright will be followed by Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Michael Cuddyer will serve as Bochy's designated hitter, batting eighth. Bochy put Washington's Bryce Harper in the ninth spot and center field.
2B Brandon Phillips, Reds
RF Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
1B Joey Votto, Reds
3B David Wright, Mets
LF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
C Yadier Molina, Cardinals
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
DH Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
CF Bryce Harper, Nationals
P Matt Harvey, Mets
And make no mistake, Bochy puts together his lineup and decides how to use his pitchers based solely on his desire to win the All-Star Game. The home-field advantage that comes with an NL victory served the Giants well in their march to World Series titles in 2010 and '12. Although, as American League manager Jim Leyland noted in a self-deprecating moment, San Francisco hardly needed it in last year's Fall Classic sweep of Leyland's Tigers.
"I think it did play a part in our success. Like Jimmy said, there's no place like home," Bochy said. "We got off to a good start because of having home-field advantage. There's just a sense of comfort for the players, particularly when you're in the playoffs and you have the pressure of performing like these players do. To start at home does give them, I think, a bit more confidence and the ability to relax a little bit.
"So I do think that it plays a part. It's hard to quantify how much. You look at the numbers, and it does give, I think, the club a huge advantage."
As for the starting pitcher, the Giants skipper displayed his usual brand of dry, deadpan humor when asked about how long he'll let Harvey stay in the game, an issue he's already discussed with Mets manager Terry Collins.
"He's only limited to 100, 120 pitches," Bochy said, drawing laughs from the assembled media. "Not going to try and go too hard. But Terry, he's sitting beside me in the dugout and it's great to have Terry here with me. [Harvey]'s fine. He's healthy. The one thing that [Leyland] and I both will do, hopefully: take care of these players and send them back in the same type of shape they came in."