SAN FRANCISCO -- Jean Machi has become the Giants' early-season good luck charm.
Machi recorded his team-high third victory in San Francisco's 2-1 triumph Wednesday night over the Los Angeles Dodgers. If that seems like a lot of wins for a reliever, it is. Machi became the first Giants pitcher since Bob Shaw in 1964 to post that many relief victories 15 games into the season.
Relief wins often result from fortunate timing, since the pitcher's team has to score during the relatively short duration of his appearance. It also can reflect quality of performance to some degree, since the reliever must prevent an opponent from jumping ahead in the score.
"He's getting in tight ballgames," manager Bruce Bochy said, analyzing Machi's glittering 3-0 record entering Thursday. "We have the confidence to put him out there. It shows that he's holding the [opponent] at bay and giving us a chance to win."
Bochy nevertheless acknowledged that wins are far from the most reliable barometer of a reliever's quality.
"It's not a number we look at as much as holds or saves," Bochy said.
Stu Miller (14-5, 1961) and Frank Linzy (14-9, 1969) share the San Francisco-era franchise record for relief wins in a single season. The last Giant to reach double figures in relief wins was Joe Nathan (12-4, 2003).
Pagan joins Crawford in resting minor injuries
SAN FRANCISCO -- Shortstop Brandon Crawford was out of the Giants' starting lineup for the second straight day with tightness in his right hamstring but did appear as a pinch-hitter in Thursday's series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Crawford performed stretching exercises and took ground balls before the game to test his leg, particularly the hamstring area. Though Crawford said he felt better, he shared manager Bruce Bochy's caution by wanting to certify that he's completely healthy before returning to action.
"I'd like to," Crawford said, "so it's not bugging me for the whole season."
Center fielder Angel Pagan also rested, due to what Bochy called "a little knee soreness." Pagan grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning Thursday, while Crawford hit a fly ball to record the final out of a 2-1 loss.
Bochy expressed confidence that Pagan, the switch-hitter who ranked fifth in the National League with a .383 batting average, will return to the starting lineup for Friday's series opener at San Diego.
Posey improving at nabbing would-be base thieves
SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey's increased efficiency at throwing out basestealers is one noticeable early-season trend that has helped the Giants.
Posey entered Thursday having thrown out 40 percent of opposing thieves (six of 15). Last year, he caught 26 percent (31 of 118).
Posey devoted part of his offseason to improving his explosiveness in springing from his catcher's crouch, which has enhanced his throwing ability. Manager Bruce Bochy noted that Giants pitchers have been more vigilant at holding runners on base, too.
"Last year, that was not a strength of ours," Bochy said.