© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
07/25/07 11:09 PM ET
Notes: Bullpen needs relief
Morris says runs would help; regular work boosting Kline
By Becky Regan / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- There are never enough pitchers, but after Tuesday night's 13-inning bullpen bleed and short outings from the previous two starters, the Giants relievers are being stretched extra thin. "Right now, we almost need 13 pitchers," manager Bruce Bochy said. "There's no way we can be at 11 pitchers as much as we've been using the bullpen." Randy Messenger took the brunt of the bullpen work Tuesday with three shutout innings, but everyone in the 'pen did some work. Bochy said it is not a desperate situation just yet, but it's important the Giants get some length out of their next few starters. Matt Morris gave the Giants six innings Tuesday, but without much run support, the results are much the same -- a spent bullpen. "Especially after last night's game, [depth is] real important, but I think right now it's more important to score runs. That would allow us pitchers, if we give up a couple, to still stick in an inning or two," Morris said. "The bullpen suffers because of the lack of runs." Bochy said he would try to avoid using Messenger and left-hander Jonathan Sanchez on Wednesday and stick with the relievers who made brief appearances Tuesday, like Vinnie Chulk and Steve Kline. Morris looks ahead: Morris is putting Tuesday's no-decision behind him, but it's tough to ignore his past seven starts, in which he is 0-3 with a 7.91 ERA. Bochy said Morris is pitching well, but running into some bad luck. "He's throwing the ball well, just one inning seems to be doing him in," Bochy said. On Tuesday night, it was the fourth inning that hurt Morris when he gave up a pair of doubles and three runs after three scoreless innings. He also finished strong, with his best inning being his perfect sixth. Morris has lasted at least six innings in 15 starts this season. Reliable relief: When Kline came in to relieve in the eighth inning Tuesday, it marked his 12th consecutive scoreless appearance. Kline has been unscored upon in 22 of his last 24 outings while collecting a 1.33 ERA. Kline said he isn't throwing any differently, but he has been throwing a lot more regularly. "At the start of the season, I just didn't pitch much, but now Boch has a little more confidence in me, so he's pitching me," Kline said. "The more you're out there, the more consistent you'll be. It's like a hitter." Kline said he has no idea if there is any truth to the trade rumors involving him, but he hopes he's still in San Francisco after the July 31 trade deadline. "I signed a two-year deal to be here and hopefully I can help turn this losing streak into a winning streak. There's still a lot of season left; you got to keep going." Record breaking: The record everyone came to see broken Tuesday remains intact, but another record was almost set in the 10th inning when Braves manager Bobby Cox came out of the dugout to argue a sliding catch made by Barry Bonds. Cox is one tossout away from breaking the all-time ejections record, and when he sauntered out to talk with the home-plate umpire Tuesday, it looked like he was about to pick up ejection No. 132. "I thought he caught the ball, but everyone sitting up here was yelling and screaming that it bounced, so I had to ask Bruce [Froemming, the home-plate umpire]; he's the crew chief and all," Cox said. "He said 'Bobby, I'm at home plate, how am I going to see it?'" The all-time record of 131 ejections was set by Hall of Fame Giants manager John McGraw 74 years ago. Another record was set Tuesday, though. Bonds drew his 100th walk of the season and set a Major League record with his 14th 100-walk season. Bonds was previously tied with Babe Ruth at 13. Rest up, Bengie: Bengie Molina just can't seem to catch a break. He was out of the starting lineup again Wednesday, as Bochy made a third attempt to give him a full day off. Molina was supposed to get the day off Tuesday, but came in to catch in extra innings. He was also supposed to get a day off on July 18 in Chicago, but backup catcher Guillermo Rodriguez came out early because of dehydration. "I'm having a tough time giving him a whole day off," Bochy said. On deck: The fourth and final game of the Atlanta series will start at 4:05 p.m. PT on Thursday with Tim Lincecum (5-2, 3.96 ERA) set to square off against Buddy Carlyle (5-2, 4.05).
Becky Regan is an associate reporter at MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.