09/22/12 9:09 PM ET
Giants stay focused despite large division lead
By Jeff Fletcher / Special to MLB.com
As the Giants prepared for Saturday night's game riding a five-game winning streak, manager Bruce Bochy said he was proud of the way the team has kept its focus despite the lack of pressure in the standings.
"That's how you should play," Bochy said. "You can't drop your guard. It's like a pitcher with a big lead. You can't just throw fastballs and give in. As a club you have to do the same. Every game is important until you get it done. It's the only approach you can have."
Before the Giants even began their game against the Padres, their magic number dropped to one because of the Dodgers' loss at Cincinnati. Bochy wouldn't even entertain questions about what he might do with his rotation or lineup after a clincher.
The Giants would still have something to play for. They are only four games behind the Nationals in the loss column for the best record in the NL. The team with the best record plays the winner of the Wild Card playoff game and also gets home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Lincecum honored for candor with writers
SAN FRANCISCO -- Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum added a piece of hardware to his collection Saturday, this one recognizing him for what he does in the clubhouse, not on the mound.
The San Francisco/Oakland chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America awarded Lincecum with the Bill Rigney Good Guy Award, which recognizes one Giants player each year for his cooperation with the print media.
As writers presented Lincecum with the award, they credited him for his dealing with the media throughout a difficult season.
"I wasn't looking for any pity or sorry," Lincecum said. "The more insight I had to what I was going through, the better people could understand instead of giving their own diagnoses."
Lincecum had a 6.42 ERA at the All-Star break, but he's gone 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA in the second half.
Cody Ross won the Good Guy Award in 2011. Previous winners have included Matt Cain, Rich Aurilia, Randy Winn and Omar Vizquel. The award dates back to 1997.
Crawford enjoying success against left-handers
SAN FRANCISCO -- Whether Brandon Crawford has really changed his swing against left-handers is apparently a matter of opinion. What's indisputable, however, is that his numbers are headed in the right direction.
Crawford was in the lineup Saturday night against Padres left-hander Andrew Werner. Manager Bruce Bochy had started Joaquin Arias at shortstop in 17 of the Giants' previous 20 games against lefties. But Crawford has, somewhat quietly, collected nine hits in his previous 22 at-bats against lefties, lifting his average to .264 against them. That's actually higher than his .243 average against right-handers.
"He's done a great job," Bochy said. "That's why he's in there tonight. It's a compliment to Craw how he's adjusted off left-handers. He's really made some adjustments, starting in Spring Training. He's worked hard. Now he's swinging the bat really well. He's made himself into a sold player from both sides."
Crawford, who has hit .304 overall in September, said there's nothing new, though.
"I haven't changed anything," Crawford said. "I never really had problems with lefties my whole life. The numbers weren't there early in the season and last year [.133 against lefties], but I tried to turn that around."
Overall, Crawford's average is up to .248. He is close to .250, a benchmark he hasn't crossed at the end of a game all season.
"I guess it's been a goal since the All-Star break to at least get to that .250 mark," he said, "and hopefully even higher than that."
Jeff Fletcher is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.