Reds, Giants ready to finish off high-scoring series
Two managers find themselves pondering if and where to play hot hitters when the San Francisco Giants duel the host Cincinnati Reds in the finale of a high-scoring, four-game series on Monday afternoon.
The Giants have trailed by eight, seven and four runs in the first three games, but rallied to win two of them, including Sunday on Brandon Crawford's pinch-hit, two-run home run in the ninth inning.
It was the Giants' second dramatic ninth-inning homer of the series. Stephen Vogt drew the Giants even on Friday night, after they'd been down 8-0, with a two-out solo shot to tie the game at 11-11.
San Francisco won the game 12-11 on an Evan Longoria homer in the 11th.
For Vogt, the homer came in just his third at-bat after being promoted from Triple-A. He'd entered the game when Giants manager Bruce Bochy appeared to wave the white flag, pulling star catcher Buster Posey from an 8-3 game in the fifth inning.
Bochy made a similar move Saturday night with the Giants down 8-1 in the sixth. Like the night before, the substitution was designed to give Posey a chance to rest in a game where he probably wouldn't be needed the rest of the way.
In fact, Posey did go on to start Saturday and Sunday, once again relegating Vogt to pinch-hitting duties.
The veteran struck out on Saturday, but drew a key walk in a four-run sixth inning on Sunday that allowed the Giants to erase a 4-0 deficit and set the stage for Crawford's heroics.
With Posey rested or not, Vogt is a serious candidate to get his first Giants start in Monday's series finale. The club will be facing right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 3.48), against whom Vogt has gone 2-for-3 in his career with a home run.
"Vogt gives you versatility," Bochy told reporters after Sunday's win. "I was thinking about putting him in left field (after he pinch hit). I wanted to keep my catcher (Posey) in the game. Then the way it worked out, I got him in at first."
Those options, including catching Vogt with Posey moving to first base, are all in play Monday against DeSclafani, who has gone 1-1 with a 6.89 ERA in three career starts against the Giants.
Likewise, Reds manager David Bell left the ballpark Sunday pondering his options with hot-hitting second baseman Derek Dietrich, who homered for the fourth time in three days in the 6-5 loss.
All four homers have come against right-handers. But with San Francisco going with lefty Drew Pomeranz (1-3, 4.08) on Monday, it's possible Dietrich will return to the bench.
He's been allowed to face left-handers in just six of his 83 plate appearances this season, going 1-for-6. Even after homering again on Sunday, he was pulled for a right-handed-hitting pinch hitter late in a tie game against a lefty.
Bell was noncommittal about what Dietrich's role would be Monday, acknowledging a rare start in the outfield was a possibility.
"He's had success in a role (earlier in his career) where he's played every day as a starter," Bell explained to reporters. "But he's done well off the bench. He's had success pinch-hitting. We knew he was going to contribute in a variety of roles.
"When a guy's producing, you do look for opportunities. But at the same time, we're comfortable with how he's been used so far."
Dietrich has never faced Pomeranz, who has gone 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA in three lifetime starts against the Reds.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 6, 2019