Since the game doesn't start til tomorrow, and the NLDS roster doesn't need to be finalized until 10am tomorrow, the buzz around the Giants is focused on all the players waiting for a roster spot.
Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria, Jeremey Affeldt
These are the names in question right now. A total of $46.1 million that might be left completely off the Giants NLDS roster. The total payroll of the Giants this year? $98.6 million...
Just for some perspective, the combined salaries of Juan Uribe, Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff =
But this is the playoffs, and that salary number shouldn't be on a fan's mind. What should be on our minds is that we hope that Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean are meeting to craft the 25-man roster that will be best equipped to destroy the Atlanta Braves.
Boch already has finalized his first three starters through the rotation:
Game 1: Tim Lincecum
Game 2: Matt Cain
Game 3: Jonathan Sanchez
But he has also said that on a potential Game 4 he wants either Madison Bumgarner or Tim Lincecum on short rest. A tricky situation since Timmy has never pitched on 3 days rest so we are not sure as to how he might react in such a situation. I think Bochy is thinking that if we're up 2-1, it'll be Bumgarner, but if we're down 1-2, Timmy will go up again.
But where does this leave the 18.5 million dollar man, Barry Zito? Well one way he makes the roster is if he will be used as a long reliever, but in a bullpen that has been unbelievable down the stretch, it seems unlikely that he will occupy a roster spot in an 11 man pitching staff.
Previously I had said Barry would be on the roster, but that was when I thought that the Giants' brass would not allow Bumgarner to pitch a postseason game since he's already extended well beyond he's ever played in his life.
The silver lining for Barry, is that roster updates can be made between series, so there's an outside chance he can make it to the NLCS roster if (when) the Giants move on.
Planet Zito? - Nope not this time, sorry Barry, I was one of the few supporters, but you cannot chance a start with a struggling pitcher for a 5 game series.
The 2nd highest paid player on the Giants is also on the bubble: Aaron Rowand. Ask anyone who the rightful owner of Center Field is in AT&T Park, and you'll hear chants of TORRES TORRES TORRES! Andres has made his stamp offensively at the leadoff spot and there is obviously no need for a defensive replacement in the late innings.
One thing you do like is Rowand has previous playoff experience with the Phillies and the White Sox. And he hit a well timed pinch hit home run in Friday's game. Still there is a good chance he is left off in favor of Nate Schierholtz who is needed as a defensive replacement for Jose Guillen and as a left handed pinch hitter.
Pretty bleak considering Rowand is just 3 years removed from an all-star selection.
A-Row? I don't think so, unless Renteria is out first.
Renteria another struggling veteran may not be needed either. With the emerging of Mike Fontenot as a utility infielder, it might not be necessary to have Renteria. Although Renteria does have an edge on Rowand in that he can be a defensive replacement for Uribe, his health is a concern and it might be better to have all our bases covered and not put a guy who is hurting on a tight 25-man roster.
Renteria? 75% Chance of rain
Last but not least is Jeremey Affeldt who has been struggling also lately in the midst of a mostly stellar bullpen. With Javier Lopez anchoring most of the left handed specialist duties, and the setup role being filled by Sergio Romo, Affeldt is on the outside looking in. The bullpen in an 11 man rotation is 7 guys.
These 5 guys have been key all year, that leaves 2 spots for Affeldt, Chris Ray, Mota, Runzler. Mota I think deserves a spot, and Ray has been a good pickup, but you probably need another left hander other than Lopez in the pen. I think Runzler can be left off, and it would be either Ray or Mota, but not both.
Affeldt? I think he's in, along with Mota. Ray and Runzler can sit out this one for now.
Just 1 more day and we'll find out. The main concern is... WIN
Laws of the Day
Game 2... Matt Cain - I'm there! GAME ON