ORACLE PARK — Chris Shaw has been hoping to get more regular at-bats since he was called up at the beginning of September.
With a renewed approach at the plate and a career year in the minors, he came to San Francisco eager to show the big club how much he’d advanced. He’s had eight plate appearances in seven games.
He may get his chance this week, and appropriately enough, it’ll be in his hometown of Boston, as the Giants follow Sunday’s series finale with the Miami Marlins with a trip to Fenway Park, their first since 2016, and third ever.
”I’ll find a way to make sure he gets on the field,” said manager Bruce Bochy.
Shaw has not played at Fenway since his days at Boston College. As a freshman in 2013, he played in front of fewer than 100 people during the Baseball Beanpot against Harvard. He went 0-for-5 with a strikeout. He played there again in 2015
He’ll have significantly more fans there just for him when he returns there with the Giants. His hometown of Lexington will have a “Chris Shaw Day” upon his return.
It’s big for him to be there. I’m sure he was probably feeling not so much pressure, but you know, he was pretty anxious to see if he was going to get called, up knowing that we were going to Boston,” Bochy said. “I can’t imagine feeling he got when he was told he was coming up to join us because he knew that this was on the horizon.”
Back to Beantown: Shaw won’t be the only Giant making their return to Boston. Mauricio Dubon was drafted by the Red Sox in the 26th round in 2013, and played in the final installment of the Futures at Fenway series in 2014. He got an RBI single to open the scoring in a 6-1 loss for the Lowell Spinners, the Red Sox short-season Single-A affiliate.
He returned in 2016 when he was named the organization’s Minor League Baserunner of the Year, and was presented with the award alongside Yoan Moncada (Minor League Player of the Year) and Rafael Devers (Minor League Defensive Player of the Year).
Dubon is still very close with Devers (the two plan to dine together in Boston on Monday) and Moncada, as well as Xander Bogaerts, who was a big brother of sorts for Dubon during his first big league spring training in 2016, letting him live in his apartment and buying him food and clothes.
Dubon is also close with Raquel Ferreira, the Red Sox’ Senior Vice President, Major and Minor League Operations and one of the four people tapped to serve as interim-general-manager-by-committee after the firing of Dave Dombrowski.
Family matters: Of course, the biggest returning name is that of Mike Yastrzemski, whose Hall of Fame grandfather played left field for most of his 23 years with the Red Sox.
“I know he’s going to get a ton of attention,” Bochy said. “I’m trying to imagine those fans, the memories they’ve had, and what’s going to go through them when they see him out there in the outfield. I’m sure it’s going to bring back some great memories. I’m sure it’s an exciting time for Mike.”
Bochy has indicated several times over the last week that he may put the Boston-born Mike in left, below the Green Monster, at some point in the series.
“I look forward to seeing how the fans react,” Bochy said.
Mike — who’s slashing .265/.325/.512 with 19 home runs and 51 RBIs in his first big league season — is a lock to play in all three games, even after getting hit on the toe on Saturday.
Dickerson’s status: There’s also a chance that Alex Dickerson (oblique) gets back on the field. He’s available on Sunday to pinch hit, and could play the field or DH in Boston.
The trick about Dickerson’s nagging oblique is that it initially flared up as a consequence of him not playing baseball for two years. The most difficult part of his recovery has been trying to find ways to condition his body to play every day again, but he’s not been able to actually play because the oblique keeps flaring up. This offseason will be dedicated to stabilizing his body for the long haul.
“The challenge will be for us to get him in that baseball shape to where he can go out there and play on a consistent basis,” Bochy said. “I mean, this is our hope, because he does have a gift and that swinging the bat, so we’d like to get to a point next year to where we’re not dealing with this all the time.”
Bumgarner and Bochy: The Giants have set their rotation for Boston, which will see Logan Webb opening the series, followed by Jeff Samarzija and Madison Bumgarner.
That start sets Bumgarner up to start two more times at Oracle Park (giving him two more cracks at tying Matt Cain for the most wins in the stadium, with 61). That includes the final game of the season at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That will also be the final game of Bochy’s managerial career, as he’s set to retire at the end of the season.
“I think you know what he means to me,” Bochy said. “What what this guy’s done for the organization, that’s just special. Last night, he goes out there and does a beautiful game. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the win. But, amazing. It’s been another real nice year for him, a consistent year, but for him to pitch the last game, if that’s a case, it would be quite the honor.”
Rotation notes: The reason the Giants are starting Webb on Tuesday so that they can keep Dereck Rodriguez on-turn. He’ll back up Johnny Cueto on Sunday. Cueto, coming off Tommy John surgery, will be limited to about 70 pitches in his second start back in the Major Leagues.
There is still a chance that the Giants put Rodriguez back into the rotation at some point over the final two weeks.
“This is just more of a deal with Johnny, our veteran, keeping him on track and on schedule,” Bochy said. “I know, D-Rod,it’s been hard to keep him on the routine. That’s why it could be a piggyback job today.”