Thursday’s SF Giants lineup vs. Pirates, plus notes and links

The Giants’ road woes continue. With two straight defeats in Pittsburgh, San Francisco is now 12-20 on the road and just 33-31 overall. To their great fortune there is no breakaway team in the NL West, with Arizona on top at 37-29. If the Giants called the NL Central home, they would be 8.5 games behind the world-beating Cardinals.

The Giants will face Pirates’ pitcher Charlie Morton, who is making his season debut. One year ago tomorrow, the 29-year-old had Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow.

Marco Scutaro remains out with a case of “mallet finger”, but is looking to return tomorrow for the Braves series. Updates to follow today and tomorrow.

With the right-handed Morton on the mound, Blanco and Crawford return to the top of the lineup. Belt, too, moves up, having hit behind Joaquin Arias just yesterday. I understand Bochy believes heavily in platoon splits, but in the long run extra at-bats for Belt are more useful than anything Joaquin Arias does at the plate.

Here’s the lineup vs. Charlie Morton (0-0, 0.00), with notes to follow:

CF Blanco

SS Crawford

C Posey

RF Pence

1B Belt

LF Torres

3B Arias

2B Noonan

RHP Cain (4-3, 5.09 ERA)

-Bruce Bochy has tabbed Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson and Mets’ manager Terry Collins to serve as coaches for the National League in this year’s All-Star Game. The Giants’ skipper will also bring his staff, including Righetti, Mark Gardner, Ron Wotus, Tim Flannery, Roberto Kelly and Joe Lefebvre. As the manager of the defending champions, Bochy selects his coaching staff as well as the reserves for the team. Pro Baseball Talk’s ever-snarky Craig Calcaterra points out that the managers selected — including Jim Leyland’s picks of Chicago’s Robin Ventura and Toronto’s John Gibbons — are all at the helm of team’s performing below expectations.

-Today marks the one-year anniversary of Matt Cain throwing the 22nd perfect game in MLB history. has video of Cain’s post-game interview here. It was part of a magical season for Cain, where he notched a career-high sixteen wins, pairing the perfect game with a one- and two-hitter. The one that sticks out in my mind is Cain’s second start of the season, where the only baserunner The Horse gave up was a seeing-eye single to Pirates’ pitcher James McDonald. He fanned 11 Pittsburgh batters that day.

-Bryan Stow, the 44-year old former paramedic who was savagely beaten at Dodgers’ Stadium two years ago, has returned to his hometown of Santa Cruz after his insurance company determined he no longer needed full-time care. This is according to Stephen Baxter, a writer for the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Having lived in Santa Cruz for almost nine years, Stow’s story has always been a little more personal. The police and fire vehicles in Santa Cruz County all have “for Stow” stickers plastered on them, a constant reminder of the savagery of some and the kindness of most. There are local events to benefit Stow, including a local sporting goods store that donates money every time someone uses the batting cages. The news from his mother that he has taken a step back after losing his full-time therapy is disturbing, and hopefully inspires everyone to donate again or for the first time to Stow’s cause.