ATLANTA -- The Giants are continuing to monitor Buster Posey's workload carefully, though he started his ninth game in a row Sunday.
Manager Bruce Bochy reasoned that Posey received virtually two days' rest before his consecutive-games streak started. He pinch-hit on April 23 at Colorado, one day before a scheduled off-day. Posey also started twice at first base during this stretch, which spares him from the physical rigors of catching.
Posey's on pace to start a career-high 124 games at catcher this season.
"Most likely he'll get a day off in Pittsburgh," Bochy said.
Posey has accelerated his production lately, batting .385 (10-for-26) with three home runs in his past seven games entering Sunday.
Cain placed on 15-day disabled list
ATLANTA -- Reversing an announcement made earlier Sunday, the Giants placed right-hander Matt Cain on the 15-day disabled list, scrapping their plans to start him in Monday's series opener at Pittsburgh.
Right-hander Jake Dunning will be recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Monday to fill Cain's spot on the active roster, vice president and assistant general manager Bobby Evans announced.
Evans responded affirmatively to a question in a text message asking whether the Giants reconsidered Cain's physical condition.
Cain was scratched from his scheduled start against San Diego last Tuesday when he cut the tip of his right index finger while trying to make a sandwich. Yusmeiro Petit replaced Cain and threw six shutout innings. In the following days, all indications were that Cain would rejoin the rotation Monday. On Sunday, he officially was named to start Monday. Cain said that he would be able to pitch without restrictions, a statement that was affirmed by Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
Cain's DL assignment is retroactive to April 24.
The Giants might consider filling Monday's vacancy with Tim Hudson, who would be working after receiving his regular four days' rest due to last Thursday's off-day. Using Petit again was another alternative.
Bochy believes early leads are crucial
ATLANTA -- The Giants entered Sunday with a remarkable 14-1 record when they score first. This, manager Bruce Bochy said, is partly due to the bullpen's ability to fend off opponents.
But, Bochy added, bullpens throughout the National League have become more formidable. There's more urgency to forge ahead immediately, Bochy said, because once the other team's starter is done, the scoring might be finished also.
This influences the composition of a batting order and could reflect the increased prominence of the No. 2 batter, who often is no longer a hit-and-run specialist happy to settle for a single. Teams need to stack their better hitters to increase chances for quick production.
"Some people believe you set your lineup so the [opposing] bullpen can't get its matchup," Bochy said on Sunday. "Obviously, you have to try to score early. You put your guys there and you try to get that early lead."
Asked if he'd prefer a bullpen loaded with relievers who throw fastballs reaching and exceeding 95 mph or pitchers with control and command such as his, Bochy chose the latter.
"It's nice to have a power guy, a guy who can get you a strikeout, who can miss a bat," Bochy said, citing the presence of hard-throwing right-hander Juan Gutierrez in the Giants' bullpen. Jean Machi and Santiago Casilla also are capable of blowing away hitters.
"But if you're asking me what I'd rather have, I'd rather have a guy who can command the fastball as well as anything."