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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – October 1, 2013

(AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

(AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

Even the government shut down can’t stop The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Evan Longoria and David Price both owned baseball for September 30, 2013.

Today I talk about the playoffs, the Rays and Rangers game and some predictions.

To seethe up to date tally of “Who Owns Baseball?” click HERE.

Subscribe on iTunes HERE.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – October 1, 2013

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The Tampa Bay Rays Starting Pitching Is Not As Strong As It Was In 2012: They Miss James Shields!

The Tampa Bay Rays came into 2013 off of a great 2012 campaign. They finished third in the East but they did end the season with 90 wins. Doing so, they were expected to win the American League East this season. Picking up Wil Myers from the Royals for James Shields was a huge move for them. Was it a mistake now that we look back and the Rays pitching is falling apart without Shields' 200 innings.

The Tampa Bay Rays came into 2013 off of a great 2012 campaign. They finished third in the East but they did end the season with 90 wins. Doing so, they were expected to win the American League East this season. Picking up Wil Myers from the Royals for James Shields was a huge move for them. Was it a mistake now that we look back and the Rays pitching is falling apart without Shields’ 200 innings?  Tampa has many teams nipping at their heels for the 2nd Wild Card Spot in New York (2.5 Games back), Baltimore (3.0 Games Back), Cleveland (3.5 Games Back) and the Kansas City Royals are 4.5 Games Back.  They must correct their pitching for the final 3 weeks.

Ryan Ritchey (Featured Baseball Columnist): 

The Tampa Bay Rays rely on their pitching and defense more than any aspect of the game. Having great young pitchers is what they live by, and it has worked for their team.

But, it has been the complete opposite in 2013.

Injuries to multiple guys in the rotation has set them off track and now have to catch up to the Red Sox in the division. David Price and Matt Moore are the studs of their staff, but David Price struggled early and also went on the Disabled List along with Moore.

It is going to take a lot for them to win the division, but there is always the Wild Card, and when you are in the playoffs you never know what can happen.

Alex Cobb Hit In Head By Line Drive: Parental Guidance Advised!

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The Athletics Have Blasted Their Way Back To The Top Of The AL West Standings, But How Far Can They Go?

Athletics

The A’s have been hanging around the top of the AL West all season long,  and have been blasting their way back to the top. With players like Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss and Alberto Callaspo leading the way of late, they are poised to make a run for not only the division but maybe the American league Pennant.

By Dan Wanser (MLB Reports Writer)   

The Oakland Athletics have been considered contenders to win the American League West the entire season, but now that the season is coming to an end they are blasting their way to the top in an attempt to overtake the Texas Rangers.

With key players doing their job offensively, Pitchers doing their job well and keeping the team in games, and a pretty easy schedule going down the stretch they have all the components to make a stretch run.

Oakland’s 2012-2013 season Highlights:

 

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Key Players Mixed With Comeback Players Are Keeping The Indians In The Race For A Playoff Spot

The Indians currently sit with a 71-63 record which puts them only 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot and &.5 games out of the division. Many people didnt really expect Cleveland to do to much but key players like Giambi, Jiminez, and Kazmir are keeping them in the race

The Indians currently sit with a 71-63 record which puts them only 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot and 7.5 games out of the division. Many people didn’t really expect Cleveland to do too much but with better than expected performances from  Giambi, Jimenez, and Kazmir – they are keeping up in the race for the playoffs.

By Dan Wanser (MLB Reports Writer)   

The Cleveland Indians currently sit in second place in the American League Central behind the Detroit Tigers and are in fourth place  in the Wild Card behind Oakland, Tampa Bay, and  Baltimore.

Right now, Key players like Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Kipnis and Just Masterson are leading the way, but is also surprise contributions from  Jason Giambi, and Scott Kazmir  that are also  keeping them in the race for the playoffs.

With time running out, these players need to continue to lead and more players need to start to step up if this team wants to make the playoffs.

Kazmir Dominates:

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The Red Sox Infield Shuffle Down The Stretch

Xander Bogaerts is ranked as the 2nd best Shortstop prospect in baseball, and the 6th best overall prospect in the game on mlb.com. Some are comparing him to Manny Machado of Baltimore due to their similar skill set and maturity at such a young age. I think the Red Sox would be very happy if he produces similarly to Machado.

Xander Bogaerts is ranked as the 2nd best Shortstop prospect in baseball, and the 6th best overall prospect in the game on mlb.com. Some are comparing him to Manny Machado of Baltimore due to their similar skill set and maturity at such a young age. I think the Red Sox would be very happy if he produces similarly to the young Orioles Third Baseman.  Boston traded away its top defense Infield prospect (in Jose Iglesias) to create room for Bogaerts.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

As September approaches all teams have some uncertainty with their team heading towards the playoffs or the links.

Even serious contenders like the Red Sox have inefficiencies that they would like to correct.

Their decisions now will be under harsher criticism than ever as the franchise has missed out on the playoffs the past two seasons in dismal fashion.

There are certainly still big question marks on the clubs pitching staff like the health of Clay Buchholz.

The outfield also has question marks like Shane Victorino who is playing through injury right now to the point where he has dropped hitting from the left side (at the moment) because the injury affects his swing too much from that side of the plate.

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A Preview Of The 2014 San Francisco Giants Starting Pitching Staff

 

Matt Cain is struggling this season to say the least. He has games where he can be most dominant pitcher in baseball, then other games where he struggles to make it through five innings. He has a 4.79 ERA in 124 innings pitched while giving up 16 HRs.

Matt Cain is struggling this season to say the least. He has games where he can be most dominant pitcher in baseball, then other games where he struggles to make it through five innings. He has a 4.35 ERA in 153 innings pitched while giving up 19 HRs.  This mediocre season is cause for concern, since he now makes at least $20 MIL per year from 2013 – 2017, with a $7.5 Buyout in 2018, or one more year at $21 MIL.  Perhaps winning 2 of the last 3 World Series, and logging over 600 + IP combined in that time frame is beginning to take its toll.  I would bet on Cain to have a big bounce back campaign in 2014.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

At this point in the season, it is pretty safe to say that the San Francisco Giants will not be playing beyond September.

This year has been a big disappointment for the defending World Champs, collapsing big time before the All Star Break.

Coming into 2013, the Giants had basically the same team that won the 2012 World Series. The performance though, compared to 2012, was night and day.

The biggest difference in the team’s performance from 2012 is undoubtedly the pitching.

Matt Cain was the undisputed ace of the staff in 2012, throwing a perfect game and posting a 2.79 ERA.

Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner both had a 3.37 ERA. Even Barry Zito had a tolerable season, going 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA – including a huge unbeaten streak – that carried through the 2013 Post Season..

This year, a 4.15 ERA would be acceptable for any pitcher in the rotation not named Bumgarner. Madison Bumgarner has been the one bright spot for the staff this year, carrying a 2.73 ERA.

Cain has a 4.35, Zito a 5.34, Vogelsong a 6.75 (he spent some time on the DL with a finger injury), and Lincecum a 4.38.

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The Indians 1st Year Under Francona Should End Up A Success – Even If It Doesn’t Mean Playoffs

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Thursday August 15, 2013 

The Cleveland Indians are having a decent second half, but will it be enough to make the playoffs? It shouldn't really matter to Indians fans because they have a great future ahead of them. They have a great manager in Terry Francona and great young players in Jason Kipnis, Michael Bourn, Asdrubal Cabrera and many more.

The Cleveland Indians are having a decent second half, but will it be enough to make the playoffs? It shouldn’t really matter to Indians fans because they have a great future ahead of them. They have a great manager in Terry Francona and great young players in Jason Kipnis, Michael Bourn, Asdrubal Cabrera and many more.  The truth is that they just are not in the same competitive stratosphere as the Detroit Tigers at the present time.  They have a better chance to reel in a Wild Card Position.  As of today, they are 3.5 Games Behind Wild Card Leader #1 holder (Tampa Bay) – and are 3 Games Behind the Oakland Athletics for the 2nd spot.

Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer):

The Cleveland Indians have had a tremendous season under first year manager Terry Francona. It isn’t very often for a team like Cleveland to get a manager of his caliber.

Francona broke the curse in Boston, can he break the streak of Championshipless in Cleveland – since the days of Bob Feller via 1948?

I wrote an article right before the All-Star Break stating that the Indians would make a run in the second half and make the playoffs.

Well the best player on the planet Miguel Cabrera has spoiled that idea with all the Home Runs he has been hitting here lately. The Indians can’t make up any ground on the Tigers and they are running out of time.

It might not be this season but give Francona some time, he will make Cleveland a contender in no time. 

Kipnis – Inside The Park HR:

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Dustin Pedroia’s Contract Extension + Jake Peavy Trade Thoughts

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Sat. August.3/2013

While Shortstop has been a revolving door since the days of Nomar Garciaparra, Second Base has been held down by one of the best in the game since his rookie season in 2007. As impressive an offensive player as Pedroia is, he's equally impressive on defense, saving 73 Runs on at 2nd over his career. His UZR/150 is 9.4.

While Shortstop has been a revolving door since the days of Nomar Garciaparra, Second Base has been held down by one of the best in the game since his rookie season in 2007. As impressive an offensive player as Pedroia is, he’s equally impressive on defense, saving 73 Runs on at 2nd over his career. His UZR/150 is 9.4.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

I think that one could refer to this time of the baseball season as the “dog days” of the summer.

While much is made of how a team finishes the regular season down the stretch in September, every game counts and August could definitely separate contenders from pretenders.

After ceding 1st place in the AL East briefly, the Red Sox are back where they want to be at the top.

The lead is just 1 game over the Rays currently, but the Red Sox are playing some very exciting baseball including two straight walkoff wins both technically taking place on the 1st of August.

While late July baseball news is usually dominated by trades, the Red Sox took care of some other business before getting involved in the trade scene.

The club signed Second Baseman Dustin Pedroia to a 7 Year $100 Million contract extension.

The deal will take him through the 2021 season, making it increasingly likely that he spends his entire career in a Red Sox uniform.

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How Would Detroit Move On If They Lost Jhonny Peralta? Perhaps Philly May Be The Answer!

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Tuesday July 30th, 2013 

 Jhonny Peralta and the Detroit Tigers might be in for a little trouble. With a number of players being investigated for potentially breaking the leagues policy on power-enhancing substances by being involved in the biogenseis  scandal, Peralta might find himself out for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs if the Tigers qualify

Jhonny Peralta and the Detroit Tigers might be in for a little trouble. With a number of players being investigated for potentially breaking the leagues policy on power-enhancing substances by being involved in the biogenseis scandal, Peralta might find himself out for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs if the Tigers qualify.

By Dan Wanser (MLB Reports Writer)  

Jhonny Peralta is one of a number of players being investigated by Major League Baseball for potentially breaking the leagues substance abuse policy by being involved with biogenesis in Miami.

If Detroit loses their shortstop for the rest of 2013 they may be in for some trouble.

Peralta has been heating up offensively as the season has moved along and is also solid in the field.

So if he does find himself out for the season, who will the American League Central Division leaders call on to take his place? They have a few options.

If Peralta needs to be replaced, Detroit will need someone with some pop in the bat.

Jhonny Peralta Talks about Miguel Cabrera Potentially Repeating His Triple Crown Feat:

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Can Cleveland Keep Pace in the Second Half?

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Sunday July 7th, 2013 

The Cleveland Indians are in second place in the American League Central 3.5 games back of the Detroit Tigers. Kipnis has come out of his shell and is leading the team in Hits, RBI, Average, and On Base Percentage. Kipnis will be an All-Star on July 16th at Citi Field. The pitching is below average ranked throughout the league but for them to keep pace with the Tigers in the second half they will have to pick it up and try to carry the team. Guys like Jimenez, Swisher, Bourn and Kazmir will have to have a great second half for the Indians to make the playoffs. As it sits right now the only way they will make the playoffs is by winning the American League Central and beating the Detroit Tigers.

The Cleveland Indians are in second place in the American League Central 3.5 games back of the Detroit Tigers. Jason Kipnis has come out of his shell and is leading the team in Hits, RBI, Average, and On Base Percentage. Kipnis will be an All-Star on July 16th at Citi Field. The pitching is below average ranked throughout the league but for them to keep pace with the Tigers in the second half they will have to pick it up and try to carry the team. Guys like Jimenez, Swisher, Bourn and Kazmir will have to have a great second half for the Indians to make the playoffs. As it sits right now the only way they will make the playoffs is by winning the American League Central and beating the Detroit Tigers.

By Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): 

The Cleveland Indians are three games above .500 but are still 3.5 games behind the first place Detroit Tigers after losing the first two game of the series at home.

New manager Terry Francona has done a great job with this club but he still has a lot more to do in order for them to make the playoffs. 

Big names that have produced so far this season are Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson.

Swisher came over to Cleveland this winter by signing a four-year $56 million contract. The contract includes a fifth year vesting option worth $14 million.

Swisher has given the team a huge boost with his personality but hasn’t produced as much as wanted on the field. Only having 30 RBI has really hurt this club as it has put a lot of pressure on other guys to perform. 

Cleveland Indians 2013 Preview- MLB Network: 

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The Corey Hart Dilemma In Milwaukee

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Sunday March. 10/2013

Hart is a 2-time All-Star (’08 and ’10) who has been very valuable to the Brewers with his ability to play multiple positions, and hit anywhere in the order effectively. He also brings 100% effort to the field every night which has made him a fan favorite.

Hart is a 2-time All-Star (’08 and ’10) who has been very valuable to the Brewers with his ability to play multiple positions, and hit anywhere in the order effectively. He also brings 100% effort to the field every night which has made him a fan favorite.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): 

Corey Hart, 1st Baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers, is currently on the shelf for a third straight Spring Training. In 2011 it was an oblique strain, in 2012 it was torn cartilage in his right knee, and in 2013 it is a torn meniscus in his knee. In each of the past two seasons the injuries didn’t seem to have a negative effect on his production when he returned.

Hart will be 31 on opening day, and this his second knee problem in the past two years, so it is concerning. However, seeing him come back earlier than expected from the last surgery is keeping him optimistic that he could come back early from this one too. Doctors have said Hart should be back by late May, but like I said, the hope is he can return sooner, but he’s still a little while away. That leaves the Brewers with a big hole to fill.

Corey Hart moved to 1st base from Right Field after Mat Gamel tore his ACL last season, and Hart had success there. Unfortunately Gamel has torn his ACL again this spring, so he is not an option to replace Hart. Just to give you an idea of the production they will be without while Hart is on the DL. Hart hit .270/.334/.507 in 2012 all right around his career average. Over the past 3 campaigns Hart has averaged 29 HRs and 83 RBI per season while averaging 141 Games Played per season.

Corey Hart Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Detroit Tigers Roster in 2013: State Of The Union

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Thursday, February. 21/2013

The Trio of Verlander, Fielder, and Cabrera represented Detroit at the All-Star game in 2012 as well as on the MVP ballot with Cabrera winning, Verlander coming in 8th, and Fielder coming in 9th. They also combined for an 18.8 WAR in 2012

The Trio of Verlander, Fielder, and Cabrera represented Detroit at the All-Star game in 2012 as well as on the MVP ballot with Cabrera winning, Verlander coming in 8th, and Fielder coming in 9th. They also combined for an 18.8 WAR in 2012

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): 

I would never say that a team is a lock to win their division, but I will say that the Detroit Tigers shouldn’t make any vacation plans for October of 2013. They’ve won the AL Central Division for the past 2 years, and added an AL Pennant in 2012. The Detroit Tigers franchise is one rich in history winning 4 World Series titles and having legends such as Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, and Charlie Gehringer passing through the “D” just to name a few.

This proud franchise did suffer a lull in success somewhat recently as they had a losing record every season from 1994-2005. This included a dismal 43-119 record in ’03. The Tigers came back from the abyss and turned their team back into a winning ball club since 2006. This was Jim Leyland’s 1st season managing the Tigers, and all he did was lead the team to 95 wins (a 24 win increase from the prior season) and a World Series appearance.

In 2011, the Tigers lost in the ALCS, and in 2012 they lost in the World Series, so could they improve upon the previous seasons ending once again and win the 2013 World Series? Well, their roster is certainly improved from last year, but it’s all about keeping up with the “Jones” in the MLB nowadays. Every team with money is trying to make a serious World Series run this year. While the Tigers are in the weakest division in the AL, if and when they reach the playoffs, it will be a gruesome battle to endure.

The Tigers have all the makings of a World Series contender. They have Superstars in their lineup like Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. They have a true Ace leading their deep, seemingly all in and around their prime, starting rotation in Justin Verlander. They also have good depth on their 25 man roster, and even more in their Minor League system. I’ll start with their rotation. Here’s what it will most likely look like…

2013 Detroit Tigers Starting Rotation: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello

Detroit Tigers 2012 ALCS Highlights:

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Analyzing the Oakland A’s Outfield Conundrum

Monday November 5th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: The A’s now find themselves in a sticky situation with four outfielders who are all capable of being full-time starters. Oakland acquired Chris Young from the Diamondbacks on October 21st in exchange for Cliff Pennington as part of a 3-way trade with the Marlins. While it’s safe to say that Billy Beane won the trade from a talent standpoint, it did not solve any problems because the A’s already had Yoenis Céspedes, Coco Crisp, and Josh Reddick locked in the outfield to commence the 2013 season. Young just creates unnecessary havoc that easily could have been avoided. In Beane’s defense, who wouldn’t have traded an inconsistent shortstop for a more proven outfielder?

In 2012, Young dealt with an injured shoulder. Rarely did he play in back to back games towards the end of the year, and his numbers took a beating because of that. He triple slashed for a .231/.311/.434 line, hitting 14 home runs with an OPS of .745. Obviously 2012 wasn’t one of his memorable years, but you would have to think that his injured shoulder played a role in his depleted stats. For Young, it is just a matter of staying healthy and proving that his once wobbly shoulder caused his downfall, not a decreasing bat.

The A’s are now “stuck” with four everyday outfielders. The good news? They do not have to trade anyone in the newly formed quartet to solve this glaring problem. Read the rest of this entry

Pablo Sandoval: A Tribute to Panda’s Historic World Series Night

Wednesday October 31st, 2012

Luke Whitecotton:  When I mention Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols, what words come to mind to describe these guys? Probably legends, greatness, clutch hitters, and champions. Now what if  I asked the same question about Pablo Sandoval or better known as “Kung Fu Panda”? You can say champion. But legend,clutch hitter and greatness might not be anywhere near your radar. What if I  told you he had one of those magical October nights? One that people in and out of baseball will talk about for years to come, and something those other greats did not do. Would you say that I was crazy, or maybe a little out of my mind? Well, maybe- but Pablo Sandoval was a legend, great, and a clutch hitter on a special October night in San Francisco. Read the rest of this entry

Josh Hamilton: Three Reasons To Believe That He Could Sign With The Brewers

Tuesday October 30th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: This year’s free agent market may be slim on depth, but it does not lack a main attraction with Josh Hamilton set to hit the open market. Hamilton hit a career-high 43 home runs this past season, but a slew of late season miscues have affected his marking price.

While he isn’t the safest of offseason additions, teams will still look to acquire the powerful lefty because of his middle of the order presence which very few others can match.

With the Yankees and Red Sox likely out of the running for the slugger, the Brewers suddenly have a decent chance of bringing in Hamilton.

Here are three reasons why: Read the rest of this entry

Game 4 Recap: Giants Sweep the Tigers to Win the 2012 World Series

Monday October 29th, 2012

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Kyle Holland:  If your favorite sport is baseball, what more can you ask for in a game? Even if you love or hate the Giants, you can’t help but have been amazed by game 4. Any baseball fan should have enjoyed that contest. The war between the Giants and Tigers. Like the guy who sat behind home plate all series. He wore a Marlins jersey and hat to all the games. That is dedication. That is a man who loves his baseball.

After the grueling 162 game regular season, the San Francisco Giants are your 2012 World Series champions! This crown did not come with ease, as most of you know. They went down 0-2 vs the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS. They miraculously came back to win that series. Then came the NLCS. They split games 1 and 2, and then the Giants lost 2 straight to go down 1-3. They somehow made a comeback against a great Cardinals team to even make it to the Fall Classic. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Special World Series Edition

Saturday October 27th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: In a few short hours, Game 3 of the World Series will be played from one of my fave parks in baseball, Comerica Park in Detroit. It has been a very interesting season and playoffs for me. While I readily admit that I bleed blue and orange, I did not pick the Tigers to make the playoffs this year. That fact usually stuns other Tiger fans. “How can you support the team and not pick them to win the World Series”…that is a question that I am often asked. The answer is simple: while I enjoy Comerica and have a soft spot for the Tigers, I am first and foremost a baseball writer. Baseball fandom is not something that one can turn on and off like a light switch. But if one is going to do their job properly, they need to stay fair and impartial. So while my heart wanted the Tigers to win the AL Central, my brain said that the White Sox were this year’s team of destiny. Goes to show that you never know what will happen in baseball. 

As the Tigers kept winning, I kept doubting them further. So just to prove a point, Detroit swept the Yankees in the ALCS and made it to the World Series as the favorites. At that point, I saw the Tigers beating the Giants, likely in 5 games to win the World Series. But then a couple of pitchers named Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito came along. They proved that the Giants had a ton of fight in them, They also proved that I had no business trying my hand at any predictions during the 2012 playoffs. The Giants are up 2-0 in the series, with Ryan Vogelsong taking the mound against Anibal Sanchez. My heart and brain are saying that the Giants will win big tonight and jump out to a 3-0 lead. Does that mean that the Tigers will win one and get back into this series?  We will find out very shortly.

A great pitching matchup tonight, with Ryan Vogelsong and Anibal Sanchez as the probable starters. Sanchez has enjoyed a great run as of late for the Tigers, while Vogelsong has been solid for the most part. I am seeing here a big win for Vogelsong. He is a great success story for the Giants, their version of R.A. Dickey. Having watched Sanchez implode on too many occasions, I have a hard time trusting him. Although he is batting for the almighty free agency contract, so perhaps he has a quality start in him. If the Tigers don’t pull it off, they have the near impossible task of facing Matt Cain on Sunday down 3-0. Max Scherzer will take the mound tomorrow night for the Tigers. He could be helping the Tigers even the series 2-2, or watch the Giants sweep their way to another World Series championship. In a short series, anything can happen.

Given the amount of World Series questions that we have received this week, I decided to feature the most popular questions surrounding the Tigers and Giants. If these guys can make it to the finals, the least we can do is discuss/analyze them.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

The 2013 Nationals Appear Primed to Make a Run at the World Series

Friday October 26th, 2012

Sam Evans: The Washington Nationals had a somewhat disappointing end to their season, losing to St. Louis in five ALDS games. Nonetheless, the Nationals had a tremendous season and should be pleased with where they stand heading into next year. With the NL East teams around Washington getting older and losing talent, there’s no reason why Washington can’t repeat as division champions in 2013. In fact, the Washington Nationals should be favored to make a World Series push in 2013.

Ever since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005, Washington had yet to have a season over .500 and finish in the top two in the NL East. 2011 was a surprising season in which Washington won ninety-eight games, the most in major league baseball, and won the N.L. East. Their Pythagorean record (96-66) suggests that the Nationals 2012 season was not a fluke. Washington was led by Ian Desmond, rookie Bryce Harper and a tremendous young group of starting pitchers. 2012 wasn’t a fluke and Washington won’t be putting a team on the field in 2013 that is much different. So why can’t they repeat as division champs? Read the rest of this entry

Alex Rodriguez: Ready for 2013

Thursday October 25th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  Over the past couple of years, Alex Rodriguez has been a Yankee disappointment. For the humongous 10-year $275 million contract that he is signed to, his production should be a lot more than hitting .272 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs. A-Rod was injured for a bit and played in only 122 games this year, but come on—someone with that type of contract should drive in 100 runs every year. Rodriguez is signed through 2017, so his contract is not one that another team would be excited to take on. Not by a long shot.

The Yankees will likely be paying Rodriguez the majority (or all) of the rest of his contract (no team in its right mind would trade for Rodriguez without making the Yankees pay for him). So at the end of the day, I think the Yankees will keep him. Without a much better option at third base (Eric Chavez), the Yankees will be forced to use Rodriguez. Although there is a lot of pressure put on Rodriguez and the Yankees after getting swept by the Tigers in the ALCS to end the season, the dust will eventually settle. This will provide Rodriguez with the environment he needs to make his comeback.

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Giants vs. Tigers: Who Will Win the 2012 World Series?

Thursday October 25th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer):

Who Has The Edge In The Starting Pitching Department?

The Tigers’ starters go as far as Justin Verlander takes them, which is a long, long way most of the time. Thus far, Verlander has lifted his fellow rotation mates to an elite stature. In the American League Championship Series, the Tigers posted a 0.67 ERA against a helpless Yankees’ team. But as last night proved, anything can happen in the World Series.

When the Tigers are mentioned, don’t fall into the trap that their pitching is just based around Verlander. Yes, we get, the world gets it, Verlander is a god. But the assumption that he’s all the Tigers have is completely false because they wouldn’t have swept the Yankees without others contributing. Remember, Verlander pitched just once in the ALCS. Heck, Verlander could arguably take the backseat to Max Scherzer who has only allowed one run over 11 innings so far in this year’s playoffs. After giving up 5 runs to the Giants last night in 4 innings, the Tigers showed that they cannot simply rely on Justin Verlander…or the 2012 World Series will end very quickly. After all, all sporting gods show their human side at some point.

On the Giants’ side, their rotation is greatly shuffled after having to go seven games to finally derail the Cardinals, basically meaning that they didn’t have their ace in Matt Cain to oppose Verlander in Game 1. Instead, Barry Zito got the nod against the presumable A.L Cy Young winner. Please, pause for a second and digest that sentence, I dare you to. Now look at Barry Zito’s start in Game 1. 5 2/3 innings, 1 run and 6 hits. And now the Tigers still have to contend with Cain. After Zito, Madison Bumgarner will take the ball in Game 2 against Doug Fister. Bumgarner has been reeling since the end of August. In two postseason starts (8 innings), he has posted an 11.25 ERA, and in both starts, the Giants lost. However, the lefty fixed a couple of mechanical flaws during a side session last week.

In Game 3, Ryan Vogelsong will oppose Anibal Sanchez, as the series changes scenery back to Comerica Park. Vogelsong has arubably been the best pitcher in the playoffs this year outside of Verlander, of course. In three starts, he has a 1.42 ERA, and most recently allowed just one run to the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS. Sanchez has been solid up to this point as well, finally proving why he was a great addition to the Tigers’ rotation. In two starts, he has totaled a 1.35 ERA, but walked five batters in those two starts as well.

The main thing to take away from here, is that Sanchez can be a bit wobbly in terms of consistency. Usually, walks are detrimental to him, as his stuff is above average. For Vogelsong, pitching on the road is the only concern with him, but Comerica shouldn’t play small, seeing as how the forecast is supposed to be chilly.

Lastly, Matt Cain will make his first appearance when he opposes Max Scherezer in Game 4. What comes as a surprise here, is the fact that Cain is pitching Game 4. This likely means that he wouldn’t pitch a potential Game 7, instead Vogelsong would likely receive the honor.

Both the Tigers and Giants have heavily relied on good starting pitching to get them to where they are—the World Series. However, the Tigers boast Justin Verlander; a guy who can pitch three times in this series if the Tigers desperately need him to. After a rough outing last night, we know that Verlander will return later in the series- hungrier than ever.

Tigers: 6 Giants: 4

Who Has The Edge Offensively?

Yes, the Giants erupted for nine runs in Game 7. But the truth is, only a handful of their 14 hits were crisp line drives. Most notably, Hunter Pence’s game-opening two-run double took a wicked hop that fooled the shortstop. That hit set-up a huge inning for San Francisco.

Basically, the Giants might not reap the benefits of lucky hops or bloopers in the World Series. The Tigers’ pitching staff is a bit better than St.Louis’s at the moment, meaning that runs are going to come at a premium. You wouldn’t know it, with the Giants scoring 8 runs in Game 1 of the World Series, with Pablo Sandoval connecting for 3 home runs. But the tide could just as easily turn in game 2, with Doug Fister silencing the Giants bats. If the Giants are to win this series, their bats better stay scorching hot.

The Tigers obviously have the most dangerous weapon of all in Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera hasn’t been dominant per say so far in the playoffs, but that’s mostly due to the fact that opposing pitchers have elected to pitch him extremely careful. Buster Posey has received the same type of treatment. And with Pence struggling, it’s likely that the Tigers will continue to pitch around Posey until Pence proves otherwise. The presumable N.L MVP winner hit just .154/.267/.154 in the NLCS with just a lone RBI. He did go 2-4 last night with 2 singles. Hopefully a sign of more to come.

Now, onto Marco Scutaro, the NLCS MVP. Hitting exactly .500 with 4 RBIs, Scutaro carried the Giants’ offense. Also carrying the Giants’ offense, Pablo Sandoval hit .310 with two home runs and six RBIs. If it wasn’t for Scutaro, Sandoval probably would have won the MVP. Both men have started off hot in the World Series and with no surprise, the Giants got a big win in the process.

But the Tigers’ offense is dangerous in many facets. They can beat you with the long ball, big innings, and high hitting outputs. Delmon Young has produced eight RBIs in the playoffs, and Austin Jackson has scored seven runs, acting as the catalyst in the Tigers’ lineup.

Timely hits are going to be key in this series. Both of these teams like to score runs early, and both can bust out for big innings. Despite a big game last night from the Giants, I am still trusting the Tigers bats more in this series.

Tigers: 6 Giants: 4

Who Has The Better Bullpen?

This category is a tad more simpler to predict, even with the emergence of Phil Coke taking over the closer’s role for the Tigers.

The Giants’ bullpen has simply been better. At time during the regular season it was a major concern, but now, it’s a major strength. Armed with Tim Lincecum as the versatile swingman, Bruce Bochy can call upon several weapons to close the gap. Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez combined have pitched 11.2 scoreless innings. Sergio Romo has a save and has only given up one run over 7.2 innings, and Santiago Casilla has allowed just one run over 5.2 innings.

The only rough spots for the Giants has been Guillermo Mota and Jose Mijares, who have given up four and three runs, respectively.

As for the Tigers, Jose Valverde has surrendered seven runs in 2.1 innings, and was stripped of his closer’s duties in favor of Coke who has been a pleasant surprise for Jim Leyland.

This series predicts to be a starting pitching heavy type of series, but the bullpens will still play a major role. The Tigers just have too many question marks, especially with Coke’s lack of experience as a closer.

Tigers: 2 Giants: 8

Final Tally:  Tigers 14 – Giants 16

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

Jake Dal Porto is a Baseball Writer with MLB reports and a student from the Bay Area. Jake’s favorite sports moment was when the Giants won the World Series back in 2010. He loves to use sabermetrics in his work. He thinks they are the best way to show a player’s real success compared to the basic stats such as ERA, RBIs, and Wins. Jake also enjoys interacting and debating with his readers. Follow him on Twitter:

 

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The San Francisco Giants Are Ready to Return to the World Series

Wednesday October 24th, 2012

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Kyle Holland:  The 2012 NLCS will go down as a series to remember. Firstly from a history standpoint, this was the first time in LCS history that the last two World Series champions squared off. Second, it was played between the 3rd and 4th seeds in the national league. The Giants coming back from being down 0-2 against the Cincinnati Reds, while the Cardinals recovering from being down 6-0 in game 5 in the NLDS to defeat the Nationals 9-7. The comeback kids facing off. This series was sure to be a thriller, and it did not disappoint.

The Giants, being forced to win 3 straight games to make it to the World Series, held off the Cardinals in game 7 to complete the comeback. Read the rest of this entry

Dusty Baker and The San Francisco Giants Just Don’t Mix Well

Tuesday October 23rd, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: The San Francisco Giants and current Reds’ manager Dusty Baker just don’t seem to mix all that well. Baker had a very capable Reds squad just a win away from the NLCS, putting pressure on the Giants to win all of the remaining three games. And they did, doing their best imitation of the comeback kids.

The thing is, the Reds weren’t expected to be on vacation by the end of the second week of October. They were built for a World Series run. They had the pitching, the powerful offense, and air-tight defense all in their favor to make a charge. They didn’t boast the second best record in baseball by accident. This was a team on a mission- a team of destiny.

More simply put, their expectations and the fans’ expectations exceeded a first round departure, especially with a lofty 2-0 lead in their home park. Of course, DustyBaker doesn’t deserve all the blame. He set up his troops to succeed and they didn’t answer the bell at home. It’s that simple, and there really is nothing else he or any other manager could have done differently to alter the outcome of that series. Read the rest of this entry

An Early Preview of the 2012 World Series

Sunday October 21st, 2012

Sam Evans: With St. Louis and San Francisco in a battle to be the National League representative in the World Series, it’s not too early to preview what each team would look like in a seven-game matchup with the AL Champs, the Detroit Tigers.  

The NLCS between St. Louis and San Francisco has been absolutely thrilling. You have to imagine the huge pressure that each and every one of both team’s players have been dealing with. With the Cardinals winning the first game, the Giants winning Game Two, the Cards taking the next two, and the Giants winning Game Five, the Cardinals lead the series 3-2 heading into Game Six tonight in San Francisco. One would have to think that even with the Giants recent win and home field advantage, St. Louis has a slight advantage due to their recent postseason magic. After all, they are the defending champs.

Meanwhile, Detroit has had a lot of time on their hands since winning the ALCS on Thursday. So instead of just sitting around and waiting to find out where they will be playing, Detroit is flying out their Instructional League team to play a couple of scrimmage games. Detroit will play their Instructional team today and tomorrow in a couple of scrimmages. In my opinion, this is a fantastic idea for the Tigers. This way their hitters don’t lose their timing in the extra couple days off. Not to mention, it must be a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience for a lot of the young Instructional League players.

A St. Louis/ Detroit matchup in the World Series would be a fantastic matchup pitting Mississippi against Detroit. St. Louis started Lance Lynn in Game One of the NLCS but likely won’t choose him to start Game One if they made the World Series. No matter who they start, St. Louis really doesn’t have anyone who would be able to pitch at the same level of the Tigers’ Justin Verlander. With Verlander well-rested and the Cardinals lacking a talented enough group of starters to contain Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, I would give the Tigers the advantage if these two teams end up meeting.

San Francisco and Detroit in the World Series would be a matchup of two very balanced teams, that both have recent postseason experience. The Giants have an experienced starting rotation that relies on veteran pitchers and a couple of younger pitchers as well. The Giants offense hasn’t been great this postseason, but if Buster Posey and Hunter Pence get going, they could easily score some runs on the Tigers. Detroit definitely could hit a few homers over the short right field wall at AT&T Park, but in seven games, I would give the Giants a slight advantage. The Tigers would need to continue their hot streak, but the layoff could still create some rust.

All three remaining teams have all had tremendous postseason success over the last couple years, but Detroit is the only team without a recent World Series win. Unless the Giants offense can heat up and take these last two games from St. Louis, I don’t see any team being able to take the World Series Championship away from Detroit.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter. (@RJA206)***

 

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ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: The Yoenis Cespedes Showcase Video, Evolution of the Yankees, Swisher to Boston and More!

Saturday October 20th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Baseball, much like life, is always full of change. Just think of all the changes that Major League Baseball has undergone during the past few years. Expansion. Realignment. Wild Card. Second Wild Card. Luxury Tax. Home field advantage in the World Series from the All-Star game. And to think, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Astros are moving next year to the AL West. Daily interleague play. The Athletics may move to San Jose. There is no doubt that the baseball we knew once upon a time is gone and buried. We are in a new golden era of baseball, one that promises to continue to evolve and thrive. Much like the sport it covers, MLB reports is on the same fast track. 

If you follow MLB reports daily (which you DEFINITELY should), you have noticed the changes that we have enjoyed over the past few months. New writers, pages, website format- if there is one thing that we don’t do here, is sit on our hands. We recently had Kyle Holland come on board as our Baseball Intern and Alex Mednick as a Baseball Writer and Analyst. Haley Smilow is on board as our MLB Junior Correspondent. We have a diverse stable of writers, all with different experiences and styles. That raises the bar on the content that we bring you each and every day on MLB reports. We love our team, which continues to grow all the time. We have a devoted Cooperstown page, featuring our Cooperstown Correspondent, Patrick Languzzi. Love Fantasy Baseball?  Peter Stein has you covered every week highlighting his fantasy baseball notes and advice. Our Fantasy Baseball page features Peter’s work. Lead Writer Chuck Booth, a Guinness World Record holder in baseball travel brings you exciting and informative articles every Wednesday and Friday night. The list literally goes on and on. If it involves baseball, MLB reports has you covered. 

We feature at least two articles per day, posted at the start of each day around 9:00am ET and in the evening at 8:00pm ET. Life gets busy- we know that. We strive at MLB reports to always have an article ready on your computer to go along with your morning coffee at work, and a feature in the evening while you unwind. Plus you never know when surprise bonus features will hit our site next. When we say MLB 4 Life, we meet it! Make sure to follow @mlbreports on Twitter and to subscribe to our website- http://www.mlbreports.com. The link is at the top of the site. It’s free. And it’s an excellent investment in your baseball knowledge!

With all the exciting changes at MLB reports, the truth is… that there is even more to come. We always are on the lookout for bright new talent. New concepts. New topics. Just like MLB, we always want to improve and evolve. But it’s a gradual process. Starting Monday though, you will see that we will be adding a new something to MLB reports. I can’t tell you what…I’m very sorry. But you will find out very soon. My advice? Bookmark mlbreports.com and/or make it your homepage. Get into work on Monday October 22nd. Grab a cup of coffee and turn on your computer. When your boss thinks you are working, you will be preparing for our feature of the day. At 9:00am ET, you will find a new addition to MLB reports. It is both different and exciting. The feature is called “The Interview of a Lifetime” and one that you certainly cannot miss. Get ready to be shocked, entertained and informed. The best part? This is only the beginning. I feel like the Riddler…and have already said too much….

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

Why Terry Francona is a Bold Signing For The Indians

Friday October 19th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: The Indians needed a new manager and Terry Francona wanted to get back into managing. A perfect fit? Not yet. But the Indians made a bold move by signing Francona for four years.

For one, it’s saying that the Indians planning on winning over the next four years, because Francona probably wouldn’t just sign with Cleveland if there was no hope that they could be contenders in the near future. Heck, he could probably manage almost any other team he wanted to, at least the ones with openings. But no, he went with the dreadful Indians. That’s saying something, especially considering that Francona is an elite talent evaluator.

Secondly, it’s saying that Cleveland want experience over fresh blood. Sandy Alomar Jr. certainly seemed like the front-runner for the job in the preliminary stages of the searching process. But the prospects of that happening quickly faded as Francona emerged. Read the rest of this entry

How Much do the Giants miss Melky Cabrera?

Thursday October 18th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: When the San Francisco Giants made the playoffs this year for the second time in three years, there was one major question:  Should Melky Cabrera be activated at some point? There were two schools of thought: the business side, which leaned toward activating him; and the emotional fan side, which was against activating him. If Cabrera was activated, there was no doubt he would help the Giants offensively. Cabrera’s .346 average would have won him the batting title (he disqualified himself) and helped the Giants greatly in the postseason. Granted, if Cabrera had not gotten suspended, the Giants might not have gone after Hunter Pence. Still, a lineup going Cabrera-Posey- Sandoval in the three-four-five holes would be dangerous. And, if Pence was added, the offense would be even more potent.

If the emotions and distractions of players and fans were not considered, the Giants would have activated Cabrera immediately. But, with all of the drama surrounding Cabrera’s suspension and him likely lying to many of his teammates, bringing him back might not have been the best decision. Cabrera would definitely draw an abundance of unwanted media attention into the clubhouse and would undoubtedly cause a distraction. Giants’ fans were also mixed. Some wanted him back while some wanted him run out of town. Although not as important, Cabrera’s return could anger some fans, giving the usually electric AT&T Park a different atmosphere.

Read the rest of this entry

2012 World Series Predictions: Tigers and Cardinals Will Meet Again in October

Monday October 15th, 2012

Sam Evans: With the Championship Series just beginning, predicting the two teams that will face off in the World Series has never been easier. Still, the teams playing in the ALCS and NLCS right now are pretty evenly matched so it’s still difficult to see which two will advance. Due to their momentum and great ability to come back, St. Louis will prevail over San Francisco in the NL. Due to their outstanding pitching staff and Miguel Cabrera being on his current tear, Detroit has a slight advantage over New York in the American League. Even if these predictions go horribly wrong, the one thing we can be certain of is that these two series are going to include some thrilling games played between some of the best teams in baseball. Read the rest of this entry

2012 ALCS Preview: Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees: Can the Yanks Survive the Loss of Jeter?

Sunday October 14th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  The Yankees’ offense is limping into the series, while Detroit is riding Justin Verlander’s arm high. Both were expected to be in this position when the season began, but their journeys were vastly different.

Who will prevail in a series which won’t be lacking for ageless headlines and drama?

Starting Pitching Preview

The Tigers and Yankees each heavily rely on one guy on their respective rotations. And it’s quite clear who those two guys are. But just for reference, we’ll make it known. The Tigers ride Justin Verlander, while the Yankees put a lot of faith in their 33 year-old veteran left-hander, C.C. Sabathia. There’s that.

It’s clear that neither of these teams would be where they are without their two aces. Verlander carved up the A’s in Game 5 on the ALDS to punch Detroit’s ticket to the ALCS with a complete game shutout, and Sabathia sliced and diced the Orioles’ lineup in Game 5, allowing just one run en route to a complete game gem of his own. Think back to their 8th inning of Game 5 and how Sabathia escaped trouble. That is a true ace.

Therefore, guys other than Verlander and Sabathia will provide the separation. Realistically, it could be anyone at this point. Neither the Tigers or Yankees have a stellar number two that’s consistent. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Hamilton Leaving Texas, Valentine’s Future, Crawford’s Return and More!

Saturday October 13th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Today is one of those days where I am going to mix things up slightly. Go in a different direction- use a new style. Heck, it is playoff time! I got thinking last weekend after talking to one of our favorite readers. Lonnie Collins love Cincinnati. He eats, breathes and sleeps the Reds. But despite the love of his team, he is an overall baseball fan. Players of old and new- any team- anytime, Lonnie is up for baseball talk. When we were chatting on twitter the other day (Lonnie’s handle is @aplayatobenamed), he sent me a rapid fire list of questions. Bang bang bang…one after the other. He covered off such an interesting and diverse list of topics, that he got me thinking. Gosh, this man loves baseball!

So in honor of the great baseball fan Lonnie Collins, this week’s edition of ATR is devoted exclusively to his questions. 

Lonnie, thank you for your readership and support. The whole MLB reports team appreciates it! 

Now let’s get to Lonnie’s top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

2012 NLDS Wrap: Giants Defeat the Reds and Will Face Either the Cards or Nats in the NLCS

Friday October 12th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Game One: Reds 5, Giants 2: The first game of the National League Division Series looked to be a pitchers’ duel with Johnny Cueto of the Reds matching up with Matt Cain of the Giants. This possibility quickly went out the window when Cueto was seen in major discomfort after throwing a pitch to the second batter of the game. Out went Cueto with back spasms and in came Sam LeCure. Lecure pitched very well bridging the gap to probable game three starter Mat Latos. Right as Cueto came out, this became a must-win game for the Giants. These first two games would be the only two home games of the series for the Giants, and the ace of the Reds’ staff was out of the game after a third of an inning. While the Reds bullpen and Mat Latos continued to keep the Giants’ offense at bay, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce delivered all the offense that the Reds needed with a two-run bomb to left and a solo shot to right-center. Latos and the bullpen did the rest, only giving up a solo shot to Buster Posey and a run in the ninth inning. It looked as if the Reds had all the momentum taking at least a tie back to Cincinnati.

Game Two: Reds 9, Giants 0: The Reds picked up just where they left off starting the scoring with a Ryan Ludwick solo homer to dead center. In a fall evening in San Franciso, a hitter needs to get all of it for it to be a home run and Ludwick did just that, putting the Reds up 1-0 in the second inning. A few innings later, the Reds continued to pummel Madison Bumgarner scoring three in a rally started by Joey Votto. In what was a weird turn of events, Tim Lincecum came in to pitch in the sixth inning in relief of George Kontos. Lincecum went to the bullpen and only threw a few pitches before heading back to the dugout. Then, to what looked like his surprise, Bruce Bochy inserted him into the game as part of a double switch that put Xavier Nady into left field. Lincecum pitched very well for the limited warm-up tosses he had, shutting down the Reds and keeping the deficit at four. Unfortunately for the Giants the Reds kept going, shelling Jose Mijares and Santiago Casilla for five more runs, bringing up the total to nine. As of Sunday night, it looked like the Giants were completely dead.

Read the rest of this entry

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