Giants' midseason moves haven't paid off

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Part of the reason why the Giants find themselves 3.5 games behind the Rockies in the Wild Card race despite baseball’s best pitching staff is that the midseason trades they made in an effort to upgrade a punchless lineup haven’t worked out at all.
Prior to getting second baseman Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates and first baseman Ryan Garko from the Indians, the Giants averaged 4.0 runs per game. Since then San Francisco has scored 4.1 runs per game.
Basically zero change, which is what happens when Sanchez hits .278/.290/.322 while being sidelined half the time with a shoulder injury and Garko earns a seat on the bench by hitting .232/.291/.347.
Last month I wrote about how dangerous the Giants could be in the playoffs because of their Tim Lincecum-led pitching staff, but that premise assumed that Sanchez and Garko would at least give the lineup a couple decent bats to compliment Pablo Sandoval. Instead they’ve just joined the crowded club of Giants hitters providing below-average production.
In fact, among the 16 hitters who’ve had at least 100 plate appearances for the Giants this season only Sandoval, Juan Uribe, and little-used reserve outfielder Andres Torres have an adjusted OPS+ above average. And (with apologies to Rockies fans) it’s a shame, because I’d love to see the league’s best pitcher, the league’s top-hitting Panda, and maybe even the best left-handed pitcher of the past 50 years in the playoffs.

John Farrell will return to manage Red Sox in 2016

John Farrell
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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John Farrell will return to manage the Red Sox next season, provided he is healthy enough to do so, the club announced Sunday morning in a press release.

Torey Lovullo, who has been serving as Boston’s interim manager since Farrell was diagnosed with lymphoma, signed a two-year contract to return as Farrell’s bench coach. Lovullo also forfeited his right to pursue another managerial role with the new deal.

Farrell guided the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2013 and the problems with the Red Sox over the last two seasons have been more about roster construction.

Dave Dombrowski took over the front office from Ben Cherington back in mid-August and will try to turn things around this winter.

All of the other coaches on Farrell’s staff will return except first-base coach Arnie Beyeler.

Piscotty returns to Cardinals lineup after concussion

Stephen Piscotty
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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Stephen Piscotty took the brunt of a frightening outfield collision last week at PNC Park, but he only suffered a mild concussion and was cleared for baseball activities a couple days later.

Now he is back in the Cardinals’ starting lineup, batting second and playing right field Sunday in the first half of a doubleheader against the Braves at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

Piscotty has an impressive .867 OPS with seven home runs and 39 RBI over his first 62 major league games. He should be a big part of the Cardinals’ postseason push, drawing starts in the corner outfield spots and at first base.

St. Louis will get either the Pirates or Cubs in the NLDS.