Link-O-Rama: Bucknor behind plate for Game 2

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* After turning in an absolutely brutal performance last night as the first-base umpire in Game 1 of the Red Sox-Angels series, C.B. Bucknor will be calling balls and strikes in Game 2 tonight. Bucknor was voted baseball’s worst umpire several years ago in a Sports Illustrated poll and it’ll be a surprise if there aren’t some fireworks tonight.
* Baseball-Reference.com dug up the stats and found that home teams have a .540 winning percentage in the playoffs since 1995. During that same time home teams have a .539 winning percentage in the regular season. My guess is that conventional wisdom would say that homefield advantage is significantly more valuable in the postseason, but as is so often the case conventional wisdom would be off the mark.
* Unlike the Yankees benching Jorge Posada to give Jose Molina the Game 2 start as A.J. Burnett’s personal catcher, the Red Sox are sticking with Victor Martinez behind the plate despite Josh Beckett’s success working with Jason Varitek. Beckett has worked with Varitek in 83 of his last 90 starts and struggled in three outings with Martinez as his catcher.
* Former big leaguer Marcus Giles was arrested earlier this week and charged with domestic battery after police were called to his California home at three in the morning. Giles’ older brother, Brian Giles, has been accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend as part of a $10 million palimony case.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.