Twins name Francisco Liriano the Game 1 starter for ALDS

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Here in Minnesota there’s been quite a bit of debate about who the Twins should place atop their playoff rotation for a Game 1 and possibly Game 5 start in the ALDS.
Francisco Liriano is pretty clearly the Twins’ best starting pitcher, going 14-8 with a 3.44 ERA and posting arguably the best secondary numbers in the entire league this season. Carl Pavano also has been very good, going 17-11 with a 3.60 ERA, and while his secondary numbers aren’t nearly as great some people feel his “experience” makes him the better Game 1 choice.
Apparently the Twins trust stuff over experience, because they just named Liriano the Game 1 starter.
And it’s the right call. For all the talk of Pavano being more dependable or less likely to implode, they both have allowed three runs or fewer in 22 starts this season. And in terms of dominant outings, Liriano has allowed zero or one run in 11 starts compared to six from Pavano.
Beyond that, if the playoffs began today the Twins would be matched up with the Rays and their excellent team speed could have really exploited Pavano twice in a five-game series. Tampa Bay leads the league with 162 steals, Pavano has surrendered the second-most steals in the league, and in 42 starts since joining the Twins last season he’s allowed 46 steals at an 88 percent success rate.

Adam Eaton sustains leg injury after tripping over first base

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Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton was carried off the field after stumbling over first base on Friday night. In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets, Eaton appeared to catch his ankle on the bag as he ran out an infield single, suffering a leg injury on the fall. He was unable to put pressure on his left leg after the play and required assistance by two of the Nationals’ athletic trainers as he exited the field.

Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters that it “doesn’t look too good.” It’s the first significant leg injury the outfielder has sustained since 2014, when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. He’ll likely be replaced by Michael Taylor in center field for the next couple of games, though that could be a temporary fix as the Nationals seek a better solution during Eaton’s recovery process.

Madison Bumgarner likely sidelined through the All-Star break

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It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.

Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.