Giants hand NLCS Game 2 nod to Jonathan Sanchez

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We now have Championship Series rotations for three of the four involved teams.  Phillies manager Charlie Manuel refused to name Roy Halladay as his Game 1 starter Monday, but that should change by Thursday morning.

The Yankees’ ALCS rotation is HERE.  And the Rangers’ can be found HERE.

The Giants, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, announced their NLCS pitchers late Wednesday evening.

Tim Lincecum is the no-brainer pick for Game 1 at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.  He delivered one of the most dominant postseason performances of all time in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves, striking out 14 batters while allowing only two hits over a complete-game shutout.  The 26-year-old didn’t have the greatest regular season, but he’s capable of handling any lineup on any night in any ballpark.

Jonathan Sanchez will take on the Phillies in Game 2.  The 27-year-old took a no-hitter into the sixth inning during his lone NLDS start against Atlanta and was brilliant throughout the regular season.  Matt Cain drew the Game 2 start last series but Sanchez has missed more bats this year and is the better fit for the tiny confines in Philadelphia.

Cain will go in Game 3, and might be followed in Game 4 by 21-year-old Madison Bumgarner.

The Giants easily have the weakest lineup of the four teams remaining, but their starting rotation is as dangerous as any.  The Phillies weren’t exactly explosive at the plate in the first round.

Cincinnati Reds fire Bryan Price

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.

It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.

Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).” 

Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.

Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.