Madison Bumgarner will start Game 4 “no matter what”

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Bruce Bochy ended any speculation about the Giants making rotation changes by saying yesterday that Madison Bumgarner will start Game 4 of the NLCS “no matter what.”

Bochy has always been pretty clear about Bumgarner getting the Game 4 nod, but that didn’t stop some people from predicting that he’d use Tim Lincecum on short rest if the Giants were down in the series.

Regardless of how tonight’s Matt Cain-Cole Hamels matchup goes, Bumgarner will get the call in Game 4 followed by Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, and Cain in the final three games of the series.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hasn’t been quite as adamant about Joe Blanton taking the mound in Game 4, leaving the door open for Roy Halladay to come back on short rest to make the start against Bumgarner.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.