Giants fans couldn’t have asked for a better start.
The remaining members of the San Francisco-based Grateful Dead belted out the National Anthem in style, starter Tim Lincecum retired the Phillies in order in the first inning and the rain that settled over AT&T Park during pregame festivities was light and nonthreatening.
Then Andres Torres drew a walk against Phillies ace Roy Halladay in the bottom of the first inning, Freddy Sanchez followed with a single and Torres scored moments later when rookie catcher Buster Posey grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Lincecum came out in the top of the second and again established his dominance, striking out both Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth before inducing a groundout from Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. “The Freak” has held opposing hitters to a .228/.301/.326 batting line in 123 career games at home and is looking awfully comfortable out there tonight.
Halladay, meanwhile, has already reached 43 pitches in two innings of work.
In a game that features two of baseball’s top pitchers, a 1-0 lead might mean big things. That’s exactly what the Giants have as this NLCS Game 5 moves to the third.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.