San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers, Game 3

Game 3 Live Blog

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9:52: And down goes Uribe. Rangers win. It’s 2-1. Now it gets interesting. Bumgarner v. Hunter tomorrow, my friends.  I’ll be back liveblogging then.  Stay tuned to HBT for Matthew Pouliot’s game racap.  Night folks!

9:49: And down goes Huff. Two down, and we’re an out away from this being a competitive series again.

9:47: Feliz makes short work of Pat Burrell. Now on to face hitters who pose an actual threat.

9:43: In comes Neftali Feliz. I’m rather surprised he remembers the route to the mound.

9:41: Ozzie Guillen comes into the booth and says that he was surprised Washington didn’t use Feliz.  Either that or else he was talking about the cruise he’s planning after the Series is over. It’s hard to tell with Ozzie sometimes.

9:37: OK, I now realize just how dumb I’m going to look if Feliz comes in for the save and blows it.  Thank God it’s Saturday night and none of you are reading this. I’ll be able to go back and erase the past few updates!

9:33: O’Day gets out of it. Know what? I don’t care if it worked. It was still a dumb decision. You have to use Neftali Feliz when the game is on the line. That Washington has consistently failed to do so this postseason is inexplicable.

9:27: Darren O’Day comes into the game. There are two out in the eighth. Tying run at the plate. Why on Earth can’t Washington bring his best relief pitcher in here? This is atrocious.

9:25: Colby Lewis hits a dude, and he’s being yoinked.  Ron Washington makes the call to the pen. Now it gets interesting.

9:22: Andres Torres goes yard. 4-2.  This may not be as bad for Texas as you might think. If it stays a save situation, Washington may be forced to hunt down Neftali Feliz and actually use him in this game.

9:21: “Darren Oliver is getting loose.”  The bullpen is soon going to be part of this game for Texas. Don’t go calling this one a victory yet, Rangers fans. Wait a second [phone rings] Ron Washington is calling ME into the game!

9:14: Jeremy Affeldt is pitching. He has a beard, but it’s not as bushy or black as Wilson’s. “Have some mild uneasiness about the beard!”

9:07: Martha Plimpton for “God Bless America?”  Wasn’t expecting that. And since FOX is using this to promote one of its shows — it was even announced by the PA guy — can we dispense with the notion that it’s all patriotic and sacred and stuff?  Bring back “Take me out to the Ballgame,” OK?

9:04: Wow, there goes Cody Ross again. Home run, 4-1, Rangers.  Someone is going to [over]pay him a TON for this postseason performance.

9:03: Pat Burrell just struck out for the third time. He’s brought zilch to the table this series. Or the postseason overall (Burrell is 6-for-37 with 18 Ks). Bochy needs to sit him down.

9:00: Just saw two ads for the same political race in this commercial break. In one, the incumbent was portrayed as a nice man. In the other, pure evil. They both can’t be right! Someone is lying!

8:57: For the second time tonight a Giant pitcher fakes to second and the crowd goes nuts, thinking it’s a balk. Yay for Texas in the World Series, but there are likely a lot of new fans at the ballpark tonight.

8:54: And Francoeur takes a walk.  This, my friends, is not the Giants’ night.

8:53: McCarver on Ian Kinsler’ stolen base: “Posey actually makes a good throw . . .” as the video shows it going well to the third base side of the bag.

8:50: Ah, Jeffy is up with a runner on.  I can’t decide if I want him to go yard or screw himself into the ground whiffing on a big swing.

8:43: And the threat ends with Aubrey Huff on second. The Giants have suddenly reverted to the Giants we all came to know late in the season.  Just not looking good at the plate.

8:41: Was just about to say that Lewis had been walking some dangerous territory with those hanging curves, but then McCarver said it, so let’s just forget it. /stopped clock.

8:39: Know what I don’t care about? Whether Brett Favre starts tomorrow. Anyone else trying to play on a broken ankle would be considered a psycho, a detriment to his team or both. Favre, though? He’s like a kid out there!

8:37:  OK, the runaway train movie looks like it might be good.

8:34: Why is Vlad Guerrero stealing? Shot down, of course. He runs like he’s smuggling cinder blocks, yet off he goes? Eh, Rangers still up 4-0.

8:28: Seriously, what has happened to Sanchez?  He’s been MIA all postseason. Just awful.

8:27: Josh Hamilton just abused that baseball.  Bye-bye Sanchez. Or at least it should be.

8:25: Wow, Uribe flashed some leather, and the neighborhood play at second was fair enough as far as I was concerned.  Wait — replay showed it may not have been the neighborhood play. Nice DP!

8:23: I’ve been digging this low, low strike zone tonight. And by “digging” I mean really, really hating.

8:20: Hey all — this started as a chat, but due to a glitch in the Matrix or something, we kept having technical glitches. So from here on out, it’s a live blog. Upside: while trying to fix the live chat, I missed a horrendous Jeff Francoeur at bat!

Shocker: Bruce Bochy tabs Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

Madison Bumgarner
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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You might want to sit down for this news. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has tabbed ace Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Brewers, CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports. Shocking, I know.

The Giants had a busy offseason, adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation, but neither had a shot at getting the Opening Day nod considering what Bumgarner has done for the Giants over the last five seasons.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the 26-year-old lefty compiled a 3.05 ERA with 1,034 strikeouts and 239 walks across 1,050 innings. Among starters who logged at least 800 innings in that span of time, only Clayton Kershaw, Cueto, Zack Greinke, David Price, and Felix Hernandez have posted lower ERAs.  And Bumgarner is the only one among them with a championship ring. In fact, he has three.

Tony Clark is not happy so many players remain unsigned

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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We’re almost halfway through February. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training soon. And yet, there are more than a handful of solid free agents that remain unsigned. Among them: Yovani Gallardo, Ian Desmond, and Dexter Fowler. All three have draft pick compensation tied to them, as each rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from his respective former team. That, undoubtedly, is a reason why they haven’t inked a contract yet.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark is unhappy about this reality and expects to discuss potential changes when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The current CBA expires after the 2016 season. Per the Associated Press, Clark said last week, “I think it’s disappointing when there are as many talented players still without a home. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to be in a world where very talented players are at home for whatever reason they are there. It will likely be a part of the conversation in bargaining.”

Clark also mentioned, among other things, the possibility of a draft lottery, which would take away the incentive for teams to “tank”, or lose on purpose. The Astros and Phillies have notably done this in recent years, finishing with baseball’s worst record and thus netting the #1 overall draft pick.

These are, however, simply two items of many that will be discussed during the upcoming offseason. It will be interesting to see what solutions are eventually put in place.

Michael Pineda hopes to reach 200-inning mark for first time

New York Yankees' Michael Pineda delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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It was reported on Friday that Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day as he makes his way back from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. His health will be crucial to the Yankees’ chances this season, but the same goes for rotation-mate Michael Pineda, who hopes that this is the year he’ll be able to take on the workload of a frontline starter.

Pineda was on pace for a career-high in innings last season, but he landed on the disabled list in late July with a right flexor forearm muscle strain and missed a month. He struggled upon his return and ended up with 160 2/3 innings, so he fell short of his career-high of 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners way back in 2011. Now going into his age-27 season, Pineda told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that his goal for 2016 is to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career.

“For me, this year, I’m coming here early to be strong and working hard to pitch 200 innings this year,” Pineda said at the club’s Minor League complex. “I want to throw 200 innings this year. This is my goal, and help my team.”

Pineda had a mediocre 4.37 ERA (90 ERA+) last season despite impressive peripherals with 8.7 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Among pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched, only Bartolo Colon of the Mets had a lower walk percentage. Pineda managed to increase his ground ball rate to 48.2 percent and also saw an uptick in velocity from 2014, so there’s reason to believe in improvement if he can stay healthy.

Brewers GM: Acquiring Jacob Nottingham doesn’t change Jonathan Lucroy’s status

Jonathan Lucroy
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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The Brewers acquired prospects Jake Nottingham and Bubba Derby from the Athletics on Friday in exchange for slugging outfielder Khris Davis. The hope is that Nottingham will develop into the Brewers’ catcher of the future, so you could say that the club is planning for life after Jonathan Lucroy. However, Brewers general manager David Stearns said today that the trade doesn’t change Lucroy’s immediate status.

The Brewers are in rebuild-mode and Lucroy is an excellent trade chip if healthy, as his contract includes a $5.25 million club option for 2017. It’s likely just a matter of time before he’s shipped elsewhere, but yesterday’s trade shouldn’t change the timeline for a potential deal. Nottingham doesn’t turn 21 until April and has yet to play in Double-A, so he’s still a ways off from the majors. The Brewers can afford to wait on the right offer for Lucroy, whether it’s in spring training or at the trade deadline or perhaps later.

Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Nottingham batted .316/.372/.505 with 17 home runs over 109 games last season between Class A and High-A. He was traded from the Astros to the Athletics as part of the Scott Kazmir deal last July. It’s worth noting that Stearns was the assistant GM for Houston when Nottingham was drafted in the sixth round back in 2013, so he’s clearly a fan.