San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers, Game 4

HBT Game 4 Live blog

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11:31: And Josh Hamilton strikes out to end it. 4-0, the Giants shut out the Rangers. 3-1 is the series lead. Things are dire.  How do the Rangers beat Lincecum and Cain?  Let’s think about that one tomorrow. For now, stay tuned as D.J. will be on soon to put this one in perspective.  Night all.

11:30: Wilson is on. Two out.  This one is about over. Even Josh Hamilton can’t hit a five run homer.

11:27: Brian Wilson comes in to demoralize Rangers fans. I predict no less than five camera shots of fans with their hands up near their mouths in prayer and/or consternation. FOX just can’t help itself with this stuff.

11:24: Holland rebounds to retire the next three hitters in order. Call off the Steve Blass Alert.

11:19: Derek Holland walks the first batter he faces. Wow. Where have we seen this before?

11:14: Bumgarner gives up two hard hit balls to left, but they were caught, and then strikes Mitch Moreland out looking. Bumgarner’s night is likely over. The Giants get their hacks in the ninth and then in comes Brian Wilson.  The Rangers are about to be shut out for the second time in four games, aren’t they?

11:08: So I was wrong. Bumgarner is back out. I guess they don’t need to save him for anything. And it’s the bottom of the Rangers’ order.

11:00:  Wow, Buster Posey hit a home run out to center. It looked like a popup off the bat. Hamilton played it like a popup, but it just carried and carried. Man. 4-0, Giants, who are on the verge of being up 3-1.

10:58: Joe Buck with his 5th Dallas Cowboys reference of the night. It’s like being on a date with a girl who keeps talking about that other guy she has a crush on.

10:50: And it’s for naught. Kinsler flies out to left. Threat over. The question: does Bumgarner come out for the 8th? I’m guessing no.

10:48: Nelson Cruz singles up the middle. After a night of quiet from the Rangers’ bats, they have two on and the tying run at the plate in the form of Ian Kinsler.

10:46: Bumgarner at 84 pitches. If he can get through the 7th nicely, Bochy can go straight to Brian Wilson.

10:41: Bumgarner getting some really lenient calls on the inside corner now. The home plate ump must have realized how slow the first third of the game was and remembered that he has someplace to be.

10:37: God Bless America bu the group “4 Troops.” I may have missed the memo explaining them, but I’m assuming they’re either veterans themselves or are somehow designed to be a tribute to troops. Much better, I think, than the song being used as a FOX promo last night.  But I’m not gonna lie: this four-part ballad whatever it is arrangement is pretty terrible. We’re a step away from halftime shows here.

10:33: Did I say insurance? The Giants just got it. A Renteria single followed two batters later by Andres Torres hitting an RBI double to the gap. 3-0, Giants.

10:23: Another double play for the Giants. Bumgarner has everything going in his favor tonight. He would probably like a little insurance right now, however.

10:19: Molina grounds to third. Uribe seems to take extra time to throw him out. It seems like the Giants fielders are rubbing it in with him.

10:14: Darren Oliver is in replacing Ogando. Fact: every other Rangers relief pitcher is named Darren.

10:09: Alexi Ogando pulled or tweaked something. He’s hurt and out of the game. That’s a big blow for the Rangers. He had restored order and had been looking good.

10:06: Not a lot is happening in this game right now as the pitchers have settled down. Lots of Halloween talk and shots of fans in costumes. The one of Beaker from the Muppet Show was awesome. But the best, by far, is Ken Rosenthal dressed as Brother Mouzone from “The Wire.”

10:02: A 1-2-3 5th inning from Madison Bumgarner. Great defense continues for the Giants. Starting to get the feeling that last night’s game was the aberration. But for Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants are just abusing the Rangers.

9:55: And Ogando makes short work of the Giants in the 5th. Maybe with Hunter gone we can get some momentum going here.

9:52: Alexi Ogando is coming in to the game for Texas, closing the book on Tommy Hunter. Hunter seemed way worse than the line score would indicate. I think that if you had told Ron Washington before the game that Hunter would only allow two runs, he would have been happy. Maybe would have liked an extra inning or two from him, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

9: 49: And Sanchez does get another chance: applies the tag on Josh Hamilton as he’s caught stealing. Great thrown by Posey. Great tag by Sanchez. Some sweet defense being played in this one.

9:45: Man, Freddy Sanchez is going nuts at second base. That snag a couple of innings ago, a great play that just missed Michael Young and then that stab and tag on Hamilton’s fielder’s choice.  Hit it to him again! This is fun!

9:44: Um, no, I did not miss the first three pitches of this inning because I didn’t flip back from “Dawn of the Dead” over on AMC fast enough.

9:38: Just when I thought Tommy Hunter was going to get through an inning quickly, he gives up a hot shot single to Renteria. He’s got to be near the end of the line tonight. His pitch count is high, his control is shaky and he’s sweating gravy.

9:30: Showing Nolan Ryan highlights, and they show the Robin Ventura beatdown!  Love it! I take back everything I ever said about you FOX.

9:28: Bengie Molina grounds to short. As it’s being fielded, Buck says “Renteria has time.” That may be the understatement of the century.

9:24: Hunter gets the fly out to end the inning. By the way, this game is over an hour old and we’ve only played two and a half innings.

9:20: Aubrey Huff just hit a mile-high shot that stayed straight as it went down the line and out. 2-0 Giants.

9:15: A leadoff double for Andres Torres. Good luck for him: ball hit the bag and bounced over Mitch Moreland.  And it gave Francoeur a shot to show off his arm. he LOVES doin’ that.

9:09: Freddy Sanchez robs Jeff Francoeur of a base hit with a leaping grab to end the inning. I’ll deal with a bad zone if every inning can end with a great defensive play.

9:07: The strike zone continues to jump all over the place. High and inside is a strike, apparently. Right down the middle, nope. But not always.  Just maddening.

8:57: Josh Hamilton saves the day with an awesome diving catch. The players are doing their best to render the umps’ bad calls meaningless.

8:55: And now runners on the corners after a Renteria single. All of this — plus the nine extra pitches (and counting) from Hunter — would be unnecessary if the ump at first had made the right call on the would-be DP.

8:51: That was probably the first time Barbara Bush has ever been circled on a telestrator.

8:49: Bad call. Runner was out at first on the DP attempt, umps called him safe. Replay please.

8:44: This strike zone is ridiculous. This game will be four and a half hours if Mike Winters doesn’t loosen this up a bit.

8:40: Nice takeout slide by Andrus to break up the DP.  There’s not much not to like about that kid.

8:38: Four-pitch walk to kick of the game for Madison Bumgarner. Yeah, he got squeezed, but not a good sign.

8:37: Rangers players doing the lineups by saying what their favorite Halloween costumes were as kids. Another reason to wish that the World Series didn’t stretch this late into the year. Mid-October would be great. Impossible, I know, but this just seems wrong.

8:34: Is the guy in the runaway train movie Captain Kirk from the new Star Trek flick?  Maybe another reason to see it. It may be terrible but I think I’m hooked.

8:31: Gotta say, I really hate the orange bills on the Giants alternate caps. Why mess with classic lines?

8:25: We’re not really squaring to bunt with no one out in the first, are we?

8:23: Before the playoffs, almost every Rangers game I saw this year was on MLB.tv, so it was on my little computer screen. Since the playoffs started, all on my big HD TV. Lesson learned: Tommy Hunter is friggin’ gigantic. It just never came through so clearly on the computer.

8:20: Saw this earlier, of course, but it’s quite nice to not see Pat Burrell in the lineup. Unless you’re the Rangers anyway.

8:16: Another aces first pitch from GWB.  Dude has an arm.

8:14: The Bushes are in the house. Say what you want about the politics, but they are easily the two most baseballingest presidents we’ve ever had, and you have to love that.

8:11: I love how they tease the first pitch: “A father son first pitch with a Presidential flavor to it.” Without naming names. Ooh! Let me guess: John and John Quincy Adams?

8:09: Lyle Lovett doing the National Anthem. With a cello. Not a large band. I’d still like to see Hayes Carll get a shot at this. He’s from Texas.

7:55 P.M.:  We’ll be live blogging this bad boy once again, my friends.  First pitch is 8:20ish, but I’m sure I’ll find something to snark about before then. Come on in, sit right down and hit refresh every few minutes. I mean, your alternative is watching a lame NFL game. And who wants to do that?

Oh, wait. The football game is on NBC. Let’s just see if we can figure out our picture-in-picture, cool?  Craigy’s gotta pay the bills, after all . . .

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.