A word about that bandage on Joaquin Benoit’s face

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We had a tense three and a half hour playoff elimination game last night. Some of baseball’s biggest names coming to bat and hurling pitches in clutch situations. Drama. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  And the subject that took up the most real estate in our live chat last night?  That thing on Joaquin Benoit’s face.

For those who missed it, Benoit came into the game in the seventh inning. On his left cheek: a bandage the size of a pool tarp.  Joe Girardi came out of the dugout and complained about it to the home plate umpire who then made Benoit remove it.  Underneath the bandage was either a giant boil or a zit or Kuato or something. It was quite the scene, man.

On Twitter, in the chat and around the blogosphere this morning I’ve seen references to this being one of Joe Girardi’s mind games.  I’m not buying it.  I could see the bandage from here in Ohio, even when I turned my TV off.  It interfered with the landing pattern at LaGuardia. While the thing under the bandage wasn’t pretty, with the bandage on, Benoit looked like Darkman.

I guess what I’m saying is, no, that wasn’t an instance of Joe Girardi playing mind games. The only thing that would have made the bandage more distracting would be if it was lit with neon. It had to go.

Best part:  He somehow found an even bigger one for the postgame celebration!

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Mark Melancon is considering surgery

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Giants’ right-hander Mark Melancon is considering surgery for an undisclosed injury, the pitcher told reporters prior to Friday’s game against the Phillies. Melancon did not divulge the exact location of the injury, but revealed that it had been plaguing him off and on since the 2012 season and was a separate issue from the right pronator strain that kept him sidelined through much of July and August. Giants’ head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner called the injury day-to-day and has not revealed a timetable for the right-hander’s return, should surgery become necessary.

Melancon, 32, has struggled to replicate the sparkling pitching line he produced with the Pirates and Nationals in 2016. He’s toting a 3.80 ERA through 25 appearances with San Francisco, flanked by a 1.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 23 2/3 innings. His season has been significantly shortened after multiple trips to the disabled list for a right forearm strain, and while he looked to be in line to resume his closing duties this week, the Giants will likely play it safe with the veteran righty to keep him from compromising his health in 2018.

Although the injury doesn’t appear to be severe in nature, it’s clearly intensified over the last few months. Per MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Melancon said he’s “had discomfort every day this season,” though he hopes to continue pitching through the remainder of 2017. The Giants aren’t on the verge of contending by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid end to the 2017 season could help Melancon make some headway as he looks to reclaim his status as the team’s closer next spring.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.