One of the nice things about clinching a playoff spot early is that you can line up your rotation optimally and the Giants are doing just that, with manager Bruce Bochy announcing that Matt Cain will start Game 1 of the NLDS.
When that will be and who that will be against isn’t known yet, but Cain getting the series-opening nod is obviously anything but a surprise.
Cain made his final regular season start last night against the Dodgers and was on a pitch count, exiting after five innings of two-run ball.
In addition to throwing a perfect game on June 13 he also started the All-Star game for the National League and finishes the season with a career-best 2.79 ERA and 193/51 K/BB ratio in 219 innings.
No official announcement has been made beyond Cain, but Madison Bumgarner figures to start Game 2 and the Giants have already said they’ll find spots for all five starters (Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito) on the playoff roster.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.