Here are the lineups for Game 4 of the NLDS between the Giants and Reds, in Cincinnati:
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS CINCINNATI REDS
1. Angel Pagan, CF 1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
2. Marco Scutaro, 2B 2. Zack Cozart, SS
3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B 3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Buster Posey, 1B 4. Ryan Ludwick, LF
5. Hunter Pence, RF 5. Jay Bruce, RF
6. Hector Sanchez, C 6. Todd Frazier, 3B
7. Gregor Blanco, LF 7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Brandon Crawford, SS 8. Drew Stubbs, CF
9. Barry Zito, SP 9. Mike Leake, SP
The big story for this game is that Johnny Cueto was removed from the Reds’ playoff roster with a strained oblique muscle and has been replaced by Mike Leake, who’ll start Game 4 on two weeks rest. Leake tossed a one-run complete game against the Giants during the regular season, but was mediocre enough overall that the Reds opted to leave him off the postseason roster.
In addition to the Cueto/Leake switch manager Dusty Baker has made a pair of lineup changes, benching Scott Rolen for Todd Frazier at third base and Ryan Hanigan for Dioner Navarro at catcher. Our own Matthew Pouliot wrote last night that it was time for Rolen to take a seat and even before his Game 3 error plenty of Reds fans were clamoring for Frazier.
Bruce Bochy made a change to the Giants’ lineup, giving Buster Posey a day off from catching by shifting him to first base and inserting Hector Sanchez behind the plate at the expense of Brandon Belt. Not only is Barry Zito on the Giants’ playoff roster after being left off in 2010, he got the Game 4 starting nod over Tim Lincecum. Imagine telling a Giants fan that was going to happen back in spring training.
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.