bruce bochy and dusty baker

NLDS Game 4 lineups: Giants vs. Reds


source: Getty Images

Here are the lineups for Game 4 of the NLDS between the Giants and Reds, in Cincinnati:

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for this game is that Johnny Cueto was removed from the Reds’ playoff roster with a strained oblique muscle and has been replaced by Mike Leake, who’ll start Game 4 on two weeks rest.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.

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
Leave a comment

Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.