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for this game is that Johnny Cueto was removed from the Reds’ playoff roster with a strained oblique muscle and has been replaced by Mike Leake, who’ll start Game 4 on two weeks rest.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

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
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With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.

Yankees to host AL Wild Card Game after Astros lose to D’Backs

Jacoby Ellsbury, Tony Pena
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Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.

The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.

The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.

The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.