UPDATE: And now Ryan Ludwick hits a big blast in the bottom of the sixth, making it 6-3 Giants. It may just be a ballgame yet.
2:54 PM: The Reds get two back in the bottom half of the inning on a Brandon Phillips double, so it’s now 6-2 Giants.
2: 36 PM: Mat Latos and Matt Cain dueled for four innings, but someone has finally broken through: the Giants. They have busted it wide open, thanks to a Mat Latos meltdown and then a Buster Posey grand slam. San Francisco leads it 6-0 in top of the fifth. And they’re still batting as this post goes live.
Gregor Blanco led off the inning with a single and scored when Brandon Crawford tripled to right. That was followed up with a Matt Cain grounder to the mound. Then Angel Pagan hit a bounder to Zach Cozart at short, who bobbled it, allowing Crawford to score on the error. A four pitch walk to Marco Scutaro followed, bringing Pablo Sandoval to the plate, who singled to left. Based loaded, one out.
Buster Posey then came up to the plate, took the count to 2-2 and then launched titanic blast to right field. 6-0 and a stone cold silent crowd in Cincinnati. MVP anyone?
Dusty Baker has gone in to make a pitching change. It is probably too little too late. Wow.
If the Giants hold on here, we’ll have some history. No NL team has ever lost a division series after winning the first two games and no team in either league has ever taken a 2-0 lead in a five-game series and lost the next three all at home.
But the Reds just might.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.