Madison Bumgarner to start Game 1 of NLCS against Cardinals

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As soon as the Giants learned they would be facing the Cardinals in the NLCS, they announced that Madison Bumgarner will start Game 1 on Sunday night while Ryan Vogelsong will start Game 2 on Monday.

This sets up Matt Cain to start Game 3 on Wednesday in St. Louis and a possible Game 7 back in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com believes Tim Lincecum will return from the bullpen to start Game 4.

Bumgarner allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings in a Game 2 loss to the Reds in the NLDS. Meanwhile, Vogelsong tossed five innings of one-run ball in Game 3.

The Cardinals have yet to announce their rotation for the NLCS, but Lance Lynn is expected to start Game 1 while Chris Carpenter will likely get the ball in Game 2.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.