The Giants had a scoring chance go by the wayside in the bottom of the second inning.
Buster Posey singled off Doug Fister to begin the inning before Hunter Pence flew out to center field and Brandon Belt struck out swinging. However, Gregor Blanco followed with a line drive up the middle which deflected off Fister’s head and fell for a single. Fister threw a few warm-up pitches and managed to convince all involved that he was OK to stay in. Pretty scary given what happened with Brandon McCarthy this year, but there you go.
When play continued, Fister walked Brandon Crawford to load the bases. However, he managed to get opposing pitcher Madison Bumgarner to pop out to left-center to avoid any damage.
Bumgarner has struck out five over three scoreless innings thus far, so we’re scoreless going into the bottom of the third in Game 2.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.