The Giants are 8-1 this postseason when they score first. And they lead here in World Series Game 3.
Hunter Pence drew a walk to open the second inning, stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, then scored easily when Gregor Blanco smashed a 3-2 breaking ball off the right-center field wall for a triple. Brandon Crawford then drove in Blanco with a base hit that dropped in front of Detroit’s Austin Jackson.
Sanchez had a smooth first inning but has looked pretty shaky since. Perhaps the cold weather is affecting his grip. Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, meanwhile, has thrown two scoreless frames. San Francisco leads 2-0 as the third inning gets underway.
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.