Author: Aaron Gleeman

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NLDS, Game 3: Nationals vs. Giants lineups


Here are the lineups for Game 3 of the Nationals-Giants series in San Francisco:

CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
SP Doug Fister

With a left-hander on the mound there was lots of talk about the Nationals benching one of their left-handed hitters (Denard Span, Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche) for Ryan Zimmerman. But manager Matt Williams has decided against it, sticking with the same group he used in the first two games. Zimmerman will once again look to make an impact off the bench.

CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
SS Brandon Crawford
LF Travis Ishikawa
SP Madison Bumgarner

Standard lineup for the Giants, who’re sticking with Travis Ishikawa in left field and get a little offensive boost with Madison Bumgarner and his four regular season homers on the mound.

ALCS surprise? Orioles and Royals were the AL’s two best teams in the second half

Royals mascot

Obviously very few people expected an Orioles-Royals matchup in the ALCS and the ease with which those two teams dispatched of their ALDS opponents was even more surprising, but here’s an interesting tidbit I just stumbled across:

Baltimore had the American League’s best record in the second half at 44-24 and Kansas City was tied for the league’s second-best record at 41-27.

Every year a lot is made of which players and teams are “hot” heading into the playoffs and most of the time it means nothing, but it’s at least worth noting that the Orioles and Royals were playing really good baseball for months leading up to this surprising ALCS matchup.

Of course, the Angels were too. They were tied with the Royals for the league’s second-best second-half record at 41-27 and it didn’t stop them from getting swept. Detroit was just 37-34 in the second half. And of course the A’s, whom the Royals beat in the Wild Card Game, were 29-38 in the second half.

Video: Bryce Harper absolutely destroys a 97-mph fastball

Bryce Harper Getty

San Francisco took Game 1 of the NLDS, but not before Washington made things very interesting in part thanks to this massive, 450-foot home run by Bryce Harper off a 97-mph fastball from Hunter Strickland.

Harper doesn’t turn 22 years old for another 13 days.

Kelvin Herrera diagnosed with “slight” flexor strain

Kelvin Herrera Getty

Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera exited his Game 1 appearance after just one batter while in obvious discomfort and manager Ned Yost just announced that he’s been diagnosed with a “slight” flexor strain.

Yost told reporters “he’s fine” but odds are Herrera won’t be pitching again this season. Flexor strains often lead to a more serious diagnosis and sometimes lead to Tommy John surgery. If nothing else the Royals are not going to want to take any chances with the 24-year-old right-hander.

Herrera, who averaged 98.1 miles per hour with his fastball this season, has a 2.56 ERA in 215 career innings and was part of the Royals’ spectacular late-inning bullpen trio with Wade Davis and Greg Holland.

Benches clear after Adam Wainwright plunks Yasiel Puig

puig getty

Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright just plunked Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig in the shoulder and when Adrian Gonzalez came to the plate next he started jawing with catcher Yadier Molina, at which point both benches cleared.

There’s history dating back to last year’s playoffs, when Joe Kelly broke Hanley Ramirez’s ribs with a pitch. This time didn’t seem obviously intentional, but Gonzalez clearly thought there was something going on. Puig, for his part, wasn’t nearly as upset as Gonzalez.

Warnings have been issued, so if Clayton Kershaw hits anyone he’s at risk for ejection.

Oh, and Puig came around to score on a Ramirez single, tying the game at 1-1.