Link-O-Rama: Bucknor behind plate for Game 2

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* After turning in an absolutely brutal performance last night as the first-base umpire in Game 1 of the Red Sox-Angels series, C.B. Bucknor will be calling balls and strikes in Game 2 tonight. Bucknor was voted baseball’s worst umpire several years ago in a Sports Illustrated poll and it’ll be a surprise if there aren’t some fireworks tonight.
* Baseball-Reference.com dug up the stats and found that home teams have a .540 winning percentage in the playoffs since 1995. During that same time home teams have a .539 winning percentage in the regular season. My guess is that conventional wisdom would say that homefield advantage is significantly more valuable in the postseason, but as is so often the case conventional wisdom would be off the mark.
* Unlike the Yankees benching Jorge Posada to give Jose Molina the Game 2 start as A.J. Burnett’s personal catcher, the Red Sox are sticking with Victor Martinez behind the plate despite Josh Beckett’s success working with Jason Varitek. Beckett has worked with Varitek in 83 of his last 90 starts and struggled in three outings with Martinez as his catcher.
* Former big leaguer Marcus Giles was arrested earlier this week and charged with domestic battery after police were called to his California home at three in the morning. Giles’ older brother, Brian Giles, has been accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend as part of a $10 million palimony case.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.