Slumping Giants can get younger, better

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Indications are that the Giants, losers of five in a row, are thinking about having Eric Hacker replace Todd Wellemeyer at the back of the rotation. It’d be another stopgap for a team that has generally given more weight to short-term solutions over long-term considerations during GM Brian Sabean’s time at the help.
Fortunately, the time is approaching at which those short-term needs and long-term goals will meet. Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey are looking ready for the majors, and it’s going to make sense to bring both to San Francisco next month.
Bumgarner, who essentially had a rotation spot to lose this spring, has regained his velocity over the last month and gone 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five May starts for Triple-A Fresno.
Posey has been hitting all season long, but only recently did the power start to come. He has four homers and seven doubles for Fresno this month, and he’s hitting .327/.422/.506 in 156 at-bats for the year.
There is one complication with both players. Since they were up last September, they already have a few weeks of service time. The Marlins can call up Mike Stanton on June 1 without any worries that he’ll be a super-two arbitration case after 2012. The Giants, though, would have to wait until around July 1 to be guaranteed that same protection with their two elite talents.
That might be too long, and the Giants probably won’t wait once they’re convinced the youngsters can help them win ballgames. Bumgarner, in particular, could make a big impact right away, given that the alternatives for the fifth spot in the rotation are less than stellar. The 27-year-old Hacker is 7-1 with a 2.20 ERA as Bumgarner’s rotationmate, but his fastball is below average and he major leaguers won’t be particularly vulnerable to his curve.
Inserting Posey into the mix would be more complicated. Bengie Molina got off to a great start, only to fall into an awful slump of late. He hasn’t had an extra-base hit since May 6 or an RBI since May 5.
The Giants, though, are happy with how Molina handles the pitching staff. And backup Eli Whiteside has done fine work in limited action, hitting .298/.340/.532 in 47 at-bats. The other position Posey can play, first base, is home to Aubrey Huff. Huff’s 800 OPS in unspectacular, but only part-timers Whiteside and Andres Torres have higher marks on the Giants.
Whether Posey gets the call in the next couple of weeks will probably be determined by how Molina bounces back. If Molina starts producing runs again, the Giants would rather have his experience behind the plate. Posey, though, is likely the second-best hitter in the organization at the moment, behind only Pablo Sandoval. He’d likely be an asset while catching two or three times a week and playing first base against lefties. The Giants have made the right move for his future in letting him catch regularly in Triple-A for two months, but it’s about time for a change.

Dodgers, Brewers announce lineups for NLCS Game 3

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Here are the lineups for NLCS Game 3 between the Brewers and Dodgers. The game is slated for a 7:39 PM ET start at Dodger Stadium and will be broadcast on FS1.

Brewers

CF Lorenzo Cain
RF Christian Yelich
LF Ryan Braun
2B Travis Shaw
1B Jesús Aguilar
3B Mike Moustakas
C Erik Kratz
SS Orlando Arcia
P Jhoulys Chacín

The Brewers are going with Shaw at second base again. Hernán Pérez got the start there in Game 1 and was a defensive substitution in Game 2. Manager Craig Counsell will continue to play the matchups here as Shaw has a significant platoon split. During the regular season, Shaw posted an .892 OPS against right-handers but only .599 against lefties. Pérez was .783 against lefties and .612 against righties.

Dodgers

LF Joc Pederson
1B Max Muncy
3B Justin Turner
SS Manny Machado
CF Cody Bellinger
RF Yasiel Puig
C Yasmani Grandal
2B Enrique Hernández
P Walker Buehler

Chris Taylor gets a night off. Pederson gets the start with a right-hander on the mound after the Brewers started two lefties in the first two games. For the same reason, Muncy gets the start at first base, sending David Freese back to the bench, and Matt Kemp goes back to the bench in favor of Cody Bellinger.