Giants hand NLCS Game 2 nod to Jonathan Sanchez

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We now have Championship Series rotations for three of the four involved teams.  Phillies manager Charlie Manuel refused to name Roy Halladay as his Game 1 starter Monday, but that should change by Thursday morning.

The Yankees’ ALCS rotation is HERE.  And the Rangers’ can be found HERE.

The Giants, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, announced their NLCS pitchers late Wednesday evening.

Tim Lincecum is the no-brainer pick for Game 1 at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.  He delivered one of the most dominant postseason performances of all time in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves, striking out 14 batters while allowing only two hits over a complete-game shutout.  The 26-year-old didn’t have the greatest regular season, but he’s capable of handling any lineup on any night in any ballpark.

Jonathan Sanchez will take on the Phillies in Game 2.  The 27-year-old took a no-hitter into the sixth inning during his lone NLDS start against Atlanta and was brilliant throughout the regular season.  Matt Cain drew the Game 2 start last series but Sanchez has missed more bats this year and is the better fit for the tiny confines in Philadelphia.

Cain will go in Game 3, and might be followed in Game 4 by 21-year-old Madison Bumgarner.

The Giants easily have the weakest lineup of the four teams remaining, but their starting rotation is as dangerous as any.  The Phillies weren’t exactly explosive at the plate in the first round.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.