Madison Bumgarner will start Game 4 “no matter what”

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Bruce Bochy ended any speculation about the Giants making rotation changes by saying yesterday that Madison Bumgarner will start Game 4 of the NLCS “no matter what.”

Bochy has always been pretty clear about Bumgarner getting the Game 4 nod, but that didn’t stop some people from predicting that he’d use Tim Lincecum on short rest if the Giants were down in the series.

Regardless of how tonight’s Matt Cain-Cole Hamels matchup goes, Bumgarner will get the call in Game 4 followed by Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, and Cain in the final three games of the series.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hasn’t been quite as adamant about Joe Blanton taking the mound in Game 4, leaving the door open for Roy Halladay to come back on short rest to make the start against Bumgarner.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.