Madison Bumgarner to start Game 1 of NLCS against Cardinals

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As soon as the Giants learned they would be facing the Cardinals in the NLCS, they announced that Madison Bumgarner will start Game 1 on Sunday night while Ryan Vogelsong will start Game 2 on Monday.

This sets up Matt Cain to start Game 3 on Wednesday in St. Louis and a possible Game 7 back in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com believes Tim Lincecum will return from the bullpen to start Game 4.

Bumgarner allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings in a Game 2 loss to the Reds in the NLDS. Meanwhile, Vogelsong tossed five innings of one-run ball in Game 3.

The Cardinals have yet to announce their rotation for the NLCS, but Lance Lynn is expected to start Game 1 while Chris Carpenter will likely get the ball in Game 2.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.