The Giants ran away with Game 1, but pitching is the name of the game tonight.
Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister have matched zeros so far as Game 2 remains scoreless through five innings.
Bumgarner, who struggled over his first two starts this postseason, has allowed just two hits while striking out six and walking none. He has also hit a batter. The southpaw has received some help from his defense and also from Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont, who made the ill-advised decision to give Prince Fielder the green light on a double by Delmon Young with nobody out in the second inning. Fielder was thrown out at the plate thanks to an excellent tag by Buster Posey.
Fister, meanwhile, has allowed just two hits while striking out three and walking one. He got into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the second inning, which included a scary moment when he was hit in the head by a line drive, but he managed to stay in the game and wiggle out of the jam. He has retired the last 10 batters he has faced.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.