Ryan Vogelsong pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and the Giants eked out three runs against lefty Gio Gonzalez and the Washington bullpen as San Francisco closed out the NLDS on Tuesday night with a 3-2 Game 4 victory. They’ll now move on to an National League Championship Series matchup with the Cardinals, and for the fifth straight season one of those teams will be heading to the World Series.
The Nationals put up a good fight to try to force a Game 5 back in Washington, D.C. — Bryce Harper launched a game-tying solo splash shot to McCovey Cove in the top of the seventh and then drew a walk in the top of the ninth to represent the tying run — but Giants closer Santiago Casilla ultimately shut the door.
Hunter Pence’s sixth-inning catch against the wall to rob Jayson Werth of an extra-base hit was a huge moment given how close the game remained throughout, and it’ll provide a lasting image of this NLDS win.
The Giants have won seven straight postseason series dating back to 2012. They’ve taken the long road this year, starting with a Wild Card Game victory in Pittsburgh, but now they’re just four wins away from another Fall Classic. Ace Madison Bumgarner will be ready to rock for Game 1 on Saturday at Busch Stadium.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.