Playoff Reset: Cubs vs. Giants NLDS Game 3

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The Game: Chicago Cubs @ San Francisco Giants, NLDS Game 3
The Time: 9:30 PM EDT
The Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Jake Arrieta (Cubs) vs. Madison Bumgarner (Giants)

The Upshot:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Giants’ backs are up against the wall, if they don’t win, all is lost and . . . Madison Bumgarner is pitching for them. No one wants to be down 0-2 in a five game series, but if humanity needed to win a one-game playoff against the Martians, there is no one Earth would want on that hill more than Madison Bumgarner.

Bumgarner is working on 23 consecutive scoreless innings in do-or-die games for the Giants. Against the Cubs he’s 8-2 with a 2.25 earned run average in 12 starts, including two wins this year with a 1.32 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.

Not that the Cubs are countering with chopped liver. They have Jake Arrieta, the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA) is 4-2 with a 1.82 ERA in six career starts against San Francisco, including the splitting of two games against the Giants this year. One of those was to Bumgarner and he pitched well overall regardless. Bumgarner is gonna get his.

If he doesn’t get his tonight, the Giants’ run of even year World Series victories will come to an end. It’s, once again, all on MadBum’s shoulders.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”