Giants

Brandon Belt checks in from the Dominican Republic

588648.jpg

Brandon Belt checks in from the Dominican Republic

As Brandon Belt gets ready to wrap up his time in the Dominican Republic for winter ball, he took a few minutes to answer some questions via email. Some are baseball related, but I was also curious about the culture, his experiences, and of course the food. --------Hi Brandon! Just wanted to check into see how everything is going down at winter ball. The fans would love to hear from you.I started playing winter ball on October 14th and I'll be coming home on November 23rd. Everything is going good. I've been playing pretty well and I've gotten back to the place where I want to be hitting wise. I have been very fatigued though and I'm ready for some rest, but I want to make sure I finish strong.

Despite the fatigue, are you glad you went?Even though I am exhausted, I am glad that I came because it allowed me to face good competition against good pitchers. As I mentioned, it also allowed me to get back to that place where I want to be as far as hitting goes after a disappointing and inconsistent half year in the big leagues.Aside from baseball, what's been your favorite part?Apart from baseball, my favorite part about being down here in the Dominican is the scenery and going to the beach on the off days. It is absolutely beautiful down here. My hotel is right on the water. On the off days, all of the American guys either go to the beach or the pool which is awesome since for the past 5 or 6 years I haven't had any time to do that because of summer or pro ball. I have had the worst farmers tan over that time so my stomach, back, shoulders, and chest were thanking me for the sunlight.Any weird foods you've tried?The weirdest food I've tried down here has been fried plantains, which are pretty good. Other than that, I usually just eat any American food that I can get my hands on. We have a Champs Bar and Grill here at the hotel so that's where I get most of my food from. I will say that I have eaten some of the best steaks I have ever consumed in my life down here. I don't know why that is but they are delicious.Anyone in particular you've bonded with down there?I haven't bonded with anyone in particular down here I don't think, but I have bonded with just about all of the Americans. I got lucky. I'm on a team that has a lot of cool guys and we all became pretty good friends within the first couple of days. A few of their names are Cole Figeroua, Brett Wallace, Sam Narron, Mike Cervanak, David Carpenter, Everett Teaford, Graham Godfrey and Steve Clevenger.Has your wife been able to visit?My wife did get to come visit for 10 days which made the time go by a little faster. It was nice for her to come see what baseball is like in another country. The people down here have so much passion for the game which makes it even more appealing. We were able to spend a couple of nights on the beach while she was here so that was a lot of fun.Looking forward to getting back? What's on the menu for Thanksgiving?As much fun as I have had down here, I can't wait to get home and spend time with my friends and family. We have so much on the menu for Thanksgiving I can't even write it all down but my favorite is my Aunt Donna's cheese potatoes, my Aunt Nita's rolls, and of course the turkey and ham.

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

dodgerswin-ap.jpg
USATSI

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

Fueled by Hernandez's home run trilogy, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping this group of Dodgers. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and Justin Turner anchoring a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last championship in 1988.

The Dodgers will host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS heading into Game 6 at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

The Dodgers made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when Los Angeles was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

He was just OK in his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' loaded lineup picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts in his sixth career playoff win - matching Burt Hooton for the franchise record.

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on. The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small, but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitor's dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"

Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

chili-us.jpg
USATSI

Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

Chili Davis spent the first seven years of his big league career with the Giants where he made two All-Star teams and hit 101 home runs. 

Fast forward 37 years from his debut in 1981, and Davis may now be the one teaching Giants how to hit balls over the wall in 2018. The Giants met with Davis Thursday about becoming the team's new hitting coach, according to The Mercury News

The only problem is, there is no open vacancy on the Giants' coaching staff. 

Current hitting coach Hensley Meulens is a candidate for the Tigers' head coaching vacancy, but reports surfaced Thursday that former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will take that role. Meulens could become a candidate to manage another team or take a different spot on the Giants' staff. 

The Giants' offense sputtered in 2017. Overall, the offense ranked 23rd in batting average (.249), 29th in runs scored (639) and last in home runs (128). By comparison, the Pirates were the next worst team at hitting home runs in 2017 and still launched 23 more long balls than the Giants. 

Over his 19-year career, Davis hit 350 home runs. He has spent the last three years as the Red Sox's hitting instructor.