CINCINNATI The Giants could have chosen from among two former Cy Young Award winners, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum, to hold the shield with their backs against the wall in Game 3 Tuesday night.They chose neither. Theyll put their faith in their 35-year-old journeyman, instead.Ryan Vogelsong knows what its like to stand with his back against his wall. Its the natural result of walking down so many career dead ends. But his remarkable path led him back to the major leagues in 2011 after a six-year, continent-jumping hiatus. And now the Giants will entrust him to extend their playoff lives against the surging Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.Was it emotional when manager Bruce Bochy told Vogelsong the ball would be his?Yes and no, Vogelsong said. It was, because of the path Ive been on. And no, because I went into this series with the mindset that I was going to do whatever was asked of me to do.The fact hes given me the opportunity to start a game is tremendous. Its exciting. its amazing for me, but I said this a couple days ago: Its not about me at this point. Its about the team and whats best for us.Bochy announced Vogelsong in the hours prior to Game 2 on Sunday. Shortly after the club landed in Cincinnati on Monday and prepared to take the field for a light workout, Bochy made it official that Zito would start in Game 4.Bochy, his staff and the front office agreed over the final week of the regular season that Tim Lincecum would be the one starter bypassed in this NL Division Series.Even though Vogelsong got tagged for a 10.31 ERA over a seven-start span in late August and September, he rebounded well and threw filthy stuff at times while allowing just one earned run over his final three outings.Vogelsong said the rough run was a mix of overthinking his mechanics and some bad luck on balls in play.But Im pretty happy with how I feel going into tomorrow, said Vogelsong, who turned down the option to fly ahead of the team.The Giants were 2-0 in Vogelsongs starts against the Reds this season, although he didnt factor in the decision either time. (Angel Pagans ninth-inning homer turned a loss into a victory in Vogelsongs start here April 26.) He had a 4.15 ERA over the two starts and allowed home runs to Jay Bruce (at Cincinnati) and Todd Frazier (at home).Vogelsong said he would take full advantage of the intelligence gained by watching the first two games, when Reds hitters prevented Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner from recording an out in the sixth inning.Bruces homer off Cain, for instance, came when he got a fourth consecutive changeup over a span of two at-bats.Yes, I think we need to attack some people differently, said Vogelsong, who will put his trust in catcher Buster Posey. I have trusted him all year and he and I will talk about things tomorrow and try to come up with a good game plan and hopefully, that works.--Tim Lincecum did not do any pre-throwing or get his arm loose out of sight Sunday. He really did throw just two warmup pitches off a bullpen mound -- in front of the rubber, actually -- before he was summoned amid confusion to take the mound in the sixth inning.Asked again about the odd start to Lincecums rare relief appearance, in which he threw two scoreless innings, Bochy said Lincecum assured them he was OK to take the mound.We placed him on toss (in the bullpen) and he assured Righetti, Im good to go. Im ready to go, Bochy said. And he got confused there because he thought we were waiting for the pitcher to get up.Lincecum made the standard number of warmup pitches on the game mound before retiring six of the seven batters he faced. Perhaps he told Righetti he would be fine, assuming he still had more time to get loose?Im not going to get into that, said Lincecum, when asked about it after Mondays workout at Cincinnati.Bochy said the cold start might have benefited the former ace, who has struggled to repeat his delivery all season.It probably worked well for him, Bochy said. There wasnt a lot of thinking going on and he had some of his best stuff in terms of command.Maybe so. And maybe Lincecum is called The Freak for a reason.But hes still owed 22 million next season. So the Giants should count themselves lucky if they emerge from this with perhaps some hurt feelings and nothing else.--I hadnt appreciated what a tremendous all-around player Brandon Phillips was till I watched him on a playoff stage over the past two games. From diving to back up first base to doing the Bernie Lean to avoid a tag and defuse a potential double play to the more traditional stuff, like playing great defense or hitting a tone-setting, two-run home run. Phillips really does it all.Ill let Dusty Baker explain it. He does a better job than I ever could.Its hard to find that energy with talent. Sometimes you can find that energy, but without talent it doesnt do any good. He sparks us on the field, off the field, on defense, on offense. And he can do many things to beat you. Like the other night when he avoided that tag That goes unnoticed but we notice it. Going first to third, taking pitches or not striking out very much -- here is a guy who can do almost anything on a baseball field.Hes the only person that Ive had probably other than Barry Bonds that can bat anywhere in the lineup and feel comfortable doing that.Ive seen a growth. Hes one of our leaders here. We have a lot of leaders in a lot of departments, but The B is The B. Ive seen him grow big-time since Ive been here. When I first got here, I was having to spank him once a month, you know what I mean? Now its probably once every three months.
The hot stove is heating up.
Giancarlo Stanton is the biggest name swirling in trade rumors and the Giants are reportedly pushing forward in their attempt to acquire the slugger. San Francisco's front office has proposed a trade to Miami for Stanton, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Details of what the Giants offered have not been reported yet.
Stanton, who recently turned 28, is guaranteed $295 million over the next 10 seasons. His contract includes a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after 2020.
On Thursday, Stanton was named the National League MVP after hitting .281 with a league-leading 59 home runs and 132 RBI. The last MVP to be traded in the offseason after winning the award was Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers to the Yankees before the 2004 season.
The Arizona Fall League came to an end for seven Giants prospects on Thursday as the Scottsdale Scorpions (12-17-1) came up short from playing in Saturday's championship game.
Let's take a look at how these seven names fared against some of the top young talent in all of baseball.
As the Giants are linked to trade targets in center field like Billy Hamilton and Jackie Bradley Jr., a young in-house option only helped his case in the desert.
Steven Duggar likely would have seen the AT&T outfield this season, but his season was hindered by injuries, keeping him to only 44 games between three levels. With the Scorpions, Duggar took advantage of his opportunity with more at-bats.
Duggar left Arizona with a .263/.367/.421 slash line over 20 games. The speedy lefty also stole nine bases and hit three home runs. Even if the Giants go for an experienced glove in center field this offseason and keep Duggar, the 24-year-old has also played 135 games in right field during his minor league career.
For the second straight year, the Giants sent catcher Aramis Garcia to the AFL. And he's sure to be coming home much happier this go around with an up-and-down campaign.
Splitting time behind the plate with three other catchers, Garcia appeared in 13 games and slashed .259/.293/.333 and hit one home run. Garcia struggled to get one base with only one walk to 10 strikeouts, but showed his natural ability to drive runs in with 10 RBI.
Rounding out the Giants' trio of bats they sent to Arizona is arguably their top prospect, but his time in the AFL was cut short. Chris Shaw only played in five games and hit .158. He dealt with a sore shoulder.
The Giants sent two starting pitchers (Tyler Beede and Joan Gregorio) and two relievers (Tyler Cyr and D.J. Snelten) to the AFL.
Pitching for the first time in nearly three months, Beede showed exactly why he's the Giants' top pitching prospect. Beede went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts, but his final three show the potential he's full of -- 14 innings pitched, three earned runs, a 1.93 ERA, 10 strikeouts and only one walk.
Gregorio, who was suspended this season for Performance Enhancing Drugs, pitched in eight games (three starts) for Scottsdale. He left with a 1-0 record and 5.87 ERA. In Triple-A, Gregorio went 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA this year over 13 starts. The 25-year-old presents an interesting arm that can help sooner than later in the bullpen.
Cyr's stats don't look pretty (0-1, 5.63 ERA, 8 IP), but he's catching some attention. The right-hander was named to the Fall Stars Game and is most likely to start 2018 in Triple-A after converting 18 saves at Double-A in 2017.
Snelten, a 6-foot-7 lefty, impressed in eight appearances out of the bullpen. He didn't allow an earned run until his final outing of the fall, bringing his ERA from a perfect 0.00 to 2.25 in 12 innings pitched.
After combining for a 2.20 ERA to go with an 8-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, Snelten is a name to know as the Giants look to find more lefties for their bullpen.