Programming note: Tune in to SportsNet Central's Giants October Quest this morning at 9 a.m. leading up to today's NLDS Game 5 from Cincinnati, only on Comcast SportNet Bay Area!
CINCINNATI - You can buy a ticket for today's decisive Game 5 for 3 on the Internet. Reds manager Dusty Baker has lost his last eight games with an opportunity to clinch a series.
The mood seems right for the Giants to get this done today behind Matt Cain, topple over familiar foe Mat Latos and move on to the NLCS.
But they're only two-thirds of the way there. Mood and spirit only carry you so far. And Matt Cain has allowed 15 runs (and six homers) in his three losses to the Reds this season.
Cain said he was too amped and was overthrowing in the Game 1 loss at AT&T Park. He plans to stay a bit more grounded, and it would be a good idea if the baseballs did, too, at Great American Ball Park.
I thought Bruce Bochy would go with Joaquin Arias at shortstop, after he hit two doubles after entering on a double-switch in Game 4. Nope. Same lineup as the first three games of this series. (Bochy probably wants to keep Arias' bat off the bench against the Reds' lefty bullpen or double-switch with him again.)
The X-factor today? Buster Posey. He homered off Mat Latos in September, 2010, to break his spell over the team. He homered off Latos in Game 1. And he's Buster Posey.
Angel Pagan CF
Marco Scutaro 2B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Buster Posey C
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Gregor Blanco LF
Brandon Crawford SS
Matt Cain, RHP (16-5, 2.79)
Brandon Phillips 2B
Zack Cozart SS
Joey Votto 1B
Ryan Ludwick LF
Jay Bruce RF
Scott Rolen 3B
Ryan Hanigan C
Drew Stubbs CF
Mat Latos RHP (14-4, 3.48)
We have some sad news to report.
Skeeter, the lovable four-legged member of Matt Duffy's family, passed away in Long Beach on Saturday night. He was 15 years old.
Duffy made the news public with an Instagram post on Sunday evening.
"Even when it's expected, losing a member of the family is never easy. Sometimes you'd forget this little guy was even a cat. After 15 awesome years, last night we had to say goodbye to Skeeter boy. Thank you for all the love and support that Skeets has gotten over the past couple of years. Our furry little light has gone dark," Duffy wrote.
Skeeter, slightly overweight for his size, stole the hearts of Giants fans after Duffy made his debut with the Giants in August of 2014.
When Duffy was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays at the 2016 trade deadline, Skeeter remained in California with Duffy's parents.
The Giants are looking to land the biggest fish of them all in a home-run-hitting sea.
San Francisco reportedly proposed a trade offer with the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton. On Sunday, GM Bobby Evans opened up on the possibility of a deal getting done.
"The Marlins made it clear that when you get close to a deal, then they'll approach the player," Evans said on MLB Network Radio. "I don't think they would be talking to us if they didn't think there was a good chance something like that could get approved. But, they haven't given us an answer relative to that yet. Certainly, we're very early in the process."
While reports surfaced Friday of the Giants make an offer to the Marlins, details have not yet become clear. And it sounds like Evans is still looking for an answer as to what Miami's front office is looking for.
"We don't have any indication at this point from the Marlins as to what their expectations are," Evans says.
Complicating matters is Stanton's monster of a contract. Stanton is guaranteed $295 million over the next 10 seasons. His contract includes a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after 2020.
"With a move like that, I think that the process typically when we're dealing with Miami or any other club, a guy with a no-trade, you don't really get any clarity on that until you get closer to a deal," Evans said.
The Giants are trying to turn the clock to 25 years ago in 1992 when in the offseason, Barry Bonds won the National League MVP with the Pirates and then joined the Giants as a free agent. Matters are a bit different as the Giants would acquire Stanton via trade, but the 28-year-old just won the NL MVP after hitting league-leading 59 home runs.