Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants take series from Cubs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants take series from Cubs


SAN FRANCISCO — Joe Maddon has complained recently about the sloppiness of his team of reigning champions. The Giants were all too happy to take advantage. 

With one out in the eighth, Ian Happ couldn’t scoop Denard Span’s grounder to second. A bloop from Ryder Jones and a seeing-eye shot from Jarrett Parker brought Span home, and the run held up. The Giants won 3-1, taking two of three from the Cubs. Here are five more things to know … 

—- You know, there is a path back to being a winning team, and it’s what we saw the past two days. Ty Blach went seven solid innings Tuesday and Madison Bumgarner allowed just one run over his seven innings Wednesday. If Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore can find better form next year, that’s still a really strong rotation. 

—- Bumgarner let out a word we can’t print after swinging over the top of three Kyle Hendricks changeups with two on in the fourth. He’s rusty at the plate. Kelby Tomlinson pinch-hit for Bumgarner to lead off the eighth even though the lefty was at just 92 pitches. 

—- Sandoval has been a little rough defensively in his first week back, but he added to the highlight reel in the fifth. He went down for a Ben Zobrist grounder and threw to first from his knees, beating Zobrist by a step. 

—- The Giants can’t do anything about the Arenados and Goldschmidts and Hectors of the world, but they’ve mostly kept Kris Bryant in check this season. Bryant was 1-for-4, flying out with the tying run on first in the eighth. He went 7-for-25 against the Giants this season with one homer and one RBI. 

—- Buster Posey did not steal a base, but his good friend Hunter Pence hit an impressive homer to right. 

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”