NLDS Game 2: Key matchup


NLDS Game 2: Key matchup

SAN FRANCISCO Here are a few key matchups, facts and figures as the Giants and Reds prepare to clash in Game 2 of their NL Division Series on Sunday at AT&T Park:-The Reds are starting Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 ostensibly to keep him away from livelier Great American Ball Park. But the right-hander, whose delivery is more straight-legged than a pair of trendy Levis, actually gave up more home runs on the road (16) than at home (10). Its a huge reversal from last season, when Arroyo served up 46 gopherballs 11 more than anyone else in the major leagues.Hunter Pence provides a bit of a scare for Arroyo; he is a .343 hitter (12 for 35) with two home runs, four doubles and a triple. Pence homered off Arroyo the last time he faced him, too although that was last year when he played for the Phillies. Almost all his career numbers came in hitter-friendly Cincinnati and Houston while Pence wore an Astros uniform.If the Giants need a pinch hitter while Arroyo is still in the game, Aubrey Huff owns a .522 average (12 for 23, 1 home run). Angel Pagan, while just a .217 hitter against Arroyo, has taken him deep twice in 23 at-bats.-The Reds might have tagged Matt Cain for six home runs in his three starts against them this season, but they face a much more difficult matchup with Game 2 starter Madison Bumgarner. The 23-year-old left-hander struggled down the stretch but has the good vibes to draw upon from his 1-hit shutout against the Reds on June 28.Reds manager Dusty Baker might be tempted to sit left fielder Ryan Ludwick, who is 1 for 16 lifetime against Bumgarner. But Ludwick is coming off a good game that included two catches in left field that otherwise lacked style points. Besides, Ludwick hit 10 home runs in just 118 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season.The Reds don't have any boffo performers against Bumgarner, but Joey Votto and Ryan Hanigan each own a homer off him and Brandon Phillips is 3 for 7. Impressively, Votto an on-base machine has not drawn a walk while striking out four times in 11 career at-bats vs. the young lefty.-Expect the Reds to be aggressive on the basepaths. Among NL pitchers, only the Pirates A.J. Burnett and the Braves Tommy Hanson gave up more stolen bases than Bumgarner, whose pickoff move lacked the same effectiveness it had in earlier seasons. Opponents were successful in 27 of 37 tries against him. (Tim Lincecum wasnt far behind, and opponents were wildly successful while stealing in 25 of 27 attempts.)-The Giants hit a couple of ropes off Reds setup man Jonathan Broxton and put plenty of pressure on closer Aroldis Chapman, which might bode well for the rest of the series.Chapman, who battled shoulder fatigue in September, threw 28 pitches his most in a game since June 24. He has never appeared on a second consecutive day in his career after throwing that many pitches.

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.”