Opening Day goes from Babe Bumgarner to Game 4 of 2016 NLDS

Opening Day goes from Babe Bumgarner to Game 4 of 2016 NLDS

If Madison Bumgarner was any good, he’d have hit two more home runs Sunday and saved his own game.
Of course, if he’d done that, he’d have taken an inky drill bit to baseball’s record book, as well as violated one of the game’s scoring rules. 
But no, Bumgarner’s two homers were just for show, and the San Francisco Giants began the new season as they ended the last one – with a bullpen made for brisket.
Not that this is going to be the daily tale in 2017. For one, neither Bumgarner’s current home run pace of 324 nor the team’s current blown save pace is likely to be met. I mean, Babe Ruth hit 29 homers in 1918, and then he stopped pitching entirely.
But the Giants have already gone to full-gonzo off-the-peg wacky, and they still have 1,449 more innings to play (give or take) this year.
Now who doesn’t think that’s worth sticking around for?
Now you will not get some sort of harbinger-of-the-season story here. One day has nothing to do with the next in baseball; if that were so, we’d have had a 162-0 team by now, and also a 0-162 team.
But the Giants pegged their entire 2017 plan on the theory that “We’re just fine, as long as we can get Santiago Casilla to pitch for Oakland again.” And with a sample size so small that it doesn’t even qualify as a sample, we can say that plan is at least one game short of foolproof.
For five innings, the story was Bumgarner as 1940 Bob Feller, the man who pitched the only Opening Day no-hitter in history. For six innings, the story was Bumgarner as 1917 Babe Ruth (his last year as a full-time pitcher, when his OPS was .857, his batting average was .325 and his pitching record was 24-13, 2.01). 
And in the end, the story was Game 4 of the National League Division Series, when the Giants’ bullpen vomited all over the welcome mat to a fourth World Series appearance.
Now how many sub-atomic narratives do you want in one day, you greedy hyenas?
If we’re all lucky as observers, the Giants will be 162 vials of damp dynamite, and every game is a new heroes-or-villains debate. There’s never such a thing as a bad “Did you see what they did this time?” game.
But that isn’t the nature of baseball. Much of the sport is about the mundane nature of day-to-day living – not “grinding,” the new cliché du jour, but playing largely uneventful but necessary games. Handling that routine matters.
And there is nothing routine about a bullpen that averages 1.2 blown saves per inning pitched. That’s a oil-coated dumpster fire with a side of blasting caps on a space heater.
So don’t get used to all this compacted hilarity out of Giants 2017. Madison Bumgarner will not hit 64 homers (32 starts, two homers per game, give or take the odd pinch-hitting appearance), and the Giants bullpen will not blow 54 saves (based on the notion that you win a third of your games, lose a third, and fight for the other 50-some-odd). The best thing about a hot mess is that it does not flow like a motorized fountain but explodes in bursts when you least expect it.
But as a way to start the 2017 season, the Giants gave you everything you could want – if what you want is Madison Bumgarner as Babe Ruth, Bob Feller and the warmup act for The Glow-In-The-Dark Bullpen. The bullpen will be better as time goes on, but that’s just a burden you’re going to have to bear.

Dodgers lose Justin Turner to broken wrist after getting hit by pitch vs A's


Dodgers lose Justin Turner to broken wrist after getting hit by pitch vs A's

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles third baseman Justin Turner's broken left wrist is expected to heal without surgery, according to Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts.

Turner was hurt Monday when hit by a pitch from Oakland's Kendall Graveman.

Turner arrived at the Dodgers spring training facility with a cast over his wrist Tuesday morning and was scheduled to see a hand specialist for an estimate of the time he could miss.

"We know that it's not a surgery thing, it's just essentially time," Roberts said. "That's the initial thought. That could change but that's what I've heard."

Turner hit .322 with 21 homers and 71 RBIs last year and was a first-time All-Star. He had 14 RBIs against the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series and was voted MVP.

The Dodgers appear poised to move Logan Forsythe from second base to third in Turner's absence and have Enrique Hernandez and Chase Utley share time at second.

"It obviously makes a lot of sense to have Logan over there a lot more at third, and to kind of put together some guys at second base, and leave Chris (Taylor) in center field," Roberts said.

Backup catcher Austin Barnes also could see time at second base.

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.