From Comcast SportsNetSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants have no plans to bring back suspended outfielder Melky Cabrera for the postseason if the club is still playing when he is eligible to return.Manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that he and general manager Brian Sabean are meeting to finalize their 25-man roster for the best-of-five division series. Cabrera would be allowed to play in the NLCS if the Giants advance that far, but -- at this stage, at least -- they have no intention of adding him to the roster at any point in the postseason.An announcement regarding Cabrera is expected before the NL West champions leave town after a three-game series against Arizona that began Tuesday night.First, they would need to alert all the parties involved: Cabrera, Major League Baseball and the players union. Cabrera can start working out at instructional league in Arizona 10 days before his suspension ends, so that factor weighs into the mix."Right now, we'll discuss that. We'll probably have something before the end of this homestand as far as Melky," Bochy said. "We're talking about a lot of things, and that's one of them. I'll probably have an answer for you before we leave here to go down to San Diego. I think both on our side and Melky's side, you're getting down to the time period where he can start working out and doing some things. I think he needs to know and we need to know."San Francisco's 40-man roster is full, so when Cabrera is eligible to be reinstated the Giants would have to make a roster move. They could keep Cabrera on the 40-man roster just in case.Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, is batting .346, which is the highest mark in the National League.He was suspended for 50 games Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test. On Friday, Cabrera asked to be removed from contention for the batting crown, saying he had no wish to win a tainted title.The Giants have succeeded without Cabrera's big bat, clinching their second division crown in three seasons Saturday night against San Diego. And they are pushing ahead with the roster they have."Right now, we're focusing on the future and what's going to happen, the playoffs. We're not thinking about that," center fielder Angel Pagan said. "They'll make the decisions. We are the soldiers. If they bring him, we're teammates. We'll receive him with open arms. But if not, hey, we've got to respect the decision and move on, move forward."Reliever Jeremy Affeldt has said he wants to fight with the faces who are currently in the clubhouse -- as they've done just fine in the month-plus playing without Cabrera."Exactly, and I'm sure that's the way the team thinks, too," Pagan said. "I respect any decision that the team makes. We have a job to do. And we have the mentality to go out there and finish the season strong and start the playoffs the right way."Catcher Buster Posey said the Giants will accept whatever the front office decides regarding Cabrera, who is set to become a free agent after the season."I don't think it would bother us than just the extra questions," he said. "That would be the main thing, the extra questions."Posey's .332 batting average was third in the NL behind Cabrera and Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (.336) entering games Tuesday night. Cabrera was batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season with San Francisco and is five hits shy of 1,000 in his big league career."I've been outspoken on the penalties. If he serves his suspension and pays the price, whatever it is, you guys know I spoke out and said I think there needs to be more of a deterrent, but if he serves his penalty, I guess I'm really not against it. That's their decision," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "If he's caught again, I think he should be done."
Less than 90 seconds in, Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning very much had a feeling of déjà vu.
With Phillipp Grubauer getting the start against the best team in the league, the Caps took a penalty just 44 seconds into the game. Grubauer failed to freeze the puck on two different opportunities allowing the Lightning to keep the puck in play and score the early goal to go up 1-0.
“I thought early, they score a minute basically into the game and you're like, OK here we go,” Barry Trotz said.
“I was laughing, here I go again,” Grubauer said.
Wins have been hard to come by for Grubauer this season. Coming into Fridays’ game, he had none. An early goal against a team as good as the Lightning could have been a backbreaker.
But not this time.
Alex Ovechkin tied the game at 1 in the first period and that’s when Grubauer took over.
“When it was 1-1, I thought Gruby made some real key saves for us,” Trotz said.
He added, “They were getting people to the net and they were dangerous all around. He made some real huge saves for us and we got him more than a goal.”
For the first time since Grubauer’s first start this season back on Oct. 9, the Caps gave Grubauer a lead to protect in the second period courtesy of Devante Smith-Pelly. That not only gave Grubauer confidence, it also allowed his teammates to focus more on playing well in front of him rather than taking chances in the offensive zone in search of a goal.
Bottling up a team as explosive and talented as the Lightning is not easy, but Grubauer was up to the task.
Friday’s 3-1 win was Grubauer’s first of the season. His record now sits at 1-5-1, a record his teammates know is not reflective of how well he has played for them.
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“I know the guys are thrilled to get a win for Gruby because they know he shows up as a pro every game,” Trotz said.
That was evident after the game as Grubauer's teammates were effusive in their praise for the German netminder.
“Not an easy position to be a backup goalie and he's kept a good attitude throughout this even though we haven't played well in front of him,” Matt Niskanen said.
It was hard to figure out afterward just who this game meant more to, whether it was Grubauer whose family is in town for his birthday Saturday and who was in attendance Friday, or his teammates.
“My parents were here so I'm really, really proud to give them a good game and get the win for the boys,” Grubauer said.
Said Niskanen, “Everyone's smiles were a little bit bigger today for him. He played really well. He earned it.”
The Caps started a daunting back-to-back on a high note with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. Tampa scored first, but the Caps would score the next three goals to earn the win.
Here's why Washington won.
A good response to Tampa’s early goal
When Alex Ovechkin tied the game at 1 late in the first period, it felt inevitable. Tampa Bay took an early 1-0 lead off a power play goal by Vladislav Namestnikov. Rather than spark the Lightning, however, it seemed to wake the Caps’ up from their turkey coma. When Tampa scored, they held an early 3-0 shots-on-goal advantage over Washington. For the rest of the period, the Caps outshot the Bolts 16-4. Ovechkin was a man on a mission as he was all over the ice. In recent weeks, we have seen the Caps at times lack energy at the start of games, but their response to Tampa’s early goal was impressive.
Caps gave Philipp Grubauer a lead to protect
It's been rare this season for Grubauer to protect a lead. So rare in fact that it has not happened since his first start of the season on Oct. 9 which also came against the Lightning. When you are playing from behind, the skaters have to take more chances offensively which can sometimes leave goalies out to dry. Grubauer knows all about that from some of his recent games. When the Caps took a 2-1 lead on Friday, defense became the priority and Grubauer played with a level of confidence we have not seen since his strong performance in a 2-1 loss to Calgary.
While the Caps could afford to give Grubauer more defensive help as they protected the 2-1 lead, Grubauer himself made some top-notch stops to earn his first win of the season. After a shaky start in which he failed to freeze the puck on two opportunities allowing Tampa to keep the puck in play and score the power play goal, Grubauer was dominant in the crease. He made two especially key saves as he stoned Ondrej Palat in the second period on a one-timer from the slot and denied Vladislav Namestnikov in close midway through the third when a blue line shot from Anton Stralman was deflected behind the defense right to Namestnikov's stick.