Zito would start Game 4 for Giants vs Reds


Zito would start Game 4 for Giants vs Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) Left-hander Barry Zito will start Game 4 for the San Francisco Giants if they can extend their NL division series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum? He's staying in the bullpen.

San Francisco flew in from the West Coast on Monday trailing 2-0 in the best-of-five series. The Reds can finish it off Tuesday night when Homer Bailey (13-10) goes against the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong (14-9).

Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to see how the first two games of the series played out before deciding his Game 4 starter. The Reds won 5-2 and 9-0, with Lincecum pitching two innings in relief on Sunday night.

Bochy chose Zito (15-8) because of his strong finish to the season. The left-hander won his last five starts and seven straight decisions. The Giants won the last 11 games that he started.

``He's been really on top of his game, and I think he's earned this,'' Bochy said. ``We all do. I'm glad to be able to tell Barry that he's getting the start. When you win your last 11 games that a pitcher starts, it's a pretty good thing.''

It was a touchy decision for the Giants. Lincecum pitched their Game 5 World Series clincher at Texas in 2010, but has struggled this season. He lost a career-high 15 games, had a 5.18 ERA and tied his career high with 17 wild pitches.

Bochy considered starting Matt Cain, who lost the opening game of the series on Saturday night, if San Francisco gets to a Game 4.

``Sure, we put thought in it, but this is more a case with rewarding Zito with how he's been pitching and the job he's done, and I think he's earned this,'' Bochy said. ``Instead of pushing a starter back on short rest - there is a history of that not working too well. And this would have been the first time that we have asked Matt to do it this year.''

The Reds are unsure whether right-hander Johnny Cueto will be available if there's a Game 4. He started the series opener but left in the first inning with back spasms. If he's unavailable, the Reds could start Mat Latos, who relieved Cueto on Saturday night.

Cueto's uncertain status isn't much of an issue with the Reds.

``Everybody is staying calm, not worrying if Johnny is able to pitch in the future,'' right-hander Bronson Arroyo said Monday. ``We don't even know now, and I don't think anybody is panicked about it because we feel we're deep enough to compete regardless.''

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Associated Press

Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 19, 38 days before the NFL draft.  

Free agency notes and nuggets

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—offense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the offensive side of the ball stands now. The defense is up tomorrow

Quarterback: Alex Smith
Backups: Colt McCoy

The only question here is if the Redskins will draft a late-round project quarterback to develop as the backup. McCoy is in the last year of his contract and he may not be back in 2019.

Running back: Samaje Perine
Backups: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, draft pick

This is an area to watch. Thompson could end up being the only carryover if they get a draft pick who can start and decide to keep 2017 late-season addition Kapri Bibbs or if they find another veteran. They also could go with only three running backs.

Wide receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder
Backups: Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick

They may not carry six, so Harris, Davis, and Quick might battle it out for two spots. It’s possible that they will put a draft pick into the mix as well.

MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

As of right now, this appears to be one of the few position groups you can write in with a Sharpie. If the Redskins are going to be better in 2018, a lot of the improvement will have to come from improvement of 2017 draft picks like Sprinkle. If he can develop into a solid blocker and a moderate receiving threat he will be an asset.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Arie Kouandjio, C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: T Ty Nsekhe, G/T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T T.J. Clemmings

Kouandjio is a placeholder at left guard for the moment. He was solid pass blocking but struggled in run blocking in six starts in injury fill-in duty. I think that if they bring in another interior O-lineman in free agency or in the draft, Roullier will remain at center. I think Jay Gruden likes the way he is developing there and wants to continue.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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