Baggs' Instant Replay: Dodgers 5, Giants 1

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Dodgers 5, Giants 1

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LOS ANGELES The Giants cannot defend a World Series title when it doesnt belong to them. That was last years challenge, and they failed to meet it.As for these current Giants, they are weaker than those madcap misfits in some areas, clearly stronger in others. But there is one similarity: Two years ago, Bruce Bochys team clinched all three postseason series away from AT&T Park.
They are just as proficient in road grays now.Sure, they finished the regular season with a 5-1 loss on Wednesday and dropped two of three at Dodger Stadium. But heres the remarkable part: It was their first road series loss since July 6-8 at Pittsburgh. While streaking to the NL West title, the Giants posted a series record of 10-0-1 in the 11 previous times they dropped their luggage.RELATED: Game 1 Game 2
If the previous two nights at Chavez Ravine throbbed with a playoff pulse, the regular-season finale felt more like a split-squad at Camelback Ranch. Most of Bochys starters including Buster Posey, who officially won the NL batting crown with a .336 average -- were relieved of duties by the sixth inning, when right-hander Clay Hensley gave up a tiebreaking single to Adrian Gonzalez. The Dodgers broke it open in the eighth against Jean Machi.It was only truly tense in the first five innings, when Ryan Vogelsong competed with flared nostrils while holding the Dodgers to just an unearned run.The Giants finished the regular season with a 94-68 record their highest victory total since they won 100 in 2003.RELATED: MLB Standings
Starting pitching reportYou can make a reasonable argument that Vogelsong should go to the postseason bullpen. Hes the one starting pitcher who has substantial relief experience.But like Barry Zito a night earlier, Vogelsong is giving the coaching staff something to think about. Despite a very rough seven-start stretch in late August and September, Vogelsong finished strong and allowed just one earned run over his final three outings.BAGGARLY: Bochy offers Zito plaudits, but no playoff slot yet
His stuff was hard and sharp while he took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and wouldve recorded the third out if second baseman Marco Scutaro hadnt dropped Luis Cruzs blooper in shallow right field for an error. Cruz scored when Tim Federowicz and pitcher Clayton Kershaw followed with singles; Federowicz was thrown out trying to go from first to third.And that was deemed enough for Vogelsong, who did not receive a decision after throwing 71 pitches over five innings. He finished with a 14-9 record and 3.37 ERA, coming up just short in a bid to join Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito in the 15-win club.It wouldve been the first time a major league team had four 15-game winners since the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals (Chris Carpenter, Jason Marquis, Matt Morris, Jeff Suppan). No Giants team has boasted four 15-game winners since the 1962 pennant winners (Juan Marichal, Billy O'Dell, Billy Pierce, Jack Sanford).Bullpen reportGeorge Kontos struck out one and allowed a hit in a scoreless inning, further improving his chances of making the NLDS roster. Hensley and Machi, already longshots, were much less impressive.At the plateSeveral Giants found it curious that Clayton Kershaw, who has been battling a sore hip that might require surgery, insisted upon taking the mound in the regular-season finale a day after his club was eliminated.Perhaps Kershaw wanted a third shot at outpitching Vogelsong, who shaded him in 2-1 and 2-0 Giants victories earlier this season. Or maybe the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner wanted to catch the Mets R.A. Dickey, who had him by nine strikeouts for the NL lead.Kershaw sure didnt hold anything back while extending himself to 111 pitches over eight innings.Like Vogelsong, he retired the first 10 hitters in order before Marco Scutaro singled in the fourth. Pablo Sandoval followed with a double and Buster Posey brought home Scutaro with a ground out the catchers 103rd RBI of the season.Thats the most RBIs by a Giant in a season since 2002, when Barry Bonds drove in 110 and Jeff Kent finished with 108 to lead the club to the World Series.Scutaros single accomplished something meaningful, too. It extended his hit streak to 20 games, matching Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval for the longest by a Giant this season. It also gave the Giants three players with 20-game streaks in a season for the first time in franchise history or, at least, in the 94 years for which data is available to check such things.The Giants became the first major league team in nine years to have three players with hitting streaks of at least 20 games. In 2003, the Pirates had Kenny Lofton (26), Jason Kendall (23) and Aramis Ramirez (22). Also that year, the Blue Jays had Mike Bordick, Reed Johnson and Vernon Wells (20 apiece).But they could not complete a comeback after the Dodgers took the lead in the sixth. They wasted Hector Sanchezs leadoff double in the seventh, by which time most of the starters had been relieved of duties.Kershaw held the Giants to three hits struck out eight, finishing one behind Dickeys total of 230. Kershaw did wrap up his second consecutive NL ERA title (2.53), though.In fieldScutaros defense is becoming a concern. In addition to his dropped blooper, he also let two throws glance off his glove on caught stealing attempts during this road trip.AttendanceThe Dodgers announced 34,014 paid. The pregame music included There's No Stopping Us Right Now. Well, actuallyUp nextThe Giants open their NL Division Series with the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday at AT&T Park. Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78). First pitch is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. PDT.

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

The Dodgers' months-long search for a second baseman is over.

Los Angeles has acquired infielder Logan Forsythe from the Rays, the team announced Monday afternoon.

The Dodgers are sending top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay.

In 127 games for the Rays in 2016, the 30-year-old Forsythe hit .264/.333/.444 with 24 doubles, 20 home runs and 52 RBI.

Forsythe is set to make $7 million in 2017 and has a team option worth $8.5 million or a $1 million buyout for 2018.

De Leon, 24, made his major league debut for the Dodgers during the 2016 season. In four starts, he posted a 6.35 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 17 innings. In 16 startts for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016, De Leon registered a 2.61 ERA and struck out 111 batters in just 86.1 innings.

A native of Puerto Rico, De Leon was recently ranked as the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect Baseball America.

For most of the offseason, the Dodgers had been linked to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, but the two sides couldn't come together on a deal.

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.

Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.

The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.

The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.

Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."

"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.

Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.

Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.

There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.

Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.

"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.

Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.

"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.

Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.

"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."

As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.