Bumgarner still out of whack in loss to Padres


Bumgarner still out of whack in loss to Padres


SAN DIEGO Madison Bumgarner was not auditioning for a spotin the Giants postseason rotation Saturday night. Hes one of their horses, asmanager Bruce Bochy reiterated after the game.

The only question is where to slot Bumgarner after MattCain.

And no, Bumgarner did not look like a solid No. 2 starterwhile giving up a pair of home runs in just four innings of a 7-3 loss to theSan Diego Padres at Petco Park.

But in a sense, he firmed up that place in the rotation. Ifthe Giants enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed, which is looking close tocertain at this point, they would host the first two games at AT&T Park.

And Bumgarners homeroad splits provide a compelling reasonto make sure the big left-hander takes the mound at AT&T Park and nowhereelse.

Bumgarner is 10-3 with a 2.38 ERA at home. With Saturdaysloss, he fell to 7-7 with a 4.40 ERA on the road. And of his 23 home runsallowed, the most by a Giants pitcher since Barry Zito in 2007, all but five ofthose longballs have come on the road.

Oh, we look at all the variables, said Giants managerBruce Bochy, asked about Bumgarners splits. That plays a little part.

The rotation plays a huge part in any postseason drive, andthe Giants pitching staff will not enter the playoffs on the same roll as twoyears ago, when the club posted a 1.78 ERA in September, 2010.

Bumgarner pitched like he was cramming for a midterm,knowing this would be his last chance to iron out issues before the postseason.

I cant go out there and pitch against a big league ballclub and try to work on mechanics, he said. That never works. That might bethe problem. Im thinking about it instead of going out there and throwing it.

Bumgarner is too big a piece to be hidden at home for the entirepostseason. Hell have to execute his pitches better, regardless of where orwhen hes asked to take the ball. The same is true for the rest of therotation.

Right now, hes having trouble repeating pitches and gettingthe ball inside to right-handed hitters. What about his confidence?

Its good, he said. Im not worried about anything. Ivegot plenty of time to work on it. Ive just gotta be able to make pitches whenit counts.

He could work on it with an inning in Wednesdays seasonfinale at Dodger Stadium. Bochy did not discount that possibility, especiallysince Bumgarner would have the longest layoff of all the starters as they enterthe postseason.

That 20-win season didnt materialize, as Bumgarner went 7-7after the break. But he exceeded 208 innings for the first time, finished with191 strikeouts -- exactly as many as a year before -- and shaved down his hitsallowed and WHIP, even if those 23 home runs undid most of those gains.

Still, Bochy looks at Bumgarners drivers license and willtake that kind of season from a 23-year-old.

Its been a real nice season for him, Bochy said. Likeeverybody, hes had his little rut there. Today hes fighting himself. Butoverall, an outstanding season. Hes one of our horses and hes done a reallynice job.

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

Two quick runs off the best pitcher on the planet on Saturday night afforded the Cubs exactly what they needed to snap a 71-year-old drought.

Already confident after consecutive offensive outbursts in the previous two games, a two-run first inning against Clayton Kershaw had Cubs hitters in a positive frame of mind.

They rode the surprising rally and a dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The win earned the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945 and on Tuesday night they’ll seek their first World Series title since 1908 when they face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1.

“It’s huge for the confidence, the positive momentum from LA, to carry over back home,” left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “Those were the biggest moments in the game early on to help everybody keep pushing and that we got this thing -- that we’re in charge of the game early. That’s a huge momentum builder.”

The Cubs did a little bit of everything in the first inning against Kershaw, who dominated them for seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some hitters took a more aggressive approach against the three-time NL Cy Young winner while others remained patient. The one constant throughout the 30-pitch frame was that Cubs hitters took advantage whenever Kershaw made a mistake.


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip

One way to realize just how long it's been since the Chicago Cubs last reached the World Series is to look at how much the game has changed since then, on and off the field.

The Cubs are making their first appearance since 1945 and chasing their first title since 1908.

Some of the ways the game has changed since the Cubs lost Game 7 to the Detroit Tigers some 71 years ago:

INTEGRATION: Jackie Robinson became the first black player to reach the major leagues in 1947, two years after the Cubs' last World Series appearance. Baseball has turned into a virtual melting pot in the seven decades since. The Cubs' roster includes players from Cuba (reliever Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Jorge Soler), along with Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as the United States.

EXPANSION: There were 16 teams in the majors in 1945, including two in St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, and three in New York. The total is up to 30 now.

GO WEST: There were no major league franchises west of St. Louis in 1945. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants headed to San Francisco in 1958. In 1969, the Seattle Pilots showed up - they went 64-98 in their first year, then became the Milwaukee Brewers.

DIVISIONAL PLAY: There were no divisions in 1945, just eight teams in both the American League and National League. They split into East and West divisions in 1969. Then a Central was created in 1994, with the Cubs shifting from the NL East to the NL Central.

PLAYOFFS PLUS: Extra teams and divisions resulted in expanded playoffs. The League Championship Series began in 1969, the Division Series started in 1995 and a one-game wild-card playoff came in 2012. A longer postseason pushed the World Series deep into October and beyond. If the Cubs and Cleveland go the distance this year, Game 7 would be on Nov. 2.

FREE AGENCY: When Phil Cavarretta and Peanuts Lowrey helped lead the Cubs to the 1945 Series, they were bound to the team until they were traded or released. Curt Flood tested baseball's reserve clause in the early 1970s and took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, helping pave the way for players to move around as free agents. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist are among the players the Cubs acquired this way.

DESIGNATED HITTER: The designated hitter joined the American League lineup in 1973. The DH debate is still hot, with the leagues playing by different rules. When this year's World Series opens at the AL park, both teams will use the DH; when the Cubs host, the pitchers will hit.

LIGHTS AT WRIGLEY: The Cubs were the last team in the majors to play only day games. That changed when lights were installed at Wrigley Field in 1988. The games there have always been played outdoors on green grass, never under a dome or on artificial turf, trends that became popular starting with the Astrodome in the mid-1960s.