NLDS Game 2: Key matchup


NLDS Game 2: Key matchup

SAN FRANCISCO Here are a few key matchups, facts and figures as the Giants and Reds prepare to clash in Game 2 of their NL Division Series on Sunday at AT&T Park:-The Reds are starting Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 ostensibly to keep him away from livelier Great American Ball Park. But the right-hander, whose delivery is more straight-legged than a pair of trendy Levis, actually gave up more home runs on the road (16) than at home (10). Its a huge reversal from last season, when Arroyo served up 46 gopherballs 11 more than anyone else in the major leagues.Hunter Pence provides a bit of a scare for Arroyo; he is a .343 hitter (12 for 35) with two home runs, four doubles and a triple. Pence homered off Arroyo the last time he faced him, too although that was last year when he played for the Phillies. Almost all his career numbers came in hitter-friendly Cincinnati and Houston while Pence wore an Astros uniform.If the Giants need a pinch hitter while Arroyo is still in the game, Aubrey Huff owns a .522 average (12 for 23, 1 home run). Angel Pagan, while just a .217 hitter against Arroyo, has taken him deep twice in 23 at-bats.-The Reds might have tagged Matt Cain for six home runs in his three starts against them this season, but they face a much more difficult matchup with Game 2 starter Madison Bumgarner. The 23-year-old left-hander struggled down the stretch but has the good vibes to draw upon from his 1-hit shutout against the Reds on June 28.Reds manager Dusty Baker might be tempted to sit left fielder Ryan Ludwick, who is 1 for 16 lifetime against Bumgarner. But Ludwick is coming off a good game that included two catches in left field that otherwise lacked style points. Besides, Ludwick hit 10 home runs in just 118 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season.The Reds don't have any boffo performers against Bumgarner, but Joey Votto and Ryan Hanigan each own a homer off him and Brandon Phillips is 3 for 7. Impressively, Votto an on-base machine has not drawn a walk while striking out four times in 11 career at-bats vs. the young lefty.-Expect the Reds to be aggressive on the basepaths. Among NL pitchers, only the Pirates A.J. Burnett and the Braves Tommy Hanson gave up more stolen bases than Bumgarner, whose pickoff move lacked the same effectiveness it had in earlier seasons. Opponents were successful in 27 of 37 tries against him. (Tim Lincecum wasnt far behind, and opponents were wildly successful while stealing in 25 of 27 attempts.)-The Giants hit a couple of ropes off Reds setup man Jonathan Broxton and put plenty of pressure on closer Aroldis Chapman, which might bode well for the rest of the series.Chapman, who battled shoulder fatigue in September, threw 28 pitches his most in a game since June 24. He has never appeared on a second consecutive day in his career after throwing that many pitches.

Notes: Ex-Giants not getting much traction, not expected to return

Notes: Ex-Giants not getting much traction, not expected to return

SOMEWHERE IN THE AIR, United States — On the first day of the Winter Meetings, I discovered that my hotel room for the week was a few doors down from a section of rooms and suites dedicated to the Chicago Cubs. So either I have a lot of juice with Marriott or the Cubs have very little juice. 

They were a happy group as they came in and out, and for good reason. The Cubs are the reigning champions and they’re the heavy favorites going into 2017. Every other team at the Gaylord National Resort was chasing Theo Epstein and his guys. The Giants, after landing closer Mark Melancon, feel they have the firepower to compete with the Cubs. 

The Melancon move is the big one of the Giants’ offseason and it obscured just about everything else. Here are some other notes, quotes and rumors from five days at the Winter Meetings: 

--- Bobby Evans said the Aroldis Chapman deal ($86 million) came in right around where the Giants expected. The two sides never met in person, and while the Giants kept tabs on the Chapman market, he was always viewed as an unlikely choice. Part of that has to do with a 30-game suspension last season for a domestic violence incident. Evans said the off-field stuff was “not lost on us.” The Giants knew many of their fans were strongly opposed to a Chapman deal. 

“Our hearts and minds were really focused on one guy,” Evans said as he discussed the closer market. It was Melancon, and the Giants got the guy who will now head a bullpen that blew 30 saves during the regular season. 

Evans took some good-natured shots at that number, by the way. He pointed out that many of those “blown saves” came in the sixth or seventh innings and the Giants won a lot of those games. The more important number for the front office was ninth-inning blown saves that led to losses. The Giants lost nine such games, including five in September. 

“That’s the difference,” Evans said. “If you reduce that number to five or four, then that’s maybe the difference in your division.”

The Giants finished four games behind the Dodgers.

--- Joe Maddon said his biggest fear in the postseason was facing Johnny Cueto in Game 5.

--- Angel Pagan was not at the ballpark for the final game of the season. He had an injection in his injured back and was allowed to stay home to try and recover. The Giants told Pagan to prepare for a Game 5, but some team officials believe his postseason was probably over regardless of how far the Giants got. 

--- It was a little surprising, by the way, how little mention there was of Pagan and other Giants free agents. Pagan was briefly connected to the Orioles at one point but otherwise his name has not come up. There are no Gregor Blanco rumors, and nothing significant with Sergio Romo, Jake Peavy, Javier Lopez or Santiago Casilla. 

Giants people who have talked to Romo say he has at least a couple of offers and he’s confident he’ll find a good fit. Lopez is said to be headed for retirement unless an East Coast team (he lives in Georgia) makes a great offer. Peavy is said to be ready to fight for a job as a non-roster invitee in spring training. It seems the majority of the ex-Giants might have to go the non-roster route. Currently, none are expected to return to San Francisco. 

--- Gordon Beckham is technically a “Giants free agent” and several people in the clubhouse approacedh management to relay what a positive impact Beckham had in his week there. He is the kind of energetic, ball-busting presence that helps over a 162-game season, and everyone in the organization loved having him around, but they’re looking for power bats right now when it comes to the bench. 

--- Ramiro Pena is close to a deal to return as a non-roster invitee. The Giants will also add a catcher for Triple-A depth. They’re selecting from a group that includes former Dodgers and Cubs catcher Tim Federowicz. 

--- There will be new managers up and down the minor league system. The affiliates are expected to announce those choices soon. 

--- At the risk of wiping out a bunch of future "The Player to be Named Later has not been named" tweets, here's how it works: The Giants gave the Mariners a small list of prospects they'll watch in spring training, and they'll scout them and choose one player as the return for Chris Heston. It will not be a significant prospect. 

--- Under Armour will be the exclusive uniform provider of MLB starting in 2020, and all jerseys will have a small Under Armour logo on the chest. No exceptions, from the awful Diamondbacks jerseys to the Yankees pinstripes to the Giants. It was bound to happen eventually. The Giants have some of Under Armour’s most prominent baseball players, including Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Joe Panik. 

--- The Giants never had any intention of pursuing a reunion with Pablo Sandoval. If they can add depth at third, they will, but for now Eduardo Nuñez is slated to be the opening day starter. Keep in mind, too, that Christian Arroyo will primarily play third base in the minors from now on. 

--- Bill Hayes, who was relieved of his duties as first-base coach, will stay with the big league staff. His exact role has not been determined. Roberto Kelly will not return in a different role. 

--- CSN did a bunch of one-on-one interviews this week, and two of them — Evans and Bruce Bochy — are available here as podcasts. If you’re a fan of the podcast, please consider hitting subscribe on iTunes. It’s good for the pod. 

--- In case you missed it: Here's an explanation of why the Giants are unlikely to add an expensive outfielder. The Giants currently have four players set for the WBC. Hensley Meulens will manage the Netherlands. Ryan Vogelsong helped Melancon choose the Giants. Bochy on if he has any postseason regrets. 

--- Melancon will be introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference on Friday. It will air on CSN Bay Area and you can stream it on this website. 

Wife of former Giants outfielder Andres Torres passes away


Wife of former Giants outfielder Andres Torres passes away

Former Giants outfielder Andres Torres lost his wife on Wednesday evening.

Soannie Torres passed away from cancer.

Andres played for the Giants from 2009 to 2011 and again in 2013.

During the Giants' World Series run in 2010, he hit .268 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI over 139 regular season games.

In the World Series against the Rangers, he batted .318 and hit a home run.

Torres was the 2010 winner of the Willie Mac Award, -- given annually to the Giants' most inspirational player.

To donate to the Soannie Torres Memorial Fund, click here.