Arroyo paints corners, befuddles Giants

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Arroyo paints corners, befuddles Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO -- With his flowing blonde mane, awkward stiff-legged delivery and the Key West cool he exhibits, Bronson Arroyo has been anything but the prototypical imposing stopper on the mound in his 13-year big league career.And yet, with Cincinnati wanting, er, needing a quality start to give its bullpen a much-needed breather after going through six pitchers in the series opener, there was the crafty Arroyo, hitting his spots, painting the edge of the plate and straight baffling the Giants. The right-hander threw seven innings of shutout ball and surrendered only one hit and one walk in a 9-0 victory to hand the Reds a two games to none lead in this best-of-five National League Division Series.RELATED: Baggs Instant Replay: Reds embarrass lifeless Giants
Best of all, at least from Cincinnati's perspective, Reds manager Dusty Baker had an inkling Arroyo would thrive at AT&T Park."He flirted with a nohitter a couple of starts ago," Baker said. "He's been throwing the ball well, and I just thought him and this forgiving ballpark would be right for him, even though I don't think he had won a game here."Indeed, Arroyo entered the day 0-4 on the shores of McCovey Cove and had not beaten the Giants at all since Aug. 31, 2008."You want to get deep in the ballgame but a playoff atmosphere, it's impossible to control everything that's going on," Arroyo said. "You go out there (with) a mindset of trying to get into the seventh inning possibly, and that doesn't happen a whole lotif you look around at both leagues you will see a lot of starting pitchers that have to bow out after 5 23 (innings)."You're burning more energy, there is so much more going on, so it's hard to take that responsibility on your shoulders and say, 'I'm going to get deep in the ballgame'. You hope you do.I threw enough pitches in the middle of the game where they had swung early on and saved me some pitches that gave me an opportunity to do that."Save some pitches? A 3-and-2 backdoor breaking pitch that froze Gregor Blanco for a strikeout to lead off the third inning saved Arroyo some pitches.
"It set a nice tone for us because you don't always get those pitches," he said, with a figurative tip of his cap to homeplate umpire Brian O'Nora."You're trying to pitch to such a small sliver of the outer half of the plate, and if you can do that it builds confidence."And confident he looked, building on the postseason experience he had in 2004 with the Boston Red Sox, the first, and thus far, only MLB team to rally from an 0-3 deficit in a playoff series to win a series."He was great," Baker said. "He had his breaking ball working, his fastball, he located it wellonce we got those early runs, he seemed to get tougher."Stingier, too.The Giants stung the ball early, but right at the Reds fielders. Arroyo was perfect through 4 23 innings, before Brandon Belt singled to right-center. The only other Giant to reach base off him was Buster Posey, who walked with two out in the seventh.
But the thought of a no-no or even a Perfect Game in the postseason seems a ludicrous though.
"A nohitter in this type of environment is almost impossible to do and it's something you're not thinking about," he said. "The win for the ballclub is the nirvana. There is nothing else to think about. If something else happens crazy like that, then it's icing on the cake."But to get through the fifth inning without having to pitch from the stretch but one time was really big.It allows you to get in your groove. You're not wasting a lot of energy because when guys are on base you're thinking about shutting the running game down. All kinds of things come into play there that don't have to if no one is on base.So to make it through the first five innings without having to deal with a base runner was big."In fact, had the Reds not been up so long in the eighth, when they batted around and added five runs, Arroyo probably would have come stayed in the game. After all, he himself batted in that Reds conga line."But we might have to pitch him on threedays rest, too," Baker said. "So at that period of time we had to save him for later.Plus, that long inning, we scored a lot of runs.About time to give some of the other guys a break."Arroyo, though, would offer no such quarter to the Giants. Not on this night.

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.