Baggs makes his fearless predictions for MLB 2012


Baggs makes his fearless predictions for MLB 2012

PHOENIX Tim Lincecum is about to twirl and deal for keeps,which means Id better hustle to get my 2012 predictions out there.

Annual reminder: Infotainment purposes only. Please do notpawn any belongings on your way to the sportsbook. (Unless its that euphonium.Youre never actually going to learn to play that thing, are you?)

AL WEST: Rangers, Angels, Mariners, As
Not sure if Texas can get back to the World Series, but Ilove their power-packed lineup. Even though the Angels staff might be bettertop to bottom, Texas has plenty of live arms in the rotation and bullpen.

AL CENTRAL: Tigers, Royals, Indians, Twins, White Sox
You heard it here first: The Royals will score more runsthan the Tigers this season. Youre welcome, Jonathan Sanchez. Justin Verlanderis still better than you, though.

AL EAST: Rays, Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Orioles
Anyone who thinks about picking Baltimore also thinks aboutself-appendectomies. I like everything about the Rays except Joe Maddon dyeinghis hair.

Id love to take the Royals as my dark horse team. But itshard to pick against the second-place clubs in the West and East. Mike Sciosciamight resemble the Kool-Aid man more and more every year in that redwindbreaker, but the man knows how to beat the Yankees.

NL WEST: Diamondbacks, Giants, Dodgers, Rockies, Padres
Very, very tough call here. Im going with the Diamondbacksbased on their farm system in addition to the major league roster. Where theGiants have little rotation depth, Arizona could call up Trevor Bauer or TommySkaggs. Theyve got more in their system to trade in late summer, too. Plus Imnot sold on the Giants leadoff situation.
NL CENTRAL: Brewers, Reds, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates, Astros
Houston will be baseballs only sixth place team, but thatsonly because by rule, they cant finish 187th. Lets go withMilwaukee here. Theyll still hit plenty, and their top three starters are theclass of the division.

NL EAST: Phillies, Marlins, Nationals, Braves, Mets
The Phillies lineup is getting so old, I half expected themto sign Steve Finley on general principle. But, hey. Halladay, Lee, Hamels.That gets you a hand stamp. Plus the Marlins will be in a fishbowl, literallyand figuratively, as the newest subjects of The Franchise. Cant wait for theshow where Zambrano and Ozzie go to the Sunglasses Hut together.

The Giants have not fared well in one-game wild cardplayoffs. Dont worry. Mark Gardner will not start this time.

ALCS: Tigers over Rays
NLCS: Brewers over Giants
World Series: Tigers over Brewers
Viva la Rust Belt. Prince Fielder clubs a game winner offJohn Axford, and all six people who live in downtown Detroit celebrate.

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera
NL MVP: Hanley Ramirez
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: Zack Greinke
AL Rookie: Matt Moore
NL Rookie: Zack Cozart
AL Manager: Whoever the Royals manager is. Wait, its NedYost? I may have to rethink this whole dark horse thing
NL Manager: Ron Roenicke
Choco Tacos I will consume in Coors Field press box: Atleast eight.

Enjoy the season!

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates


SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.