Don't get ahead of yourself, Giants fans

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Don't get ahead of yourself, Giants fans

DETROIT -- Now that youve all gotten ahead of yourselves -- and to be fair, why wouldnt you after that delicious two-day meal of Sandoval on a bed of Bumgarner -- heres something to remind you that few things are ever as they seem.

The Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals.

I grant you, this is not the way to bet. The Giants have their best pitchers of 2012 R. -- Andrew Vogelsong and M. Thomas Cain -- going in Game 3 and 4, which is one more way that Bruce Bochys way of thinking works in his favor even when it seems like it doesnt.

But as a big believer in the things are awfully quiet around here . . . a little TOO quiet theory of human dynamics, your faithful, charming and even adorable author is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now maybe it wont; it didnt for Texas two years ago.

But the Rangers also led the World Series 3-2 last year before losing the final two games in St. Louis, which is just one more example of how nothing is over until John Belushi in Animal House says its over. And even the stat that 14 of the last 15 teams to take a 2-0 lead in the Series have gone on to win it doesnt take into account the possibility that this is one of those years when a lead is really a cleverly disguised deficit.

See the Cardinals. See them golfing and hunting and lamenting their 3-1 lead over the Giants.

In other words, there are lots of ways this could get to be interesting -- so interesting that the ratings hammering the first two games took can be arrested and even perhaps reversed.

So, because a dose of reality never hurts anyone living in a state of unbridled euphoria, we present scenarios by which the Tigers could make this an event rather than a coronation. And dont think of this as buzzkill. Think of it as a map of a minefield -- where youd rather know what could go wrong than blithely stroll through and find out the hard way.

And remember, were always thinking of you.

1. Anibal Sanchez, Saturdays Tiger starter, does not treat the Giants well. In his last three years in Florida, he muzzled the Giants as well as nearly anyone, and in his two starts this year he was exemplary once and part of a 14-7 abomination the other time. In other words, he can claim to have their number.
2. The Tigers cant really be smothered thrice in their own park, can they? Comerica Park is a big place, but the Tigers are much better there than in an airport like San Francisco, where power hitters go to die and gap hitters thrive.
3. Delmon Young is better as a designated hitter than as a left fielder. The Tigers will use either Don Kelly or Quentin Berry in left in the three games here, which immediately improves Detroits greatest deficiency -- defense. It also exacerbates one of the Giants deficiencies -- no natural DH.
4. Having been fooled by the low end of Justin Verlanders skill set once this series, we can estimate that he will be better in Game 5. We do not do this with the same surety we had in Game 1 (and yes, we were in a group that comprised all other living humans interested in baseball on that one), but it is hard to fathom he will not learn from his mistakes in Game 1.
5. If you believe in rust (and again, we do not), the Tigers are no longer rusty. They were dusty in Games 1 and 2, but ought to be free of webs and insect nests by now.
6. There is no longer a question of where Jose Valverde fits into the Tigers bullpen. He doesnt. That logically diminishes the Giants chances.
7. The 2010 World Series ended too abruptly. Some drama would be nice.
8. The Giants have a knack for playing their backs against the wall. We are not entirely sure how they will do with the other guys back against the wall.
9. Seriously, another five-game series would be kind of a letdown, except maybe for Fox, which cant seem to get people to watch anything that isnt Yankees-vs.-Red Sox.
10. Smug does not become a Giants fan. Fret, worry lines, agony, and the fetish that watching a good baseball team over and over again is torture is what makes a Giants fan. So a struggle here could be therapeutic for you all, as it is what you seem to prefer.

And all that said, the Giants are still in a dramatically superior position here, and as long as they dont act like it, theyll be fine. Eventually. We think.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Bumgarner diagnosed with Grade 2 shoulder sprain, not expected back before break

Bumgarner diagnosed with Grade 2 shoulder sprain, not expected back before break

SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the most important men in the Giants organization over the next two months won't be seen on the field. Madison Bumgarner has been turned over to Tony Reale, the team's physical therapist, for the start of his rehab from a dirt bike accident. The process kicked off Friday, and a week after they first announced the injury, the Giants provided additional details. 

Trainer Dave Groeschner said Bumgarner has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 left shoulder sprain, which means there are partial tears in his shoulder. The diagnosis was not a surprise, and neither is the timetable. Bumgarner is expected to need two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he's big league-ready. If all goes according to plan, he will return to the rotation right after the All-Star break, although the early rehab process will determine if the timetable can be moved up a bit or if it has to be pushed back. 

The medical process is led by Dr. Ken Akizuki, the team's orthopedist, but outside specialists were consulted. Dr. Tim McAdams, the team doctor for the 49ers, saw Bumgarner and his test results were sent to Dr. James Andrews, the most famous name in the field, and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Will Smith's Tommy John surgery. All of the doctors agreed that Bumgarner does not need surgery. 

"That's nice to hear," Groeschner said. "It's nice when everyone is in agreement. Now we'll put a plan in place and work on the rehab and get him back. Bum is a very conscientious person. We feel good about the fact that if we’re going to ask him to do something (to rehab), he’s going to do it.”

The Giants are confident Bumgarner will attack the rehab process. He has been diligent in the opening days about icing and getting treatment. They also are confident that the injury will not hamper his unique delivery, although more will be known as he gets closer to throwing. 

In the meantime, Ty Blach will take his second turn in Bumgarner's spot on Sunday. 

Giants lineup: Morse gets first start, Posey out vs Padres

Giants lineup: Morse gets first start, Posey out vs Padres

Programming note: Padres-Giants coverage starts today at 6:00pm with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Andy Green and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for today's series opener at AT&T Park:

Padres (9-15)

1. Manuel Margot (R) CF
2. Erick Aybar (S) SS
3. Wil Myers (R) 1B
4. Yangervis Solarte (S) 2B
5. Ryan Schimpf (L) 3B
6. Cory Spangenberg (L) LF
7. Austin Hedges (R) C
8. Jabari Blash (R) RF
9. Luis Perdomo (R) P

Giants (8-15) 

1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Brandon Belt (L) LF
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Michael Morse (R) 1B
5. Christian Arroyo (R) SS
6. Conor Gillaspie (L) 3B
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P