EXTRA BAGGS: Giants must reestablish home mojo, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Giants must reestablish home mojo, etc.

ST. LOUIS The Giants road trip is over, and it was a goodone.

They swept three from the radioactive Rockies, then washed off abad series-opening loss at Busch Stadium to split four with a Cardinals clubthat is more talented than the standings would indicate.

Sure, the Giants made a few mistakes in a 3-1 loss Thursdayafternoon. Madison Bumgarner left a slider up to Carlos Beltran, yet the pitchprobably wouldve resulted in a long foul ball to 95 percent of major leaguehitters. Beltran was talented enough and strong enough to keep it fair for atwo-run home run.

The Giants were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position,Hunter Pence struck out three times and the play that scored their only run Marco Scutaros sacrifice fly in thefifth was actually the moment they most lamented. Jon Jays sliding catchkept it from being much more.

I thought Scutaros ball would get heavy and fall in,Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. They made a nice play on that. Its theturning point in the game, really.

But no result Thursday could turn this road trip into adisappointment. The Giants will take five of seven anytime, especially whenthey can pound out 57 runs in 63 innings.

Now they head home, hoping they can carry some of their roadmojo into AT&T Park, where the Giants struggled to a 3-7 record when theyshouldve been making hay on their last homestand.

As its been pointed out many times, the Giants enteredThursdays game as the highest scoring club in the majors on the road (5.18runs per game) but the second worst offense at home (3.27 runs per game).

Theyve hit a total of 17 home runs in 55 home games. For alittle perspective, Detroits Miguel Cabrera has hit 19 all by himself atComerica Park.

If that pattern holds, can the Giants prosper?

It can, if you keep the line moving, Bochy said. Wevegot more speed this year. So yeah, that can work. The park is built for that,really.

But when you dont hit home runs, you cant afford to fallbehind. And you certainly cant afford to give them up. So itll be up to thestarting pitchers to continue to set a tone, beginning with Tim Lincecumagainst the Rockies on Friday.

Fair or not, the pressure has been on the pitchers toperform for several years now. On the road, they might get the occasionalreprieve when the Giants outhit their mistakes. At home, those mistakes dontoften get covered up.

Bumgarner provided the brightest moment of the day for theGiants when he faced Beltran for a second time. He definitely pitches with anedge out there, and he looked to have something extra as he struck out Beltranon three pitches.

Then Bumgarner fielded two sharp comebackers with a snap ofhis glove, as if he were prodding cows trying to jump the pen.

No, I didnt think I needed any extra fire to pitch againsta team like this, said Bumgarner, who credited Beltran for putting a goodswing on that first-inning homer. Bad pitch selection, I guess. For the mostpart, we went with the game plan today and it worked out for the most partexcept a pitch here or there.

Marco Scutaro ended up with 12 RBIs on the trip. Yes, hesfilled in quite nicely for Pablo Sandoval.

Some folks have asked about wild card tiebreaker scenarios. For example, what if the Giants and Cardinals are the two wild card entrants for the National League? Who gets home-field advantage for the one-game playoff?

Well, simple. The team with the best overall record plays host to the knockout game. But if the Cards and Giants were to finish the season with identical records, the next tiebreaker would be head-to-head record. Because they've split the six-game season series, the next tiebreaker would be record within their respective divisions.

But again, regular-season record trumps all.

The Giants will install a Matt Cain perfect game plaque onthe portwalk beyond the right field arcade. Itll be unveiled prior to Fridaynights game. First pitch has been bumped back to 7:35 p.m. PDT as a result.

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.