Giants playoffs: Sizing up Reds, Nats pitching rotations

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Giants playoffs: Sizing up Reds, Nats pitching rotations

We are, and youll forgive the conclusion-jumping just this once, growing perilously close to the dream scenario Giants fanhistorians have had for a decade.Trying to beat Dusty Baker in the playoffs. And him trying to beat the Giants.Either that, or the Giants will become the first team to test the new and as-yet-unproven Disappearing Strasburg Effect.But first, your required caveat. This NL West thing is not yet over, you are wrong to think it is, and if you say it where someone else can hear you, may you be struck with a fully-loaded beer stein while in church.That said, the locals widened their lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers to a healthy six full games the equivalent of having a weeks head start in a three-week race. This would seem to eliminate the need for further Should-We-Make-Lincecum-The-Closer-Or-Just-Shoot-Him-And-Be-Done-With-It scenarios.It would also eliminate facing the wild-card winner, which for the moment looks like Atlanta-vs.-Somebody. That leaves only two options for playoff openers. The De-Strasburged Washingtons, or the Re-Vottod Cincinnatis.And the Giants are 3-9 against the Nats and Bakers, so pace at your will.Cincinnati is about to clinch the Central, being up 10 on St. Louis and all, and Washington has 7 on Atlanta. Thus, if you must assume the Giants are in (duck!), you must also assume the others are in as well. And that the Giants cant catch either of them. Very tenuous stuff, this assuming thing, but were writing today and not a week from now, so play along, damn it.RELATED: MLB Wild Card standings
Thus, the real race now is to see whether the Nationals or Reds finish with the best record and draw the wild-card winner, which will come from a field that surely includes Atlanta and could also field St. Louis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and maybe even the resurgent Philadelphia or Milwaukee. Arizona is only five back, but its hard to extend the spirit of hope and charity that deep into the standings.But lets return to the local issue (well get to the Fightin McCarthys across the Bay tomorrow). Whether the Giants would rather face a team without Stephen Strasburg or with Dusty Baker.And now, lets project.Assuming that neither Bruce Bochy (who never does), Davey Johnson nor Baker changes their rotation between now and the playoffs, they would send this group of starters in this order:WASHINGTON
Ross Detwiler (9-6, 3.23): Years from now, youll ask yourself, Who was their fourth starter? You wont remember the answer.

Edwin Jackson (9-10, 3.85): Has the worst WHIP, and its a very tolerable 1.21.

Gio Gonzalez (19-7, 2.93): Worth every dime the As would never have paid him.

Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.01): The example the Nationals use when defending the Strasburg move. Hes good.CINCINNATI
Homer Bailey (10-9, 4.03): Most likely to be dropped, in favor of Mike Leake (8-9, 4.69).

Bronson Arroyo (12-7, 3.66): Nasty when aroused. It means hes a good pitcher, but I wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Johnny Cueto (17-8, 2.71): Their best.

Mat Latos (12-4, 3.72): A beloved favorite of Giant fans, beat them twice this year.

SAN FRANCISCO
Madison Bumgarner
Tim Lincecum
Matt Cain
Barry Zito or Ryan VogelsongYou dont need the stats. Youve memorized them. And youre allowed to argue Zito-Vogelsong until youre blue in the mouth. Just watch those steins.But this would mean that Game 3 would feature the best pitching matchups, and we cannot guarantee that the three teams might not take the extra days between clinching and the playoff openers October 6 or 7 to realign their rotations.Oh, youll still get Cain v. Cueto or Cain v. Gonzalez (or Strasburg, if Washington general manager Mike Rizzo can convince Scott Boras to vacation in the bottom of the Sargasso Sea for a month), but just earlier.Either way, it looks like the Giants will be playing against a team that has had its way with them while they had Webmaster Melky Cabrera in the lineup.And Dusty Baker there to bring up all the good and weird history that was the Giants of the 90s and early Oughts. So many laughs. So many tears. So many lies, and so many lies to cover up the original lies. Playoff baseball at its finest.And in the meantime, so many variables, so much pre-series nonsense, and so much Web space to fill. In all, life is good, as long as nobody is menacing you with a stein.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

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AP

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series opener in Chicago:

Giants (19-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Ty Blach (R) P (1-2, 4.15 ERA)

Cubs (22-20) 
1. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Addison Russell (R) SS
7. Jason Heyward (L) RF
8. Javier Baez (R) 2B
9. John Lackey (R) P (4-3, 4.37 ERA)

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS -- Adalberto Mejia made the most of his brief stint back in the majors with the Minnesota Twins by getting his first big-league win.

Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler and Chris Gimenez all homered to help Mejia and the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 in the second game Sunday to salvage a split of a doubleheader.

Mejia (1-1) was the Twins' 26th active player for the second game and allowed three runs in seven innings, on two home runs by Salvador Perez - who also went deep in the first game.

Mejia's reward for his first win? A trip back to Triple-A Rochester.

"I'm going to go down there and work on the things they told me work on," Mejia said through interpreter Carlos Font. "Then it will be up to them to see when I get back."

Grossman and Kepler each hit two-run homers in the first inning, and Brian Dozier had an RBI double in the second off Ian Kennedy (0-4) in his first game back from the disabled list.

Brandon Moss hit two of Kansas City's four home runs in the opener of the doubleheader, and Perez and Jorge Bonifacio each hit two-run homers to lead the Royals to a 6-4 win earlier in the day.

With the split, the Twins are now 7-1 on the year against the Royals. Kansas City's win in the first game snapped a seven-game losing streak against Minnesota.

Kennedy, who returned after missing time with a hamstring strain, said he felt fine physically. He walked three batters and gave up a pair of two-run homers in just two innings Sunday.

"He was way out of whack," manager Ned Yost said. "His leg was fine. He felt normal, felt good. Just timing was off, rhythm was off."

MINOR'S WIN

Mike Minor's road back to the majors was not an easy one. Shoulder surgery kept him out of the majors for two years and resulted in a move to the bullpen.

Minor got his first victory since 2014 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in the first game Sunday. He relieved Jake Junis with a 5-2 lead in the fifth, two outs and two on. The 29-year-old left-hander walked Max Kepler, then retired Kennys Vargas on a popup. Minor retired the side in order in the sixth.

Minor had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder in May 13, 2015, and did not appear in the major leagues in 2015 and 2016. Minor, who signed a $7.25 million, two-year contract with the Royals in February 2016, got his first major league victory since Aug. 28, 2014, for Atlanta.

JUNIS' FIRST START

Kansas City's Jake Junis, a 24-year-old right-hander, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and made his first big league start after a pair of relief appearances. He allowed two runs, five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings, leaving after RBI singles from Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano.

Junis found out Saturday that he would be making his first career start. He didn't pitch deep enough to get the win, but impressed manager Ned Yost before the Royals optioned Junis back to Omaha after the game.

"I thought he did a nice job," Yost said. "We tried to get him through that fifth inning, but we needed to win this game."

ROYALS MOVES

Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon missed the second game to join his wife, who is due to give birth on Monday. Infielder Raul Mondesi replacing Gordon on the roster but was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game. That means LHP Miguel Almonte, initially the Royals' 26th active player Sunday, remains on the 25-man roster. ... RHP Al Alburquerque was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Junis.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: RHP Nate Karns had his pitching arm evaluated after Friday's start against Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost said fluid was found in the elbow area but Karns does not have a strain. Karns exited his start Friday after five innings and threw just 72 pitches due to stiffness in his arm.

Twins: RHP Phil Hughes was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with shoulder discomfort. Hughes took the loss in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will take Hughes' place on the roster.

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (5-2, 2.03 ERA) starts Monday's series opener at the New York Yankees.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (0-4, 8.20 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start Monday against Baltimore.