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

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.