Giants will send Bumgarner, Vogelsong against Cardinals at home

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Giants will send Bumgarner, Vogelsong against Cardinals at home

CHICAGO Pat Burrell was one of two Giants advance scoutsbreaking down the other NL Division Series.

But the Giants had many, many more eyes on the St. LouisCardinals and Washington Nationals as those two talented clubs played a ridiculouslyentertaining Game 5 Friday night. The Giants checked out of their rooms attheir hotel in Cincinnati and gathered together in a ballroom to watch thegame.

They boarded their bus before it was over, probablyconvinced their chartered jet would point east toward Washington for Game 1.But the Cardinals wiped out a 6-0 deficit, came back from two runs down despitebeing down to their final strike, and pulled out an incredible 9-7 victory toadvance.

The Giants were sitting on the plane to watch it end,according to right-hander George Kontos. Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to be ableto take off as soon as the computer could load a flight plan.

What a nail biterrrrr, Kontos posted to his Twitteraccount.

Stunningly, the Giants are coming home. Game 1 will beSunday at 5 p.m. at AT&T Park.

The Giants have a lot of decisions to make on the pitchingend, but theyve announced itll be Madison Bumgarner in Game 1 and RyanVogelsong in Game 2.

The Cardinals would appear to have Jaime Garcia and ChrisCarpenter in the first two games.

Matt Cain, almost certainly, will be the Giants Game 3pitcher lining him up to go in Game 7, too. The same will be true for KyleLohse, who had a tremendous season for the Cardinals.

I have to believe Tim Lincecum would start Game 4, unlessBochy decides he was so valuable as a long-relief tourniquet that he wants tostart the series with Timmy in that role.

We could ruminate on playoff roster decisions and the uniquechallenges the Cardinals present . But thats what tomorrows workout day isfor.

In the 24 hours since the Giants launched their ownincredible comeback to sink the Cincinnati Reds, Ive thought a bit on theCards and Nats and wondered which would be a tougher opponent in a best-of-7NLCS.

My first impulse was to say the Giants would be better offfacing St. Louis.

For one, the Giants would get to go home, and havehome-field advantage. Yes, yes, theyve been amazing on the road. But thosethree games in Cincy had to be physically and mentally exhausting. It would be tough to expect them tokeep playing at that same level for two more games in Washington.

For another, the Nationals really thumped the Giants thisseason. A heat wave in Washington sapped them in one series and the MelkyCabrera suspension concussed them in another, but I do think it was such alopsided series that maybe the Nats couldve gotten in the Giants domes alittle bit.

But then I watched the Cardinals Game 5 comeback. Every guyin that lineup works you, grinds you for every pitch. Drew Storen came so, soclose to getting out of that ninth inning when David Freese checked his swingon a two-strike pitch. But he held up, and the level of discipline that the Cardinalsshowed in that ninth inning was one of the most amazing things Ive seen.

Plus, Carlos Beltran is just on fire right now.

It wont be easy for the Giants. Then again, it never is.

Oh, and finally youve got the last two World Serieschampions meeting in an LCS. How often does that happen?

Report: Melancon rubbed Giants teammates wrong way early in season

Report: Melancon rubbed Giants teammates wrong way early in season

This past offseason, the Giants overhauled the back of their bullpen. Out went mainstays Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez. In came prized free agent Mark Melancon.

It was supposed to be a seamless transition for one of the most reliable closers in baseball.

But nearly three months in, Melancon is one of many Giants players struggling while the team flounders in last place in the NL West with a 27-51 record.

And it appears Melancon's relationship with his new teammates didn't get off to a great start.

Melancon "rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season" by canceling a longstanding pregame stretching session with the other relievers that was implemented long before he joined the team, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

That's not the only stretching-related issue to impact the Giants. Manager Bruce Bochy had to get involved when several veterans were reportedly late on multiple occasions for the team stretching session.

“I dropped the ball. I’ve been doing this so long, you take for granted that they know what I want. These guys were used to doing it how they’ve done it — ‘I have my own routine. I’m not going to stretch.’ But we do stretch as a team here. They all have to be out there,” Bochy said.

Closers are known to have unique routines and Bochy addressed that as well.

“Sometimes other relievers … maybe they get a little taken aback by it. I don’t know what (closer) doesn’t have a routine like that,” Bochy said.

General Manager Bobby Evans addressed the claim that Melancon is rubbing teammates the wrong way and defended his closer's role in the clubhouse.

“To whatever degree it hasn’t manifested itself or to the extent it’s manifested itself in the perception of some negatively, I can assure you that was not Mark’s intention. Mark is a team guy,” Evans said.

Melancon, who has a 4.58 ERA and 11 saves in 15 chances this season, has three years and $53 million left on his contract with the Giants.

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

BOX SCORE

Madison Bumgarner was back on the bump Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL due to a dirt bike accident on April 21.

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants against the Arizona Rookie League Angels and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.