NL playoffs take shape, Giants virtually assured No. 3 seed

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NL playoffs take shape, Giants virtually assured No. 3 seed

SAN DIEGO The playoff picture is taking shape for theGiants, who almost certainly will enter the postseason as the No. 3 seed andlikely face the Cincinnati Reds in an NL Division Series.

Following their 7-3 loss at San Diego on Saturday, theGiants officially cannot be the No. 1 seed. They fell four games behind theWashington Nationals with four to play; the Nats hold the tiebreaker over theGiants by virtue of winning the season series.

The Reds also hold the tiebreaker against theGiants, in addition to a three-game edge in the standings. So the only way theGiants can leap them for the No. 2 seed is if they finish 4-0 and the Reds go0-4.
RELATED: MLB standings
Finally, the Nats are one game in front of the Reds. Washingtonholds the tiebreaker between the clubs, too. So the Nats essentially hold atwo-game edge with four to play, and would clinch the top seed with anycombination of three victories or Reds losses.

Dizzy? Well make it simpler for you: The odds are strongthat itll be the Giants and Reds in one series, with the Nationals awaitingthe winner of the Wild Card knockout game in the other series.

Due to a one-year quirk in the schedule, the lower seedsopen as the home team for Games 1 and 2, with the remainder of the five-game seriesshifting to the higher seeds ballpark.

So if youre putting in your schedule requests at work, thesmart move would be to plan for baseball at AT&T Park on Oct. 6 and 7.

Giants lineup: Span leading off vs Cubs after missing two games

Giants lineup: Span leading off vs Cubs after missing two games

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Giants-Cubs coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

After missing the last two games with a sprained left thumb, Denard Span is back at the top of the Giants lineup Wednesday in Chicago.

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) RF
9. Matt Moore (L) P

Chicago Cubs:
1. Javier Baez (R) 2B
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) LF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Addison Russell (R) SS
8. Miguel Montero (L) C
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) P

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

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AP

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

Tyler Beede stepped on the hill at Raley Field in Sacramento on Tuesday night one year older and came away with one more win after the River Cats defeated the Memphis Redbirds, 6-2. 

Beede, now 24 years old, didn’t churn out his most impressive or dominant performance, but he limited hits and found a way to earn his third win of the year. On the night, he completed 5 1/3 innings pitched and only allowed four hits and two earned runs. He did, however, walk more batters (3) than strikeouts (2), which is his lowest strikeout total in a game this season. 

Those numbers shouldn’t be too surprising when looking at Beede’s trends this season on the mound. In his nine starts for the River Cats, he is walking slightly more batters than last year when he was in Double-A Richmond, and he’s significantly striking out less batters. Through 49 innings pitched, which leads the River Cats, Beede is issuing 3.31 walks per nine innings (3.24 BB/9 in 2016) while only striking out 5.88 batters per nine, compared to 8.25 K/9 last year. 

Instead, the Giants’ top pitching prospect is turning to ground balls, setting him up smarter for the future. After forcing seven groundouts to three flyouts on Tuesday, he is now rolling ground balls 56.5 percent of the time, an increase from 47.9 percent last season. 

Sacramento plays in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. All teams outside of the River Cats, who are last in the league with a team batting average of .238, are averaging just over five runs per game and almost one homer every game. Beede, isn’t letting the ball fly through air and has only allowed three homers off of him this season. This plays well for his and the Giants’ future. 

Whenever Beede finds his way to San Francisco, he doesn’t need to rely on his mid-90s fastball to get outs. The strikeouts will come, but life will be much easier watching a Gold Glove infield scoop up grounders for years to come. 

While Beede waits his turn to join the bigs, he’s showing maturity on the hill and stayed undefeated at home on a birthday night to remember. 

Around The Horn

— The Giants’ top power prospect, Chris Shaw, has been called up from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento. Shaw, 23, played only first base in the minors before this season, but has transitioned to left field. He played 18 games at first and 18 games at left for the Flying Squirrels, registering no errors in the outfield. 

— Kelby Tomlinson is working in center field while with the River Cats. Insider Alex Pavlovic spoke to Bruce Bochy about the move

— Bryan Reynolds, the Giants’ top pick in 2016, finished a home run short of the cycle on Sunday. He went 5-for-6 with four RBI in the San Jose Giants’ win. On the season, Reynolds now has 14 multi-hit games in 38 games played. Here’s the breakdown: Six two-hit games, seven three-hit games and one five-hit game.