Reds notes: Baker not a fan of new format


Reds notes: Baker not a fan of new format

Programming alert: Watch SportsNet Central's October Quest, giving you everything you need to know before and after Game 1 between the Giants and Reds on CSN Bay Area. Coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. and picks up after the final out.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The newold division series playoff format has many scratching their heads, especially Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker.Higher-seeded teams, such as Baker's Reds, are "rewarded" with only one guaranteed home playoff game and have to open the playoffs with two games on the road."It doesn't feel like I have the home field advantage at all," Baker said before Saturday night's series opener against the Giants. "This is similar to '97, when we played the Florida Marlins down there, and I was with the Giants here and we played them down there and they beat us the first two games and we came out here and we had one game and they ended up being the world champions. So it kind of reminds me of that."You would rather have the 221 format, but they say that's next year."Hard to believe its been almost 10 years since J.T. Snow saved a three-year-old Darren Baker at home plate during the World Series, right?But there was a 13-year-old Darren Baker sitting at his father's side during the pregame media conference when the elder Baker was asked about the rule banning such young children serving as batboys. A ruling of which the manager was not too fond.REWIND: Dusty isn't San Francisco's story anymore
"I just think that they took it a little bit too far, as far as the young men and women that, at that age, most of them either have their own games or they have lost interest in the game," Baker said. "I'm proud that two of my bat boys at that time, Ellis Burks' son is about to go to college or possibly get drafted.Juan Lopez, one of the bat boys, (is) playing with Kansas City and Shawon Dunston's son is playing with the Cubs. This is how you perpetuate the games by letting these young men and woman come around the field to be around their fathers."When I think about him and I think about back in the day when it looks like there were Boones everywhere. There were so many out there -- Are you a Boone? Yeah, I'm a Boone."Laughter erupted."Then look at the Bells, Griffey, Barry Bonds and all the guys that are playing then and now because they were out there with their fathers, you know what I mean?" Baker said. "To my knowledge, the lawyers got involved and they said it had something to do with the child labor laws and, you know, the laws got us."Baker opener AT&T Park, then called Pac Bell Park, in 2000. So forgive him if he gets a little nostalgic about facing the Giants in the playoffs."Well, yeah, I mean, we helped put some bricks in this stadium here," Baker said."We came over from Candlestick when the new stadium was built, and it meant a lot to us. It looks the same, well preserved, and anytime you come back to your own home, it means a lot.Coming out of the other stadium it always seemed a little weird, but I'm getting used to it."Baker is 16-14 as a visiting manager on the shores of McCovey Cove, going 7-6 with the Chicago Cubs and 9-8 with the Reds.The Reds have lost their last seven playoff games, dating to Game 3 of a division series sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995. Cincinnati was swept in four games by the Atlanta Braves in the 1995 NLCS and was then swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in three games of an NLDS in 2010."I didn't know that number," Baker said. "I swear I don't know any of these numbers.What's important is today, you can't do anything about the last 17 years, whatever it is.Let's have a game today and then we won't be talking about it, we will talk about the next time. My son asked me, 'Is this the first time the Reds have ever played the Giants (in the playoffs)?'"Okay, it is.All right." Cincinnati's last playoff win came on Oct. 6, 1995, when David Wells beat Hideo Nomo, and Bret Boone, Mark Lewis and Ron Gant all homered at Riverfront Stadium in that 10-1 Reds victory over the Dodgers.More numbers for Baker to chew on: with playoff appearances in two of the past three years, Baker is only the third manager in Reds history to lead Cincinnati to the playoffs more than once, joining Bill McKechnie (1939 and 1940) and Sparky Anderson (1970, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976)Cincinnati, along with the Washington Nationals, Athletics and Baltimore Orioles, made history as it was the first time four teams finished with at least 90 victories a year after finishing under .500.

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate


Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni. 

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Eduardo Nuñez left San Francisco in a strange way. The third baseman was traded in the middle of Tuesday night’s game and mostly said his goodbyes in a stairwell behind the home dugout at AT&T Park. Before joining the Red Sox, Nuñez took to his social media pages to send a message to the Giants and their fans. 

On Twitter, Nuñez thanked the organization for “the great opportunity and experiences learned” and wished the team the best of luck. His Instagram message was a bit longer. 

“I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team,” Nuñez wrote. “I value the experiences learned during my time here and I will miss my teammates, the fans, and the beautiful city of San Francisco very much. Best wishes to the Giants organization during the rest of this season. God Bless.”

Nuñez is expected to join the Red Sox on Friday. Boston’s manager, John Farrell, told reporters that his new infielder will get “a high number of at-bats” despite the presence of top prospect Rafael Devers. 

"This is someone who's swinging the bat very well right now,” Farrell said, according to "A high energy player that can run the bases well. He’s got really good line drive power so his .300-plus batting average to mix into this lineup is a good addition."