Vogelsong will try to cool off Tigers in their home park

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Vogelsong will try to cool off Tigers in their home park

DETROIT The Giants ride into chilly, gray Comerica Parkcarrying a franchise-best five-game postseason winning streak in which theyveoutscored their opponents 30-4.

Yet the Detroit Tigers have their own streak eightconsecutive home victories and manager Jim Leyland finally gets to run outhis lineup against a right-handed starter.

Thats no small detail: The Tigers were 62-49 againstright-handed starters and their two heavies, Miguel Cabrera and PrinceFielder, hit 64 of their 74 home runs against righty pitchers.

Nothing on the matchup sheet could make the Giants regretsending Ryan Vogelsong to the mound for Game 3, though. Vogelsong has been theGiants best starting pitcher this postseason both in terms of stuff andresults. His hard two-seamer and sharp offspeed pitches allowed him to match adominant, 10-strikeout, one-hit start from the Reds Homer Bailey in Game 3 ofthe NLDS at Cincinnati the first of six elimination victories that the Giantshad to reel off to claim the NL pennant.

Now the Giants are playing from ahead. Theyll sendVogelsong in search of a 3-0 lead in the World Series, and in addition toCabrera and Fielder, hell have to concentrate on Omar Infante. Thetable-setting infielder is 7 for 11 (all singles) in his career againstVogelsong. No other Tigers hitter has faced him more than six times; Cabreraand Fielder have combined to go 1 for 8 with a walk and two strikeouts.

The Tigers have more speed in their lineup with QuintinBerry in the outfield, but Vogelsong might be the Giants best starting pitcherat holding runners.

The Tigers will counter with right-hander Anibal Sanchez,who has dominated the Giants in three starts at AT&T Park (3-0, 0.36 ERA)but hasnt been so good elsewhere.

Sanchez, whom the Tigers acquired from the Miami Marlins,got pounded when he faced the Giants May 24 at Marlins Park. He allowed fiveruns on seven hits and two walks in 5 13 innings. Vogelsong started that gameand received the victory in a 14-7 win.

Sanchez has to be elated that the Giants didnt add MelkyCabrera to their World Series roster. Cabrera is 8 for 15 lifetime off Sanchez,and although hes eligible now that hes served his 50-game suspension forflunking a performance-enhancing drug test, the Giants decided to avoid thedistraction of bringing him back at any point in the postseason.

Giants leadoff man Angel Pagan is 6 for 23 with threedoubles off Sanchez; Gregor Blanco is 4 for 7 with a home run. DH HectorSanchez will be facing Anibal Sanchez for the first time. (Giants DHs had justone RBI in nine interleague games during the regular season.)

Although most of his numbers are similar from a year ago,Sanchezs strikeout rate dropped from 9.26 per nine innings last year to 7.68this year and hes pitching in the postseason for the first time, too.

Early scoring makes all the difference for the Giants, who haventblown a lead after the third inning all postseason.

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford will return to camp Thursday, show off their WBC championship medals, and then head to nearby Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. It'll be a few more days, however, before the Giants have their full infield on the field. 

Eduardo Nuñez said he actually got two cortisone shots in his right shoulder, since an MRI this week showed “something” in two separate spots. Nuñez asked for the MRI because, while he was able to play and make strong throws, he felt pain on a daily basis. He might DH this weekend, but it'll be a few more days before he's cleared to begin throwing. 

The Giants are hopeful that the shots calm all this down, and Nuñez anticipated being ready for Opening Day. Still, it certainly sounds like this will be a close call. Conor Gillaspie, who is having a huge spring, could get plenty of early time at third. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn't anticipate Nuñez missing Opening Day.

"He should be ready," Bochy said. 

The Giants need all the good injury news they can get. It is expected that Will Smith will announce Friday that he's having Tommy John surgery. 

ICYMI: From this morning, a feature on George Kontos and his rise over the last few years. 

Also, one of the bench candidates, Gordon Beckham, asked for his release. The Giants will soon have to make decisions on Hill and David Hernandez, who have similar retention bonuses due March 28.

GAME RECAP: The Giants played one of their uglier games of the spring, losing 9-2 to King Felix and the Mariners … Matt Moore lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch. It was the same old thing: Moore just all of a sudden lost his command, and because he got up past the 30-pitch mark in the second inning alone, the Giants cut it off. Moore went down to the bullpen and got up to around 80 pitches. He'll make one more start down here, Tuesday against the Cubs ... Joe Panik had a hard double, one of just four hits for the Giants … Chris Marrero hasn’t played a whole lot of left field this spring, and he didn’t show much to the coaches on a couple of opportunities to throw home. The left field situation remains a mystery. 

POSITION BATTLES: Kelby Tomlinson played six innings of left field in a minor league game, and he had to wait until the sixth to get his first and only fly ball. There seemed to be a lot of interest from decision-makers about how Tomlinson fared, and his action today opens up an intriguing possibility. There’s a roster permutation that has the Giants keeping just one reserve outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and three backup infielders: Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill and Kelby Tomlinson, with the latter two being options in left field. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Angel Pagan made it through the WBC healthy, and he apparently is drawing interest from the Phillies and Blue Jays. Giants people are confident Pagan will get a big league job somewhere over the coming week. 

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Will Smith, a key piece of a revamped bullpen, is leaning toward having Tommy John surgery, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday night. 

Bochy said surgery was the recommendation of both doctors who examined Smith's elbow this week. Smith will talk to his agent before coming to a final decision on Friday. The procedure would keep Smith out the entire 2017 season and likely would cause him to miss the start of the 2018 season.

Smith, 27, missed the first month of camp because of pain in his throwing elbow. He returned March 17, but during a March 20 outing he again felt pain and called for a trainer. A second round of diagnostics revealed a strain and a sprain in the elbow. Smith saw team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco and flew to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlen-Jobe Clinic. 

"They had the same opinion," Bochy said. "There is a tear there. You can try to rehab it and if that doesn't work you're behind a couple of months ... It's not a definite he's going to have it done, but two doctors are in agreement on what this is."

Smith was expected to serve as the late lefty for the Giants, getting setup work in the seventh and eighth innings. With Smith out, the Giants will lean on young lefties Steven Okert, Josh Osich and Ty Blach. 

"We're going to have to have someone step up and help us in the seventh and eighth," Bochy said. "That was going to be will's role. He's a guy we were leaning on."

Smith was acquired from the Brewers at the deadline last season in exchange for right-hander Phil Bickford (who is currently serving a 50-game suspension) and catcher Andrew Susac (who is currently injured). After a shaky start, he finished the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. 

The Giants have for the most part avoided Tommy John for 40-man roster pitchers. Hunter Strickland, Derek Law and Josh Osich have all had it during their time in the organization, along with outfielder Mac Williamson. Prospect Ian Gardeck is currently recovering from Tommy John. The last Giants pitcher who was likely headed for the roster before having Tommy John was left-hander Eric Surkamp. He had surgery in 2012.

The timetable is different for every pitcher, but the general consensus is that the procedure sidelines a pitcher for at least a year, and usually closer to 16 months. Matt Moore, Thursday night’s starter, had Tommy John on April 23, 2014. He did not return to a big league mound until July 2, 2015, and even then, he was under restrictions. 

Smith is under team control for two more seasons after this one.