Ballparks a factor for Giants' rotation in NLDS

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Ballparks a factor for Giants' rotation in NLDS

The As situation is so day-to-day-to-hour that analyzing their chances almost seems a pointless exercise. Tell us how they get through the fourth inning today, and well have a different answer for you thats how uncertain it is.But well give it a try. They need not to get their hats blocked on this road trip, or theyre in deep and abiding puppy leavings.For the Giants, on the other hand, the choices are down to a precious couple: Washington, or Cincinnati. And frankly, they should prefer Washington.
This, despite the fact that the Nationals have beaten them five of six times (as opposed to the Reds far more pedestrian four of six). And this, despite the fact that Washington has slightly better pitching and hitting than Cincinnati.No, we suspect that the real difference between the two teams is in the geography of the ballparks. Nationals Park is a slightly better than average hitters park this year, while The Great American Ball Park is the bandboxiest bandbox in the history of modern American bandboxes.It is in keeping with the proud tradition of Cincinnati ballparks. Crosley Field was a tiny little slip of a thing, and when it was replaced by Riverfront Stadium, one of those immense circular carbuncles, it still played as a hitters park.But the new Cincy digs are exceedingly friendly to fly-ball hitters, and cruel to fly-ball pitchers.Now guess what the Giants have in abundance.Of the 49 National League starting pitchers by innings, no Giant gives up more ground ball outs than fly ball outs; the closest to neutral is Madison Bumgarner, at a pretty damned neutralesque 0.99 ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio.It drops significantly after that. Tim Lincecum ranks 23rd at 0.92, the slumping Ryan Vogelsong 34th at 0.82, Barry Zito 40th at 0.77, and Matt Cain is 47th at 0.66.In other words, if all the games of the first-round series were in Cincinnati, the Giants might well be screwed.But they arent, and Cain will almost certainly pitch in the opener at home whether it is against Washington or Cincinnati, which means he wont be affected by the cruelties of the dimensions, the hitting background, or the Ohio Rivers meteorological quirks until a fifth game. He pitches in the San Francisco International Airport, so hell be fine, at least to start.But now comes the harder part for Bruce Bochy whether to pitch Zito second so he can avoid Cincinnati entirely, and leave the heavier lifting to Lincecum and Bumgarner, who are better than average on the GBFB ratio board, or to go in order of second-half effectiveness, pitching Lincecum second and let Bumgarner go third and Zito for a potentially decisive fourth game in the miniaturized ballpark.These all end up being decisions based on logic and matchups and rational thought, which leaves out most of us, but if the ballpark preys heavily on Bruce Bochys mind, Zito should spend his time in Cincinnati as a loyal cheerleader, available only if a game goes, say, 20 innings or so.Which is why Washington may turn out to be the more clement match. The Nationals and Reds have almost equivalent numbers, and there is no way of effectively quantifying the icing of Stephen Strasburg on the rest of the rotation, let alone the team. The sample size is simply too small to draw conclusions.So maybe your rooting interest hinges on something as simply as fly balls in the Ohio sky. Maybe youll have to defer that dream series with Dusty Baker and the ghosts of Ought-Two for an extra series. Either that, or you are so confident in your teams pitching that you think location doesnt matter.Well, in that case, youre probably wrong. Location is everything, and in so many ways.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Giants lineup: Bochy places Arroyo right behind Posey vs Dodgers

Giants lineup: Bochy places Arroyo right behind Posey vs Dodgers

After recording his first hit in the big leagues, the Giants are making Christian Arroyo into Buster Posey's protection vs. the Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers (10-11)

1. Cody Bellinger (L) LF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
5. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
7. Chase Utley (L) 2B
8. Andrew Toles (L) CF
9. Alex Wood (R) P

San Francisco Giants (7-14)

1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Eduardo Nunez (R) SS
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
6. Joe Panik (L) 2B
7. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Giants call up Morse, place Span on DL, put Crawford on bereavement list

Giants call up Morse, place Span on DL, put Crawford on bereavement list

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants scored 10 runs on the last road trip and three over the first two games against the Dodgers. They made a move Wednesday to try and address that issue. 

Michael Morse had his contract purchased from Triple-A Sacramento as part of a flurry of roster moves that included the call-up of Kelby Tomlinson. Brandon Crawford was put on the three-day bereavement list to attend the funeral services of his sister-in-law, Jennifer Pippin. Denard Span was placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder sprain and Jarrett Parker (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a roster spot for Morse.

Morse, 35, came to camp with the Giants after a deal struck with Bobby Evans at Hunter Pence's wedding. It was his last shot at playing professional baseball, and as April approached, Morse had shown enough to be in position to make the opening day roster. A strained left hamstring ended those plans, but Morse stayed in Scottsdale to rehab before joining the San Jose Giants and River Cats. He was 5-for-20 in six rehab games but the reports given to team officials stated that he was having good at-bats. 

Morse was a popular presence during the 2014 title run, hitting 16 homers in the regular season and a huge one off Pat Neshek in the NLCS-clinching win over the Cardinals. The Giants could use his power bat in left, at first base, and off the bench. A struggling and banged-up team could also some personality added to the clubhouse, and Morse is always ready in that regard.

Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training. He was batting just .220 for Sacramento, but he gives the Giants a versatile glove with Crawford out.