Posted on: October 2, 2010 7:50 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 8:04 pm

NL playoff scenarios

Well, the table is set for a fun last day of the National League's regular season, with three teams vying for two playoff spots. And we might not have the postseason picture cleared up until Tuesday. Here are the scenarios based on what happens Sunday, when the Giants host the Padres and the Braves host the Phillies:

  • Giants beat Padres, Braves win: Giants win NL West; Braves win wild card; Padres out.
  • Giants beat Padres, Braves lose: Giants win NL West; Padres play at Braves for wild card on Monday.
  • Padres beat Giants, Braves win (leaving three-way tie): Giants play at Padres for NL West on Monday; loser of Monday game plays at Braves for wild card on Tuesday.
  • Padres beat Giants, Braves lose: Padres win NL West because of head-to-head record (13-5); Giants win wild card; Braves out.

Here are the NLDS matchups depending on who wins the West and wild card:

  • Giants win West, Braves wild card: Braves vs. Giants; Reds vs. Phillies
  • Giants win West, Padres wild card: Padres vs. Phillies; Reds vs. Giants
  • Padres win West, Giants wild card: Giants vs. Phillies; Reds vs. Padres
  • Padres win West, Braves wild card: Reds vs. Phillies; Braves vs. Padres

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:40 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 5:52 pm

MLB hurting itself with TV policy

I sure would like to be watching the Padres and Giants right now. But Fox is showing the Yankees and Red Sox, a game with far less intrigue, in my market. Which is particularly nonsensical considering I am on the West Coast.

OK, I know you don't always get the regional game you'd want, but here's why Major League Baseball's policy regarding the exclusivity of the Saturday Fox broadcast is absurd: even people who pay for the full baseball season on MLB.TV can't watch other games on Saturday afternoons, because the service is blacked out during the Fox broadcast.

So the biggest baseball fans, the ones who pump millions into MLB coffers specifically so they can watch the games they want, are stuck. There are three day games that matter today (Giants-Padres, Yankees-Red Sox and Braves-Phillies), they are being played simultaneously, and nobody can see more than one of them. A huge opportunity was missed here -- even if they want to make sure Fox gets all the eyeballs, couldn't they have put a second game on one of their other channels, like F/X?

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 5:44 pm

Zito puts Giants in jam

Barry Zito
With the Giants needing just one over the Padres to clinch the National League West, Barry Zito put them in a tough spot with a bad start.

The veteran lefty gave up consecutive singles to open the game, and after a sacrifice moved the runners up, he intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases.

After getting the second out on an infield pop fly, Zito needed an out to escape the jam and had a force at every base. And he did the unthinkable, walking the next two batters, Yorvit Torrealba and Scott Hairston, to force in two runs.

After giving up a third run in the third, it looked like Zito was done, as Aaron Roward headed to the on-deck circle to bat in his place. But Bruce Bochy called Rowand back into the dugout and let Zito bat.

Apparently Bochy decided that if he's going to lose this game, he's not going to also come out of it with a burned-up bullpen when there's a Sunday showdown, and a possible one-game Monday tiebreaker, looming. Zito has put San Francisco in a tough spot.

UPDATE: After Zito walked Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer on five pitches to open the fourth, Bochy pulled the plug. Stauffer ended up scoring, putting the Giants in a 4-0 hole, and San Francisco has to get six innings from the bullpen.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: October 2, 2010 4:22 pm

Royals pick up DeJesus option

David DeJesus
In a decision you can file under "duh," the Royals announced Saturday that they will exercise their $6 million club option on David DeJesus. The outfielder was in the final guaranteed year of a five-year, $13.8 million contract.

DeJesus, 30, was having the best season of his career, batting .318, when he tore a ligament in his right thumb crashing into the outfield wall at Yankee Stadium. He had surgery July 26, short-circuiting the Royals' apparent plan to trade him prior to the non-waiver deadline (they were reportedly deep in talks with the Giants).

Whether they plan to keep him or still hope to get something back by moving him, locking him up for a seemingly bargain price of $6 million (as opposed to paying him a $500,000 buyout and making him a free agent) is a no-brainer for the Royals.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: September 30, 2010 1:29 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 12:22 pm

Ross calls Latos' comments 'asinine'

Cody Ross Thanks for reading CBSSports.com, Cody Ross.

Tuesday, Padres starter Mat Latos, speaking to CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller , criticized the Giants as a group of mercenaries and not a real team. "We haven't just gone and grabbed guys from other teams."

Guys like Ross, claimed by the Giants on Aug. 23. The former Marlin had harsh words for Latos when speaking to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle .

"It's asinine to say, 'We're a close-knit group and this is our team,'" Ross said. "Every team goes out at the trading deadline and tries to make a deal. It's very rare for an organization to say, 'We don't need any improvements. We're as good as we're going to be.' Every team looks to improve, whether it's one, three or five guys."

On July 31, the Giants made trades for relievers Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez. Then during August, the Giants made trades for Mike Fontenot and Jose Guillen, before selecting Ross and Matt Downs off waivers.

At the non-waiver trading deadline, the Giants were 60-45, a game-and-a-half behind the Padres. When they added Ross, the team was 5 1/2 games behind the Padres -- 15 days later they were tied for the NL West lead. As both teams won on Wednesday, the Giants are still two games ahead.

Latos will have a chance to back up his talk on Sunday, when he faces Jonathan Sanchez on Sunday in the last game of the regular season.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 28, 2010 8:34 pm

Giants shuffle rotation

Tim Lincecum With an eye toward a possible one-game playoff, the Giants have swapped Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner's spots in the team's rotation.

Lincecum will now pitch tomorrow against the Diamondbacks and Bumgarner will pitch on Thursday. Lincecum, who will be on full rest because of Monday's off day, would then be able to pitch on a full rest in a possible one-game playoff.

San Francisco heads into Tuesday's game with the Diamondbacks one game ahead of the Padres in the National League Central, while the Braves lead the wild card by a half-game over the Padres.

San Diego heads to San Francisco for a three-game series starting Friday. The Giants will have Barry Zito starting the series against the Padres, followed by Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 27, 2010 11:34 am
Edited on: September 27, 2010 11:35 am

Giants might face stretch without Sanchez

Freddy Sanchez
If the Giants are going to hold off the Padres and win the National League West, they are going to have to do it with a reduced contribution from their second baseman.

Freddy Sanchez is due to have an MRI today on his right shoulder, which he hurt turning a double play on Saturday, and says he can hit but not throw. He was in the lineup Sunday, but luckily had to field just one chance, which he lobbed to first base.

"Right now, that's what I've got," Sanchez told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'd be able to do what I did today. We'll see. Obviously, I want to do everything I can to be in there. At the same time, I don't want to hurt the team in any way if I can't make a play or turn a double play."

If Sanchez can't go, it's going to be tough for the Giants to leave one of their better hitters out of the lineup. Sanchez contributed a two-run homer Sunday, even with the ailing shoulder, and the former batting champion is batting .296. Mike Fontenot would likely play in Sanchez's place.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 25, 2010 4:39 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 4:41 pm

MLB will watch Coors balls after Giants complain

Tim Lincecum
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum was seen on the telecast of Friday night's game in Colorado making a remark about "[expletive] juiced baseballs," and San Francisco is doing more than muttering about rumors that the Rockies are doing something fishy at Coors Field.

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle breaks the news that Major League Baseball will now oversee the use of balls used in Denver, following a complaint by the Giants. There have been whispers that the Rockies manipulate games to their advantage by subbing in baseballs not stored in the humidor (which is used to make the balls less hitter-friendly in the thin air in Denver) when they are at bat, but MLB said earlier this week that no team had complained formally or informally. That changed late Friday night.

"We did get a complaint from the Giants," MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said. "There's going to be a change to the protocol. From the point balls come out of the humidor to the umpires' room and into the dugout, there will be visual (inspection) at all times. ... [The Giants] said there was a concern about the proceedings, so we changed them."

Shea reported this week about the procedure for introducing balls to the game at Coors. Several dozen game balls are removed from the humidified locker before each game, rubbed up with mud by the umpires' attendant (which is done before games anywhere) and then returned to the humidor in a bag. At the start of the game, the bag is brought to the Rockies' dugout, where it is used to restock the waist pouch of balls the home plate umpire wears.

The conspiracy theorists say the ballboy, a Rockies employee, brings the umpire non-humidified balls if the Rockies are at bat. The Rockies do have an unusually high level of offensive production at Coors relative to opponents, outscoring visitors 452-345. They outhit opponents .304-.258; by comparison, the Reds, the NL team with the most similar record, have a .277-.258 hitting advantage at home.

Courtney told Shea earlier this week that the umpires would notice if the balls were different.

"Umpires have the balls in their possession, and they're the ones putting them in play," Courtney said. "The biggest thing is, the umpire sees the difference between humidor and non-humidor balls, and no umpire has said anything about having a concern about it."

But John Hirschbeck, the crew chief for the big series between the Rockies and Giants, said he can't tell.

"No, I really can't, he said. "We take six out of here [the umpires' room], whatever you carry normally when you leave here and start the game with. When foul balls go in the stands, we have to call for the ball boy."

While MLB does have a responsibility to eliminate any possibility of impropriety, I think the whole thing is probably no more than paranoia. Even if the Rockies did try to manipulate which balls were used when, it would be virtually impossible to do with any degree of accuracy unless the umpire were in on it.

Once the balls are delivered to the umpire, nobody can control how many balls are used in a half-inning (dependent on fouls and scuffing), or in what order balls are pulled from the pouch to be put into the game. If the Rockies' ballboy brought six "juiced" balls to the umpire prior to the Rockies batting in an inning, there's no guarantee that one, or three, or all of them wouldn't end up being used during the opponent's ensuing half-inning at the plate.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com