- Mike Oz at Big League Stew2 days ago
Will Don Mattingly manage the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015? Yes, says Andrew Friedman, the club's new president of baseball operations.
Friedman, the front-office whiz who shaped the Tampa Bay Rays roster for nine years, was introduced Friday in his new role with the Dodgers. Deciding whether to keep Mattingly was one of Friedman's first orders of business, and he gave Donnie Baseball his seal of approval.
For now, at least.
Friedman: Mattingly will "definitely" manage the Dodgers next season.
Friedman came aboard after the Dodgers' disappointing postseason exit, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Some were calling for the jobs of both Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti. Hiring Friedman was basically replacing Colletti at GM, though Colletti remains with the Dodgers as an assistant to team president Stan Kasten.
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The Kansas City Royals have swept their way through the postseason after earning an American League wild-card spot, knocking off the two top teams in the AL in their first playoff berth since 1985.
The San Francisco Giants are reading from a familiar script. As the second National League wild-card team, they were underdogs again in the postseason, rattling of a series of wins that proved the pundits wrong one more time. Just like during their 2010 and 2012 World Series runs.
Wild-card team vs. wild-card team, doesn't this World Series matchup have to be wild? It's the first such wild card vs. wild card since the Giants lost to the Angels in 2002.
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SAN FRANCISCO — One of the many fans filing out of their seats after the San Francisco Giants clinched a trip to the World Series bellowed, "Travis Ishikawa is the best left fielder ever."
He's not, of course. But such hyperbole is allowed 10 minutes after Ishikawa immortalized himself in the Giants history books.
Ishikawa, the left fielder who isn't actually a left fielder, hit a three-run homer that sent AT&T Park into hysterics, sent the St. Louis Cardinals home, losers of the National League Championship Series and sent the Giants to Kansas City, where they'll play the Royals in the World Series.
This was one of those games that turned everything you thought you knew upside-down, the type of game that made unlikely heroes out of three Giants, as they bucked the club's recent history with three big swings.
SAN FRANCISCO — Hunter Pence is the emotional center of the San Francisco Giants — well, after Thursday night, make that National League champion San Francisco Giants.
Pence has pumped up both his team and its fanbase with great speeches before, onemore famously profane than the rest. After the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLCS to advance to the World Series, Pence was again at the center of a scrum of players in the Giants clubhouse.
He started by saying: "At the beginning of this playoff, there's not anybody who picked us right here to go to the World Series ... It doesn't take anyone to believe in us but us right here."
SAN FRANCISCO — By now, you may know about Madison Bumgarner's playoff beer celebrations. They're both a social-media phenomenon and a San Francisco Giants superstition.
Bumgarner chugged four beers when the Giants won the NL wild-card game. Well, chugged/bathed in/spilled four beers, whatever. When the Giants beat the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, Bumgarner moved up to five beers.
When the Giants won the National League Championship Series on Thursday night — thanks to a Travis Ishiwaka walk-off homer that's sending them to Kansas City to play the Royals in the World Series — Bumgarner knew what he had to do. The personal six-pack.
You'll notice in the video above that teammates even tried to add some champagne to this booze shower.
SAN FRANCISCO — The door is like many at AT&T Park — it's nondescript and it doesn't look like it goes anywhere special. Maybe it's a maintenance closet?
There's a sign to the right of the door that doesn't make too much sense to the average person. It reads, "Suite B2 Electrical and IDF Rooms." In the middle of the door is a square with two crossed bats and "GC 1883." If you were walking on AT&T Park's suite level and didn't know better, you'd keep on walking.
Heck, if you happened to open the door and look, you'd just see a blank grey wall. If you turned your head, though, and looked the other direction, you'd see a host stand and service staff dressed in black, welcoming you to The Gotham Club.
Madison Bumgarner, the best pitcher of the postseason, can send Giants to World Series with one more win
SAN FRANCISCO — There are a dozen things you could debate right this second about the MLB playoffs. This is not one of them: Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants ace, is the best starting pitcher of the 2014 postseason.
Bar none. Case closed. Any objection is invalid.
He's getting the ball Thursday in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, as the Giants try to shoo away the St. Louis Cardinals and clinch a pennant on their home field. Bumgarner on the mound, at AT&T Park, pitching for a World Series berth. That's a tough predicament for the Cardinals.
St. Louis sends Adam Wainwright to the mound, an ace in his own right, but he's been having a rough postseason. There are injury concerns and a 8.00 ERA. He was matched up against Bumgarner in Game 1 of the NLCS and Wainwright was gone in the fifth inning. But then again, matching Bumgarner? Good luck with that.
SAN FRANCISCO — Yusmeiro Petit didn't pitch in MLB for two seasons before the San Francisco Giants took a chance on him. He pitched in the minors in 2010, then in the Mexican league in 2011. The Giants signed him to a minor-league contract in 2012.
Now, two years later, right before our eyes, Petit's transforming from an unsung regular-season contributor to a vital postseason savior.
He got his second win of the playoffs Wednesday in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, relieving Ryan Vogelsong in the fourth inning after the Cardinals had tagged the Giants starter for four early runs.
SAN FRANCISCO — Before we delve any further into the San Francisco Giants' 6-4 win Wednesday night that brought them within one win of another World Series, let's consider these three facts about the St. Louis Cardinals postseason run of 2014:
• The Cardinals haven't taken a lead into the seventh inning of a single game they've played this postseason, yet they've won four out of eight games.
• St. Louis has scored 15 runs in the seventh inning in their postseason games. Three times they've gone ahead in the seventh, twice they've tied a game.
• The Cardinals haven't scored in the seventh in three of their postseason games — including Wednesday's — and they've lost all three.
SAN FRANCISCO — After the St. Louis Cardinals lost on a walk-off error in Game 3 of their National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants, second baseman Kolten Wong was fiery in the clubhouse. He declared the Cardinals were "going to keep fighting."
Wong certainly did his part to prove that early in Game 4. The Cardinals chased Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong after just three innings, and Wong was a big part of that. He doubled to lead off the second inning, then scored on an A.J. Pierzynski single. Then Wong homered in the third, effectively ending Vogelsong's night, even though he stayed in to get the final out of the third.
In fact, Vogelsong allowed leadoff doubles to the Cardinals in each of his three innings, which is not a recipe for postseason success.
The Cardinals are the first team ever to start a postseason game with a leadoff double in three straight innings.