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  1. Texas Dont ask Texas Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin to explain his success against the New York Yankees. It because he doesnt have a good answer heading into the rubber game of the three-game series against New York Sunday.I just try and go out there and pitch, said Griffin.They have a pretty different team than the last time I faced them. I just go out there and try to get everyone out like I always do.Article continues below ... While Griffin doesnt have a secret, the results say otherwise. In his five career starts against the Yankees, Griffin is 3-0 with a 2 Matt Bush Jersey.37 ERA. The ERA is Griffin second-lowest against any team has faced more than once. He hasnt faced the Yankees since June 30, 2016 in New York when he allowed one run and two hits in five innings of a no-decision. Griffin last win against the Yankees was April 26, 2016, in Texas when he allowed one run and four hits in eight innings. Griffin will be fresh for the start as Texas will look to win its fourth-consecutive series. Hell be pitching after seven days off as the club didnt announce Griffin would be the starter until Friday. Griffin knew he was getting the nod Wednesday and threw a bullpen Thursday. He doesnt think the extra rest will impact him.Im just going to try and be as ready as I can, he said.I threw a bullpen on the off day . I tried to stay on schedule like that. Griffin was in line for a win in his last start as he pitched 5 2 3 innings and allowed two runs against the Los Angeles Angels. That start continued a solid recent run for Griffin, who has a 4.20 ERA since coming off the disabled list Aug. 2 with a left intercostal strain. The Yankees will send lefty Jordan Montgomery to the hill opposite Griffin. Like Griffin, he wasnt announced as the starter until Friday. Hell also be pitching with extra rest after he lasted just 4 2 3 innings in his last start Monday at Baltimore. New York is just 3-8 in Montgomery last 11 starts Brett Nicholas Jersey, and he hasnt won since July 25 against Cincinnati.
  2. The Giants traded Matt Moore to save $9 million and get them closer to their dream of reloading the roster and staying under the luxury tax line at the same time. The Giants signed a backup catcher for $2.5 million, getting them no closer to improving the 2017 roster, but pushing them that much closer to the luxury tax line. Should Giants fans be worried? Excited? What a luxury tax, anyway? How much do they have to spend? How much does it take to get good players? I have answers! Some of them. Il leave it up to you as to if you should be worried or excited https://www.thesfgiantsstore.com/Giants_Juan_Marichal_Jersey-151, but we can at least discuss some of the basics. What is the luxury tax?The competitive balance tax, known colloquially as the “luxury tax”, is a penalty that MLB has instituted in an effort to suppress salaries. It become a de facto salary cap, and it helps rich owners keep more of their profits. Here, if youl look at this pamphlet, comrade, youl see that ...Oh, you wanted the non-judgmental definition. Here one from Pravda. Basically, if the Giants exceed $197 million in payroll, theyl have to pay a 50-percent penalty on every dollar spent over $197 million. So if the Giants are at that figure and sign Dram Stallone for one year and $10 million, theyl pay $15 million for his services $10 million to the player, and $5 million into a shadow fund that the league uses to prop up sympathetic dictatorships around the world. Probably. Actually, I have no idea what they do with the money, but the point is that the teams don keep it. But if a team dips under the tax for a year, the penalties reset, and the next time they go over https://www.thesfgiantsstore.com/Giants_Johnny_Cueto_Jersey-139, theyl have to pay a 20-percent penalty. This saves the team millions. How close are the Giants to going over the payroll limit?This is a tricky thing to answer because there have been times where the teams have been surprised by MLB calculations. The figures used include player benefits and per diems and all sorts of things that don show up in raw salary. The best we can do is guess, and Alex Pavlovic estimate of $15 million to $17 million after re-signing Hundley sounds about right. What can the Giants do with their $15 million to $17 million?They can address one of their big needs (third base, center field, and a corner outfield spot) through free agency. For example, the Giants could sign Jay Bruce, then give the third base and center field jobs to Christian Arroyo and Steven Duggar, respectively. There, the lineup is fixed. [looks around, nervously]Okay, maybe it not exactly fixed, but it definitely under the luxury tax. Or the Giants could sign Todd Frazier, then have juuuuust enough money left over for Jarrod Dyson. They would have to use Denard Span in left, and Hunter Pence would be back in right field, but at least they would have a pair of over-30 players with a chance at a .320 OBP. [sighs so loud the cat wakes up]I promise you that even though the Moore contract cleared salary, this is still going to get absurdly tricky. The Giants will need to trade for young players who don make a lot, or theyl have to trust their own young players who don make a lot. There no way around that. Theye not so far under the tax that theyl be able to fill third base, center field, and a corner outfield spot through free agency. Oh, and they want a left-handed reliever. So. What all this chatter about the Giants looking to trade Denard Span in a deal that helps them get under the tax?The tax is based on the average annual value of a contract. If a player earns $1 million one year and $3 million the next, his contract counts as $2 million against the tax every year, even in the years were the salary is lower. This affected the Giants negatively when they would backload some of their contracts, like with Jake Peavy and Sergio Romo. But if the Giants can convince a team to take Span salary either in a deal to acquire an expensive player, or with another team essentially buying a prospect from them theyl have that much more to spend this year. Consider the case of Evan Longoria, who would count as a $17 million hit against the luxury tax Madison Bumgarner Jersey. The Rays are worried more about the $83 million he owed over the next five years than the money hel make next year. The Giants would be more worried about the $17 million hit this year. If the Giants include Span in that deal, though, they could add Longoria and just $2 million to their 2018 luxury tax figure. Considering that the Rays would likely have to add cash to a Longoria deal to get good prospects, it possible that they would consider this kind of move. This is why the Giants’ reported offer for Giancarlo Stanton had Span in it. It still unlikely that Span will be traded, but this is why you hear his name. It would be easier for the Giants to trade him for a player who makes $100 million than it would be for them simply to sign a player who makes $10 million. Strange, but true!Trading for a young position player or trading Span in a complicated deal are their only options, then?Pretty much. If the Giants trade Denard Span and Christian Arroyo for Evan Longoria, and then they trade Hunter Pence (with his permission) and Hunter Strickland to the Astros, they would have enough to sign J https://www.thesfgiantsstore.com/Giants_Dave_Dravecky_Jersey-75.D. Martinez. Easy peasy!Except that not going to happen, so the Giants will need to look at super cheap players. Billy Hamilton doesn really apply, either. Wee talking Maikel Franco or Domingo Santana the players making pre-arbitration money. Those players will take prospects. This is the worst part about the Giants having exactly one super-high-upside prospect; that the guy everyone will ask for. If the Giants don want to part with Heliot Ramos, theye going to have problems getting a desirable young hitter Mark Melancon Jersey.
  3. Yesterday, I ran you through the National League competitors in this year edition of baseball postseason. Today, we can took a look at the Junior Circuit.Boston Red Sox at Houston AstrosGame 1 today at 4pm EDTDo you remember when the Red Sox were the lovable losers, the Daffy Duck to the Yankees’ Bugs Bunny, the Paraguay to the Yankees’ Argentina? Yeah, me neither. This franchise has won three Worlds Series in the last 13 years. Also, the Patriots have won 14 Super Bowls in that time, the Celtics won a championship, and the Bruins did, too. Boston sports fans are now not just insufferably annoying, but they get all the winning, too. That whole city can slide into the sea for all I care.But dammit, this 2017 Red Sox team is likable. Mookie Betts Jose Peraza Jersey, the MVP runner-up last season, remains one of the best players in the league. He is also an inner-circle Hall-of-Famer for awesome baseball names. They added Chris Sale last winter, who remains one of the most entertaining and devastating pitchers in the league. I wanted to make a joke here exaggerating his size, because he is tall and skinny. I was gonna say something like “the dude looks like a stiff breeze would blow him over, because he is like 6’6” and weighs like 180 lbs.” But that his actual size. That isn an exaggeration. So that joke kinda blew up on me, I guess.Anyway, generations from now when our modern society is just ashes in the dustbin of history, roving bands of hunter-gatherers will circle around campfires and share oral mythologies as bedtime stories. They will murmur breathless entreaties to their pagan gods in desperate attempt to keep Chris Sale slider from stealing away their children in the darkness of night. But aside from that, this is a pretty pedestrian team. There were some who predicted their lineup could score 1000 runs this year. They didn do that. Their best hitter by OPS this year is Eduardo Nunez, who hit .892 after coming over from the Giants in July. They have a lot of really good players who had down years. But they won the division, so go figure.The Houston Astros remain one of the most entertaining teams in baseball. Jose Altuve is the odds-on favorite to win the MVP https://www.redsapprel.com/Reds_Scott_Schebler_Jersey-323. He hit .346 .410 .547 and is one of the best keystone doggies in the league. But I skirting the obvious here he is so little he is still legally required in 12 states to use a booster seat in the car. He crushes the ball, he never misses, he runs incredibly well, and he gets to everything in the field. He is the epitome of the complete five-tool player, and he does it all standing on his tippy-toes so he can see over the mound. If having the best player in the American League this year doesn do it for you, they have a lineup that rivals the fabled Yankees’ Murders Row of 1927. After Altuve, they had five other hitters post better than 4 bWAR. Jimminy Gumboes! Marwin Gonzalez is probably my new favorite player in baseball. He played 136 or more innings at 2B, 3B, LF, 1B, and SS. He also OPS .907. And he a switch-hitter, so he basically the coolest. For all their ball-lasering at the plate, they have more than a few good pitchers, too. Former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander came over from the Tigers at the end of August. Hel start Game 1. Former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel will mount the bump for Game 2. Ken Giles and Chris rong spelling dummy” Devenski will shut it down at the end of games. So all in all, I for the Astros here. There is way too much fun going on in Houston to deny the world of that. New York Yankees at Cleveland IndiansGame 1 today at 730 pm EDTThis is pretty easy, but Ima lay it out for you anyway. We are pretty far removed from the Evil Empire days, but there is still plenty to dislike about the Yankees. This is supposed to be a team on the rebuild, but what the hell they get to make the postseason anyway. Jerks.They dispatched the Twins the other night in the Wild Card Game, because what the hell of course they did. They are led by Aaron Judge, the kind of player that could only ever happen for the Yankees. This is just his rookie season and he posted 8.1 bWAR and mashed 52 home runs, the new rookie record. Because what the hell of course whatever.After him though, their lineup is a bit thin. Catcher Gary Sanchez is the only other regular in the lineup who can claim to have had a significantly above-average season a the plate. They also have Didi Gregorius, who has played really well for the last few years as the starting shortstop. They also have Todd Frazier, Ronald Torreyes, and Aroldis Chapman. So the Reds are pretty well represented by some really good guys, and then there also Chapman.Luis Severino is their ace, so they used him in the Wild Card Game. But what the hell of course whatever, he got knocked around by the Twins and only threw 29 pitches and they won anyway and now he is fresh for the series with the Indians. The Indians are waaaaaaay more fun than the Yankees Tucker Barnhart Jersey, so you should be all about the Tribe in this one. They are the most complete team in the postseason. They really don have any weaknesses. You might make a case that their outfield defense isn great, but if you are drilling all the way down to outfield defense to look for a weakness the team doesn have any weaknesses. Corey Kluber is the odds-on favorite to win the Cy Young Award again this season. He won it back in 2014 and probably had a better season than that this year. He leads the league in ERA, wins, WHIP, and K BB ratio. A long time ago, there was a guy. This guy worked at a batting cage and go-cart track in Alabama. One evening, a big storm rolled in and the guy went out to cover one of the pitching machines when lightning struck the pitching machine and the guy at the same time. The guy was strangely fine, but that pitching machine grew up to be Corey Kluber. They are deep behind Kluber, too. Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevenger all had great seasons in the rotation. Danny Salazar is also incredibly talented, but he dealt with injuries and only threw about 100 innings. It looks like they might use him out of the bullpen, though. Which, I mean, why not? They have a deep and strong rotation without him.Like I said, they don have any weaknesses. The bullpen is also incredible, with Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero Stuart Turner Jersey, Nick Goody, and Zach McAllister all turning in great seasons. They don have three great relievers to shorten a game. They have like six. They have the quality rotation to stifle hitters on the front end and the kind of bullpen that can turn every game into a four-inning affair. They came within a hair breadth of winning it all last season when they had half their roster on the DL. They are much healthier this time around. It probably going to take some big surprises to knock them off.Also, they have a really great lineup. You know how I said I love Marwin Gonzalez? The Indians have Jose Ramirez, who is actually better. He split time pretty much evenly between 3B and 2B this year, but he can also play in the OF. He led the league doubles with 56. Francisco Lindor is every bit as fun as Jose Altuve is. He is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball and he hit 33 home runs this year. He is just 23 years old. They also have Edwin Encarnacion, who signed as a free agent last winter Nefi Ogando Jersey, and Jay Bruce, who came over from the Mets this summer. There are a million reasons to love this Indians team and exactly zero things to dislike. Well, I guess I not happy that boring-ass-name Joe Smith pitched in 21 games for them. But that about it. SOFA KING PAGE BREAK I will be jammin’ pretty hard for the Indians through this whole thing. I be happy with the Astros, as well. That would be an amazing ALCS if it comes to pass. But honestly, whatever happens, this is going to be an amazing month of top-quality baseball, and the galaxy will be better off for it.
  4. D-backs 0, Giants 14Yada, yada, yada. All that matters is that Souza has an apparent shoulder injury. An MRI soon will reveal the severity. Yasmany Tomas now has a realistic shot at the roster, if so, let’s hope he proves those of not in DC wrong.Related D-backs Steven Souza Strains Shoulder Attempting CatchHirano Finding Comfort Level with D-backsHe’s given up some runs this Spring Training, but Lovullo is satisfied, therefore so am I. When Ichiro first came to MLB, he didn’t do great, but the story was it was on purpose to not show his opponents too much. I look forward to seeing Yoshi in a real game.Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke My Groin Is Pretty GoodI’ve noticed that with Zack, his lack of verbal skills is compensated by his abundance of honesty. Let’s hope he’s right.Torrey Lovullo on Steven Souza Injury ‘We’re Built for This’It is actually true, the D-backs have depth in the outfield. Both Tomas and Fuentes have had strong springs. Owings is a super-utility hero. The D-backs have options for the first couple of weeks on the season Paul Goldschmidt Jersey. Keeping maybe four starters. More or less relievers. Tomas or Fuentes? Over a long season, everyone on the bubble will probably get their chance eventually.Around MLBGiancarlo Stanton Prepared for New York ScrutinyJust make sure to hit at least 59 more home runs this year and the media will leave you alone.Tanking Hasn’t Killed Baseball’s Hope and FaithWith farm systems and a long road to unrestricted free agency, baseball has a league full of hopes. The NBA has the Suns and others purposefully losing year after year https://www.diamondbacksstore.com/Diamondbacks_Jeff_Mathis_Jersey-226. Which is better?