The San Fransisco Giants took a one game series advantage on Tuesday, after they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in unorthodox fashion. Starters John Lackey and Tim Hudson battled for their respective clubs for 6 innings, and left the game after allowing 4 runs. The Giants jumped out to a first inning 4 run advantage, after 5 straight San Fransisco batters reached base with two outs. With runners on first and second, Hunter Pence drove an double to right field to plate a run. After Lackey intentionally walked Brandon Belt to load the bases, Travis Ishikawa grooved a double to center field, and drove in all 3 runners. For the Cardinals, Kolten Wong continued to be a spark plug in the middle of their order, as the second baseman collected a double in the 2nd inning and a 2 RBI triple in the 4th. Down by a run in the 7th, Cardinals rookie outfielder Randal Grichuk drilled his first home run of the series to knot the score at four. With Lackey and Hudson out of the game after the 6th inning, both team’s bullpens held the line effectively, and sent the game into extra innings. In the 10th inning, Cardinals left-hander Randy Choate allowed the first two batters that he faced to reach base. With the winning run on second base and nobody out in the inning, Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco hoped to bunt the runners over a base and stay out of a double play; but he ended up doing a whole lot more than that. Blanco dropped a bunt right in front of the pitchers mound, but Choate through the ball wide of the first base bag and into right field foul territory. Brandon Crawford came around to score the winning run, and give the Giants a 2-1 series lead.
- If this postseason has taught us anything, it’s that you shouldn’t give up on young players. Take Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, for example. Instead of leaving him in the dust after initially struggling in the big leagues, Kansas City waited for him to develop at the plate. Now the 26-year old is leading the playoffs in home runs, and has been a big part of the Royals October success. Moustakas, along with other young playoff notables, should be reason for a team like the Red Sox to remain patient with Jackie Bradley and Will Middlebrooks. (Baseball postseason illustrates that patience with young players often pays off)
- Shortly behind the starting rotation vacancies, third base is a huge question mark for the Red Sox going into the offseason. Last year, Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts provided next to nothing at the position, while Brock Holt served a steady every day player. However, Boston seems like they want to add a power to the hot corner, and will most likely look externally for a solution. While the free agent market offers few desirable options, the trade market could be where the team sets its focus. (Red Sox offseason primer: Third base)
- When examining the Red Sox outlook at third base this offseason, it’s important to not lose Garin Cecchini in the mix. After a rough 2014 season with Triple-A Pawtucket, the 23-year old fell a bit from his high ranking in the Sox farm system. While the third baseman has struggled both offensively and defensively, he still holds a ton of promise for the future. Even with Boston’s deep pockets this winter, the team may be forced to give Cecchini the job if external options price themselves out of Boston’s market. (Is Garin Cecchini the Red Sox answer at third base?)
- After contemplating retirement, David Ross is reportedly looking to continue his major league career for at least one more season. The 38-year old will officially hit free agency after the completion of the World Series later this month, and a return to Boston seems like a logical fit. Ross could continue to mold Christian Vazquez, and spend time top prospect Blake Swihart. (David Ross to play in 2015, return to Red Sox possible)
- Finding a new hitting coach seems to be the first order of business for the Red Sox this offseason. After the departure of Greg Colbrunn, Boston wants to staff another hitting coach to pair with Victor Rodriguez. The Sox have reportedly compiled a preliminary list of candidates, with names like Rich Gedman and Kevin Long in the mix. (Rich Gedman among three candidates for Red Sox hitting coach job)
- Tweet of the day: Yea, the Orioles are done.