Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Volquez v Bumgarner, Days Events, Roster, Notes

We'll post the lineup when available. Big day on tap, so first of all, today's PNC Park schedule:
  • 10:00 AM - Federal Street and the Clemente Bridge will be closed to vehicles;
  • 4:30 PM - Federal Street par-tay, with music, food trucks, live broadcasts, bars and more;
  • 5:30 PM - PNC Park Riverwalk opens;
  • 6:00 PM - Gates open, with fans getting a black rally towel;
  • 7:37 PM - Player Intros, 
  • 7:57 PM - The first pitch will be tossed by Kent Tekulve. This year, instead of Mama Cutch, Maddie Georgi will sing the National Anthem. Sgt. Tiara Pompay of the US Army will represent the Armed Forces on the field during the evening's pregame ceremonies; and
  • 8:07 PM - Play ball!
That's when Eddie Volquez (13-7, 3.04) and southpaw Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98) get it on. Volquez has come a long way in a short time, with just a couple of major changes. His groundball rate is 50.4%, showing a willingness to pitch to contact after going for the K last year, and he's slowed down enough to post the highest strand rate (77.5%) of his career. In his past 17 starts, he is 9-1 with a 1.85 ERA, so Edinson is on a roll. We'd expect the Giants to show some discipline against Volquez to take advantage of a high walk rate.

Bumgarner is the Giant ace, cast in the same bulldog mold as Gerrit Cole, and whiffed 219 batters this season. He won't wilt under the blackout bedlam. Though only 25, this will be his seventh post-season start with two World Series victories under his belt. Bumgarner is also a road warrior, tied with Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright for the major league lead with 11 away wins and a 2.22 ERA. He helps himself, too - Madison's hit four homers this year, and so the Giants have the luxury of keeping him in a close, late game.

The odds makers are slightly leaning toward the G-Men, with the factors being home field advantage v the pitching match up. Both teams have had their moments against these guys, and it should be a rock-em. sock-em start to the NL post-season.

The Roster: P - John Holdzkom, Jared Hughes, Bobby LaFromboise, Jeff Locke, Mark Melancon, Edinson Volquez, Tony Watson, Justin Wilson & Vince Worley; C - Russ Martin, Tony Sanchez & Chris Stewart; IF - Clint Barmes, Ike Davis, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Brent Morel, Gaby Sanchez & Neil Walker; OF - Andrew Lambo, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, Travis Snider & Jose Tabata.

Pitchers Jeanmar Gomez and John Axford were left off the roster along with Frankie and Gerritt, who couldn't throw tonight anyway and will be added if the Bucs make it to the NLDS. LaFomboise and Locke give Clint Hurdle a balanced pen, with four RHP and four LHP. Chase d'Arnaud, who was used a bit as a pinch-runner without much success, lost the last IF sub role to Morel. And with Russ & Stew banged up, Tony Sanchez was a no-brainer as a catcher insurance policy.

The game will be aired by ESPN starting at 8 PM and on 93.7 The Fan.

  • When Cutch (the reigning NL MVP Award winner) takes the field against Buster Posey (the 2012 NL MVP Award winner), it will be the first time two previous NL MVPs have squared off in the playoffs since 1992.
  • The Giants will be short in the personnel department against the Bucs tonight. RHP Matt Cain (elbow), CF Angel Pagan (back), IF Marco Scutaro (back) and 1B/OF Michael Morse (oblique) will miss the game with injuries, though Morse may be able to pinch hit.
  • The two teams met once before in the postseason, with the Pirates winning the 1971 NLCS 3-1 on the way to a World Series title. In this year's matches, the Bucs hold a 4-2 edge.
  • The Pirates are hoping to not fall victim to the even year syndrome of San Francisco. The Giants were WS winners in 2010, then 2012...
  • Ex-Bucs: Brandon Moss became the first Athletic ever to have a multi-homer, five-RBI game in the postseason when he lost a pair of balls and drove in five in the As 9-8, 12 inning loss in the AL Wild Card game last night.
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