The Rundown: Giants Win Ridiculously Long Game, Dodgers Even Series

I don’t know about you guys, but I have been enjoying this year’s playoffs immensely so far.

I realize football grabs a lot of headlines at this time of year. But this is one of my favorite times of the sports calendar, and that’s because of the baseball playoffs.

A majority of the games this postseason have been close, and Saturday’s Giants/Nationals game was no different. That’s probably an understatement, as the game lasted a whopping 18 innings, ending in a 2-1 Giants victory.

Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann was outstanding, pitching into the ninth inning without giving up a run. With only a 1-0 lead, Zimmermann was lifted with two outs in favor of Drew Storen. (Side note: raise your hand if you’d like to see the Cubs go after Zimmermann when he becomes a free agent after next season.)

It was a debatable move, as he was at only 100 pitches, and it ended up backfiring. The Giants tied the game on a double by Pablo Sandoval and almost took the lead, but Buster Posey was thrown at home.

Then there were a seemingly endless number of zeros put up on the scoreboard. Nate Schierholtz even made an appearance!

The game remained tied for nine innings before Brandon Belt’s solo home run in the top of the 18th.

The Nationals have a tough road ahead of them, down 2-0 in the series and with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner set to start Game 3.

Carpenter strikes again, but Cardinals fall

The Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter is a gnat of a player. For the second game in a row, he came through with a huge hit, this time a two-run, game-tying homer in the top of the eighth.

It looked like it might spark another comeback victory, until Matt Kemp answered with a home run of his own in the bottom half of the inning. The Dodgers hung on to win 3-2.

Game 3 will take place Monday in St. Louis.

TV ratings

The Cubs had pretty lousy TV ratings in 2014, according to a recent Forbes article.

The article looked at how baseball games compared to other prime-time programming (7-11 p.m.), and the Cubs came in at fifth from the bottom.

While noting this could be an issue for the Cubs and their upcoming need for a TV contract, I’m not sure. Obviously, ratings were down this year because of another last-place finish. The article’s analysis also didn’t include games on WGN.

When the Cubs start winning again (hopefully next year), the ratings should shoot back up.

Other notes

* Barry Rozner writes that he could see Joe Girardi coming to manage the Cubs after the 2015 season. We know the Cubs would consider Girardi as manager, after the interest showed last fall. But a lot would need to happen for him to be managing in Chicago in 2016.

First, since Girardi has only completed one year of a four-year deal, the Yankees would need to struggle next season or something else would have to make him fall out of favor in New York. Another strike against the Cubs would be that Girardi likes living in New York, and his family is happy there.

But if all the pieces come together (which would also include the Cubs not thinking Rick Renteria is the answer), Girardi returning to the club that drafted him would be a good — and plausible — story.

* An article from the U-T San Diego says the Padres may look to move some of their pitching assets to acquire hitting this off-season.

We know the familiarity between the Cubs and Padres is there. The Cubs have inverse needs right now, so maybe the Padres would make good trade partners to help bring some pitching to Chicago.

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