The former Freak just roots, stays prepared . . . and waits

Lincecum roots his Giants on and stays ready for . . .

Lincecum roots his Giants on and stays ready for . . .

Madison Bumgarner is hogging the headlines around the San Francisco Giants these days. Particularly after he dominated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game One of the National League Championship Series Saturday. (Though he got away with a rather obvious balk in the seventh that should have meant a run for the Cardinals.)

A small truckload of aces fell earlier and more often in this postseason, Clayton Kershaw especially, and Bumgarner himself out-dueled an ailing Adam Wainwright among those aces. And lurking amidst the hungering Giants is another former ace.

They might not be Giants, after all

Bumgarner: Don't blame him.

Bumgarner: Don’t blame him.

At this writing, the defending world champion San Francisco Giants—as in, the twice-in-three-years-defending champs—are in a dogfight with the Colorado Rockies for the National League West’s sewer. Adding insult to further insult, the Giants were eliminated mathematically from postseason contention on 11 September. And the Giants’ ignominious collapse from the top of the heap to the bottom of the sea has been what the conspiracy theorists seem to wish the original 9/11 atrocity was, an inside job.

Giant Bats Get Their Freak On

The Freak flies his flag . . .

Did I say it was going to hover well and large over the Cincinnati Reds, when Brandon Phillips ran them out of what should have been a bigger first inning Tuesday, and Scott Rolen got so eager trying to field a short hop he chested the San Francisco Giants into a tenth-inning, life-saving Game Three win?

If I didn’t quite say that, Game Four may compel its saying just yet, with Pablo Sandoval tacking on the exclamation point with his mammoth two-run bomb in the top of the eighth, and Tim Lincecum merely signing off on what may yet prove these Reds’ death sentence.

Not (So Fast,) Melk?

Melky Cabrera has ideas, apparently, about getting back into game shape for the San Francisco Giants’ almost-inevitable trip to this year’s postseason. The Giants, apparently, ┬áhave ideas about telling him not even to think about it, if you believe a columnist for CSNBayArea.com, an NBC Sports Web affiliate, Andrew Baggarly:

Could his postseason welcome wagon blow an axle?

The club is not commenting on Cabrera’s situation, but all indications are that upper management has zero interest in the All-Star Game MVP playing another game in orange and black.

Yes, children—minus Strasburg, this Nats rotation DOES have good postseason chances

Let’s try this again.

Assume the Washington Nationals will stick to the script and implement, some time in September, the exclamation point of the Strasburg Plan. Period dot period. Assume, too, that there’ll be enough blue murder screaming over the Nats torpedoing their own postseason chances. Maybe even some conspiracy theorists demanding a formal investigation, perhaps into whether someone isn’t buying the Nats off bigtime to tank. (Would the conspiracy theorists surprise you, really?)

Now, shove all that to one side and look at the Nats’ rotation without Stephen Strasburg.

Zimmermann—Without the Stras, he won’t be leading a rotation of pushovers . . .

The Rocks Say Rest in Peace, Marvelous Marv

Nobody told him there’d be any possible day like this . . .

Even a man who’s old enough to have seen the Original Mets and lived to tell the tales could barely believe this one. And I’d seen the legend of Marvelous Marv Throneberry, very live, enough to know that everything written about the hapless first baseman long since was bloody well true.

But wherever he is (he died in 1994), if Marvelous Marv was watching the Colorado Rockies play the Cincinnati Reds Sunday, he might have sent down a note to manager Jim Tracy and his crew.