Live from Game 3 of the NLDS, and the Giants are panicking!

For once, the Braves' house is rockin'. (Photo by M. Bradley)

For once, the Braves' house is actually rockin'. (Photo by M. Bradley)

I guess this is what happens when you’re undone by Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth: You depress the nearest panic button.

The Giants have benched third baseman Pablo Sandoval for today’s Game 3, replacing him with the legendary Mike Fontenot. This is the same Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, who hit .333 last season but who has withered (figuratively speaking; literally he’s still rather rotund) of late. “It’d be nice to have Pablo where he was last year,” said Bruce Bochy, the Giants’ manager, “but we don’t.”

More from Bochy. (Less, actually.) The Giants won’t designate their Game 4 starter until Game 3 is done. The thinking is that San Fran will throw Tim Lincecum on short rest if they lose today and Madison Bumgarner if they win. But they’re not saying.

The Braves have already said what they’re doing: Derek Lowe will start Game 4 on three days’ rest, and he’s happy about it. “Adrenaline kicks in,” Lowe said. “I’ll make myself available for Game 5 if there is one … I’ve always loved this time of year. I’d rather be out there failing than not trying.”

Let’s be clear: Lowe would not be available to start Game 5 — “That’s [Tommy] Hanson’s game,” Bobby Cox said today — but he might be needed to close. (He used to be a reliever, you know.)

The Braves are indeed moving to remove Billy Wagner from their active roster and will, pending MLB approval, replace him with Takashi Saito, who as we know has difficulty working on consecutive days. (Except that there would be a travel day between Games 4 and 5, so never mind.)

Cox on Wagner: “We threw him a little bit in the tunnel, and he can’t go at all.”

This would rule Wagner out of not just this series but the NLCS. That’s assuming the Braves advance, a possibility that is obviously making Bochy antsy.)But the rule of postseason is to worry about tomorrow when it arrives, and before this is done it’s conceivable Ankiel could be pressed into relief duty. (He used to pitch, you know.)

And that’s where we are, two hours before Game 3 is set to begin: The Braves were all but done — down 1-0 in the series and 4-0 in Game 2 — but now face the possibility of clinching this thing at home tomorrow. And the Kung Fu Panda has been planted on the pine after going 1-for-6 in Games 1 and 2, which means center fielder Andres Torres should be concerned, too. He went 1-for-8.

With that, the floor is open for questions, comments and your claims that Bochy, by benching Sandoval, has expressed urgency in a way Cox rarely does in October. Which is why — see, I’m making your argument for you! — Bochy’s Padres beat Cox’s Braves in the 1998 NLCS even though Bochy put the whole thing at risk by trying (and failing) to close out the series by deploying starter Kevin Brown in relief in Game 5. I’ll be here all day, and I’d love your company. And I say thanks, as ever, in advance.

2,671 comments Add your comment

todd grantham

October 10th, 2010
2:56 pm

Kansas Braves Fan

October 10th, 2010
2:57 pm

todd grantham

October 10th, 2010
2:57 pm

not looking for kudos, just money.

todd grantham

October 10th, 2010
2:58 pm

if Bobby was a panicker, Conrad would not be within 500 miles of Turner Field today.

Flint Adam

October 10th, 2010
2:58 pm

Excited about today’s game!

Les Miles

October 10th, 2010
3:00 pm

i’m here too Mark!

UGABugKiller

October 10th, 2010
3:01 pm

Odds are, he’d be just as brilliant, but there’s a thought that maybe Lincecum won’t react well to his first ever short rest start.

Who knows, maybe he waked and baked this morning, and the effects will linger?

All metro-Area pot dealers, a call to arms! Go find where Lincecum and the Giants are staying tonight, and bring him your stickiest of the ickiest!

:-)

UGABugKiller

October 10th, 2010
3:02 pm

Wow… REALLY?

Three lines, and my post heads to the filter folder???

Mark Bradley

October 10th, 2010
3:04 pm

Todd Grantham: A man on a kudo roll.

todd grantham

October 10th, 2010
3:07 pm

like, as they say, money in the bank.

mahatma

October 10th, 2010
3:10 pm

Stop with the Paul Finebaum school of journalism

mahatma

October 10th, 2010
3:11 pm

Enes Kantner is a bum, a professional at that

mahatma

October 10th, 2010
3:11 pm

Bernard King much better than Goose Givens

Joe B Hall

October 10th, 2010
3:12 pm

Yes, Ray Mears outcoached me many times

Rick Robey

October 10th, 2010
3:12 pm

I really was traded for Dennis Johnson?

5150 P.O.A.D

October 10th, 2010
3:14 pm

I don’t hear all the crying today so the dawgs must have won a game.
Maby the Braves finally shock the rust off the Bats.

"Chef" Tim Dix

October 10th, 2010
3:15 pm

Congrats on the long straw Mark!

sugarpikegange

October 10th, 2010
3:21 pm

Let’s Go Braves!!!

"Chef" Tim Dix

October 10th, 2010
3:21 pm

Made the comment to a lady wearing a Braves Prado shirt in the grocery store this morning.
“Like your shirt, wished he was playing…”

She looked away and was probably constucting a mental sketch,

So, I’ve got that going for me….

Wounded Wagner

October 10th, 2010
3:23 pm

Nice witty stuff there Mark !
Just let Kimbrel be the closer.
I hope Bobby knows Farnsworth’s and Ankiel’s heroism can’t be counted on again but both can give you nepotism !

Jack Nine Offsuit

October 10th, 2010
3:24 pm

Do you really think Cox would even consider putting Ankiel on the mound, in any scenario? Too many mental demons to overcome there. I doubt Ankiel would do it, even if asked.

"Chef" Tim Dix

October 10th, 2010
3:25 pm

Mark, I want a TED rating. Today should be the best atmosphere ever.

Wounded Wagner

October 10th, 2010
3:28 pm

You could bring in Ankiel to hit a batter if the game is a blowout.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJC and Mark Bradley, derrick johnson. derrick johnson said: RT @ajc: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Live from Game 3 of Division Series, where #Giants are panicking & #Braves are sanguine. http://bit.ly/9yVyFM [...]

5150 P.O.A.D

October 10th, 2010
3:39 pm

Did anybody see the Falcons pick 6 by beerman? Wow what a play.

Mark Bradley

October 10th, 2010
3:44 pm

Unbelievable play by Kroy Biermann — deflection, diving interception and long return for a TD — clinches the game for the Birds in Cleveland.

Mark Bradley

October 10th, 2010
3:46 pm

Just returned from Wagner’s press session. He said he has never hurt an oblique before: “I didn’t know you could pull fat.”

Said he’ll cheer on his teammates and hope the Braves make the World Series. (He’d be eligible again then.) He said he would not reconsider his decision to retire.

MitchC

October 10th, 2010
3:51 pm

Mark, the Braves had a great comeback on Friday night, but.. I’m not going to be too enthusiastic, too fast.

For this reason: The Braves have not advanced past this round, since 2001, and have done so only once, since 1999. They also had a habit of losing the NLDS at home a few times.

I’m taking the “one game at a time” mentality. Focus on winning today’s game.. period. I’d love to clinch it at home, and not to have to return to SF for Game 5, but, we need to win Game 3 first, before thinking about Game 4… or Game 5.

Win today, and then, take it from there.

Wounded Wagner

October 10th, 2010
3:52 pm

Nicholas pick to seal da deal !

Wounded Wagner

October 10th, 2010
3:53 pm

Nicholas seals deal with int…

JMayne

October 10th, 2010
3:57 pm

Hows the atmosphere at the Ted? Hudson might come out and dominate. I would love to see it. Maybe the bats will show up.

StraightJacket

October 10th, 2010
3:58 pm

How many times has Lincecum pitched on 3 days rest this year, and how successful has he been? How many innings did he pitch on short rest?

Space Monkey

October 10th, 2010
3:59 pm

Why DL Wagner? Christian Guzman is a horrible pitcher and Saito gives us one inning at best. I’d keep Wagner active and just go with fewer arms. Beachy can go long. It’s stupid to write-off Wagner for two series.

"Chef" Tim Dix

October 10th, 2010
4:00 pm

Today’s specialty: Mo Pie.

count_schemula

October 10th, 2010
4:00 pm

5150 P.O.A.D

October 10th, 2010
4:01 pm

Lincecum looks like the kid from the TV show 3rd Rock.

cattle dawg

October 10th, 2010
4:04 pm

Where do rank game 2 in best postseason games mark?

SA

October 10th, 2010
4:04 pm

Wish I could be at the Ted today. Those that do go better be LOUD!

jj

October 10th, 2010
4:08 pm

IMO Mark is a little too cocky right now

cattle dawg

October 10th, 2010
4:10 pm

Ive got it tied for third. 1. Is game 6 world series win over Cleveland. 2. The Sid Bream slide. 3. The last game is tied with the game against Astros when Rocker came in with bases loaded and Walt Wiess made that great play up the middle.

J Clay

October 10th, 2010
4:11 pm

Would be nice to see Glaus get the start today but I would assume that isn’t going to happen – speaking of moves at 3rd base

Andy

October 10th, 2010
4:13 pm

Didn’t know you could pull fat. That’s a good line.

will

October 10th, 2010
4:13 pm

the braves i think should win it at home, they’ve played better than anyone else at home all season and if they’ve got enough fan support there, we should take it on sunday!

Dr. Warren

October 10th, 2010
4:15 pm

Let’s put Kroy Biermann at 3rd base.

Andy

October 10th, 2010
4:16 pm

I suspect that Wagner is hurt pretty badly and that it would be questionable or doubtful that he would be recovered enough to pitch in the NLCS even if they kept him on the roster. I think if he was close to coming back they would have tried to make it short handed for the rest of the series.

Headley Lamar

October 10th, 2010
4:17 pm

How bout those Falcons.

Mark Bradley

October 10th, 2010
4:17 pm

Wagner is a great conversationalist, Andy. Just FYI

Mark Bradley

October 10th, 2010
4:18 pm

That was a great game, cattle dawg. But the Braves have played a lot of great postseason games.

Hunter the Umpire

October 10th, 2010
4:19 pm

We the umpires will take away your joy and optimism!

Mark Bradley

October 10th, 2010
4:19 pm

Both teams being saluted. Standing along the foul lines. That’s always a nice part of postseason ball.