Already down their third- and fourth-best position players, the Mets
just lost No. 1 when it was decided that Carlos Beltran would need a
couple of weeks off to rest his troublesome right knee.
It appears as though Beltran has been making the calls here. Though
he kept playing through the pain over the weekend, he chose to have an
MRI on Monday which apparently revealed that the bone bruise he
suffered last month has either gotten worse or at least failed to
improve. Clearly, the two weeks off was preferable to a second
cortisone shot that might not numb the pain for any longer than the
first one did.
The Mets have decided to bring back Fernando Martinez to replace
Beltran. Martinez, of course, was just sent down last week after
hitting .194/.286/.274 in 62 at-bats. Now the club has to determine
whether it makes sense to go with Martinez in center and hope that his
bat heats up or if it should play Jeremy Reed’s superior glove in
center field. Reed has hit .294/.324/.368 in 68 at-bats this season,
giving him a 692 OPS that’s barely above his 680 career mark. Martinez
will certainly be the choice against lefties, but Reed may currently be
the better option against righties.
At this point, the Mets should be content if they enter the All-Star
break at .500. They’ve had more obstacles to deal with than the
Phillies have thus far, yet they’re still just two games back in the NL
East. Also, there’s no one at all likely to run away with the wild
card. If they can get Jose Reyes and Beltran back after the break,
perhaps Carlos Delgado in August and add a pitcher before the deadline,
then they’ll still be in very good position to set themselves up for
another spectacular final-week failure (I kid, I kid).
Clayton Kershaw has looked sharp on the mound and at the plate so far in this must-win NLDS Game 4 at New York’s Citi Field.
After no-hitting the Mets in the first two frames, Kershaw smacked a one-out single to left-center field in the top of third inning. Howie Kendrick followed soon after with a two-out single to left and then Adrian Gonzalez blooped a ball to shallow center that drove in Enrique Hernandez, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base.
That all set up this Justin Turner two-run double down the left field line that put Los Angeles up 3-0 …
That’s now four doubles this postseason for Turner, which is a Dodgers franchise record for the Division Series. Los Angeles is trying to force a Game 5.
In the first postseason meeting between the two longtime archrivals, the Chicago Cubs prevailed over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Watch as Cubs closer Hector Rondon whiffs Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty with a nasty 0-2 breaking ball to clinch a Division Series victory and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy (this is actually the first time in franchise history the Cubs have won a playoff series at home) …
Chicago dropped Game 1 but took three straight to finish off St. Louis. Next up is a matchup against either the Dodgers or Mets in the National League Championship Series.
After taking Game 1 of the NLDS in an outstanding performance from John Lackey, the Cardinals dropped three straight to the Cubs by scores of 6-3, 8-6 and 6-4. It’s not difficult at all to imagine a healthy Carlos Martinez swinging one of those games.
Martinez wasn’t the Cardinals’ best starter this year, but he was the one who could shut a team down by himself, with little help from the defense needed. Martinez struck out 184 batters in 179 2/3 innings while going 14-7 with a 3.01 ERA. He left his next-to-last regular season start with a shoulder strain that was going to cost him the entirety of the postseason no matter how far the Cardinals advanced. It was a killer blow for a team whose offense had already been slowed by injuries.
October just came at the wrong time for the Cardinals, what with Martinez down, Yadier Molina nursing a significant thumb injury, Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk far from 100 percent and Adam Wainwright still weeks short of potentially pulling off a Marcus Stroman-like return to the rotation.
It’s Molina absence Thursday and lack of effectiveness otherwise that serve as a popular explanation/excuse for the Cardinals’ loss. And the downgrade from him to Tony Cruz behind the plate was huge, even if Molina is no longer the hitter he was a couple of years back.
Martinez, though, had the potential to even up the NLDS just by doing what he did in the regular season. And had Martinez been in the rotation, the Cardinals wouldn’t have moved up Lackey to start Game 4 on three days’ rest. They’d have been the clear favorites in a Game 5 Jon Lester-Lackey rematch back in St. Louis, though we’ll never know how that might have worked out.