Rinku and Dinesh go to Bradenton

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Remember those two guys who won the Indian reality show and ended up getting signed by the Pirates? They made their professional debuts on Saturday:

Pittsburgh Pirates farmhands Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel became the
first players from India to appear in organized baseball when each
pitched an inning for Bradenton of the Gulf Coast League on Saturday.

Singh allowed one run on two hits and struck out one, throwing 13 of
20 pitches for strikes during the seventh inning of the Pirates’ 4-2
loss to the Yankees. Patel threw a scoreless eighth, throwing seven of
nine pitches for strikes while striking out one.

Bad sign: the premise of that reality show was to find a guy who could
throw 90 m.p.h. On Saturday, however, Singh’s fastball topped out at 83
miles per hour and Patel’s at 84. Unless Patel can figure out how to
throw a knuckleball and unless “Rinku Singh” is Hindi for “Jamie
Moyer,” that ain’t gonna cut it.

But not everyone is as pessimistic as I am. Indeed, Singh is pretty optimistic: “Next time i promising I pitching good stuff.”

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.