The Padres make a mildly baffling trade

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This isn’t the sort of trade that’s going to alter the balance of power or anything, but it does have some gawk-appeal:

The San Diego Padres acquired infielder Oscar Salazar from the
Baltimore Orioles for right-handed pitcher Cla Meredith on Sunday.

The trade became more urgent for San Diego after utilityman Edgar
Gonzalez was hit in the head with a pitch on Saturday night and
remained hospitalized Sunday. San Diego is expected to place Gonzalez
on the DL. The brother of All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Edgar
was still complaining of dizziness, ringing in his ears and a partial
loss of hearing a day after the frightening beaning.

Not to take a thing away from the Edgar Gonzalez situation — beanings
are serious business — but I’m not sure what was so “urgent” about
this deal. The Padres aren’t going anywhere this year, and unless
they’ve made the organizational decision to go to a zone defense, they
have a second baseman somewhere in the system who can serve as a
utilityman in Gonzalez’s absence.

What they or any other team don’t have a lot of, however, are 26 year-old groundball machines, as The Hardball Times’ Evan Brunell puts it. No, Meredith ain’t the second coming of Dan Quisenberry or anything, but he does represent something
of value in the game of baseball. The kind of which can and should
bring more than a journeyman infielder like Oscar Salazar around the
trade deadline.

Can anyone give me one good reason why Kevin Towers couldn’t fill
Gonzalez’s hole with an organizational soldier for a week while seeing
if he couldn’t drum up a little bit more for a decent reliever than
Oscar Salazar? Can’t anyone point to a team a little more desperate to
obtain him than the 40-50 Baltimore Orioles? Maybe this is just a
little thing, but when you’re a team like the Padres, the little things
add up.

Video: Justin Turner gives Dodgers early Game 4 lead with two-run double

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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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.

Video: Hector Rondon closes it out, Cubs advance past Cardinals to NLCS

Hector Rondon
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

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.

Cardinals miss Martinez even more than Molina

Carlos Martinez

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.