Ortiz did whatever it took

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I want to make one thing pretty clear. I’ve just about had it with this
whole steroid controversy, what with it’s secret lists and tainted
records and bloody syringes. I’m having a hard time even caring about
it, because as Craig pointed out below, absolutely nothing surprises us
anymore. We’ve become desensitized to it all.

As baseball fans, we’ve forced ourselves to look the other way just
to move on and enjoy the game we love. Take a look at Mannywood, for
example. Baseball in the late-90s and early 2000s are like a troubled
uncle. Yeah, the dude was pretty messed up for a while, but he keeps
saying he has cleaned himself up. Let’s just give him the benefit of
the doubt, okay? He’ll turn himself around. Really, he will.

That said, it’s quite different when news like this concerns the
team you root for. Even though I’m not a Red Sox fan, seeing David
Ortiz hit that home run against Paul Quantrill in Game Four of the 2004
ALCS was one of my favorite memories as a baseball fan. It was
positively thrilling. But I can’t help but look at Ortiz differently
now. I’ve grown quite tired of reconsidering all the moments I have

I’m mad at these players, but cognizant that performance enhancing
drugs aren’t so cut and dry. Thus, it’s not so easy to just pass
judgement on them. Even Bob Gibson has said that he might have
considered using PEDs if they had been around during his time. We have
to accept that we are watching and rooting for some very competitive
individuals. Not just against the other team, but in even keeping a
roster spot. This do-whatever-it-takes attitude is what made David
Ortiz from a mere nice player in Minnesota to a prolific slugger in
Boston. As long as there are advantages to be had, players will seek
them out. Period.

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.