Circling the Bases: new and improved

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Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t drop off and disappear at 11AM like I usually do. The reason: I have nowhere to drop off to.  I quit my legal job last week.  I also retired ShysterBall, the baseball blog I’ve written since 2007, most recently for the Hardball Times. Starting today I am full time with Circling the Bases, and will be posting more or less all day.  One fewer practicing lawyer in the world + more baseball blogging = a very, very good thing indeed, wouldn’t you agree? If you’re looking to give me a gift congratulating the move, I have some ideas. Though to be honest, I have no idea what I’d do with a briefcase given that I’ll be writing from my couch while wearing pajamas all day.

Anyway, the plan going forward: Aaron, Matthew, Bob, D.J. and I will be combining to ramp up and improve the Circling the Bases experience. The goal: to make CTB the place for all of your baseball news and analysis needs. One stop shopping, as it were. The place where you usually hear things first, and even if you don’t, the place where you come to get an enlightened, provocative or at the very least humorous take on the day’s doings.  And if none of that works for you, the place where you can yell at us as we try to do it.

There will be fun stuff ahead. In the short term: more posts. Next week: I’m going to the Winter Meetings, where I’m going to do my best to try and find out one-tenth of the stuff Rosenthal does and run up a hotel bar tab one-tenth the size of Billy Martin’s record from 1982. Even then I’m probably flirting with death.

Long term: we’re going to continue to build CTB into the best baseball blog on the web.  I hope you come along for the ride.  

Cardinals walk off on controversial double by Yadier Molina

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after he was called out on strike against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the six inning at AT&T Park on September 15, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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Update (11:09 PM EDT):

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From unlucky to lucky, the Cardinals maintained their position in the National League Wild Card race with walk-off victory over the Reds on Thursday night.

The Cardinals went into the top of the ninth with a 3-2 lead over the Reds, but saw the game tied when Scott Schebler dribbled a two-strike, two out ground ball down the third base line. It seemed as if the baseball gods had turned their backs on the Cardinals.

In the bottom of the ninth against reliever Blake Wood, Matt Carpenter drew a one-out walk. Randal Grichuk then struck out, leaving all of the Cardinals’ hopes on Yadier Molina. Molina went ahead 2-0 in the count, then ripped a 95 MPH fastball to left field. The ball bounced high and over the left field fence for what seemed like an obvious ground-rule double. Carpenter motored around third base and scored the winning run.

The Cardinals poured onto the field in celebration and the umpires walked off the field. Manager Bryan Price wanted to have the play reviewed, but when he went onto the field, the umpires were nowhere to be found. Price chased after them but to no avail. As the Cardinals left the field and the stadium emptied, the Reds remained in the dugout. The Reds’ relievers were left in a bit of purgatory, standing aimlessly in left field after exiting the bullpen. Finally, the game was announced as complete over the P.A. system at Busch Stadium. The results are great if you’re a Cardinals fan, but terrible if you’re a Mets or Giants fan.

As Jon Morosi points out, the rules clearly state that the signage above the fence in left field is out of the field of play. The umpires got it wrong.

Price, however, also took too long to speak to the umpires. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

If this happened between two teams playing a meaningless game, it would’ve been a lot easier to swallow, but Thursday’s Reds-Cardinals game had implications on not only the Cardinals’ future, but the Mets’ and Giants’ as well.

Freddie Freeman’s hitting streak ends at 30 games

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 28:  First baseman Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves hits a single in the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to 30 games during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on September 28, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
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Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 0-for-4 during Thursday’s win against the Phillies, snapping his hitting streak at 30 games. It marked the longest hitting streak of the 2016 season. Freeman’s streak of 46 consecutive games reaching base safely ended as well.

The longest hitting streak in Atlanta Braves history belongs to Dan Uggla, who hit in 33 consecutive games in 2011. Tommy Holmes hit in 37 straight for the Boston Braves in 1945.

During his hitting streak, Freeman hit .384/.485/.670 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 136 plate appearances. That padded what were already very strong numbers on the season. After Thursday’s game, Freeman is overall batting .306/.404/.572 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI< and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances.