San Diego Padres  v Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers complete three-year deal with left-hander Ted Lilly

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Ken Rosenthal of reported Saturday that the Dodgers and left-handed starter Ted Lilly were “close” on a new three-year contract. Now, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, that deal is complete.

No financial details have been released because Lilly still needs to pass a physical.  That should take place early next week.

Lilly, 34, turned in a stellar 3.62 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 30 starts this season, striking out 166 batters and walking only 44 over 193.2 innings.  He began his 2010 campaign in Chicago, where a poor offense led him to a 3-8 win-loss record over his first 18 starts.  A trade at the July deadline brought him to Los Angeles, however, where he finished 7-4 with a 0.99 WHIP over his final 12 outings.

For Lilly to pass on an opportunity to test the free agent market, he must have been handsomely rewarded by the Dodgers.  Many believed that the club — still being killed by the McCourts’ divorce proceedings — would not be able to make many large-scale moves this offseason.  So far, that idea looks to be incorrect.

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 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.