Nyjer Morgan

Brewers beat Diamondbacks in 10, advance to NLCS

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8:49 p.m.update: Nyjer Morgan singled in Carlos Gomez with one out to advance the Brewers to the NLCS.

Gomez singled off J.J. Putz and stole second to get into scoring position before Morgan hit a groundball single up the middle. Chris Young’s throw from center field wasn’t nearly in time.

8:40 p.m. update: Axford rebounded from his poor ninth to retire the Diamondbacks in order in the 10th. Craig Counsell, Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan due up for Milwaukee.

8:32 p.m. update: We’re going to extra innings. David Hernandez has retired all six Brewers he’s faced.

Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Young and the pitcher’s spot are due up for the Diamondbacks in the 10th. Lyle Overbay figures to hit for Hernandez unless it’s a bunting situation.

8:28 p.m. update: Poor Jerry Hairston. He was robbed by Chris Young on his bid for a two-run double in the sixth and he just cranked another to left-center that was grabbed by Gerardo Parra.

8:25 p.m. update: Blanco grounds out to end the top of the ninth with the score tied 2-2. It was pretty impressive the way Axford bounced back, particularly after he botched the squeeze bunt.

Worth remembering now: the Brewers have taken out their third- and fourth-best hitters for defense. Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks were replaced by Carlos Gomez and Craig Counsell.

Jerry Hairston Jr., Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy are due up against David Hernandnez in the bottom of the ninth.

8:23 p.m. update: Upton taps out to Axford. Now it’s Henry Blanco up after the Diamondbacks chose to run for Miguel Montero with two outs in the eighth.

8:20 p.m. update: Axford finally gets his first out, striking out Aaron Hill. Justin Upton up.

8:17 p.m. update: A Willie Bloomquist safety squeeze ties it up. Even bigger, no out was recorded on the play after Axford got in Prince Fielder’s way, giving the Diamondbacks two on with none out.

The Brewers were 81-1 when leading after eight innings this season.

8:16 p.m. update: Burroughs pulled back the bunt and flared a 3-2 pitch into shallow right. Runners on first and third, no outs.

8:12 p.m. update: Previously hitless in 17 at-bats for the series, Gerardo Parra took John Axford’s first pitch of the ninth into right-center for a double. This is getting good.

Sean Burroughs is in looking to drop down a bunt.

8:10 p.m. update: Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez retired Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks in order in the eighth, so it’s 2-1 Brewers headed to the ninth.

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Francisco Rodriguez loaded the bases in the top of the eighth before getting Ryan Roberts to groundout to end the inning. The Brewers will take at least a 2-1 lead into the top of the ninth in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks.

While K-Rod was shaky right from the start — he walked Aaron Hill to start the inning — Brewers manager Ron Roenicke never moved to warm up closer John Axford or anyone else in the Milwaukee pen. Rodriguez gave up a single to Miguel Montero with one out and walked Chris Young to load the bases with two outs, but he appeared in control while dealing to Roberts. Roberts guessed fastball on the first pitch and got the slider. He was then late on a fastball on the second pitch, and pitch No. 3 was a routine grounder for an easy out.

The Brewers will turn to Axford in the ninth. Due up are Gerardo Parra, Sean Burroughs and Willie Bloomquist. Parra is hitless today and 0-for-17 in the series.

Cubs expected to host an All-Star Game in the near future

A general view of Wrigley Field and the newly renovated bleachers during the second inning of a baseball game between the the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds Thursday, June 11, 2015,  in Chicago. Chicago won 6-3. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The 2016-18 All-Star Games are spoken for, but the Cubs could play host not long thereafter according to commissioner Rob Manfred, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports.

The Padres are hosting at Petco Park this year, the Marlins will host at Marlins Park next season, and the Nationals will host in 2018 at Nationals Park. That will make four consecutive National League hosts and five if the Cubs get it in 2019. In the past, the National and American Leagues have alternated hosting privileges. That is sort of important now since the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series.

The Cubs last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990 and have hosted a total of three times (1962 and 1947 being the other years) since its inception in 1933.

Wrigley Field has been undergoing renovations which are expected to be completed by the 2019 season. Manfred said that the Cubs hosting the All-Star Game “will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley field.”

Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren will compete for No. 5 spot in Cubs’ rotation

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws during the first inning of Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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Expect Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation this spring, writes Gordon Wittenmyer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Clayton Richard could serve as a fallback option as well.

Hendricks, 26, pitched well in his first full season in 2015. He finished with a 3.95 ERA and a 167/43 K/BB ratio over 180 innings. That was a solid follow-up to his rookie campaign in 2014, when he posted a 2.46 ERA over 13 starts.

The Cubs acquired Warren, 28, from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade. He contributed both out of the rotation and the bullpen in the Bronx this past season, pitching 131 1/3 innings with a 3.29 ERA and a 104/39 K/BB ratio.

One through four, the Cubs’ rotation is solid with defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jason Hammel.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson plans to limit David Wright to 130 or fewer games

David Wright
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Mets third baseman David Wright missed four months of the 2015 season due to spinal stenosis. In other words, Wright dealt with a narrowing of his spinal column. Going forward, the Mets plan to be cautious with Wright so as not to overuse him.

As ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports, Mets GM Sandy Alderson plans to have the 33-year-old Wright play in no more than 130 games. Alderson said, “We’re gonna make sure that he’s not overworked. So it’s important for us to find somebody who can play 30 games or so at third base when he’s not in there. But I think we have to be realistic, and not expect that he’s gonna be an absolute everyday [player] out there playing 150 or 155 games. That’s not gonna happen.”

Wilmer Flores played 26 games at third base in his rookie season in 2013, so he could back up Wright as needed. But Alderson mentioned that because Wright would mostly sit against right-handed pitchers, the switch-hitting Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera could get the call at the hot corner.

When he was on the field last season, Wright hit a productive .289/.379/.434 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

Marlins still searching for starting pitching depth

Aaron Harang
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The Marlins would like to add “another pitcher or two” before pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Among starting pitchers available, Kyle Lohse, Aaron Harang, and Alfredo Simon are candidates for the Marlins, but they may hold out for the possibility of inking a major league contract. Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee are other potential candidates, per Frisaro.

This offseason, the Marlins signed Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal and Edwin Jackson for the major league minimum. The back of the rotation, though, is still a question mark as Jarred Cosart, Adam Conley, and Justin Nicolino will compete with Jackson for two spots. David Phelps is dealing with an elbow injury and may or not be ready by Opening Day, but he could function in a swingman capacity as well.