Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Three

NLCS Game 3 Live Blog: Brewers vs. Cardinals

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11:20pm: Thanks for hanging out. Game 4 of the NLCS is scheduled for Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET.

11:19pm: McGehee also chases a high fastball from Mote. Game over.

11:18pm: The Brewers will pinch-hit for Lucroy with Casey McGehee.

11:16pm: Betancourt chases high heat. Two down.

11:14pm: Hairston grounds out to shortstop. One down.

11:11pm: Furcal strikes out. The Brewers will send Hairston, Betancourt and Lucroy to the plate in the top of the ninth inning, down one run. The Cardinals can take a 2-1 NLCS lead if Motte closes it out.

11:07pm: Punto strikes out to open the frame, then Fielder makes a nice play on a tough hop to retire Descalso. The Cardinals are back to the top of their order, but they have two outs here in the eighth.

11:03pm: Motte strikes out Weeks, hitting 99 mph with his out-pitch. To the bottom of the eighth…

11:00pm: The Cardinals bring in closer Jason Motte for a four-out save.

10:57pm: Rzep fans Fielder. TBS’ Ron Darling calls his last slider the “biggest pitch Marc has ever thrown.”

10:54pm: Freese has been replaced by the more defensively adept Daniel Descalso.

10:53pm: Lynn stays in the game and retires Braun on a groundout to second base. The Cardinals will bring in left-hander Marc Rzepczynski to face Fielder, then probably a right-hander to face Weeks.

10:49pm: Freese grounds into an inning-ending double play. The Cards hold a mere one-run lead and the Brewers have Braun, Fielder and Weeks set to bat in the bottom of the seventh. Huge inning for Milwaukee.

10:46pm: Molina flies out to right field. Freese, who is 3-for-3, steps to the dish.

10:44pm: The Brewers bring in Takashi Saito, who plunks Berkman with his first delivery.

10:39pm: Hart also flies out to center, then Kotsay flies to right. Lynn sets ’em down in the top of the seventh.

10:35pm: Morgan flies out to center field. More boos from the St. Louis faithful.

10:33pm: Lance Lynn enters and will face pinch-hitter Nyjer Morgan. Big boos from the crowd.

10:30pm: Holliday strikes out again with two batters on. He’s 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored so far in this NLCS Game 3. The Cardinals still lead the Brewers 4-3 as the top of the seventh inning arrives.

10:26pm: Pujols is intentionally walked. The pressure is on Holliday yet again.

10:24pm: Jay flies out to left field. Pujols steps in with a man on second base.

10:20pm: Furcal bunts Craig over to second base. Jay and Pujols are coming up.

10:18pm: Allen “Wrench” Craig singles to left field as a pinch-hitter to open the frame.

10:17pm: Gallardo is also finished after five innings. He allowed eight hits and walked five, but the Cardinals were only able to score those four first-inning runs. The right-hander tossed 95 pitches (48 strikes). The Brewers’ first reliever of the night will be veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins.

10:14pm: Salas quickly retires all three batters in the top of the sixth. To the bottom half we go.

10:12pm: The Redbirds’ first reliever is Fernando Salas.

10:10pm: Carpenter is done for the night. He allowed six hits and three earned runs over five innings, issuing three walks against three strikeouts. Carp threw 89 pitches, 48 of which went for strikes.

10:08pm: Gallardo strikes out Punto. Let’s head to the sixth.

10:04pm: Berkman pops up on a first-pitch swing to open the bottom of the fifth, then Molina is retired on a fly ball in foul territory. But Freese stays hot with his third hit of the night, a single to right field.

9:59pm: Carp fans Weeks to escape the danger. To the bottom of the fifth we go.

9:55pm: Fielder is issued an intentional pass after Carpenter falls to a 3-0 count.

9:53pm: Light rain has begun falling at Busch Stadium.

9:51pm: Braun flies out to the right-field warning track, but Kotsay tags and advances to second base.

9:50pm: Hart strikes out, Kotsay walks. The Brewers have a runner on with Braun and Fielder coming up.

9:44pm: Holliday chases high heat and strikes out. Gallardo escapes a big jam. The Cardinals lead 4-3 as we head to the top of the fifth inning. Carpenter is at 67 pitches and Gallardo is up to 82.

9:42pm: Pujols advances to second base on a ball in the dirt.

9:40pm: Gallardo intentionally walks Pujols, bringing up Holliday with runners at first and third.

9:39pm: Jay swings on the first pitch and grounds into a double play. Ugly at-bat.

9:38pm: Furcal walks. Gallardo has now thrown 71 pitches, just 35 for strikes.

9:35pm: Carpenter leads off the bottom of the fourth inning with a hot shot to shortstop, where Betancourt couldn’t make a play. The Cardinals now have the top of their batting order coming up.

9:31pm: Gallardo grounds out to end the top of the fourth.

9:29pm: Punto snags a hard-hit line drive from Lucroy for the second out of the fourth inning. Betancourt was almost doubled up at first base, but Pujols couldn’t keep his back leg on the bag.

9:26pm: Holliday makes a sliding catch on a Hairston pop-up for the first out of the fourth inning, then Betancourt reaches when Freese can’t complete a diving stop at the hot corner. One on, one out.

9:21pm: Punto grounds out to second to end the threat. This NLCS Game 3 heads to the fourth inning. The Cardinals still lead 4-3, but Gallardo appears to be settling in faster than Carpenter.

9:18pm: Berkman grounds out to second base to open the bottom of the third, then Molina flies out to center field. But Freese keeps the inning alive with a ground-rule double over the head of Braun.

9:12pm: Weeks grounds out to end the top of the third. The Cardinals will bat with a one-run lead.

9:11pm: Furcal turns an impressive double play on Fielder, who broke his bat on contact.

9:10pm: Braun bloops a broken-bat single to right. He’s 5-for-9 in this series and 14-for-27 this postseason.

9:08pm: Kotsay, who made two bad mistakes in the first inning, just sent a no-doubt home run into the right field bullpen at Busch Stadium. The Brewers are down only one run with Braun and Fielder coming up.

9:07pm: Pitch counts through two innings: Carpenter 45, Gallardo 47.

9:05pm: Holliday grounds out to short. The Cards still lead 4-2 as we move to the third inning.

9:03pm: Albert advances to second base on a wild pitch by Gallardo. Holliday is at the plate.

9:01pm: Pujols remains ridiculously hot, punching a single through the right side of the infield.

8:59pm: Furcal and Jay are both retired on groundouts. Two quick outs for Gallardo.

8:55pm: Hart strikes out looking to end the frame, but the Brewers are back in this. Carpenter is suddenly up to 45 pitches and is leaving balls up in the zone. We head to the bottom of the second.

8:52pm: Gallardo scores Hairston with a sacrifice fly. Two outs. Cardinals 4, Brewers 2.

8:51pm: Lucroy flies out to right field. Brewers have runners at first and third, one out.

8:47pm: Betancourt adds another single, scoring Weeks from second base. Cardinals 4, Brewers 1.

8:46pm: Hairston also singles to right. The Brewers have life again here in the second inning.

8:43pm: Weeks laces an inning-opening line drive to right field. Up comes Hairston.

8:40pm: Carpenter grounds out to end the frame. Gallardo threw 33 pitches, 16 for strikes.

8:38pm: Punto is given an intentional walk after the count climbs to 3-0. Carpenter is now batting.

8:36pm: Freese launches a ball to deep right field that gets over the glove of Hart. Holliday scores, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead in the first inning. The Brewers seem a bit shell-shocked at the moment.

8:35pm: Molina grounds into a double play, but another run crosses the plate. Cards lead 3-0.

8:32pm: Berkman draws another walk. The bases are loaded, no outs. Molina is coming up.

8:28pm: Holliday draws a walk. There are still no outs. Gallardo looks to be in serious trouble.

8:26pm: Pujols golfs a ball to the base of the left-center field wall, scoring Jay. Cardinals lead 2-0.

8:23pm: Furcal advances to second base on a ball in the dirt, then scores when Kotsay can’t come up with a diving catch in center field. Jay is awarded a double and an RBI. He’s at second base.

8:20pm: Furcal leads off the Cardinals’ half of the inning with a single up the middle.

8:16pm: Fielder flies out to center field, and Kotsay is caught creeping too far off the second base bag for a double play. That’s what we call a momentum-changer. To the bottom of the first inning…

8:14pm: Carpenter plunks Braun in the arm after beginning the at-bat with two consecutive strikes. Fielder is coming up, looking to do a little early damage with one out and two men on.

8:12pm: Kotsay draws a one-out walk.

8:09pm: Carpenter retires Hart to lead off the game after the at-bat goes to a 3-2 count. We’re expecting a pitcher’s duel, but expecting anything in baseball’s postseason is often foolish.

******************

The sky has looked threatening all day long in the St. Louis area, but the city has avoided rain drops thus far and this NLCS Game 3 is going to start on time. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

We’ll be live-blogging the action all night, even if play needs to be stopped for thunderstorms (or squirrels). It’s Brewers vs. Cardinals. The seven-game series is tied 1-1. Here are your starting lineups:

   MILWAUKEE BREWERS            ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1. Corey Hart, RF            1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Mark Kotsay, CF           2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF            3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B        4. Matt Holliday, LF
5. Rickie Weeks, 2B          5. Lance Berkman, RF
6. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B    6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS   7. David Freese, 3B
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C        8. Nick Punto, 2B
9. Yovani Gallardo, RHP      9. Chris Carpenter, RHP

Updates will read bottom-to-top. Consider the comments an open thread. Let’s have some fun.

A Mexican team wins the Caribbean Series for the third time in four years

Mexican players celebrate their victory in the Caribbean Series baseball final against Aragua Tigres of Venezuela, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Designated hitter Jorge Vazquez hit a game-winning home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, lifting Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory and the championship of the Caribbean Series. (AP Photo/Roberto Guzman)
Associated Press
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For those who aren’t familiar, Serie del Caribe, or the Caribbean Series, is the highest club level baseball tournament in Latin America, pitting the champions of the winter leagues in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela against one another in a bacchanalia of baseball that, if there was justice in the world, we’d all be watching instead of football.

This year’s installment ended last night with Mexico’s Mazatlan Venados beating Venezuela’s Aragua Tigres 5-4 in the final game at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Jorge Vazquez — who Yankees fans may remember from a few years back — provided the winning margin when he hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning.

This is the third Serie del Caribe title for a Mexican club in the past four years, with Naranjeros de Hermosillo winning in 2014 and Yaquis de Obregón winning in 2013. Pinar del Río from Cuba won it last winter. This is the first time the Venados have won it.

As we noted yesterday, this was longtime MLB starter Freddy Garcia‘s last game. He gave up four hits and allowed two earned runs over five and a third innings for the Tigres, getting a no-decision.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.