NLCS Brewers Cardinals Baseball

NLCS Game 4 Live Blog: Brewers vs. Cardinals

53 Comments

11:31pm: Furcal grounds out to short, ending Game 4 of the NLCS. The Brewers captured a 4-2 victory and have guaranteed that the series will travel back to Miller Park. NLCS Game 5 is Friday night at 8:05 p.m. ET. Thanks for hanging out.

11:29pm: Berkman punches a single through the right side of the Brewers’ infield. Furcal is up.

11:26pm: Jay grounds out to short. Berkman steps in with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

11:24pm: Theriot completes an 0-for-4 night with a soft groundout in front of the plate. One out.

11:22pm: Theriot and Jay are coming up. We could see Lance Berkman as a pinch-hitter after those two hit.

11:19pm: Gomez flies out to deep center, then Braun strikes out. To the bottom of the ninth…

11:12pm: Morgan flares a single to left field after a long battle with Salas. One out for Carlos Gomez, who replaced Kotsay in the outfield earlier in the game. Braun will bat if Gomez avoids the double play.

11:08pm: Salas remains in the game for St. Louis and strikes out the pinch-hitting Jonathan Lucroy.

11:04pm: Molina fans on a ball in the dirt to end the threat. To the ninth inning we go…

10:59pm: Holliday grounds out to Hairston. Fielder makes an excellent pick at first base. Two down.

10:56pm: Freese registers his eighth hit of the NLCS with a single to center field. Holliday is up.

10:55pm: Pujols is retired on a groundout up the middle. The Brewers had perfect positioning.

10:53pm: The Cardinals will send Pujols, Freese and Holliday to the plate in a crucial eighth inning. Wolf, who allowed just two earned runs over seven solid innings, has been replaced by Francisco Rodriguez.

10:51pm: Betancourt grounds out to the pitcher, Kottaras pops out to Molina. Quick work by Salas.

10:45pm: The Cardinals’ fifth pitcher of the night is right-hander Fernando Salas, and he quickly retires Hairston on a fly ball to left field. Betancourt and Kottaras are due up next for Milwaukee.

10:43pm: Craig is retired on a weak groundout back to the pitcher. Pujols is left standing in the on-deck circle. The Brewers still hold a 4-2 lead in this NLCS Game 4 as we roll to the top of the eighth inning.

10:40pm: Morgan, now playing right field, tracks down a hard-hit ball from Furcal. Two down.

10:38pm: Punto strikes out as Wolf’s impressive outing continues. One down.

10:35pm: The Cards will send pinch-hitter Nick Punto to the plate to open the bottom of the seventh.

10:32pm: Weeks also falls to 0-2, then strikes out swinging. He appeared to strike out looking on the pitch before, but third base umpire Gary Darling called timeout before Dotel went into his delivery.

10:29pm: Fielder falls to 0-2, then draws a two-out walk. Weeks will bat next.

10:25pm: Kotsay grounds out to first base, then Braun strikes out. In steps Fielder.

10:23pm: The Cardinals will turn to right-hander Octavio Dotel to start the seventh.

10:19pm: Theriot chases a high fastball for the second out of the inning, then Jay hits a lazy fly ball to center field. The Brewers will carry a 4-2 NLCS Game 4 lead into the top of the seventh inning.

10:16pm: Molina flies out to center, but Holliday advances to third on Morgan’s weak arm. One down.

10:13pm: Holliday smacks a leadoff double to the left-center field gap. Molina steps to bat for the Cards.

10:10pm: Morgan strikes out looking. But the Brewers lead by two as we move to the bottom of the sixth.

10:09pm: Wolf is retired on a bunt. Morgan steps in to big boos from the St. Louis crowd.

10:08pm: Theriot bobbles a hot shot from Kottaras. Weeks scores, Hairston moves to third. Kottaras is safe at first base. The Brewers now have a 4-2 lead over the Cardinals in the top of the sixth inning.

10:04pm: Tony La Russa calls on veteran southpaw Arthur Rhodes to face Kottaras, a left-handed hitter.

10:01pm: Betancourt grounds out to shortstop. Weeks can’t score. One down.

9:59pm: Hairston follows quickly with a double over Furcal’s head. Weeks is at third base. No outs.

9:58pm: Weeks hits a leadoff single, and the Brewers are threatening yet again.

9:54pm: Freese grounds out to short to end the fifth. A big zero for the Brewers and Wolf as we move along to the sixth inning. The Brewers will send Weeks, Hairston and Betancourt to the plate.

9:51pm: Craig goes down looking, but Pujols keeps the inning alive with a sharply-struck single to left.

9:47pm: Furcal grounds out to third base to open the bottom of the fifth. Craig and Pujols are due up next.

9:40pm: Theriot starts a brilliant double play on Fielder, putting an end to the top of the fifth inning.

9:39pm: Braun punches a ball through the left side of the Cardinals’ infield, scoring Morgan from third base. The Brewers now have a 3-2 lead in this NLCS Game 4 with Fielder stepping to the dish.

9:34pm: Lohse is done after 4 1/3 innings. He allowed six hits and two earned runs (though Morgan will also count against him if he scores). The Cardinals’ first reliever will be right-hander Mitchell Boggs.

9:32pm: Kotsay grounds out, but advances Morgan to third base. Braun is up with just one out.

9:30pm: Morgan doubles down the left-field line, flashing a big “Beast Mode” after reaching second base.

9:29pm: The Brewers are back to the top of their batting order. Morgan steps in to more boos.

9:27pm: Another quick pitch count update: Wolf is at 64, Lohse is up to 72.

9:25pm: Theriot flies out to left field to open the bottom of the fourth inning and Jay follows with a weak groundout to first base. Lohse then pops out to center, capping an easy frame for the Brewers’ Wolf.

9:20pm: Kottaras grounds out to second base, then Wolf flies out to center. We head to the bottom half…

9:15pm: Betancourt singles to center field, scoring Hairston from second base. This one is tied, 2-2.

9:14pm: Hairston doubles down the left field line, just beyond the glove of a diving Freese. Fielder scores easily as the Brewers close to within one run. Betancourt will try to pour on some more.

9:13pm: Weeks strokes a line drive to right-center, but Jay is in the right spot to snag it. One down.

9:11pm: Fielder rips a leadoff double to the right-center field gap. Weeks steps in, looking for a big hit.

9:05pm: Molina can’t pad the lead, grounding out to short. The Cardinals will take a 2-0 lead into the top of the fourth inning. Fielder, Weeks and Hairston will come to the plate against Lohse.

9:04pm: Holliday draws a four-pitch walk. Two baserunners on for Molina.

9:02pm: Freese keeps the inning alive with a shot off of Betancourt’s glove. Holliday will bat.

9:01pm: Pujols grounds out to short and is now 0-for-2 in this NLCS Game 4. Two outs.

8:58pm: Allen “Wrench” Craig sends an opposite-field homer into the right-field bullpen, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. It also appeared to catch the wind. Pujols steps to the plate, looking to add on.

8:57pm: Furcal flies out again to center field to open the bottom of the third inning.

8:54pm: Braun falls to 0-2, then pops out to first base. Lohse works out of the jam to preserve the Cardinals’ one-run lead. St. Louis will send Furcal, Craig and Pujols to the plate in the bottom of the third.

8:52pm: Kotsay flies out to left field. Two outs, but Braun steps in with two ducks on the pond.

8:50pm: Morgan gets caught on the right arm by an inside pitch, takes first base. One out.

8:49pm: Wolf smacks a double to right field. Morgan comes to the plate to more boos.

8:47pm: Kottaras strikes out looking. Lohse looks to be settling in nicely. Wolf steps to the dish.

8:45pm: A quick pitch count update on both starting pitchers: Lohse is at 29, Wolf is at 36.

8:43pm: Lohse strikes out after chasing a couple of high fastballs. The Cardinals lead the Brewers 1-0 in this NLCS Game 4 as we move to the top of the third inning. Kottaras, Wolf and Morgan will bat.

8:41pm: Jay grounds out softly to first base, so Molina can’t score from third. Lohse steps in.

8:40pm: Theriot reaches first base when Weeks muffs a routine groundball. Molina to third, Jay is up.

8:37pm: Molina drills a ground-rule double down the right field line, then mocks the Brewers’ “Beast Mode” gesture with what we’re calling the “Cry Baby.” Theriot will bat with a runner in scoring position.

8:33pm: Holliday hits a ball that barely squeaks over the right field fence, just to the left of the foul pole. It looked to catch the wind, which is blowing out to right. St. Louis leads 1-0 here in the second inning.

8:31pm: Freese strikes out swinging to lead off the bottom of the second inning. Holliday is up.

8:28pm: Betancourt flies out to center field. A quick second inning for Lohse, who was able to get ahead of all three batters he faced. He fell behind all four hitters he faced in that shaky first inning.

8:27pm: Hairston hits a hot shot to third base. Freese makes the play. Two outs for Milwaukee.

8:26pm: Weeks grounds out to shortstop. He, too, voiced concerns about the strike zone.

8:22pm: Pujols chases a low pitch and strikes out. Wolf registers a perfect first frame. He’s the first starting pitcher on the Brewers’ staff to keep the Cardinals scoreless through the first inning.

8:20pm: Craig grounds out sharply to third base. Pujols will bat with the bases empty.

8:18pm: Furcal swings on the first pitch and launches a ball to the warning track in center field, but Morgan snares it. Wolf, the Brewers’ starter, has had trouble containing offenses in the early innings.

8:14pm: Fielder chases a ball in the dirt, giving Lohse his second strikeout. To the bottom of the first…

8:12pm: Braun singles up the middle for the Brewers’ first hit of the game. In steps Fielder.

8:10pm: Kotsay fans looking, has a few words with the home plate umpire, then heads to the dugout.

8:06pm: Morgan steps to the plate to boos, then grounds out to shortstop.

7:43pm: We’ll get underway at the top of the hour. Wouldn’t want to interrupt TBS’ thrilling pregame show.

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

The Cardinals are carrying a 2-1 series lead into Thursday night’s NLCS Game 4 against the Brewers. First pitch is scheduled for just after 8:00 p.m. ET. Follow along as we provide updates throughout the night.

Your starting lineups, as shared earlier:

   MILWAUKEE BREWERS            ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1. Nyjer Morgan, CF          1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Mark Kotsay, RF           2. Allen Craig, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF            3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B        4. David Freese, 3B
5. Rickie Weeks, 2B          5. Matt Holliday, LF
6. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B    6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS   7. Ryan Theriot, 2B
8. George Kottaras, C        8. Jon Jay, CF
9. Randy Wolf, LHP           9. Kyle Lohse, RHP

Updates will read bottom-to-top. Consider the comments section an “open thread.” Let’s do this.

Nationals acquire Derek Norris from Padres

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Derek Norris #3 of the San Diego Padres prepares to bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of a MLB game at Chase Field on October 1, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

According to an official team announcement, the Nationals have acquired catcher Derek Norris from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Pedro Avila.

Norris, 27, batted a career-low .186/.225/.328 in 458 PA with the Padres in 2016. He hit career highs with 14 home runs and nine stolen bases, but his dismal production rate through the second half of the season spelled the end of his time in a starting role in San Diego. Norris’ departure from the Padres also confirms 24-year-old Austin Hedges‘ spot on the roster, as reported by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell:

Heading to San Diego is 19-year-old right-handed starter Pedro Avila, who was acquired by the Nationals as an international free agent in 2014. The 19-year-old spent his first season in Single-A Hagerstown and went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA and 2.42 K/BB rate in 93 innings.

Breaking Down the Today’s Game Hall of Fame ballot: Bud Selig

Bud Selig
Associated Press
Leave a comment

On Monday, December 5, the Today’s Game committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame — the replacement for the Veterans Committee which covers the years 1988-2016 — will vote on candidates for the 2017 induction class. This week we are looking at the ten candidates, one-by-one, to assess their Hall worthiness. The final candidate: Bud Selig. 

The case for his induction:

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, in January 2015, as Bud Selig was stepping down after 20+ years as baseball’s commissioner, I wrote a column claiming that he was “The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History.” I stand by that assessment.

Which is not to say that he was perfect or that he was, in an absolute sense, good. He was simply better than all of the other commissioners, most of whom weren’t worth a tinker’s damn.

More important to that analysis than his historical comps, however, was that when people talk about how good or bad a commissioner was, they’re usually judging him by their own, subjective terms, not the terms of the commissioner’s employment. Contrary to popular belief, the commissioner is not a president, governor or mayor of baseball. He is not elected by nor answerable to the fans or the public. He may play up all of the trappings of political leadership because it makes him seem important and noble and serves to justify the power he wields, but in reality the commissioner of baseball is merely the Chairman of the Board for Baseball, Inc., answerable to anywhere between 16 and 30 owners depending on what time in baseball history he happend to serve.

People hate being reminded of that. They want to say Bud Selig was a failure because he did things they did not like, but that’s beside the point. He did things his employers liked and did them better than most others who preceded him. In the process he made a lot of people very rich, including all of the other owners, broadcast executives, players, agents and just about anyone else who holds a stake in baseball. His transgressions — discussed below — were real, but they were not considered deal breakers for anyone to whom Selig actually owed a duty. He may have betrayed you or me and he may have done things that harmed our love of baseball, but it was never his job to make us happy. Sorry I had to tell you that so bluntly, but it’s better you heard it from a friend.

So, the case for Bud: he did his job the way he was supposed to and he grew the game and made his employers rich. That’s not an inspiring case, but it’s the case we have.

The case against his induction:

Personally, I don’t think any commissioner should be in the Hall of Fame, but as we noted with the other executives, that ship has sailed. Bowie Kuhn is in the Hall of Fame for Pete’s sake and he bungled just about everything that came his way. Hall of Fame induction for a commissioner is a gold watch. A lifetime achievement award.

It may also be worth noting that he’s on the Hall of Fame board for crying out loud, so he has a blatant conflict of interest here, what with having been part of selecting or approving the very people who will vote for him on Monday. Based on what we’re seeing in other arenas, however, I suppose we’re over things like conflicts of interest in late 2016 America, so that gets us nowhere.

Still, let’s not pretend that Bud Selig was not an accomplice and, according to many, a ringleader of a literal criminal conspiracy that harmed people’s livelihoods and, in turn, compromised the product on the field. Let us not pretend he did not launch a disastrous, cynical and greed-inspired labor war that cost us the 1994 season and World Series. Let us not pretend that he did not turn the ownership ranks into a secret society open only to those who know the secret knock, rewarding those inside the club, however incompetent, and destroying entire franchises. Let us not pretend that he did not willfully turn a blind eye to steroid and performance enhancing drug use in the game, knowing that the resulting dingers helped boost fan interest and revenue, only to then turn around and vilify and scapegoat the players who used those drugs in a comically grandstanding and self-serving manner.

Should all of that be held against him? Absolutely. Will they be? I seriously, seriously doubt it.

Would I vote for him?

We hear from BBWAA voters so very often that to withhold a Hall of Fame vote from someone is not a “punishment” as much as it is a mere denial of the highest honor. We hear that withholding a vote does not deny a player’s greatness, just a place in the Hall. If that’s the case I see no problem withholding a vote from Selig, even if he was the greatest commissioner. Yes, he was great, but he also did a lot of stuff which brought ignominy to the game and which actively harmed people. Many, many players have been effectively barred from entering the Hall of Fame for far lesser transgressions. Bud Selig is not, in my view, worthy of baseball’s highest honor.

Will the Committee vote for him?

It’s a mortal lock. Baseball loves nothing more than patting Bud Selig on the back. He made everyone involved with it quite wealthy. I’d place the odds of him making it in on Monday’s vote at 100%.