Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Four

NLCS Game 5 Live Blog: Brewers vs. Cardinals

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11:15: It’s all over, as Craig Counsell pops out to Daniel Descalso at third base for the final out of the ballgame. The Cardinals win 7-1 and take a 3-2 lead in the NLCS. The series will resume Sunday in Milwaukee.

11:14: A little confusion in shallow left center, but Jon Jay catches a pop fly off the bat of Taylor Green for the second out.

11:12: “First ball swinging Yuni Betancourt” – Ah, everything is back to normal. Betancourt flies out to center field. One away.

11:07: Matt Holliday knocks in two runs with a double to left, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 7-1. They are three outs away from a 3-2 lead in the series.

11:02: Marco Estrada commits the Brewers’ fourth error of the game on a pickoff attempt at first base. Jon Jay ends up at second base on the errant throw.

10:58: Things are looking good for St. Louis at the moment, but this could potentially be Albert Pujols’ last home at-bat as a member of the Cardinals. Crowd gives him a nice hand.

10:52: Rickie Weeks grounds out to end the top of the eighth inning. Another scoring opportunity turned aside by the Cardinals’ bullpen.

10:48: Rzepczynski gets Fielder swinging for the second out. Huge out. Closer Jason Motte is coming in to face Rickie Weeks.

10:43: Braun grounds into a force out, as Rafael Furcal made an awkward play to cut down Hairston at second base. Marc Rzepczynski (no idea if I’m spelling that right) will come in to face Prince Fielder with runners at the corners.

10:40: Things are getting interesting here in the top of the eighth, as Lance Lynn walks Hairston. Runners on first and second with nobody out for Ryan Braun.

10:38: Corey Hart reaches with a leadoff single, his third hit of the night.

10:34: Lynn works the count full, but strikes out looking for the final out of the inning. It’s 5-1 Cardinals as we move to the top of the eighth inning.

10:31: After Kameron Loe induced a double play ground ball, he allowed a single to Yadier Molina and walked Nick Punto. Two away for Lance Lynn. Interesting that La Russa sticks with him as they have a chance to tack on some insurance runs, but everything he touches is turning to gold tonight.

10:23: Nyjer Morgan grounds into an inning-ending double play, much to the delight of the Busch Stadium faithful.

10:15: Chris Narveson, who replaced Greinke, just got Lance Berkman to ground out for the final out of the sixth. Didn’t see a replay, but it looked like Prince Fielder may have taken his foot off the first base bag before he caught the throw from Jerry Hairston, Jr. Anyway, it’s 5-1 Cardinals entering the seventh.

10:11: Pujols capitalizes on the error by Betancourt, delivering an RBI single to give the Cardinals a 5-1 lead. Greinke is done.

Greinke didn’t pitch well — in fact, he failed to strike out any of the 30 batters he faced tonight — but his defense didn’t do him any favors, either.

10:08: After a two-out double by Rafael Furcal, Yuniesky Betancourt boots a ground ball for the Brewers’ third error of the game. Two on for Albert Pujols. Yeesh.

10:01: Octavio Dotel, who struck out Braun to end the fifth inning, retires the Brewers in order in the top of the sixth.

9:54: Greinke wiggles his way out of the bases loaded jam, getting Molina to fly out to center fielder Carlos Gomez for the final out of the inning. The score remains 4-1 in favor of the Cardinals as we move to the sixth.

9:51: Freese walks, loading the bases for Yadier Molina. Greinke is on the ropes here as pitching coach Rick Kranitz visits the mound and Kameron Loe gets loose in the bullpen.

9:48: Yuniesky Betancourt saves a run with a diving stop, but is unable to get Matt Holliday at first base. First and third with two out for David Freese.

9:43: Rickie Weeks is charged with an error after making a horrible throw on a ground ball off the bat off Albert Pujols, who advances to second base on the play.

9:38: La Russa does it again. Dotel gets Braun swinging to end the top of the fifth as the Cards keep the Brewers off the board.

9:32: Quick hook, as Garcia is done after 4 2/3 innings. Dotel will pitch against Braun. La Russa’d.

9:31: Hairston follows with a single to left. Two on and two out for Ryan Braun while Octavio Dotel throws in the bullpen for St. Louis.

9:29: Hart gets the Brewers on the board with an RBI single to left. It’s now 4-1 Cardinals.

9:25: Greinke bunts Jonathan Lucroy over to second base. Two away for Corey Hart.

9:19: Carlos Gomez saves a run with a diving catch in center field, robbing Rafael Furcal of a hit. It’s 4-0 Cardinals as we move to the fifth in St. Louis.

9:16: And it works out. Garcia hit a ground ball to Yuniesky Betancourt, but he had no shot to cut down David Freese at home plate. Garcia gives the Cardinals a 4-0 lead with the RBI groundout.

9:14: You don’t see this often. The eighth place hitter Nick Punto bunts the runners over for the pitcher Jaime Garcia. Interesting choice by Tony La Russa.

9:13: Yadier Molina dumps a single off Rickie Weeks’ glove in shallow center field. Runners on first and second with nobody out for Nick Punto.

9:11: David Freese just keeps hitting. After getting hit by a pitch in the bottom of the second inning, he just lined a single to right field to lead off the bottom of the fourth.

9:07: Garcia sits the Brewers down in order in the top of the fourth.

9:05: Big, orange and fall of hot air = Boog Sciambi. Burn, John Smoltz. Burn.

9:02: Greinke works around a walk to Albert Pujols to pitch a scoreless third. It’s 3-0 Cardinals as we move to the top of the fourth.

8:56: Rafael Betancourt follows Albert Pujols with a fine over the shoulder catch of his own. Of course he does.

8:54: Albert Pujols makes a fantastic over the shoulder grab on a foul ball along the first base line to end the threat. This guy is good at baseball.

8:52: Hairston strikes out swinging. Two away for Ryan Braun. Does he get anything to hit here?

8:50: Corey Hart singles, moving Greinke over to third base. Here comes Jerry Hairston Jr. with a chance to redeem himself.

8:47: Zack Greinke reaches with a one-out single. Didn’t see a beastmode this time.

8:43: Furcal grounds out for the final out of the bottom of the second inning, but the Cardinals put a three-spot on the board.

8:41: Oh boy. Garcia hits one right between the legs of Hairston, scoring two runs. It’s now 3-0 Cardinals. After the play, a frustrated Greinke threw the baseball into the ground and it came up and hit him in the neck. Garcia remained at first base, however.

8:40: Jerry Hairston Jr. just robbed Nick Putno of an RBI single with a diving stop at third base. Two away for Jamie Garcia.

8:37: Molina drives one just over the outstretched glove of Corey Hart for an RBI double. He narrowly missed a three-run homer. It’s now 1-0 Cards with runners on second and third for Nick Punto.

8:35: Greinke hits the hot-hitting David Freese. Runners on first and second with one out for Yadier Molina.

8:33: Berkman, who didn’t start Game 4, hits a leadoff single against Greinke in the bottom of the second inning. First hit of the night for the Cards.

8:28: Gomez was on the move and got picked off by Jamie Garcia to end the top of the second inning. He was 16-for-18 in stolen base attempts during the regular season.

8:25: Carlos Gomez, who is making the start in center field against the southpaw, dunks a two-out single into left field.

8:19: Albert Pujols hit a ground ball right up the middle, but the Brewers had him positioned perfectly. Zack Greinke retires the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the first.

8:16: Rafael Furcal lines out to Corey Hart in right field for the first out in the bottom of the first.

8:13: Garcia fans Prince Fielder for the final out in the top of the first inning, stranding Braun at second base.

8:10: Ryan Braun smacks a two-out double down the third base line. He is now batting .486 (17-for-35) during the postseason.

8:07: Garcia strikes out Hart swinging to get us started.

8:06: And we’re off! Jaime Garcia delivers a first-pitch strike to Corey Hart.

7:45 p.m. ET: The Brewers and Cardinals are all tied up at 2-2 going into Game 5 of the NLCS tonight at Busch Stadium. We’ll have it all covered in a live blog, beginning right around first-pitch at 8:05 p.m. ET.

Here are tonight’s lineups, as mentioned by Aaron earlier this afternoon:

MILWAUKEE BREWERS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

1. Corey Hart, RF               1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Jerry Hairston, 3B           2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF               3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B           4. Lance Berkman, RF
5. Rickie Weeks, 2B             5. Matt Holliday, LF
6. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS      6. David Freese, 3B
7. Carlos Gomez, CF             7. Yadier Molina, C
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C           8. Nick Punto, 2B

SP Zack Greinke, RHP            SP Jaime Garcia, LHP

Feel free to join the conversation in our comments section.

MLB, MLBA officially announce the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 04:  A job seeker shakes hands with a recruiter during a HireLive career fair on June 4, 2015 in San Francisco, California. According to a report by payroll processor ADP,  201,000 jobs were added by businesses in May.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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In the past, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have not issued official statements announcing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement until after it had been ratified by the players and clubs. The thinking was simple: there is no agreement until it is officially ratified. Which makes some sense.

A few moments ago, however, the league and the union issued a joint press release with a full summary of the new CBA terms, quotes from Tony Clark and Rob Manfred and the whole nine yards. You can see all of the detailed terms here.

The most likely explanation for doing it now: there are different people running MLB than were running it five years ago and they’re just doing things differently. My fun conspiracy theory, however, is that due to the division and acrimony in the player ranks about which we’re just hearing, the league and union wanted to make this appear to be a far more done deal than it technically is and thus be able to paint objectors who may pop up during the ratification process as Monday morning quarterbacks. Hey, crazier things have happened!

In the meantime, go check out some of the fun terms. There are a load of them there. In the meantime before you do that, here are the official statements from baseball’s honchos.

Rob Manfred:

“I am pleased that we completed an agreement prior to the deadline that will keep the focus on the field during this exciting time for the game.  There are great opportunities ahead to continue our growth and build upon the popularity that resonated throughout the Postseason and one of the most memorable World Series ever.  This agreement aims to further improve the game’s healthy foundation and to promote competitive balance for all fans.

“I thank Tony Clark, his colleagues and many Major League Players for their work throughout the collective bargaining process.  We appreciate their shared goals for the betterment of the sport.  I am grateful for the efforts of our Labor Policy Committee, led by Ron Fowler, as well as Dan Halem and our entire Labor Relations Department.”

Tony Clark:

“Every negotiation has its own challenges. The complexities of this agreement differ greatly from those in the past if for no other reason than how the industry has grown.  With that said, a fair and equitable deal is always the result you are working toward, and, once again, I believe we achieved that goal. I would like to thank our Players for their involvement, input and leadership throughout. Their desire to protect our history and defend and advance the rights and interests of their peers is something I am truly grateful for.

“I would also like to recognize Commissioner Rob Manfred, Dan Halem, MLB and the Labor Policy Committee for their hard work over the last year plus, and for staying committed to the process.  In coming to an agreement, this deal allows both sides to focus on the future growth and development of the sport. There is a lot of work to be done and we look forward to doing it.”

Peace in our time.

Breaking down the Today’s Game Hall of Fame Ballot: John Schuerholz

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 27: Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz is shown before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on September 27, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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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. Next up: John Schuerholz 

The case for his induction:

He’s one of the greatest GMs of all time, having broken into baseball in what was then the best organization in baseball, the Balitmore Orioles, and then worked his way up to the GM chair in another fantastic organization, the 1970s and 80s Kansas City Royals. After a World Series win there he moved on to Atlanta and, with the help of his predecessor GM and future manager, Bobby Cox, helped bring the Braves back from oblivion and turned them into perpetual division title winners. His influence, in terms of his disciples and the weight he still throws around Major League Baseball, is incalculable. If there are any arguments about his place in the executive hierarchy in the past 50 years, they’re about where in the top two or three he places, not whether he’s worthy of the Hall of Fame, at least by historical standards.

The case against his induction:

You could make a strong case that executives have no business being in there, but that ship sailed a long dang time ago. You could also nitpick Schuerholz’s record — David Cone for Ed Hearn? Kevin Millwood for Johnny Estrada? — but show me a GM who doesn’t have some clunkers on his resume. You can lay resposibility for the manager challenge system in replay at his feet, but I don’t think that outweighs his accomplishments.

Schuerholz was part of turning a fledging organization into one of the best in baseball and, in his next job, turned a totally cratered, losing and barren organization into a perpetual winner. It’s hard to beat that.

Would I vote for him?

Sure. There are 33 executives in the Hall of Fame. Schuerholz had more success than most of ’em. I wish there were more, say, third basemen in the Hall than there are — there are only 16 of them — but if you’re going to judge Schuerholz by his peers, he comes out pretty well.

Will the Committee vote for him?

Yep. The Veterans Committees of the recent past have been loathe to induct a lot of players who are worthy, but they’ve always been good to put in noted executives. It’s almost as if these guys make the Veterans Committee by, you know, being tight with noted executives. I feel like he’ll glide in.