The NLCS is the beer series

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There’s a fun article over at the New York Times today, reminding us that when St. Louis meets Milwaukee it’s not just the Cards and Brewers facing off, but Budweiser and Miller beer facing off as well.

No, not directly, as Anheuser-Busch no longer has an ownership stake in the Cards and Miller’s connection to the Brewers goes no further than the ballpark’s naming rights.  And of course, given that both of those brewers are no longer truly creatures of their native homes — AB is owned by a Belgian company and Miller a British one — the city vs. city aspects of  all of this is more of a historical artifact than a living rivalry. But the historic aspects of it all are still kind of interesting.

Also interesting: this factoid, which is rather — wait, I almost said “sobering.”  The opposite of that:

And the beer-drinking intensifies in October. Fans consume 19.8 ounces of beer per person during the postseason at Busch Stadium, 75 percent more than during a regular-season game, according to Delaware North. Fans in Milwaukee have been drinking 20 percent more in this postseason than in the regular season, Delaware North said.

Just as long as none of that is in the clubhouse.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.