Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals - Game 4

World Series Game 4 Live Blog: Cardinals vs. Rangers

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11:14: Feliz gets Holliday swinging to end it. The Rangers top the Cardinals 4-0 and tie the series at two games apiece. C.J. Wilson will take on Chris Carpenter in Game 5 tomorrow night. We have one heckuva World Series on our hands here, people.

11:11: Pujols skies one to Craig Gentry in center field for the second out. Matt Holliday will try to keep the Cards alive in this one.

11:10: Pujols popped one in foul territory, but neither Moreland or Cruz could catch up to it.

11:08: Uh oh. Feliz walks Allen Craig. Runners on first and second with one away for Albert Pujols.

11:04: Holland issues a one-out walk to Rafael Furcal and that’ll be it. The young left-hander pleaded his case with Ron Washington, but Neftali Feliz will come in to try to finish this one. Holland gets a well-deserved standing ovation from the Arlington faithful as he walks back to the dugout.

11:01: Nick Punto retired on a ground ball to Adrian Beltre. One away.

10:59: Derek Holland, currently at 105 pitches, will try to finish what he started. He’s back out there for the top of the ninth.

10:57: Moreland’s struggles continue, as he grounds into an inning-ending double play. Nicely turned by Punto and Furcal. Last licks coming up for the Cards as the Rangers lead this one 4-0.

10:56: Westbrook got David Murphy to ground out, but issued a walk to Mike Napoli. Runners on first and second with one down for Mitch Moreland.

10:50: Allen Craig misjudges a fly ball in right, resulting in a leadoff single for Nelson Cruz.

10:48: Jake Westbrook on to pitch for the Cardinals in the bottom of the eighth while Skip Schumaker takes over in center field.

10:45: Wow. And he gets Theriot swinging, as well. Holland has allowed just two hits over eight shutout innings while striking out seven and walking just one.

10:44: Two quick outs for Holland. Here’s Ryan Theriot, pinch-hitting for the struggling Jon Jay.

10:41: Interesting. Derek Holland back out there for the top of the eighth.

10:38: Nice job by Boggs. He retired three straight after the leadoff double by Andrus to keep the score 4-0.

10:35: Boggs gets Michael Young swinging for the second out. It’s up to Adrian Beltre to keep the inning alive.

10:33: Zooey Deschanel and her FOX cohorts have left the building. What a shocker.

10:31: Nope. Hamilton lines out to center field. One away for Michael Young.

10:29: Allen Craig comes up empty attempting a diving catch in right, which results in a leadoff double by Elvis Andrus. Let’s see if Josh Hamilton can cash in again.

10:28: Mitchell Boggs remains in the game to begin the bottom of the seventh. Jake Westbrook up in the bullpen for the Cardinals.

10:24: Holland gets Lance Berkman looking on the inside corner to end the inning. Seven shutout innings. What a night for the young left-hander.

10:21: And now Matt Holliday bounces out to Holland. Two away for Berkman, who has both of the Cardinals’ hits tonight.

10:17: Derek Holland retires Pujols on a comebacker to begin the top of the seventh. Now he’ll face Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman.

10:14: Boggs gets Mitch Moreland to ground out and fans Ian Kinsler to end the inning, but the damage is done. 4-0 Rangers as we move to the top of the seventh.

10:09: And Napoli promptly crushes a high fastball from Boggs for a three-run bomb to left. There’s your No. 8 hitter, ladies and gentlemen. 4-0 Rangers.

10:07: The Cardinals stalled long enough so that Mitchell Boggs had enough time to get ready. He’ll come in to face Mike Napoli with runners on first and second and one away.

10:04: Oy. Make that seven walks for Jackson. Time for the hook?

10:02: Nelson Cruz draws a one-out walk. Edwin Jackson has now walked six batters tonight.

9:58: Adrian Beltre fouls a ball off his leg to begin the bottom of the sixth. That’s just what he does. Edwin Jackson is still out there, by the way.

9:55: Allen Craig strikes out swinging for the third out. Holland has thrown 77 pitches over six shutout frames.

9:51: Derek Holland issues a one-out walk to Nick Punto. While Edwin Jackson has been erratic, that was Holland’s first walk of the evening.

9:46: Michael Young flies out to right field to end the inning. Edwin Jackson is now at 94 pitches through five shaky innings of one-run ball. Good chance he’s done for the night.

9:42: Josh Hamilton goes down swinging for the second out of the inning. Big strikeout for Jackson, who is approaching 100 pitches.

9:38: Andrus fails to get the bunt down and then flies out to right for the first out of the inning. No advancement by Kinsler.

9:36: Ugh. Making Elvis Andrus bunt? Don’t like.

9:35: Edwin Jackson issues a leadoff walk to Ian Kinsler, who will no doubt be more careful at first base this time.

9:31: Yadier Molina lines out to Josh Hamilton for the final out of the inning. Make that five shutout innings for Holland.

9:28: Lance Berkman singled to lead off the top of the fifth, but David Freese grounded into a double play.

9:27: Anybody else see Baseball Reference and Rotoworld on that Google “perfect game” commercial? Neat.

9:25: And Edwin Jackson gets Moreland swinging to end the threat. The Rangers have a 1-0 lead going into the top of the fifth.

9:22: After a lengthy at-bat, Napoli draws a walk. Runners on first and second with two outs for the struggling Mitch Moreland.

9:18: Edwin Jackson issues a two-out walk to David Murphy. Here’s No. 8 hitter Mike Napoli. Did I mention he’s batting eighth tonight?

9:15: Jon Jay makes a leaping grab near the center field wall on a fly ball off the bat of Nelson Cruz. Two away.

9:10: Matt Holliday set aside on a grounder to third baseman Adrian Beltre. Derek Holland now has four shutout frames under his belt.

9:08: Albert Pujols pops out to first baseman Mitch Moreland in foul territory for the second out of the fourth. He’s slumping.

9:03: Michael Young skies out near the warning track in distant center field for the final out of the third. It’s 1-0 Rangers as we move to the top of the fourth.

9:01: Tim McCarver: “What are Sprockets?” Classic.

9:00: Dirk doing “The Wash.” Awesome.

8:55: Furcal retired on a comebacker for the final out of the top of the third.

8:53: Very close play on that Jay grounder to Andrus, but it looks like first base umpire Ted Barrett got it right.

8:50: Oh boy. Yadier Molina throws behind the runner and catches Kinsler napping off first base. Inning over.

8:47: Ian Kinsler reaches with a two-out single to left field. Here comes Elvis Andrus, who singled in the first inning.

8:43: Napoli flies out to the warning track in center field. That’s a long first out.

8:41: Eighth place hitter Mike Napoli. That sounds about right.

8:38: Good play by Ian Kinsler to catch up to a ground ball off the bat of Yadier Molina for the final out of the inning. At first it looked like Kinsler was going to eat it, but then he realized a Molina was running.

8:37: Holland goes to the insider corner again to get David Freese looking for the second out. Freese isn’t pleased with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa.

8:34: Lance Berkman goes the opposite way for a double, the first hit of the evening for the Cardinals.

8:32: Matt Holliday rung up on a fastball on the inside corner for the first out.

8:28: So much for that. Murphy put a charge in one, but Matt Holliday tracked it down near the warning track in left for the final out of the bottom of the first. It’s 1-0 Rangers as we move to the top of the second in Arlington.

8:27: Jackson walks Nelson Cruz to load the bases for David Murphy, who was moved up to seventh in the order tonight.

8:23: Adrian Beltre goes down swinging after being fooled badly on a slider. Runners on first and second with two away for Nelson Cruz.

8:21: Michael Young walks on four straight pitches. Just look at that classy stroll down to first base.

8:19: The Rangers strike first courtesy of an RBI double by Josh Hamilton. He turned around on a changeup from Edwin Jackson and yanked it into the right field corner. Andrus scampered home from first base.

8:17: Elvis Andrus singles to left for the first hit of the ballgame. Here comes the ailing Josh Hamilton.

8:15: Ian Kinsler breaks his bat on a groundout to begin the bottom of the first.

8:11: And Pujols is retired on a grounder to Elvis Andrus. It’s a 1-2-3 inning for Derek Holland to get us started.

8:10: Holland gets Allen Craig swinging for the second out. Oh boy, here comes Mr. Pujols.

8:08: Adrian Beltre snags a screaming liner off the bat of Furcal, robbing him of what was likely a leadoff double. One away.

8:07: And we’re off. Rafael Furcal fouls off the first pitch from Derek Holland.

8:03: Are we sure Zooey Deschanel can’t hang around and sing a few more tunes? Or just stand there for a while? Sigh. Anyway, first pitch is a minute or so away, so hang tight.

7:55 p.m. ET: The Cardinals hold a 2-1 advantage over the Rangers in the World Series going into Game 4 tonight in Arlington. We’ll have all the action covered in a live blog, beginning right around first-pitch at 8:05 p.m. ET.

Here are tonight’s lineups and starting pitchers, as mentioned by Drew earlier this afternoon:

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS             TEXAS RANGERS
1. Rafael Furcal, SS            1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Allen Craig, RF              2. Elvis Andrus, SS
3. Albert Pujols, 1B            3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Matt Holliday, LF            4. Michael Young, DH
5. Lance Berkman, DH            5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. David Freese, 3B             6. Nelson Cruz, RF
7. Yadier Molina, C             7. David Murphy, LF
8. Jon Jay, CF                  8. Mike Napoli, C
9. Nick Punto, 2B               9. Mitch Moreland, 1B

SP Edwin Jackson, RHP           SP Derek Holland, LHP

Feel free to join the conversation in our comments section. Let’s do this.

Sure, Carlos Gomez is the problem in Houston

Houston Astros' Carlos Gomez (30) reacts after hitting a double in the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Associated Press
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No one will claim that Carlos Gomez is playing up to his ability. He’s got a .634 OPS in the 65 games he’s played for the Astros between last year and this year. Not good at all.

Still, he seems to be taking an outsized amount of the blame for the Astros’ slow start to this year. I do a weekly radio hit on a Texas station and Gomez has been the talk for three weeks when the Astros’ troubles are mentioned. Today Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle spends a whole column going at Gomez, with the usual dash of “you can’t be flamboyant if you can’t back it up” sentiment often given to players like Gomez when they struggle but which is seemingly never given to players whose act is more “tough guy.” Funny that.

More notable: nowhere in the column is it mentioned that, overall, the Astros’ offense is above league average and that, in reality, it’s the pitching that’s killing them. Gomez may not be carrying his weight, but his teammates in the lineup are for now, as teammates do for every hitter at one time of the year or another. Meanwhile, Smith doesn’t seem to be writing columns about how three of the Astros’ five starters have ERAs above 5.00 and how the bullpen has been a disaster. Gomez, however, gets a “Rally Killer” subheading in reference to his performance in a game his team actually won, primarily due to the offense.

There’s also an unfortunate quote in the article. Specifically, Smith quotes Gomez as saying “For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed.”

I’m sure that’s what he said, but it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the quote’s imperfect English fits satisfyingly into a column designed to rip Gomez and that it’s going to play right into stereotyping a certain sort of reader who has just HAD it with those allegedly lazy, entitled Latino players likes to engage in. For the record, its not uncommon for other players whose grammar is less than perfect to get [the bracket treatment] to make the mistakes less noticeable. Or, if the quote is less than clear or enlightening, to get the paraphrasing treatment and have his sentiment conveyed in keeping with the intent of the sentiment. I guess Gomez doesn’t get that treatment. He gets to be portrayed in such a way that a certain sort of reader will unfortunately interpret as him being too dumb or too lazy to learn proper English or something.

And no, it’s not just sensitive old Craig noticing that:

Empathy is the key word here, I think. Smith as no interest in portraying Gomez as a player who, like all players, struggles from time to time. He has to be the bad guy who is responsible for all of the Astros’ woes, it seems.

Puerto Rico official calls MLB’s likely series cancellation “an act of touristic terrorism”

Ricardo Arduengo -- Associated Press
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On Tuesday it was reported that Major League Baseball is on the verge of cancelling the upcoming series in Puerto Rico between the Marlins and the Pirates due to Zika concerns. Puerto Rico is not particularly pleased with that.

As this story from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review makes clear, their displeasure is being expressed in totally calm and rational terms:

“It’s an outrageous situation,” Rep. Angel Matos, head of the tourism commission for Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, told the Tribune-Review. “The reality is that this cancellation is unfair, disproportionate, and makes our country look bad. It’s an act of touristic terrorism.”

I will grant that a cancellation wouldn’t be great for Puerto Rico. I will also grant that an expert cited in the same article claims that the odds of any players contracting Zika are very, very long. Indeed, he compares it to someone hitting 20 homers in a single game. Which, sure, Giancarlo Stanton is involved here so you can never totally rule it out, but it’s super unlikely.

But MLB, the union and the players involved aren’t in the business of dealing with the probability of disease contraction. They’re dealing with a bunch of players being really nervous about something vs. a two-game series in May that, while carrying big meaning for Puerto Rico, is sort of meaningless to them in a lot of ways, even if they won’t say so publicly. They’re weighing this a lot differently than tourism commission executives.

My guess is that it still gets cancelled. My guess is that, even if it does, Puerto Rico will survive this act of alleged “touristic terrorism.”

Yasiel Puig caught a big fish

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig looks to the dugout for signs as he steps out of the batter's box while facing Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jordan Lyles in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Denver. Puig drew a walk, the first of three in a row yielded by Lyles. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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I know I’m in the tank for Puig and have been for years now, but it’s a pretty fun tank so I don’t care.

Lately I’ve been taken with his hashtag game. Last week we encountered #PuigYourFriend. This one is not as good, but #PuigHungry is pretty solid too.

I just hope this isn’t ruined by word that he’s hired some social media professional to curate his feed. It’s possible and maybe likely, but I just don’t want to hear about it if it’s the case:

 

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber delivers against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Associated Press
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 4, Tigers 0: Corey Kluber with a five-hit shutout in a game which ended in a tidy two hours and nineteen minutes and featured only three pitchers in all. It’s like it was the 1970s or something.

Red Sox 5, White Sox 2: Sox win!

OK, I can’t just leave it at that for the second day in a row. David Ortiz hit a two-run shot for what ended up being the winning runs. It was Ortiz’s 509th career homer, which ties him with Gary Sheffield for 25th on the all-time home run list. Ortiz is on a 36-home run pace. In the past two seasons he’s hit 37 and 35, so it’s not unreasonable to think he’ll get there. If he does pull that off, he’ll pass Sheffield, Mel Ott, Eddie Matthews, Ernie Banks, Ted Williams, Frank Thomas, Willie McCovey, Jimmy Foxx and Mickey Freakin’ Mantle to end up at 17 on the all-time list. That’s some pretty rarified air. And Gary Sheffield.

Reds 7, Giants 4: Zack CozartBrandon Phillips and Eugenio Suarez each hit homers in the second inning as the Reds put up five on Jake Peavy in the frame and went on to avoid the sweep. The Giants’ top three starters have ERAs of 3.61., 3.32, and 3.03. Their fourth and fifth starters have ERAs of 7.00 (Matt Cain) and 8.61 (Peavy). The Giants are in first place. If they’d gotten anything from the back end of their rotation so far they’d be in first by more than a mere half game.

Cubs 6, Pirates 2Ben Zobrist hit a three-run home run and Anthony Rizzo hit a solo shot. The Cubs sweep the Pirates to win their seventh of eight games. They have a six-game division lead already. Juggernaut, much?

Cardinals 5, Phillies 4: The Cardinals scored twice in the bottom of the ninth, capped off with Matt Holliday‘s walkoff single. After the game Holliday said “we needed it . . . this was one we needed to win.” That seems weird to say in early May, but given that the Cardinals had lost five of six and the Cubs are threatening to run away with the division, it’s not a crazy thought.

Mets 8, Braves 0: Steven Matz pitched two-hit shutout ball into the eighth and Lucas Duda homered twice. New York has won 10 of 12. I’m still of the view that the Braves fire Fredi Gonzalez today. I just feel like that’s a thing that’s gonna happen.

Angels 7, Brewers 3: Mike Trout tripled and homered. Remember when, in the first week or two of the season, people were asking if Trout was OK? He’s now hitting .317/.400/.596 and a 41 home run, 127-RBI pace, so yeah, he’s OK.

Nationals 13, Royals 2: The Nats scored six runs before Stephen Strasburg had to throw a single pitch. They had 10 runs by the time they stopped batting in the third. Most of the afternoon, then, was mere formality. Kris Medlen was both shelled and betrayed by his defense, giving up nine runs, six of which were earned. In two home starts he’s allowed sixteen runs, thirteen earned.

Mariners 9, Athletics 8: Seattle led by two, then trailed by four then came back with five runs between the sixth and seventh innings to take this one going away and to complete the sweep. Dae-Ho Lee hit two bombs for Seattle.

Rockies 2, Padres 0: Eight shutout innings from Tyler Chatwood. The game’s two runs scored of a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice. Feel the excitement.

Yankees 7, Orioles 0: CC Sabathia looked like the CC of old, as he pitched seven shutout innings. The Yankees’ bats finally came alive. Brian McCann drove in three so I guess he came alive too. Total resurrection game for the Bombers. If THE BOSS was still alive . . .

Blue Jays 4, Rangers 3: Russell Martin with a walkoff single, giving the Jays two walkoffs in a row against Texas. Pitcher wins and losses don’t mean much but as a whole the Rangers bullpen has nine losses on the year and that’s not really great or OK.

Marlins 4, Diamondbacks 3: Giancarlo Stanton homered but he’s more than just a power hitter. Check out the hose:

Tomas was called safe, but replay showed that Stanton got ’em.

Rays 8, Dodgers 5: Steve Pearce hit a go-ahead, three-run homer and Brandon Guyer, Steven Souza Jr. and Curt Casali each hit solo shots. The Dodgers were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

 

Astros 16, Twins 4: Jason Castro homered and drove in four runs. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa both homered and drove in three. It’s the first time all year Houston has won consecutive games. Dang.