NL All-Star balloting update: Melky in, Braun out

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Just like in Monday’s AL balloting update, one spot in the National League projected All-Star lineup changed hands this week. Melky Cabrera moved ahead of Ryan Braun into third place in the outfield.

Cabrera is deserving based on his performance this season, but one can’t help but notice that Giants fans have been awfully generous in voting for their favorites to date. Angel Pagan ranks ahead of Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Gonzalez in the outfield, Brandon Belt is fourth at first base and even Brandon Crawford is fifth at shortstop.

CATCHER
Buster Posey, Giants: 2,445,005
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 2,291,567
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 1,756,018

FIRST BASE
Joey Votto, Reds: 3,151,032
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 1,193,455
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 1,159,418

SECOND BASE
Dan Uggla, Braves: 2,054,920
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 1,272,389
Jose Altuve, Astros: 1,074,993

THIRD BASE
David Wright, Mets: 1,977,388
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 1,612,497
Chipper Jones, Braves: 1,547,221

SHORTSTOP
Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: 1,741,360
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 1,647,235
Starlin Castro, Cubs: 1,006,333

OUTFIELD
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 3,322,009
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: 2,652,980
Melky Cabrera, Giants: 2,144,107
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 2,118,925
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 1,517,218
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 1,374,004
Hunter Pence, Phillies: 1,234,428
Michael Bourn, Braves: 1,201,215
Angel Pagan, Giants: 1,158,500

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.