Cardinal killer Pedro Alvarez strikes again

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Pedro Alvarez followed up Tuesday’s two-homer game with another home run and a double as the Pirates topped the Cardinals 5-0 on Wednesday.

Alvarez ended the three-game series 8-for-13 with seven RBI. It’s just his latest outburst against the Cardinals. For the season, he’s hitting .397 with seven homers, 13 runs scored and 23 RBI in 58 at-bats against the Cardinals. He’s at .225 with 19 homers, 42 runs scored and 47 RBI in 447 at-bats against everyone else.

To put that in perspective, Alvarez averages one homer every eight at-bats and one RBI every 2.5 at-bats versus the Cards. He averages one homer every 24 at-bats and one RBI every 9.5 at-bats versus the rest of baseball.

Unfortunately for Alvarez, tonight’s game was the Pirates’ last against against the Cardinals this year. They won the season series 8-7, but they’re still one game back of St. Louis for second place in the NL Central.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.