UPDATE: The Cardinals added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh and now lead it 8-1. Yadier Molina delivered an RBI double off Guillermo Mota while Pete Kozma later had an RBI single against Jeremy Affeldt.
10:33 PM: The Cardinals are starting to pour it on against the Giants in Game 4 of the NLCS. After tacking on two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cardinals just added two more in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-1 lead.
Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma reached on singles against George Kontos before Adam Wainwright sacrificed them over to second base. Jose Mijares then replaced Kontos and gave up a two-run double to Jon Jay. Matt Carpenter flew out against Mijares before Guillermo Mota got Matt Holliday to pop-up, so Jay ended up being stranded on second base, but the Cardinals have built themselves a pretty commanding lead.
Adam Wainwright is back out there for the top of the seventh inning. He’s been excellent aside from the solo homer by Hunter Pence in the second inning, allowing just four hits while striking out four and walking none.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉