Cardinals likely to be even stronger in 2013

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It won’t take the sting out of Monday’s Game 7 loss to the Giants, but the Cardinals have a great chance of being a better team in 2013 than they were this year.

The Cardinals’ only key free agents are Kyle Lohse and Lance Berkman. Berkman didn’t contribute this year anyway, and the Cardinals have a full rotation without Lohse:

Adam Wainwright
Chris Carpenter
Jaime Garcia
Lance Lynn
Jake Westbrook

Top prospect Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal are all available as fallbacks should Garcia’s shoulder remain a problem. Rosenthal presents a particularly intriguing option; if he remains in the pen, he’ll be a dominant weapon in the eighth. However, he has a whole lot of upside as a starter.

The Cardinals will also bring back their lineup intact, with Rafael Furcal expected back at shortstop after missing the end of this season with an elbow injury. Matt Carpenter could get a look at second as a potential upgrade from Daniel Descalso. And top prospect Oscar Taveras should be ready to step in if Carlos Beltran misses more time than he did this year.

So, the Cardinals may have a quiet winter, but that’s probably for the best. Even if teams like the Dodgers and Nationals make more noise, the Cardinals have as good of a shot as any NL team to reach the World Series next year.

Red Sox Triple-A team to ban people named Tyler and Austin from stadium on May 5 and 6 as part of promotion

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The Pawtucket Red Sox, obviously the Triple-A affiliate of the Red Sox, have come up with an interesting promotion for the weekend of May 5 and 6, when they host the Yankees’ Triple-A team from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

This, of course, references last week’s benches-clearing fracas between the Red Sox and Yankees that involved Joe Kelly and Tyler Austin. Kelly slid hard into second base, which upset Brock Holt. The benches emptied as the two jawed at each other, but no punches were thrown. Later in the game, Kelly threw at Austin and the benches emptied again. Punches were thrown this time and both players were given suspensions.

The major league Red Sox visit the Yankees May 8-10. As far as we’re aware, people named Joe or Kelly are allowed to attend.