Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran added to his post-season legend by coming through for his team in the fifth inning against Pirates starter Francisco Liriano in the fifth inning of Game 3. Jon Jay singled and Pete Kozma walked to put runners on first and second with no outs, but it appeared they were on their way to squandering that opportunity.
Pitcher Joe Kelly attempted to bunt both runners over but failed, striking out on a foul tip to catcher Russell Martin. Matt Carpenter then struck out looking as Jay and Kozma successfully executed a double-steal, moving to second and third with two outs. With a base open, the Pirates could have pitched around Beltran, especially after Liriano fell behind 2-0. But Liriano fired some off-speed stuff before Beltran was able to get a grounder through the Pirate infield for a two-run single, tying up the game at 2-2.
The Pirates had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to Marlon Byrd’s two-run single to left against Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. Kelly has since held the Pirate lineup down without much of an issue.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.