For the second year in a row, the Cardinals will turn to Adam Wainwright in a decisive NLDS Game 5. Last year, they escaped with a win, but it was with no help from their ace.
Wainwright was tagged for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS last year, and with Cy Young contender Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the Nats, things seemed bleak. The Cards offense, though, managed to score three times off Gonzalez in the fourth and fifth innings and then add six runs off the Nationals bullpen — including four in the ninth coming against Drew Storen — in a 9-7 win.
That’s the only bad outing Wainwright has had in five starts and nine relief appearances in the postseason. Including his Game 1 win against the Pirates, he’s allowed a total of four runs in his other 37 1/3 innings of work. The Cardinals will be counting on similar success if they’re going to make it back to the NLCS this year.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.