Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Three

Dodgers rout Braves to take 2-1 lead in NLDS

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It was a close back-and-forth affair between the Braves and Dodgers for the first three and a half innings in Game 3 of the NLDS in Los Angeles tonight. The game was tied at four-all, then the Dodger offense woke up, building a lead as large as nine runs entering the bottom of the ninth.

The Braves gave starter Julio Teheran a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on two RBI singles. The right-hander would fork over the lead in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly by Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu followed by a three-run home run by Carl Crawford. The Braves quickly tied the game up in the top of the third on two defensive miscues by Ryu, failing to touch first base covering on a double play attempt, then making a late throw home on a fielder’s choice attempt, allowing the Braves to score a run on each blunder.

In the bottom half of the third, the Dodgers took the lead again on RBI singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Skip Schumaker. They put the game out of reach in the fourth against Braves reliever Alex Wood as Hanley Ramirez hit an RBI triple, Yasiel Puig hit an RBI single, and Juan Uribe blasted an opposite-field two-run home run to put his team up 10-4. The four runs scored in the fourth were all unearned as Crawford reached to lead off the inning, prompting the avalanche.

Neither starter could make it past the third inning. Ryu needed 68 pitches to get through three innings, allowing the four runs on six hits and a walk while striking out just one batter. Teheran needed 66 pitches to get through two and two-thirds, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out five.

Chris Capuano came on in relief of Ryu, holding the Braves scoreless over three innings without allowing a hit, though he did walk three while striking out three. J.P. Howell pitched one and one-third scoreless before giving way to Ronald Belisario, who finished the eighth without any damage.

With runners on first and second against Braves reliever Jordan Walden in the eighth, Ramirez lined a single to left-center to plate his team’s 11th run of the game. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez brought in Luis Avilan to keep the faintest glimmer of hope alive, but Gonzalez hit a grounder back up the middle which Avilan deflected. Second baseman Elliott Johnson was unable to make a play as the Dodgers’ 12th run crossed the plate. Puig lined an RBI single to right field, allowing Ramirez to touch home for run number 13. David Hale came in and finally closed the barn door after the horse had bolted. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly called on Paco Rodriguez in the ninth. The lefty allowed a one-out two-run home run to Jason Heyward and a two-out single to Evan Gattis. Kenley Jansen came in and struck out Brian McCann for out number 27 to wrap up the 13-6 victory at long last.

The Dodgers can wrap up the NLDS at home tomorrow night behind starter Ricky Nolasco, who will oppose Braves right-hander Freddy Garcia in Game 4.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.

Masahiro Tanaka throws off mound for first time since October elbow surgery

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According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.

The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.

Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.

The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.

Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

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Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

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First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.