Carlos Beltran entered the 2013 NLCS hitting .345/.453/.761 in 172 post-season playoff appearances. He gave his numbers a slight boost with a game-tying two-run double to center in the bottom of the third inning, picking up starter Joe Kelly after he had surrendered two runs to the Dodgers in the top half of the inning.
Dodgers starter Zack Greinke got two quick outs on strikeouts, but allowed a single to Kelly and walked Matt Carpenter to bring Beltran to the plate. Greinke threw him only fastballs, falling behind 3-1. Beltran then laced a 90 MPH two-seamer for a double, just out of the outstretched glove of Andre Ethier in center. With a little extra mustard, the fly ball would have been a three-run home run.
Both starters are in the 50-pitch range entering the fourth inning, going through the opposing lineup for the second time.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.