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Dodgers and Cardinals scoreless through four innings in Game 2 of NLCS

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After the Dodgers and Cardinals needed 13 innings to determine a winner in Game 1 of the NLCS last night, we’re scoreless through four innings in Game 2 this afternoon at Busch Stadium.

With the shadows looming on the field of play, Michael Wacha and Clayton Kershaw have dominated the hitters early on in this one, giving up just one hit apiece. The biggest scoring threat came in the bottom of the first inning after Matt Carpenter led off with a triple to right field, but Kershaw was able to strand him at third base. There will be no no-hit bid for Wacha this time around, but the rookie right-hander has matched Kershaw so far, striking out four batters while walking none. That includes two swinging strikeouts of Yasiel Puig.

We have a quite a pitchers’ duel on our hands here. On to the fifth inning we go.

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.