The Cardinals took the first two games of the NLCS and were sitting pretty with their ace Adam Wainwright on the hill tonight, but the Dodgers are suddenly making things interesting.
Behind an excellent outing from Hyun-Jin Ryu and long-awaited contributions from some key bats in the lineup, the Dodgers topped the Cardinals 3-0 tonight at Dodger Stadium. They now trail the best-of-seven series two games to one.
Ryu outdueled Wainwright by allowing just three hits and one walk over seven scoreless innings. He struck out four batters and didn’t let a baserunner advance past second base. Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen followed with scoreless frames to lock down the shutout victory.
The Dodgers got to Wainwright for two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, ending a 22-inning scoreless streak for the club during the series. Adrian Gonzalez got them on the board with an RBI double down the right field line while Yasiel Puig busted out of his recent slump with an eventful RBI triple. The Dodgers later added an insurance run in the eighth inning on a bloop single from Hanley Ramirez after Carl Crawford scampered home from second base and managed to get in under the tag from Yadier Molina.
Things were looking bleak for the Dodgers after Saturday’s loss, but they will have a chance to even things up in the series tomorrow night. Lance Lynn will get the ball for St. Louis while Ricky Nolasco is tentatively scheduled to start for Los Angeles.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.