St Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Three

The improbable continues in NLCS

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Game 1: Zack Greinke versus Joe Kelly.

Cardinals win.

Game 2: Clayton Kershaw versus Michael Wacha.

Cardinals win.

Game 3: Adam Wainwright versus Hyun_jin Ryu.

Dodgers win.

The Cardinals led the National League in runs scored both for the season as a whole and in the second half. The Dodgers started slowly, but they were third in the league in runs and second in OPS after the All-Star break. 31 innings into the NLCS, the teams have combined to scored nine runs.

And if that wasn’t unlikely enough, one of those three runs that scored tonight was charged to Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist. It’s the first earned run he’s allowed in three months. It’s just the second he’s surrendered in 42 innings as a major leaguer.

Finally, a fan dressed as a bear was thrown out of the ballpark tonight.

Tonight’s game could have seen the Cardinals virtually clinch the series with their ace on the mound. Wainwright allowed two runs over 16 innings in his two NLDS starts against the Pirates. Ryu gave up four rins in three innings in his NLDS loss to the Braves.

Yet, Ryu, amid rumors of elbow and back problems, came out throwing his hardest pitches of the season tonight. It’s not even an exaggeration: he hit 95 mph on the gun for the first time as a major leaguer.

Wainwright was fine, but Ryu was better. The lefty pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits. It was just the second time in 32 starts this year that he went without allowing a run.

With the loss tonight, the Cardinals will definitely see Greinke again. They don’t necessarily have to win another Greinke or Kershaw start to advance, but now it’s a series, even if it’s still an incredibly odd one.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 02:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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White Sox ace Chris Sale will return after serving his team-issued five-game suspension. He’ll take on the Cub’s John Lackey in an 8:05 PM EDT start at Wrigley Field.

The lefty protested wearing throwback uniforms, which featured collars, this past weekend. He reportedly got into a shouting match with White Sox coaches and front office staff, and took a knife to his uniform as well as those of his teammates. GM Rick Hahn punished Sale for three offenses: violating team rules, insubordination, and destroying team equipment.

Sale apologized to fans as well as to the bullpen, which had to pick him up when he was scratched from Saturday’s start. But he didn’t apologize for standing up for what he believed in.

This isn’t Sale’s first conflict with the White Sox organization. He was part of the spring training Drake LaRoche controversy. He also was part of the club’s recent protest against the Mariners’ policy that siphoned money from clubhouse attendants. As a result of what appears to be a contentious relationship between Sale and the White Sox, many think the club will trade him if they get an enticing offer. Pitchers like Sale, however, are tough to find, and he could be under team control through 2019 if the White Sox pick up his ’18 and ’19 club options.

Sale enters Thursday’s start leading the majors with 14 wins as well as a 3.18 ERA and a 129/29 K/BB ratio in 133 innings. Could it be his last start as a member of the White Sox?

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson), 7:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (David Price) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark) @ San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto), 10:15 PM EDT

Report: The Diamondbacks are on the verge of trading Daniel Hudson

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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks are close to trading Daniel Hudson. It’s not yet known who the trading partner would be, but obviously a number of teams are in the market for bullpen help.

Trading Hudson seemed like a good idea for a while, but he’s been on a terrible skid lately, with his ERA exploding by nearly three full runs in the past month. It now stands at 6.08, with Hudson having given up 22 earned runs in 16 and a third innings in June and July. The bad stretch has appeared to result in some frustration for Hudson. The other day he took to Twitter to describe his recent performance, calling the last month “brutal” and “absolutely awful.” He said this has “been one of the most frustrating stretch of games I’ve ever experienced in my life.” Then he deactivated his Twitter account.

Despite his recent struggles, and despite his checkered injury history, Hudson has been durable the past two seasons, pitching in 64 games last year and 42 so far this season. If this stretch is just that, a temporary skid, Hudson could help someone.