The World Series will head back to St. Louis all evened up.
After falling in Game 1 of the World Series last night, the Cardinals bounced back tonight with a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox in Game 2.
The Cardinals got on the board first with an RBI ground out from Yadier Molina in the bottom of the top of the fourth inning, but the Red Sox pulled ahead against Michael Wacha when David Ortiz connected for a two-run blast — his 17th career postseason homer — over the Green Monster in the bottom of the sixth. However, the Red Sox failed to hold the lead for long, as errors from Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Craig Breslow on the same play opened the door for the Cardinals to move ahead in the top of the seventh. Carlos Beltran, who left Game 1 with a rib contusion, added an insurance run with an RBI single.
The defensive implosion wasted a solid effort from John Lackey, who ended up being charged with three runs over 6 1/3 innings. Wacha walked away with the victory, even though he wasn’t as sharp as he was in previous postseason outings. The 22-year-old walked four batters and threw 65 out of 114 pitches for strikes, but only Ortiz got to him. The Cardinals relied on more youth to finish off the win, as Carlos Martinez tossed two scoreless innings — and danced around trouble in the eighth — and Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth to notch the save. All three pitchers used by the Cardinals tonight were 23 years old or younger.
Friday is a travel day, so the World Series will resume Saturday night at Busch Stadium. Joe Kelly will be on the mound for St. Louis in Game 3 while Jake Peavy will start for Boston.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.