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.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.
Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:
I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.
The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.
The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.