Jake Peavy went into his start in Game 3 of the World Series hoping to improve on his last start in which he allowed seven runs in three innings of work against the Tigers in Game 4 of the ALCS. The Cardinals aren’t playing nice, as they quickly got to Peavy in the bottom of the first inning in Game 3 of the World Series.
Matt Carpenter led off with a single. Carlos Beltran worked the count to 3-1, then curiously laid a bunt down to the left side of the pitcher’s mound. Ostensibly it was an attempt to reach base, but Peavy retrieved the ball and threw Beltran out by a few inches as Carpenter moved to second base. (Ken Rosenthal reported during the broadcast that Beltran didn’t feel as comfortable batting left-handed as he does right-handed due to the rib injury sustained in Game 1.) Holliday followed up by slashing a line drive to right field, scoring Carpenter to put the Cardinals up 1-0.
The Cardinals kept the rally going as Matt Adams hit a grounder through the hole to right field, then Yadier Molina ripped a single just over third baseman Xander Bogaerts into left field, scoring Holliday to move the score to 2-0. David Freese lined out to right and Jon Jay grounded out to second to end the frame.
Peavy needed 21 pitches to get through the first inning. Cardinals starter Joe Kelly pitched a perfect top half of the first inning on 11 pitches.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.