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The Nationals would very much like Game 4 to be rained out

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Game 4 of the NLDS between the Nationals and the Cubs is scheduled for 5:30 Eastern time. It was originally scheduled for later in the evening, but a rainy forecast caused Major League Baseball to move it up. That forecast, however, isn’t getting much better. At the moment there appears to be a nearly 100% chance of rain throughout the entire evening.

Joe Torre is in Chicago and, up until game time, it will be his call as to whether or not the ballgame gets underway. We all want a game played in dry conditions, but if it is postponed, it may be bad news for the Cubs and good news for the Nationals: if the game is played tomorrow instead of today, Dusty Baker can go to Stephen Strasburg rather than Tanner Roark as the starter, as Strasburg will be back on full rest as of tomorrow. Not that he’s admitting it yet:

Strasburg may not have won Game 1, but he allowed only two runs on three hits in seven innings in that game, and stands as a clear improvement over Roark. In an elimination game you have to assume Baker will call on his best available pitcher.

For his part, Joe Maddon says he’s sticking with Jake Arrieta whether or not the game is today or tomorrow, even though Game 1 starter Kyle Hendricks will likewise be on full rest by then. Hendricks, of course, was better than Strasburg in Game 1, but if Maddon does not use him in a theoretical Wednesday Game 4, he’d be available for a deciding Game 5 or Game 1 of the NLDS, whichever came next.

So, in the next hour or two we’ll be watching the skies. And watching for Joe Torre’s decision whether this game will be played.

Indians sign Melvin Upton Jr. to a minor league deal

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The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.

Upton, 33, battled a torn thumb ligament and a shoulder issue last season, limiting him to only 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants’ affiliate. In those 12 games, he hit .244 with one double and one home run. Upton last played in the majors in 2016 with the Padres and Blue Jays with which he posted an aggregate .693 OPS.

Given the injuries suffered by Indians outfielders in the past couple of seasons it can’t hurt to have some options for organizational depth. If he has anything left in the tank, stash him on the bench or down in Columbus. If not, no harm done.