Aces Carpenter, Wolf show nerves in Game 1

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Chris Carpenter hadn’t issued four walks in a game since an NLCS start in 2006. Randy Wolf hadn’t walked five batters since a loss June 27, 2008 against the Mariners. In Wednesday’s Game 1, both fell victim to wildness in combining to pitch just 8 2/3 innings in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win.
Fortunately for Los Angeles, Wolf was able to pitch out of his jams until the fourth, when Jeff Weaver rescued him with the bases loaded and two out. He was charged with just two runs despite allowing six hits, walking five and hitting a batter in 3 2/3 innings. Two of his free passes were intentional, with both going to Albert Pujols. He was never in control of the game, though.
Carpenter’s command problems didn’t result in walks early on. Leaving too many pitches in the middle of the strike zone, he gave up a single, a two-run homer and then two more singles before escaping the first. In the third, he hit Andre Ethier and walked Manny Ramirez to start a rally, but he minimized the damage by allowing only a single in the frame. The run he allowed in the fifth was also aided by a walk. He was taken out after that inning, having allowing four runs.
Neither the Dodgers nor Cardinals achieved a 1-2-3 inning until Ronald Belisario induced three straight groundouts by the sixth. By the time the seventh inning rolled around, the teams had already set an NLDS record for men left on base. It ended up as a postseason record. Even though the bullpens combined just two walks in 8 1/3 innings, the game finished with the Dodgers having stranded 16 and the Cardinals 14.

Report: Cardinals to sign Paul Goldschmidt to five-year contract extension

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Extension season continues. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cardinals and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt are close to an agreement on a five-year extension. The value is believed to be around $130 million, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goldschmidt was set to become a free agent after the season.

The Cardinals acquired Goldschmidt, 31, from the Diamondbacks in December in exchange for Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young, and a 2019 competitive balance round B pick. The slugger is a six-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. Goldschmidt owns a career .297/.398/.532 triple-slash line along with 209 home runs, 710 RBI, 709 runs scored, and 124 stolen bases. He is also well-regarded for his defense at first base. As a result, he has accumulated 40.3 Wins Above Replacement over eight seasons, according to Baseball Reference.

With Goldschmidt in place, the Cardinals are set at first base for the foreseeable future. Though Goldschmidt got off to a slow start last season, carrying an OPS barely above .700 into June, he recovered and finished with a .922 OPS. That two-month blip aside, there’s no reason to think Goldschmidt’s production is about to fall off anytime soon.