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.

U.S Defeats World in a power-packed Futures Game

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They played the Futures Game yesterday, pitting the top prospects from the United States against the top prospects from the rest of the world. You most likely missed it because, for reasons that have still yet to be adequately explained to me, the game takes place on Sunday afternoon, when literally all 30 major league teams are in action. Oh well.

If you did happen to see it, however, you saw a lot of bombast, as the two teams combined for eight home runs, with Team USA prevailing, 10-6. It was the United States’ eighth win in the past nine Futures Games.

Yusniel Diaz of the Dodgers system hit two homers — he was the first one to do that in a Futures Game since Alfonso Soriano did it back in 1999 — but Taylor Trammell of the Reds system was the game MVP following his 2-for-2 (HR, 3B) performance. Other highlights involved Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene, who threw 19 fastballs among his 27 pitches, each and every one of them hitting triple digits, with one registering at 103.1 m.p.h. Not that velocity is everything: a 102.3 m.p.h. pitch he threw ended up being deposited over the fence for a two-run homer by Luis Alexander Basabe of the White Sox system.

Also of note was a homer from Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates system. Notable for it breaking a tie and putting the U.S. up by two, but also notable because Ke’Bryan is the son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes. Feel old yet?

There was a lot of back and forth, and certainly a lot of bombast, but the U.S. took its final lead on a wild pitch. Here are some highlights:

Here’s hoping, in the future, the Futures Game is moved to Sunday evening or even Monday where people will have a better chance of seeing it.