Juan Uribe puts Dodgers ahead of Braves with two-run blast in eighth inning

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The Dodgers are three outs away from finishing off the Braves. And they owe it to Juan Uribe.

While some wondered whether Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez would turn to Craig Kimbrel for a six-out save, he went with David Carpenter in the bottom of the eighth inning. The plan quickly backfired, as he gave up a leadoff double to Yasiel Puig. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly then called for Juan Uribe to bunt Puig over to third, but he fouled off the first two pitches before it was called off. It all worked out in the end, as Uribe eventually blasted a go-ahead two-run homer into the seats in left field. And that’s why you don’t bunt, folks.

The Dodgers will carry a 4-3 lead into the top of the ninth inning. Kenley Jansen will attempt to end the Braves’ season.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”