After the Dodgers and Cardinals needed 13 innings to determine a winner in Game 1 of the NLCS last night, we’re scoreless through four innings in Game 2 this afternoon at Busch Stadium.
With the shadows looming on the field of play, Michael Wacha and Clayton Kershaw have dominated the hitters early on in this one, giving up just one hit apiece. The biggest scoring threat came in the bottom of the first inning after Matt Carpenter led off with a triple to right field, but Kershaw was able to strand him at third base. There will be no no-hit bid for Wacha this time around, but the rookie right-hander has matched Kershaw so far, striking out four batters while walking none. That includes two swinging strikeouts of Yasiel Puig.
We have a quite a pitchers’ duel on our hands here. On to the fifth inning we go.
The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.
Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.
Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.