Andre Ethier aiming to return for Game 3 of NLCS

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Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier played nearly 13 whole innings in Friday night’s NLCS Game 1 loss to the Cardinals and woke up on Saturday morning with renewed soreness in his troublesome lower left leg. Ethier was on the bench for Game 2 on Saturday afternoon but the situation has apparently improved.

According to beat writers Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Ethier is “confident” that he will be able to return to the starting lineup in Game 3 on Monday at Dodger Stadium. Sunday’s day off should help matters.

Ethier is 1-for-9 with two walks and four strikeouts so far in the 2013 postseason. Skip Schumaker played center field in NLCS Game 2 on Saturday and will probably fill in again in Game 3 if Ethier can’t go.

The status of shortstop Hanley Ramirez (rib cage) is still unclear.

The 2019 Hall of Fame Class will be announced this evening

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This year’s Hall of Fame ballot was released just over two months ago. This evening at 6:15 PM Eastern, all of the arguing stops. Well, actually, it doesn’t stop, because it never stops. Not really. It just transforms into something more pointless, because as of then, the 2019 Hall of Fame class will be officially announced live on MLB Network.

The entire ballot can be found here. Two weeks ago I went through it, candidate-by-candidate, in order to determine who I would vote for if, in fact, I had a vote. For what it’s worth, I ended up with Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Manny Ramirez. and Scott Rolen.

No, not all of those guys will be elected. I strongly suspect we’ll get three, with an outside chance at a fourth. Based on the best Hall of Fame voting tracker out there, Mariano Rivera is a lock. So too, it seems, is Roy Halladay. Edgar Martinez — on the ballot for is tenth and final time — likewise seems to have the support to finally make it. He was 20 votes short last year and, so far, he has picked up more than 20 new votes among voters who have revealed their ballots. Assuming that previous Martinez voters who have not released their ballots do not backtrack — a safe assumption — Edgar should, at long last, finally make it into Cooperstown.

The last guy who, at present, is trending above the required 75% is Mike Mussina who, at present, is included on 81% of public ballots. There is a tendency for the non-public voters to be stingier with their support, however, so there’s a pretty decent chance that Mussina will fall just under the threshold and will find himself back on the ballot next year. A jump from last year’s 63.5% support to something in the 70s, however, would bode very well for his 2020 chances. If he somehow makes it this year’s class will rival last year’s four-person BBWAA-elected class as one of the better ones in living memory.

Who will join Harold Baines and Lee Smith on the stage in Cooperstown in July? We find out this evening, just after 6 PM.