Cardinals beat Dodgers in Game 4, lead NLCS 3-1

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St. Louis is one win away from the World Series.

Matt Holliday slugged a two-run bomb in the top of the third inning and Shane Robinson smacked a pinch-hit solo shot in the top of the seventh inning as the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers 4-2 in Game 4 of the NLCS on Tuesday evening in Los Angeles.

It wasn’t the sharpest of outings for Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, but he limited the Dodgers to two runs and then handed things over to the Cards’ bevy of young bullpen arms. Seth Maness, 25, needed only three pitches to record two outs and then Carlos Martinez, 22, tossed two clean frames while hitting 100 mph four different times. Trevor Rosenthal, 23, closed it out with equally-electrifying heat.

Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco lasted only four innings, allowing three runs, and Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was lifted in the seventh due to lingering discomfort in the area of his fractured rib. Ramirez seems doubtful to play in Game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. local time in Los Angeles.

The Cardinals will be looking to wrap things up behind right-hander Joe Kelly.

The Dodgers will counter with right-hander Zack Greinke.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.