Dodgers score twice in third, fourth innings to take 4-1 lead over Cardinals in NLDS Game 1

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Update: Make that 6-1, as A.J. Ellis ended Wainwright’s start after crushing a two-run home run to left field with one out in the fifth inning. As of this writing, Ellis is 3-for-3.

The narrative will be that the benches-clearing incident to lead off the bottom of the third inning rattled Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. The reality is that Wainwright just isn’t all that sharp. The right-hander has allowed multiple hits in each of his first four innings, and the Dodgers were able to capitalize on it for two runs in each of the third and fourth innings.

After hitting Puig and the benches emptied in the third, Wainwright initially bounced back and got two quick outs. But Hanley Ramirez ripped a two-out single to right field, scoring Puig from second base. Ramirez then stole second and scored when Carl Crawford laced a ground-rule double to right. Crawford scampered to third base on a wild pitch but was stranded when Juan Uribe loudly flied out to center field to end the third inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, A.J. Ellis lined a single to center field. Clayton Kershaw bunted Ellis to second, and Dee Gordon pushed Ellis to third with a weak ground out to first baseman Matt Adams. Again, the Dodgers mounted a two-out rally. Puig singled to left field to make it 3-1. After Adrian Gonzalez drew a walk, moving Puig to second base, Matt Kemp lifted a single to left field to push across the Dodgers’ second fourth-inning run and their fourth run of the game. Ramirez lined out to end the threat. Overall, Wainwright has allowed nine hits and a walk while striking out four in four innings.

Spotting Kershaw a one-run lead is bad enough, but now it’s up to three runs. Since giving up a one-out solo home run to Randal Grichuk in the first inning, the left-hander has retired 14 consecutive batters. He struck out five consecutively, striking out the side in the fourth, then fanning Yadier Molina and Matt Adams in the fifth before Pete Kozma weakly popped up. This is a mountain of a task for the Cardinals.

Rumor: MLB execs discussing 100-game season that would begin July 1

David Price and Mookie Betts
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Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.

In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.

Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.

Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.