Matt Carpenter homers to put Cardinals in front in NLDS Game 3 vs. Dodgers

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Matt Carpenter continues to do it all for St. Louis.

Carpenter just hit a leadoff homer against Hyun-Jin Ryu in the bottom of the third inning to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead over the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS. He has now homered in three straight games to begin the postseason. Albert Pujols (2004) is the only other player in franchise history to homer in three straight postseason games.

Carpenter hit eight home runs in 159 games during the regular season, with only two of them coming against southpaws. All three of his home runs this postseason have been against lefties. As for Ryu, he gave up just one home run to a left-handed batter during the regular season.

John Lackey pitched out of some trouble in the first and second innings, but he’ll carry a 1-0 lead into the top of the fourth inning at Busch Stadium.

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.