Cardinals beat Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw yet again, advance to fourth straight NLCS

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The Cardinals are heading to the NLCS for the fourth consecutive season, and for the ninth time since 2000.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had allowed just one hit through six scoreless innings in Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, but Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta kicked off the bottom of the seventh with singles and then Matt “Big Mayo” Adams slugged an improbable go-ahead three-run shot into the St. Louis bullpen in right field on a Kershaw curveball that hung just a little too high.

It was the first time a left-handed hitter had EVER homered off a Kershaw curveball. Oh, and Adams has a .197 career average against left-handed pitchers.

Pat Neshek tossed a clean eighth inning and then Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal pitched in but out of danger in the top of the ninth inning to ice the 3-2 Game 4 victory, delivering St. Louis the best-of-five National League Division Series. A series in which the Cardinals got to Kershaw for a whopping 11 runs — all earned — in 12 2/3 innings. A series in which Kenley Jansen — the Dodgers’ best reliever — faced only three batters. A series in which Yasiel Puig — the Dodgers’ best position player — was used merely as a pinch-runner in the deciding game.

St. Louis will meet either the San Francisco Giants or Washington Nationals in the next round.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.