The Cardinals are just one win away from a trip to the NLCS.
Behind an impressive start from John Lackey and some thump from Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong, the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers 3-1 in Game 3 of the NLDS this evening in St. Louis.
This is the kind of outing the Cardinals were hoping for when they acquired Lackey from the Red Sox at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The veteran right-hander was excellent, allowing just one run on five hits and one walk over seven innings to go along with eight strikeouts. The lone run scored on an RBI double from Hanley Ramirez in the sixth inning.
Making his first start since September 12 due to shoulder inflammation, Hyun-Jin Ryu was solid in his own right for the Dodgers. He gave up just one run — a solo homer from Matt Carpenter in the third inning — over his six innings of work. The Dodgers couldn’t have asked for much more under the circumstances. However, the Cardinals took the lead back as soon as Ryu left the ballgame, as Kolten Wong launched a two-run homer off Scott Elbert in the bottom of the seventh inning. It proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
Pat Neshek followed Lackey with a perfect eighth inning before closer Trevor Rosenthal worked around some trouble — and an issue with the mound — to get the final three outs.
It all falls on Clayton Kershaw now for the Dodgers. After he fell apart late in Game 1 last Friday, he’ll start on three days’ rest in Game 4 tomorrow. The Cardinals will go with Shelby Miller as they attempt to advance.
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.