Cardinals strike first in NLCS Game 5 against Giants

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The Cardinals are one loss away from elimination, but they have grabbed an early lead in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Giants.

After tossing two scoreless innings, Madison Bumgarner issued a leadoff walk to Tony Cruz to begin the top of the third. Adam Wainwright bunted Cruz over to second base before Bumgarner walked Matt Carpenter. Jon Jay then hit a fly ball to left field which was misread by Travis Ishikawa for a double (that scoring is generous) and brought in the first run of the ballgame. Yes, Ishikawa’s inexperience in left field finally came back to bite the Giants. Bumgarner got Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta to fly out to avoid any further damage, but the Cardinals hold a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the third in San Francisco.

For what it’s worth, Adam Wainwright has looked sharper so far tonight than in his previous two outings this postseason. He has thrown 27 pitches over two scoreless frames.

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.