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Clayton Kershaw pitches Dodgers past Brewers 5-2; Dodgers take 3-2 NLCS lead

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw bounced back from his rough outing in Game 1 of the NLCS, this time limiting the Brewers to one run over seven innings in Game 5 on Wednesday evening. He held the Brewers to three hits and a pair of walks while striking out nine on 98 pitches. The Dodgers went on to win 5-2, taking a 3-2 lead in the NLCS.

The Brewers opened the scoring in the third inning when Lorenzo Cain hit an RBI double to straightaway center field. Kershaw later walked Ryan Braun to load the bases with two outs but struck out Jesús Aguilar to escape the jam. He then put up zeroes in the fourth through seventh innings. Kershaw retired the final 13 batters he faced.

The Dodgers’ offense woke up in the midgame, playing the tying run in the fifth inning on an Austin Barnes RBI single to center against Brandon Woodruffthe de facto starter. The Dodgers took the lead in the sixth on RBI singles by Max Muncy (off of Woodruff) and Yasiel Puig (off of Corbin Burnes). Justin Turner added an RBI single in the seventh followed by a Brian Dozier RBI ground out as the Dodgers appeared to finally remember how to hit with runners in scoring position. They were 1-for-14 with RISP combined in Games 3 and 4. They were 4-for-11 in Game 5.

Pedro Báez took over for Kershaw in the eighth and once again pitched brilliantly. Entering Wednesday’s appearance, he had thrown 5 2/3 scoreless innings in the postseason with nine strikeouts while allowing four base runners on two hits and two walks. It was more of the same for Báez, who worked a 1-2-3 frame.

Manager Dave Roberts called on Caleb Ferguson to start the ninth inning against fellow lefty Christian Yelich. Yelich grounded out and in came the right-handed Ryan Madson. Madson got Braun to ground out, then gave up back-to-back doubles to Aguilar and pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson to make it 5-2. Roberts didn’t want to, but he had to bring closer Kenley Jansen in to close it out. He did, getting Mike Moustakas to go down swinging to end the game 5-2 in the Dodgers’ favor.

Both teams will take Thursday off to travel back to Milwaukee. The Dodgers can punch their ticket back to the World Series on Friday with a victory over the Brewers. Wade Miley will start for the Brewers, likely against Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Hall of Fame should do away with cap logos on plaques

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As mentioned earlier, Brandy Halladay, wife of the late pitcher Roy Halladay, says he will not wear a cap with the logo of either of the two teams he played for during his 16-year career. Instead, he will wear a generic baseball cap. Brandy said, “He was a Major League Baseball player and that’s how we want him to be remembered.”

In the time since this news was reported, Blue Jays and Phillies fans have been arguing with each other and the takes are flying. Take, for example, this article by Bob Ford on Philly.com. It’s titled, “Roy Halladay would have wanted his Hall of Fame plaque to have a Phillies hat.” In August 2016, Halladay was asked which team’s cap he would prefer to wear if he got into Cooperstown. Halladay said, “I’d go as a Blue Jay.” He continued, “I wanted to retire here, too, just because I felt like this is the bulk of my career.”

Brandy hasn’t said why her family has decided to have her late husband wear neither team’s logo on the cap in his plaque, but the territoriality displayed by each city’s fans might be part of the reasoning. Ultimately, I believe she made the right call and it shows why the Hall of Fame should do away with logos on plaques entirely.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame was established in 1936, a time when players spent an overwhelming majority of their careers — if not their entire careers — with one team. Take, for example, the class of five inducted in the Hall’s inaugural year: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. Cobb played for the Tigers for 22 of his 24 seasons. Wagner spent 18 of his 21 seasons with the Pirates. Mathewson pitched for the Giants in 16 and a half of his 17 seasons. Johnson spent all 21 years with the Senators. Ruth was famously sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees and he still spent 15 of his 22 seasons in New York. There were rarely debates about which cap a Hall of Famer should wear in his plaque.

It is increasingly rare for a player nowadays to stick with one team for most or all of his career due to the advent of free agency and the frequency of trades. Hall of Fame candidate Curt Schilling, for example, pitched for five teams and the team he spent the most time with — the Phillies — is arguably No. 3 on the list of cap priorities behind the Red Sox and Diamondbacks. Fellow Hall candidate Manny Ramírez spent equal time with the Indians and Red Sox and also had three really good seasons with the Dodgers. Whenever a player who spent significant time with multiple teams is inducted into the Hall of Fame, the “which cap will he wear?” conversation comes up and inevitably pits fans of one team against the others. That’s not what the Hall of Fame should be about; it should be about celebrating the storied careers and the types of men these players are or were, no matter which team or how many teams he pitched for.

When you get to the core of it, the logo on the cap is just an advertisement, anyway. The Phillies and Blue Jays are businesses. Our human nature as fans — our territoriality, our loyalty, our sense of belonging — causes us to want to claim the superiority of one business and its associated laundry over another. Most of the time, this doesn’t seem out of place, but Halladay is a unique case as he made significant contributions to two franchises and was voted in posthumously, so he can’t speak for himself (he did in 2016, as mentioned). Brandy shouldn’t have to worry about upsetting one fan base or another picking a logo for her late husband, and she shouldn’t have to be second-guessed by fans who feel spurned. The Hall of Fame should follow Brandy’s lead and, going forward, induct all of its players without cap logos on their plaques.