The Braves and Cardinals are each looking to take an edge in the National League Division Series on Sunday, when they’ll enter Game 3 tied 1-1. Atlanta evened the series on Friday with a 3-0 shutout over St. Louis, courtesy of some strong pitching by Mike Foltynewicz and a pair of well-timed hits from Josh Donaldson and Adam Duvall.
Although they’ve played to mixed results so far, the Braves will roll out the exact same lineup that’s served them through the last two games:
- Ronald Acuña Jr. (R) CF
- Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
- Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
- Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
- Nick Markakis (L) LF
- Matt Joyce (L) RF
- Brian McCann (L) C
- Dansby Swanson (R) SS
P: RHP Mike Soroka
All-Star rookie Soroka is poised to take the mound for his first career postseason appearance. He pitched to a 13-4 record in 29 regular-season starts with a 2.68 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, 7.3 SO/9, and 4.0 fWAR.
After running with very similar configurations in Games 1 and 2, the Cardinals decided to shuffle things up a bit for Game 3:
- Dexter Fowler (S) CF
- Kolten Wong (L) 2B
- Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B
- Marcell Ozuna (R) LF
- Yadier Molina (R) C
- Matt Carpenter (L) 3B
- Tommy Edman (S) RF
- Paul DeJong (R) SS
P: RHP Adam Wainwright
Wong has been promoted from the no. 6-7 spot to no. 2 in the lineup, while Edman and DeJong have been bumped to the bottom of the list. With Harrison Bader on the bench, Carpenter is slated to make his first start in the series after filling in as a pinch-hitter on Friday. Wainwright, meanwhile, will make his first postseason outing since 2015; he hasn’t been credited with a postseason win since the 2013 NLDS.
Game 3 will kick off at 4:10 PM EDT.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.