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Cardinals trample Braves 13-1 in Game 5, advance to NLCS

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Game 5 of the NLDS could not have gone better for the Cardinals and could not have gone worse for the Braves. The Cardinals hung a 10-spot in the top of the first inning against starter Mike Foltynewicz and Max Fried, who tried and failed to put out Folty’s fire. The Cardinals ultimately won 13-1, earning their way into the NLCS. They will await the winner of tonight’s Nationals-Dodgers NLDS Game 5.

For a play-by-play of the first inning, I went over that here. The Cardinals continued to tack on runs, scoring once in the second inning on a Paul DeJong double, and twice in the third inning on RBI singles by Harrison Bader and DeJong.

Starter Jack Flaherty was excellent. There were only two blemishes on his record: serving up a solo homer to Josh Donaldson in the fourth, and hitting Ronald Acuña Jr. with a fastball in the fifth. The Cardinals and Braves have been chippy with one another in part due to a perceived slight on Acuña’s part. Fortunately, that was the end of it.

Flaherty ultimately went six innings, allowing the one run onf our hits and a walk with eight strikeouts on 104 pitches. Giovanny Gallegos worked a 1-2-3 seventh. John Brebbia worked around a two-out Freddie Freeman double in the eighth.

In the ninth, Genesis Cabrera took over for the final three unceremonious outs. He got Nick Markakis to ground out and Adam Duvall to fly out to right-center. Pinch-hitter Tyler Flowers singled to left field, but the game mercifully ended when Dansby Swanson struck out, making official the Cardinals’ 13-1 win.

The Cardinals are in the NLCS for the first time since 2014. The will find out their opponent soon as the Nationals and Dodgers do battle in Game 5 of their NLDS tonight. The NLCS will start on Friday. If the Dodgers win, they will have home field advantage. If the Nationals win, the Cardinals will have HFA.

Rangers, Padres, White Sox to continue paying minor leaguers

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In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.

Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.

Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.