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.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.