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Nationals pave road to World Series with seven-run first inning in NLCS Game 4

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Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson had faced only three batters in his NLCS Game 4 start and the Nationals already had a lead. Then the floodgates opened. Life comes at you fast.

Trea Turner led off with a single to right field, then moved to third base on Adam Eaton‘s double to right-center. Anthony Rendon followed up with a sacrifice fly to center field. Juan Soto then knocked in Eaton with a double to left field. Hudson then intentionally walked postseason hero Howie Kendrick to bring up Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman ripped a grounder down the left field line that third baseman Tommy Edman adroitly snagged, whipping his throw to Kolten Wong at second base for the force out. Wong, however, couldn’t hold onto the ball, loading the bases.

Things got really bad when Victor Robles hit a weak fly ball to shallow right field. Wong and José Martínez both went after the ball. Wong ceded to the right fielder, who watched the ball drop in front of him, allowing the Cardinals’ fourth run to score. The revolving door of National batters continued as Yan Gomes slapped a grounder into the hole on the left side, advancing everyone a base and plating the Cardinals’ fifth run. That ended Hudson’s night. Enter Adam Wainwright, making potentially his final appearance as a Cardinal.

Pitcher Patrick Corbin advanced Robles and Gomes with a sacrifice bunt. Turner, taking his second at-bat of the inning, swatted a line drive single down the left field line to bring both runners home, making it 7-0. Eaton weakly lined out to shortstop to mercifully end the inning.

The Cardinals now know what it feels like to get shelled in the first inning. They memorably scored 10 in the first inning against the Braves in Game 5 of the NLDS.

If the Nationals are able to hold onto their seven-run lead, they’ll sweep the Cardinals and advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Larry Walker to wear a Rockies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque

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I guess this came out the day he was elected but I missed it somehow: Larry Walker is going to have a Rockies cap on his Fall of Fame plaque.

While it was once solely the choice of the inductee, for the past couple of decades the Hall of Fame has had final say on the caps, though the request of the inductee is noted. This is done to prevent a situation in which a cap truly misrepresents history. This issue arose around the time Wade Boggs was inducted, as he reportedly had a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to pick their cap on his plaque which, to say the least, would’ve been unrepresentative.

There have been some mildly controversial picks in the past, and some guys who would seem to have a clear choice have gone with blank caps to avoid upsetting the fan base of one of his other teams, but Walker’s doesn’t seem all that controversial to me.

Walker played ten years in Colorado to six years in Montreal and two years in St. Louis. His numbers in Colorado were substantial better than in Montreal. His MVP Award, most of his Gold Gloves, most of his All-Star appearances, and all of his black ink with the exception of the NL doubles title in 1994 came with the Rockies too. Walker requested the Rockies cap, noting correctly that he “did more damage” in a Rockies uniform than anyplace else. And, of course, that damage is what got him elected to the Hall of Fame.

Still, I imagine fans of the old Expos will take at least some issue here. Those folks tend to be pretty possessive of their team’s old stars. It’s understandable, I suppose, given that they’ve not gotten any new ones in a decade or two. Add in the fact that Walker played for the 1994 Expos team onto which people love to project things both reasonable and unreasonable, and you can expect that the Expos dead-enders might feel a bit slighted.

Welp, sorry. A Rockies cap is the right choice.  And that’s Walker’s cap will feature.