Cardinals Pull Ahead on Carpenter’s Bomb
Matt Carpenter wasn’t in the Cardinals’ starting lineup for Game 3 of the NLCS on Wednesday, but he ended up providing the biggest impact in the game, and perhaps the series to date.
Carlos Beltran left in the first inning after straining his left knee, with Carpenter getting the call as his replacement. He strode to the plate in the third inning with his squad trailing 1-0, and smashed a 2-2 offering from Matt Cain over the wall in right for a two-run homer.
That proved to be more than enough support for Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals’ bullpen, who cruised to a 3-1 victory to take a 2-1 advantage in the series. Beltran is expected to be available for Game 4 on Thursday, but Wednesday’s hero remains a solid fallback option if he can’t go.
Giants Juggle Rotation, Lincecum to Start Game 4
After dropping Wednesday’s Game 3 and falling behind 2-1 in the NLCS, Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy has announced some changes to his starting rotation.
Tim Lincecum, who has allowed just one earned run over 8 1/3 innings of relief in the postseason, will rejoin the rotation and pitch in Game 4 on Thursday. Barry Zito will get the call in Game 5, meaning that Madison Bumgarner will be relegated to the bullpen for the remainder of the series.
Bumgarner struggled mightily down the stretch of the regular season, and hasn’t fared any better with an 11.25 ERA and 2.13 WHIP through his first two postseason starts. His velocity is noticeably down, and he appears to be dealing with some fatigue.
A-Rod Finished in New York?
Alex Rodriguez was noticeably absent from the Yankees’ starting lineup again on Wednesday, marking the second consecutive game that he would’ve sat had the game not been postponed.
Then, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand on ESPN New York reported what Keith Olbermann had already speculated, namely that the Yankees and Marlins have discussed a possible trade regarding the highly-compensated superstar.
Yankees’ president Randy Levine and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria have only engaged in casual discussions, but it’s something that should be expounded on during the offseason. He’s obviously fallen out of favor in New York, and may be willing to waive his no-trade clause if it meant the possibility of playing in his hometown of Miami.
A-Rod is still owed $114 million over the next five seasons, so the Yankees would likely have to eat a large part of that contract to make a deal work, or at least take on some bad contracts themselves. While it’s clear that nothing is imminent, this is certainly a situation that is worth monitoring over the offseason.
“Inclement Weather” Postpones ALCS Game 4
With the Tigers up three games to none and looking to close out the Yankees, Wednesday’s Game 4 of the ALCS was postponed due to inclement weather.
The only problem, is that it never actually rained a drop at Comerica Park (trust me, I was there). The storm was expected to roll through though, and Major League Baseball decided it would be hard to get nine innings in. The apparent worry was burning up the game’s starters, CC Sabathia and Max Scherzer, and having their night cut short due to a rain delay.
Unfortunately for the Yankees though, the postponement wipes out a travel day. Meaning that if they were to come back and even up the series, Sabathia wouldn’t be available for a potential Game 7.
The extra day also gives the Tigers an additional benefit. Phil Coke, who recorded saves in Game 2 and Game 3 and would have been unavailable for Wednesday’s contest, will be ready to go for Thursday afternoon’s game.
The Tigers and Yankees will try to get this one in at 4:07 on Thursday, but with more potential rain in the forecast, it’s far from a certainty.
National League Quick Hits: Ryan Ludwick is set to decline his $5 mutual option for 2013. The 34-year-old outfielder would like to return to Cincinnati on a multi-year deal… Brian McCann will require six months of rehab after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder on Tuesday, putting the start of his 2013 season in jeopardy… The Nationals could discuss a contract extension with All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond in the coming weeks… Carlos Beltran, who left Wednesday’s contest with a left knee strain, is expected to return to the Cardinals’ lineup on Thursday for Game 4 of the NLCS… Brian Wilson will throw for the first time on Friday since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April… Yorvit Torrealba refused his assignment to Triple-A Nashville and opted for free agency… Lance Berkman said that he will wait until February before making a decision regarding his retirement… Jake Westbrook felt great after a 50-pitch simulated game on Tuesday, and could be added to the Cardinals’ postseason roster should they advance to the World Series… Jason Motte pitched two perfect innings in relief on Wednesday, recording the first six-out save of his career… Marco Scutaro was a part of Wednesday’s lineup despite his hip injury in Game 2, going 2-for-5 with a double in a losing effort against the Cardinals… Hunter Pence went hitless in four at-bats on Wednesday, dropping his postseason average to .156 (5-for-32), and Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy hinted that he may be moved down in the lineup for Thursday’s Game 4… Jason Giambi, who hasn’t yet retired as a player, is set to interview for the Rockies’ managerial vacancy… The Braves’ are expected to pick up Tim Hudson’s $9 million option for 2013… Jaime Garcia will see Dr. James Andrews on Thursday to receive a fourth opinion on his injured left shoulder.
American League Quick Hits: Derek Jeter, who fractured his left ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS, will undergo surgery on Saturday in North Carolina. He’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready for Opening Day 2013… Curtis Granderson was not in the Yankees’ announced starting lineup for Wednesday’s Game 4 against Max Scherzer and the Tigers… Omar Infante’s X-rays on his injured thumb came back clean, and he was penciled into the Tigers’ lineup on Wednesday… Phil Hughes, who left Game 3 of the series with a back injury, would likely draw the start if the Yankees forced a Game 7 in the ALCS… The Red Sox have reportedly engaged in compensation talks with the Blue Jays regarding acquiring manager John Farrell… The Blue Jays claimed Scott Cousins off waivers from the Marlins, and he could compete for a reserve outfielder job in the spring… Free-agent slugger David Ortiz is apparently seeking a two-year deal between $25 million and $30 million.