Posts Tagged ‘St Louis Cardinals’

The Cubs are coming off a late night defeating the Cardinals in 11 innings for 10 in a row.  Jake Arrieta takes to the mound today looking for win number 14 and the Cubs 11 win in a row.  This year Jake is 1-1 against the Cards and hopes to make it 2-1 against Adam Wainwright who is looking for his 10th win of the season as he is 1-0 against the Cubs.

Jake would go just 5 & 2/3 innings today giving up only 4 hits, one of them a home run to Stephen Piscotty in the 5th with one out.  Jake strikes out six batters today while only walking two batters.  Today he really has no need going passed the 6th inning with the run support he was provided.

Matt Szczur fills in for Fowler leading off the Cubs half of the 1st with his seventh double of the year.  Kris Bryant decides to second that with a double of his own driving in Matt.  Anthony Rizzo walks on five pitches.  With one out Addison Russell would also smack a double scoring Bryant.  Montero walks to load the bases but Wainwright gets out of the first with just 2 earned runs.  Adam starts the second inning off by striking out Jake but then hits Szczur.  Bryant decides to double again and again drives in Matt for another RBI.  Jorge Soler only hits a single but its enough to score Kris.  Russell gets into a full count reaching on a walk.  Wilson Contreras steps in the box and takes the first pitch to left field for his seventh home run of the year.  Montero ends the inning with a ground out but the Cubs are now up by 7.  That would be all for Wainwright just two innings.  Seth Manness takes the 3rd and Jonathon Broxton takes the 4th and 5th each only allowing one hit and holding the Cubs at 7.

The bottom of the sixth sees former Cubs, Jerome Williams join the game giving up a lead off home run to Szczur.  He does get the next two outs but gives up another solo home run, this time to Jorge Soler.  He does get out the 6th but doesn’t have any better luck in the 7th starting with a single to Wilson, he gets an out but then gives up a two run home run to Javier Baez.  Chris Coghlan joins as a pinch hitter for Jake’s replacement Justin Grimm, and reaches on a walk.  Matt Szczur then launches his second home run of the day scoring Wilson and the Cubs are up by 13.  Williams gets out of the 7th, settles down and makes it a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th.

Joe Smith takes the top of the 8th inning for the Cubs and grabs the first two outs on eight pitches but gives up a home run to Jedd Gyorko to give the Cards their second run of the game.  He gets out of the inning and it would be Travis Wood taking the 9th.  He quickly gets the first two outs but then walks Tommy Pham.  Jhonny Peralta makes a pinch hit appearance and singles on the first strike he sees.  Stephen Piscotty swings on the first pitch he sees and sends it to Kris Bryant who throws it to Javier Baez for the force and the Cubs win, with an 11 game win streak.

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

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Heart don’t stop. No Giant leading the vote at his respective position in 2016? Is nothing sacred? With San Francisco in first place, seven games in front of Los Angeles in the NL West, shouldn’t there be at least one? Buster Posey, maybe?

The more important question is, does any serious Giants fan care?

Recent history clearly demonstrates that the Orange and Black have been disrespected since the beginning of their successful binge in the National League, back in 2010. Every single series has listed the Giants as underdogs, including all three of the World Series confrontations.
In the current MLB Power Polls, San Francisco still takes a back seat to Chicago, a team most recently swept in a three-game series by the St. Louis Cardinals. I find this interesting because the 31-9 (77.5%) record posted by the Giants over the past 40 games compares rather favorably to that of the Cubs during the same stretch: 23-17 (57.5%).

And the Cubs are still ranked first?

So now Chicago fans have stuffed the ballot boxes to get their darlings onto the All-Star squad, and Giants fans are supposed to be miffed? 

Speaking for myself, I prefer the bling that is attached to the playoffs, rather than that which is attached to individual accolades. Do I think Buster Posey is the best catcher in the league?

I know he is.

Do I care that he may have to take a back seat to Yadier Molina? 
Not one iota.
Do I care that the Cubs have Anthony Rizzo (1B), Ben Zobrist (2B), Addison Russell (SS), Kris Bryant (3B), and Dexter Fowler (CF) starting the mid-season Classic, ahead of Brandon Belt (1B), Joe Panik (2B), Brandon Crawford (SS), Matt Duffy (3B) and Denard Span (CF)?

Not one iota.
I could look up the names of the Giants All-Stars from 2010, 2012 and 2014, but I could not name one for certain off the top of my head. It all kind of blends together. On the other hand, I haven no problem remembering who won the World Series each of those three years: the Orange and Black.
You get my drift?
It’s the big picture I am focused on, not the immediate one. In July I am thinking only of barbecues, beer and fireworks. I like to watch the All-Star game as much as the next guy, but not to see Giants players. No way. I want to see which league gets home-field advantage during the playoffs, because I prefer October’s Big Stage to July’s.
So let the Cubs bask in the glow of their July fireworks, with all the glitz and glitter of the All-Star game in San Diego, and let their fans enjoy the thrill of their players’ success. Giants players can use the All-Star break to rest up for the second half of the season, one which extends into October, when the smell of wood-smoke lingers in the air. 
I prefer those October nights when I have to bundle up if I want to see major league baseball. I enjoy the fall colors radiating in the late afternoon sun, shadows making their presence known. You know, Orange and Black.
And I love the smell of that wood smoke from the Giants’ victory bonfires.

Mark O’Neill

Last night was not a W in Wrigleyville for John Lackey but Jason Hammel hopes to improve to 8-2 when he takes on Adam Wainwright.  Hammel owns a 2-0 record against the Cards this year in St. Louis and looks to make the first of his starts this year at home against the Cards a W.  While the veteran batting lineup seems to have his number, no one has reached 20 at bats against him.

Tonight would not be Hammel’s night going only 5 & 2/3 innings giving up 4 runs in the second and third innings.  Stephen Piscotty would lead off the second with a double scoring on Brandon Moss’s single to center.  In the third, Matt Carpenter would lead off with his 11th home run of the season.  Aledmys Diaz would reach on a single the reaches home on Matt Holiday’s 13th home run of the season giving the Cardinals the lead with 4 runs.  

With Adam Warren optioned to Triple-A Iowa and Clayton Richard on the DL, the contract of Gerardo Concepcion is brought up and the fastball pitcher immediately enters the game in the bottom of the 6th striking out Brandon Moss to end the inning and has a 1-2-3 7th inning.  Pedro Strop takes the 8th striking out 2 batters as Travis Wood closes the game out.  

The Cubs bats wouldn’t provide enough support for Hammel to get his 8th win of the season.  They would strike first with Chris Coghlan leading off with a single getting pushed to third then scoring on Anthony Rizzo’s sac fly for the first run of the game.  

Coghlan would then lead off the third with a walk and immediately scores on Jason Heyward’s 12th double of the year, a line drive to center.  Wilson Contreras and Addison Russsel would both single in the bottom of the 4th with Contreras ending up at 3rd base and then scoring when Albert Almora grounds into a double play.  

Cubs lose by 1 in their second straight loss to the Cardinals.  There’s always tomorrow as long as the rain doesn’t stop them. 

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

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It had to be a bit of a surprise when the Los Angeles Dodgers designated outfielder Carl Crawford for assignment. Crawford has about a year and a half left on the 7 year $142 million dollar deal he signed with the Boston Red Sox back in 2010. Los Angeles will be on the hook for about $35 million left on Crawford’s contract. The Dodgers do have a lot of outfielders and with Andre Either working his way back from injury and the fact that Howie Kendrick has been able to move to the outfield there just weren’t enough at bats to go around. The Dodgers have quite a few young outfielders as well. Enrique (Kiki) Hernandez and Joc Pedersen are 24, Yasiel Puig (who is out injured right now) and Trayce Thompson are both 25 and Scott Van Slkye is 29. While it’s fair to say that Crawford got caught in a numbers game he wasn’t really producing when he was playing. Crawford appeared in 30 games and was hitting .185. Injuries really took away the speed part of Crawford’s game. While he still was a double digit a year steals player with the Dodgers, he was nowhere close to the 60 steals a year player he was with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009. You have to think that once Crawford clears waivers and a team can bring him in for the league minimum there will be a team or two that will be willing to take a look at him and see what he has left.

Jhonny Peralta has returned to the St. Louis Cardinals after fracturing his left thumb in spring training. Now to make room on the roster for Peralta the Cardinals sent 2nd baseman Kolten Wong to Triple-A Memphis. Wong finished 3rd in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and last season hit .262 while playing in 150 games. With Wong hitting just .222 in 49 games this season and the good play of shortstop Aledmys Diaz it was Wong headed to the minors. Peralta will be asked to play 3rd base and Matt Carpenter will be moved to 2nd base. The Cardinals are 30-28 and find themselves 10 1/2 games out of 1st place.  Will Peralta’s return give the Cardinals a little bit of a jump start or are they going to be looking to make a trade to try and improve there team.

Has Jurickson Profar finally arrived? Believe it or not Profar is just 23 years old, but it seems like baseball people have been talking about him for 10 years already. The Texas Rangers signed him as an amateur free agent in 2009 and looked to be on the fast track to the majors. Profar had a brief 9 game stop at the major league level in 2012 before appearing in 85 games in 2013. As it was looking like Profar would be an everyday player for the Rangers, he lost the entire 2014 season to injury. The injury was so bad that Profar player just 12 games during the 2015 season. Finally healthy Profar started the 2016 at AAA-Round Rock and was brought up by the Rangers when Roughned Odor was suspended 8 games. Profar has appeared in 11 games for the Rangers this season and is hitting .380. Even with Odor back from suspension the Rangers found a spot for Profar in the line up by playing him at 1st base. It might make it easier for the Rangers to keep Profar at the major league level because he is a true utility player. In his short major league career Profar has played 1st base, 2nd base, Shortstop, 3rd base as well as leftfield. Texas of course is an American League team and while he wouldn’t be the prototypical guy for it Profar could be used as a DH at times. We’ll have to wait and see how the Rangers handle him.

Tonight we get Game 3 of the NBA Finals and if you’ve been listening to The Podcast, you know I just don’t care. Anyway, the Golden State Warriors won the first two games on their home court and they’ll look to take Game 3 tonight in Cleveland. Kevin  Love was hit in the back of the head during Game 2 and did not practice with the Cavaliers on Tuesday. Love is in the NBA’s concussion protocol and while no decision has been made on his availability for Game 3 the term that’s being thrown around is that the Cavaliers are “optimistic” Love will play. The Cavaliers officially listed Love as questionable for Game 3. Before Love can return to action there are several steps that the NBA requires a concussed player to complete before he returns to the court, including tests of physical exertion, agility work and non-contact team drills. Love got his concussion when Golden State’s Harrison Barnes collided with him as the two went for an offensive rebound with five minutes remaining in the second quarter Sunday. No foul was called on the play.

Is Game 3 a must win for Cleveland? Golden State is coming in on a 5 game winning streak since being down 3 games to 1 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Golden State cruised to easy wins in the first two finals games and a lot of that had to do with the fact that the Cavaliers shot just 35.6% in those games. A return to their home court should help the Cavaliers shooting, but will that be enough to get the Cavaliers a win. Cleveland is undefeated at home in the 2016 playoffs. Don’t forget that Golden State won Game 6 in Cleveland to win the title last season. Who else from the Cavaliers needs to step up and help LeBron James out for the Cavaliers to get a win at home in Game 3. Is a healthy Kevin Love a key or do they need Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson or J.R. Smith to step up tonight. Can the Cavaliers find a way to hold down the outside shooting of Golden State. What seemed to be the downfall of Oklahoma City in there series against Golden State was they seemed to trade two-pointers for three-pointers.  Can the Cavaliers stop that from happening to them in Game 3 and get their first win in the NBA Finals?


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The Cubs continue thier road trip in St Louis, where John Lackey takes on Adam Wainwright at Busch Stadium.  The only hit in the first is credited to Ben Zobrist for a single.  Lackey would get Matt Carpenter to ground out but then he’d go on to strike out the next 5 batters in a row. 

In the bottom of the third, Lackey would give up a single to Randal Grichuck, then he’d hit Kolten Wong. Wainwright would move them up with a sac bunt. Then he’d load the bases with another walk to Carpenter.  Aledmys Diaz would send a fly ball to Soler but the run still scores.  Matt Holiday would strike out to end the inning.  Cubs down by 1. 

Top of 4, Zobrist leads it off with a single.  Rizzo grounds out and Soler gets hit by a pitch.  Miguel Montero sends a line drive to center to score Ben.  Baez throws down a suprise bunt and reaches with no one covering 1st.  Russell would send a sharp ground ball to short scoring Soler but forcing out Baez.  Lackey would ground out but the Cubs are up by 1.  

Lackey would start the bottom half with a walk but turns it around when Brandon Moss lines out to Rizzo who touches 1st base for an unassisted double play. Lackey gets out of the inning after Molina reaches on an error.  

The Cubs add to their lead after 1 out when Bryant and Zobrist walk and Rizzo gets an RBI single.  That would be the end of the scoring but the Cubs are now up by 2, 3-1 after 5 and a half.  Lackey makes it a quick 1-2-3 bottom half.  Cubs up 3-1 after 5.   

Cubs would challenge Wainwright with a couple base runners but he would finish the inning despite Mike Matheny making a trip to the mound.  Lackey would give up a single to Holiday  but close out the 6th.  

Seung Hwan Oh comes into the seventh for a 1-2-3 to stop the Cubs from adding to the scoreboard.  After 7, 3 hits and 80 pitches, Lackey gives up a 2 run homer to Matt Adams to tie it all up at 3.  He’d get out of the inning but we’ve got a new ballgame.  

Kevin Siegrist enters the 8th inning to hold the Cubs puts Montero on by a walk, Russell reaches on a force out but no one would cross the plate.  Adam Warren replaces Lackey for a solid 1-2-3 inning.  Still tied at 3.  

Trevor Rosenthal, the Cardinals closer allows a lead off single to Fowler to start the ninth.  Kris Bryant would strike out but Fowler makes it all the way to third on a single up the middle by Zobrist.  Rizzo would smack a soft blooper to third, diving, Carpentar would make the grab and almost simultaneously tag third for the Cards unassisted double play.  Adam Warren stays in the game getting the first two outs no problem.  Two outs, Randal Grichuk takes Warren deep for a walk off home run.  

I’d just like you, would love for the Cubs to win but I hope it just happens now and not in October, this slump of course.  #ItsJustMay

The Podcast

Rivalry tied @1

Posted: April 19, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, fantasy, sports, Sports Time Radio
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Game two features 1-0 Jason Hammel vs Jamie Garcia who is also 1-0.   Jamie would open the game with a walk to Dexter Fowler who would be forced out on a ground ball to Ruben Tejada.  He would the. Give up a single to Kris Bryant but would get out of the inning.  Hammel would start with a 1-2-3 inning but would give up a lead off single to Matt Adams to start the second and one to Randal Grichuk.  Adams would be caught stealing third with Yadier Molina at bat.  He would end up launching what would appear to be a home run to Soler, who would run into the wall missing the catch, giving Molina a triple, scoring Grichuk.  Both men would have easy third innings.

Top of the fourth, Garcia would load the bases, walking Soler and giving singles to Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero.  With two outs and bases loaded, Hammel would get to the plate, smacking a ground ball in between short and third, scoring two runs but he’d get Jason Heyward out on a called third strike.  Seung Hwan Oh would come into the sixth getting a 1-2-3 inning.  Hammel would have a perfect bottom half of the sixth.

Kevin Siegrist would come into the seventh hitting Javier Baez but would be overturned after managers review. He would then strike out. Dexter Fowler would double but both Heyward and Kris Bryant would fly out.  Adam Warren would come into the botaztom half of the seventh

Former Red, Jonathan Broxton would get into a littl trouble but would get out of the inning.  Travis Wood would give up a lead off single in the bottom of the eighth and that would be all she wrote and Pedro Strop would face Jeremy Hazelbaker and the next two batters to get out of the eighth.

#67 Matt Bowman would come into the top of the ninth and get the Cubbies out 1-2-3.  Hector Rondon would come into the bottom of the ninth for his possible to third save of the season. He would give up a lead off single to Yadier Molina and would get th next two batters to fly out and then get a huge strikeout to close out the series and make this a 1-1 series.


Who had the Chicago Cubs being the first team to lock up a spot in the National League Championship Series (NLCS)? The Cubs wrapped up there series against the St. Louis Cardinals last night with a 6-4 win. What’s interesting in this Cubs series victory is the fact that players like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant didn’t carry the team. They each have 3 hits this post season with 2 of Rizzo’s hits being home runs and 1 of Bryant’s hits being a home run. Jorge Soler is hitting .571 during the post season. Kyle Schwarber is hitting .538 with a team leading 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s. Dexter Fowler is hitting .300 out of the lead off spot for the Cubs. Javier Baez had to enter Game 3 do to an injury to starting shortstop Addison Russell. Baez had a couple issues in the field which might’ve been do to nerves, but he was 4 for 5 at the plate and hit a big 3-run homer last night. Now I’m not sure if the Cubs can continue to advance with Rizzo hitting .167 and Bryant hitting .150, but they’ll have a few days off as they wait for the winner of the other National League Division Series (NLDS) be it the New York Mets or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The American League will wrap up both if it’s division series today. The first game of the day has the Texas Rangers on the road to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Now no home team has won a game in this series and the Blue Jays will need to change that to advance. The pitching match up for Game 5 is a rematch from Game 2 as Cole Hamels starts for the Rangers and the Blue Jays go to Marcus Stroman. Both pitchers threw 7 innings last game, but neither figured in the decision as the rangers win the game 6-4 in 14 innings. Hamels gave up 4 runs, but only 2 where earned on 6 hits while striking out 6, Stroman gave up 4 runs with 3 being earned on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5.This series has been kind of a surprise as no one thought the Rangers would be this much trouble for the Blue jays let alone take them to a Game 5. Do the Rangers have 1 more surprise in them.

The second Game 5 in the American League has the Houston Astros on the road to take on the defending American League champions the Kansas City Royals. The Astros are going with Colin McHugh as there starting pitcher while Kansas City turns to there trade deadline pick up Johnny Cueto. McHugh got the win for the Astros in Game 1 of this series pitching 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 1 and striking out 1. Cueto started Game 2 of this series for Kansas City pitching 6 innings giving up 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 3 and striking out 5. Cueto didn’t figure in the decision, but the Astros won Game 2 5-4. This is another series that I don’t think anyone had going 7 games and I don’t remember anyone picking the Astros to win.

If you live in the Chicagoland area you might not know that there was a second National League playoff game last night. Clayton Kershaw went out and did just what he was suppose to do for the Los Angeles Dodgers last night. Over 7 innings Kershaw gave up 1 run on a solo home run to Daniel Murphy. Kershaw struck out 8 walked just 1 and besides the home run only gave up 2 other hits to the Mets. Steven Matz got the Game 4 start for the Mets. Matz pitched 5 innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 4. The Dodgers got all there runs off of Matz in the top of the 3rd inning. An Adrian Gonzalez single to center with runners on 1st and 3rd got the Dodgers 1st run home. Justin Turner followed Gonzalez with a double down the left field line to drive in the Dodgers other 2 run. That gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead and they scored all of these runs with 2 outs in the inning. The Murphy homer cut the lead to 3-1, but neither bullpen gave up a run and Kenley Jansen worked a 1,2,3 9th inning striking out 2 while picking up the save for the Dodgers. The series heads back to Los Angeles on tied 2-2 with Game 5 being on Thursday. The Mets are going with Game 1 winner Jacob deGroom. deGroom worked 7 shutout innings giving up 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 13. The Dodgers are countering with Game 2 winner Zack Greinke. Greinke went 7 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 8. The winner of this game knows they’ll go on to face the Cubs while the loser is done for the season.

Now baseball will always be my first love as far as sports go, but football isn’t far behind. This season I;m having a big problem with the NFL. Where has the defense gone? It seems as if every game I watch the when there’s about 3 minutes left to play neither team can stop the other one. I understand the rules greatly favor the offensive team, but you’ve stopped them time and again the entire game and now that there’s just 3 minutes left you can’t even slow them down. Not only can’t I figure this out, but I’m starting to feel like I’m wasting my time watching the first 3 and 3/4th of the game when all I need to see is the last 3 minutes. If you’ve listened to the Sports Time Radio podcast you know that my biggest issue with the NBA is the fact that I only really need to see the 4th quarter to know what’s going on with the game. This season in the NFL has pretty much went the same way for me. Besides the Denver Broncos is there another team out there that’s going to play defense?

With baseball in the post season and the football season up and running you might not have noticed that the NHL season has started. The Montréal Canadiens are off to a 4-0 start and there are a few teams behind them at 3-0. Canadiens left winger Max Pacioretty has 4 goals and is tied for the league lead with Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings, Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild and Oscar Lindberg of the New York Rangers. While it’s too early for these stats to mean all that much it’s always fun to see who’s putting the puck in the net.

Now I didn’t forget about our pick for Week 5 in the NFL, but I’d like to. Dan the Man won the week with a 10-4. Mr. Fantasy was a game behind him at 9-5. Schaumburg Stu had an 8-6 week while I barely made it to 7-7. Mr. Fantasy still has the overall lead at 49-28 with Dan the Man a game behind at 48-29. I’m a ways back in 3rd at 42-35 and Schaumburg Stu is still in the cellar at 41-36. Maybe I’ll have a good Week 6, but I doubt it.

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There where two pretty interesting series that opened this Labor Day. The New York Mets traveled to Washington to play the Nationals in a 3 game series and in another three game series the Chicago Cubs went on the road to play the St. Louis Cardinals. So far the visiting teams have managed to win the first 2 games in these series with the series finales being Wednesday. No matter what the outcome is in today’s game the Mets will have put some more distance between themselves and the Nationals and while it doesn’t look like the Cubs can catch the Cardinals they have cut into that division lead with this series. Let’s look closer.

This was suppose to be the series where the Nationals showed that they where the team everyone predicted they’d be at the start of the season and eat into that Mets lead in the National League East, but it hasn’t worked that way. The Nationals had Max Schrerzer starting Game 1; who they paid quite a bit of money this off season to win these type of games. Mets starter Jon Niese was giving a 2-run lead in the Top of the 2nd as Michael Conforto (6) and Kelly Johnson (13) both hit solo home runs off Schrerzer.The Mets added a run in the Top of the 4th inning as Yoenis Cespedes 31st home run of the season was upheld on review; 3-0 Mets. In the bottom of the 4th the Nationals got it all back and then some as Wilson Ramos hit a grand slam to give the Nationals a 4-2 lead. Jayson Werth also doubled in a run to give the Nationals a 5-3 lead after 4. Now this is the point where Schrerzer is suppose to take over the game and get his team a big win to start the series, but that didn’t happen. The Mets came back with solo runs in the 5th and 6th innings to tie the game 5-5 . That ended Schrerzer’s night after 102 pitches and he gets a no decision. The Mets took advantage of the Nationals bullpen combination of Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero, Casey Janssen and Matt Thornton in the top of the 7th for 3 runs to make the score 8-5 which is how it ended. So with their ace on the mound the Nationals where unable to gain any ground in Game 1.

Last night (Tuesday) it was Jordan Zimmerman facing Matt Harvey. Now there have been a lot of talk about Harvey’s what seems to be self imposed innings limit looming. You had to wonder if it would affect him mentally and even though he’ll say it had nothing to do with his performance he went out and had one of his worst outings of the season. Washington jumped on Harvey right away scoring twice in the 1st inning and once in the 2nd. The Mets where able to get a run in the top of the 2nd; so it was 3-1 Nationals after 2 and that’s how it stayed until the bottom of the 6th. Michael Taylor singled to center with the bases loaded and with the help of a Cespedes error all 4 runners scored making it 7-1 Nationals and it looked like the series would be even at a game apiece. Erik Goeddel came in to finish the inning for Harvey who was done after 5 1/3rd and giving up 7 earned runs. Zimmerman was also taken out of the game in the 6th officially pitching 5 2/3rd innings before turning it over to the Nationals bullpen. Treinen started the 7th and he struggled again giving up 3 runs. Rivero relieved him, but couldn’t get anyone out and was charged with 2 runs. Drew Storen was next out of the Nationals bullpen, but the former closer had issues to and walked in the game tying run before getting out of the inning. So it’s 7-7 after 7 innings and Harvey’s teammates got him off the hook. Jonathan Papelbon entered the game in the top of the 8th with the game still tied 7-7. Papelbon got the forst 2 outs of the inning and then it was the pitchers spot due up. Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit for Addison Reed and hit Papelbon’s 2nd pitch of the at bat into the right center field seats to give the Mets an 8-7 lead. Tyler Clippard pitched a 1,2,3 8th and while Jeurys Familia did give up a single and a walk in the bottom of the 9th he was able to close the game out for the Mets and give them a win in the 2nd game of the series.

So it’s Game 3 tonight and it is as close to a must win for Washington as there is in baseball. While a win would help them knock a game off of the Mets 6 game lead in the division just from a mental stand point a win is important. Don’t forget that these two teams end the regular season with a 3 game series in New York October 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Washinton will send Steven Strasburg to the mound to try and avoid the sweep tonight. While Strasburg’s season numbers aren’t great 8-6 with a 4.35 E.R.A. in 18 starts; 4 of his last 5 starts have been very good. While he did struggle in his last outing against the Miami Marlins he’ll need to find that form from those 4 starts before that to get the Nationals a win tonight. The Mets will counter Strasburg with last seasons Rookie of the Year Jacob deGroom on the mound for them. deGroom has been good all season long for the Mets. He’s 12-7 with a 2.40 E.R.A. in 26 starts; so the Nationals have their work cut out for them. Now even if the Mets sweep this series they’re still not home free in the N.L. East, but it would make quite the statement with under 25 games left to go in the season.

The Cubs went into St. Louis in 3rd place and they’ll leave there in 3rd place. Chicago is 6 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central and while they might be able to pass the Pittsburgh Pirates for that 1st wild card spot it will be very difficult for them to catch St. Louis at the top of the division. What is interesting is how the first 2 games of this series has played out.

Lance Lynn made the start for St. Louis in Game 1. St. Louis has had the best pitching staff in baseball this season, but Lynn lasted just 2 1/3rd innings giving up 6 runs on 7 hits and the Cubs never looked back as they cruised to a 9-0 victory. Overall the Cubs got 12 hits on the night against the Cardinals pitching staff with 4 extra base hits. Dexter Fowler doubled and homered, Addison Russell also homered while Anthony Rizzo doubled. What may be the biggest take away from Game 1 for the Cubs is the fact that Dan Haren pitched 7 scoreless innings. Haren did give up 7 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5 to even his record up at 9-9. Haren hasn’t been sharp for the Cubs since they picked him up from the Miami marlins at the trade deadline; so could this outing turn the corner for Haren?

While the score of Game 2 an 8-5 victory for the Cubs looks like a closer game it really wasn’t. The Cubs had an 8-0 lead before the Cardinals finally got to Jason Hammel and Justin Grimm for 5 runs in the bottom of the 7th to tighten the game up at 8-5. A Cubs bullpen combination of Clayton Richard, Fernando Rodney, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon who picked up his 27th save they ended the Cardinals scoring over the last 2 2/3rd innings to get the Cubs their 2nd win in a row this series. It was another rough outing for a Cardinals top starter as Michael Wacha gave up 6 runs on 6 hits over 4 innings while walking 3 and giving 2 home runs; to Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.

As the Cubs go for the sweep this afternoon they turn to Jon Lester on the mound to get the job done. While the Cubs have had a very positive season Lester has to be the biggest disappointment in it. Over his 27 starts this season he is 9-10 with an E.R.A. of 3.59. Not the kind of numbers he was expected to out up when he was signed for 6 years and $155 million this past off season. St. Louis will send out Carlos Martinez to try and avoid the sweep. Martinez is 13-7 in 25 starts with a 3.04 E.R.A. It not a must win or anything close to that for the Cardinals, but what a confidence builder this series has to have been for the Cubs. The winner of the wild card game will face St. Louis in the NLDS and if the Cubs can get by the Pirates in that wild card game they’d be hosted by the Cardinals and how nice is it for a young team to go into a place like St. Louis and not just win a series, but sweep it.

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If your favorite team plays in the NL Central and they’re not the St. Louis Cardinals is the best outcome you can hope for 2nd place already this season. When the Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright for the season with a torn Achilles I actually thought they might fall back to the other teams in the NL Central. Instead St. Louis is looking like the best team in baseball. They have the best record in baseball at 20-6 and are currently on an 8 game winning streak. Last night (Tuesday) St. Louis won a game started by Tyler Lyons. Lyons has 13 career starts; he is 2-8 with an ERA of 4.69 over 94 career innings. Now by no means was Lyons great last night against the Chicago Cubs he did keep the game close enough for the Cardinals to find a way to win the game. Lyons pitched 4 1/3rd innings giving up 6 hits, 4 runs 3 of which were earned. Lyons did strikeout 7 Cubs while walking 2 and did throw a wild pitch. Not the starting pitcher stat line you’d want every game for your team, but it was good enough last night. Of course it helps that the bullpen came through with 4 2/3rd scoreless innings. Mitch Harris picked up the win, Kevin Siegrist and Miguel Socolovich each qualified for a hold and Trevor Rosenthal close the game out to get his 9th save of the season. Down the road the Cardinals will have to find someone to be that 5th starter. Before Lyons, Tim Cooney got a start that didn’t go so well. Cooney lasted just 2 1/3rd innings giving up 7 hits, 3 runs all earned while walking 1 striking out 3 and giving up a home run. Will that 5th spot go to Marco Gonzales who almost won the spot out of spring training or will Jamie Garcia step back into the rotation once he recovers from injury. Garcia threw 70 pitches in an extended Spring Training game on Tuesday and is set to go out on a rehab assignment early next week. Gonzales has made 3 starts for Triple A Memphis this season. In 16 innings his ERA is 4.50 giving up 20 hits and 8 runs while walking 3 and striking out 13. Those are a couple of the options St. Louis might use as a 5th starter. There’s also a chance they’ll go out and make a trade a little later in the season, but St. Louis always seems to be able to fill these spots from within their  organization.

On the other end of the standings from the Cardinals, but in the NL East are the Philadelphia Phillies. Philadelphia is 10-18 through this early part of the season, but they still have the best trade piece on their roster. That begs the question; why is Cole Hamels still in a Phillies uniform? Is Philadelphia;s asking price still to high for Hamels? There have been some rumors that the Los Angeles Dodgers have kicked the tires on a deal involving Hamels. The report is that the Phillies asked for two of the three Dodgers top prospects plus. That would mean the Dodgers would have to move two of these three Joc Pedersen, Corey Seager or Julio Urias plus whatever you might have to toss in to fill out the deal. Is Hamels worth that? Don’t forget Hamels is signed through 2018 with an option for 2019. He’ll make $23.5 million every season and the 2019 option is for $20 million. Their is an option that will make his 2019 salary $24 million if it’s reached and there is also a $6 million buy out if his team doesn’t want to pick up that option. That sounds like a lot to ask for a pitcher who in 6 starts is 1-3 with an ERA of 4.14.

How much do the Cleveland Cavaliers miss Kevin Love? The Cavaliers dropped Game 1 of their 2nd round series to the Chicago Bulls at home 99-92. Cleveland will try to even up the series tonight. The Bulls where 10 of 18 (55.6%) from behind the 3-point line and 40 for 80 (50%) from the field. Can just a little better defense from Cleveland or a worse shooting night from the Bulls even this series up. The Bulls about rebounded the Cavaliers 42-39. If Love was healthy would he have altered this total. Love averaged 9.7 rebounds a game during the regular season and 7 per game in the 1st round playoff series. Or is all the Cavaliers need is J.R. Smith to return to the lineup. Smith was serving a suspension from the Cavaliers 1st round series and missed Game 1. Maybe if LeBron James just shoots better the Cavaliers will even this series. James was 9 for 22 (40.9%) from the field and didn’t make any of the his 3-point attempts; he took 3 in the game. James did have 15 rebounds and 9 assists in Game 1. Love injury is tough to factor into this series as it seemed like he never truly fit into the system. Is Cleveland having the best player in the NBA enough to get them past the Bulls in Round 2?

The other game tonight has the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Houston Rockets. The Clippers took Game 1 of this series on the road 117-101. The other two series are tied at 1-1 as the Atlanta Hawks handed the Washington Wizards their first playoff loss 106-90 in Tuesday’s first game. In the nightcap the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors 97-90 to give the Warriors their first playoff loss. I’ve never liked the way the NBA handles their playoff scheduling and this is one of the reasons why. The Hawks/Wizards series and the Warriors/Grizzlies series are off until Saturday. So all 4 teams played on Tuesday night and then they’re giving a 3 day break while the Bulls/Cavaliers series and the Rockets/Clippers series come back to play on Friday and then on Sunday. It just seems odd to me that two of the four series play every other day and the other two series manage to get a three day break in between  games 3 and 4. Of course this is part of the reason that the NBA playoffs run so long and by the time they actually crown a champion most of the casual fans no longer care who wins.

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The Washington Nationals were pretty much everyone’s pick to win the National League east and the World Series this season. Now there’s no real concern after a 3-1 opening day loss to the New York Mets, but what may become an issue are the Nationals injuries. The Nationals are starting the season with 4 players on the disabled list. Denard Span has been out since March when he had core muscle surgery. Span was the engine that got the Nationals offense rolling last season and there’s a big hole at the top of the order with him out. Span may return at the end of the month, but it may also take him a while to get into game shape against major league pitching. Span missed a big chunk of spring training and you have to wonder if a minor league rehab stint will be needed to get him back on track. Jayson Werth is still recovering from the shoulder surgery he had in January. Werth did hit in some minor league games at the end of March and it shouldn’t be too much longer before he’s able to return to the Nationals line up. Just like Span; you have to wonder how far behind Werth will be since he’s been out for 4 months. Washington needs Werth’s bat back in the middle of their line up and they may get it about the middle of this month. Nate McLouth would’ve been the guy to fill in for Werth, but he’s out as well. McLouth had shoulder surgery in August of 2014 and has a difficult time returning from it. McLouth may be back this month as well, but hiss absence has been twice as long as anyone else and you have to wonder how far away he is from being ready to hit major league pitching. Casey Janssen was brought in by the Nationals to provide a some bullpen support and take some pressure off of closer Drew Storen, but Janssen landed on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis. Janssen is another Nationals player who may return this month, but it’s his throwing arm that’s the issue and you have to wonder if this will hang around all season long with Janssen. Storen had some injury issues as well during spring training, but didn’t end up on the DL. With Janssen out and Storen having some issues; what kind of shape is the Washington bullpen in? Anthony Rendon was talked about as being the break out player of 2015, but his year has started on the DL with an MCL sprain in left knee. When Rendon first got hurt it was reported as minor and that he would miss a few days. Then the report changed to Rendon would miss the rest of spring training, but he should be good to go for the start of the season. Then as the season was getting ready to start Rendon went on the DL with his time table being set for a possibly April return. Rendon has avoided knee surgery and the Nationals are right to be very careful, but they’re also missing a huge piece of their line up. On the plus side for the Nationals none of their starting pitchers have ended up getting injury. That may be enough to keep them in games and get them some wins early in the season, but with Soan, Werth and Rendon’s bats on the sidelines they’re going to have to find ways to score runs. There’s nothing that can derail a teams run more than injuries to their key guys.

NASCAR took the week off last weekend, but they return Saturday in Texas for what has to be Dan the Man’s favorite race. the Duck Commander 500 at the 1.5 mile Texas motor speedway. Chris Olmstead from will join our podcast Friday night around 10:30 p.m. to preview this race for you. It’s a full weekend in Texas for NASCAR. On Thursday from 4:30 pm-5:30 pm there’s NASCAR Xfinity practice. The Xfinity drivers return from 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. for their final practice. Friday has a full day of activity starting at 11:30 am with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. At 2:00 p.m. the Sprint Cup drivers hit the track again for their final practice. At 4:45 pm it’s time for NASCAR Xfinity Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying. After the Xfinity guys qualify the NASCAR drivers get back on the track around 6:45 pm for their qualifying runs. Friday night wraps up with the NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reily Auto Parts 300. Then on Saturday night the Sprint Cup drivers will go 334 laps or 501 miles in the Duck Commander 500.

Now normally on the podcast it’s Dan the Man who comes up with the conspiracy theories, but I actually have one of my own. Yesterday the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs had a night game schedule at Wrigley Field. Just a little after Noon I turned on the MLB Network to catch some updates and on their crawler at the bottom of the screen there was an announcement saying the Cubs/Cardinals game had been postponed. They where siting the weather that they predicted would hit the Chicago area. While it would’ve been a tough night to play baseball the rain and wind that was being forecasts to hit Chicago area didn’t. These two teams have another game scheduled for this afternoon and the weather outside is just as bad as it was last night and there is rain in the forecast. So the question is; will they play today’s game? Now there was no make up date announced for yesterday’s day and why do I have a feeling that the date will be after the construction at Wrigley Field is done. I’m pretty sure you can see what I’m implying here. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if today’s game ends up being called off because of the predicted weather. Even though Wrigley Field didn’t look bad on television Sunday night it obviously isn’t in the condition the team would like it to be. Not to mention the more games they can play after construction is done the more people they can squeeze into the ballpark. All you have to do is remember that Cash Rules Everything Around Me!

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