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Cardinals set postseason record with 10 runs in first inning, reach NLCS

Fans were barely in their seats for the decisive fifth game of the National League Division Series before the St. Louis Cardinals made history, becoming the first team to score 10 runs in the first inning of a postseason game en route to a 13-1 win.

“I’ve never seen that in the postseason,” Cardinals veteran catcher Yadier Molina said after the blowout. “We put the ball in play. We saw the ball better.”

Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz lasted just one-third of an inning before he was pulled with the bases loaded and the home team trailing 4-0.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“I knew we had him on the ropes,” third baseman Matt Carpenter said. “I’m just trying to take a good at-bat and extend the inning. It felt like we blinked, and it was 10. It happened so fast.”6

Foltynewicz walked Carpenter with the bases loaded, the first of two walks in the inning with three Cardinals on base. Reliever Max Fried didn’t fare much better than the starter, walking Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty to make it 5-0 before allowing a pair of two-run doubles to Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong.

“One out, bases loaded, second time up in the inning, I’m just trying to put something in play to the outfield,” Fowler said.

When it looked like the Braves finally had the third out on Marcell Ozuna’s strikeout, the ball got away from catcher Brian McCann, who fell down trying to retrieve it, allowing Ozuna to reach and the 10th run to come home.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

The Braves missed a chance to get out of the inning after allowing one run. Freddie Freeman could not field a hard-hit ball that the first baseman could have turned into an inning-ending double play.

Asked after the game how much blame he thinks he should shoulder for the Braves’ elimination, Freeman said “all of it.”

“I didn’t come through,” said Freeman, who matched his hit total in the first four games by going 2-for-4 in Game 5. “I know everybody is going to say what they want to say, but it’s on me.”

Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson had his teammate’s back, saying the Braves would not have reached the postseason without Freeman.

“Freddie Freeman is one of the best players in baseball,” Donaldson said. “You never expect him to make a mistake. The guy has been on point all season long.”

Brian Snitker says Braves will need time to recover from latest playoff flop

One day later, Brian Snitker had shed his uniform but was still wearing the pain of yet another one-and-done postseason exit for the Atlanta Braves.

“It’s going to take me a while to kind of get over this whole thing,” the manager said Thursday.

Snitker and general manager Alex Anthopoulos had no quick explanations for the Braves’ record-tying 10th straight loss in a postseason round. After splitting the first four games of the National League Division Series, the Braves were bowled over and embarrassed in a 13-1 loss to St. Louis in Wednesday’s Game 5.

“You throw that one away,” Anthopoulos said, while adding that the loss was “a tough pill to swallow. … From my standpoint in the front office, we need to turn the page quick.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

The Cardinals’ knockout blow was quick and decisive — 10 runs in the first inning.5

“It happened so quick, I don’t think there was anything we could do,” Snitker said.

The Braves have won two straight NL East titles but haven’t won a postseason series since 2001. Atlanta tied the Chicago Cubs’ record for consecutive losses in playoff rounds.

The inability to end that drought hurt more than one year ago, when Atlanta lost to the Dodgers. Management and players believed this team had the talent to play deep into the postseason.

“We weren’t just glad to be here this year,” Snitker said. “There wasn’t a guy in that room just glad to be here.”

Added third baseman Josh Donaldson, who homered in the loss: “I think what is disappointing about it, I feel like all year we played better than we did today.”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

There could be significant turnover before spring training.

Catcher Brian McCann announced his retirement after the loss. Anthopoulos said the team will try to re-sign Donaldson, the third baseman who will be a free agent.

The Braves have 2020 team options — and face possibly difficult decisions — with starting pitcher Julio Teheran, outfielder Nick Markakis, catcher Tyler Flowers and others.

Reds fire hitting coach Turner Ward after one season

The Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday fired hitting coach Turner Ward after just one season.

The Reds were a disappointment on offense in 2018, finishing 12th in the National League in runs scored (701), OPS (.736) and on-base percentage (.315) and 10th in slugging percentage (.422).nfl cheap jerseys nike

“Speaking for the organization, I want to thank Turner for the work he put in on our behalf,” Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. “As we reflected on this season, it became clear that we lacked the alignment we were seeking with our offensive approach.”4

The 54-year-old Ward had joined the Reds in 2018 after working as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ hitting coach the previous three seasons.
“Turner is a friend. He worked extremely hard and put in a lot of time and effort working with our hitters. He built relationships here, and he will be missed,” manager David Bell said, according to MLB.com.

Bell said that assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker will remain on his staff. The team will begin searching for Ward’s replacement, as well as a replacement for minor league hitting coordinator Milt Thompson, who also was not retained.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“We’re putting the process in place of getting all of that working together and aligned,” Bell said, according to MLB.com. “That is something our organization has really identified as important to us. We need it. Of course, players are in a different point in their development between the major leagues and minor leagues. But it just all has to work together.”

The Reds (75-87) finished fourth in the National League Central this season.

Braves’ Dallas Keuchel to face Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas in Game 1

Braves left-hander Dallas Keuchel will face Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday night.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Each team announced its starting pitcher on Tuesday.6

Keuchel, who has nine career postseason starts, went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 19 starts after signing a one-year deal with Atlanta. He will face the Cardinals for the first time since 2016.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Mikolas was 9-14 with a 4.17 ERA in 32 starts for the Cardinals. He will make his postseason debut.

Brewers seal playoff spot, eliminating Cubs, Mets

The Milwaukee Brewers continued their scorching September with their 19th win of the month Wednesday, clinching a postseason berth and eliminating both the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs in the process.

The Brewers’ 9-2 victory at Cincinnati brought the team to 88-70, a far cry from Sept. 5, when Milwaukee was only three games over .500 — with the same 71-68 record as the Mets and five games behind the Cubs for the National League’s second wild-card spot.

But despite losing MVP candidate Christian Yelich to a fractured kneecap Sept. 10, the Brewers have won 17 of their past 19 games to secure a playoff spot in consecutive years for just the second time in franchise history.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“I’m sure a lot of people wrote us off and said we couldn’t do it for numerous reasons,” he said. “Like I said, we believed the talent in this room, the kind of guys that we have and just the culture we’ve built and continue to build here. Really proud of all these guys. They’ve done an incredible job especially on the run that we have in September.”6

Maddon’s future with the Cubs remains uncertain with his contract set to expire, but pitcher Jon Lester said the manager’s critics should consider his full tenure with the ballclub.

“I can’t say enough positives about what Joe has done, flat out for this organization,” Lester said. “Up until this year we led MLB in wins. That’s a testament to him. We broke a 108-year curse. No matter what happens, if he continues here, it’s gravy. If he doesn’t, he should be revered as a legend in this town for a long, long time.”

The Mets could not keep up the pace that saw them win 15 of 16 games in July and August, and they will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season despite increasing their win total over the past two years, from 70 in 2017 to 77 in 2018 to 83 so far this year.

“It’s tough, but I thought we played pretty good baseball down the stretch to stay in it,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “Obviously, Milwaukee was just off the charts and nobody was catching them.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Mets relievers’ ERA of 5.01 is the sixth-worst in the majors this year, continuing a trend. Since making the World Series in 2015, the Mets have posted the fourth-worst relief ERA in MLB at 4.58, after compiling a 3.40 ERA in 2015.

“I guess now the fat lady’s singing,” said Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who hit his 51st home run Wednesday to pull within one of Aaron Judge’s rookie record. “It’s unfortunate, but we came back so awesome and the way we went about our business is spectacular. So it’s bittersweet, if I had to put it shortly. When we finally put it together for a full 162, it’s going to be scary.”

The Brewers will join the Cardinals, Braves, Nationals and Dodgers in the National League field this year, but they still have a chance to win the division, at just 1½ games behind St. Louis with four games to play.

Maddon: Don’t care if Cubs’ lineup irks Brewers

The Chicago Cubs will have a say in the NL Central race after all — albeit as spoilers only.

The Cubs finish their regular season this weekend in St. Louis, where the first-place Cardinals are holding on to a one-game lead on the surging Milwaukee Brewers.

Already eliminated from the postseason this week, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked if he’ll play his regular lineup against the Cards.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“We’re going to put a good team out there, but of course they’re going to bitch,” Maddon said with a laugh. “Of course they are. I get it. But quite frankly, there are certain things I don’t give a s— about. And that would be one of them.”5

Cubs pitchers Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish have been shut down, and stars Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez are all nursing injuries. Righty Alec Mills will start Friday’s series opener against Dakota Hudson, and Cole Hamels is slated to pitch a few innings Saturday against Cards starter Miles Mikolas. Hamels has been out with a sore shoulder and is only pitching to prove he’s healthy entering free agency.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“This is the first time I’m going into free agency and I don’t want that in the back of team’s heads,” Hamels said.

The Cubs haven’t announced a starter for Sunday and could just go with a “bullpen game.” Maddon says his team will still compete; it just won’t be with many of the regulars.

“I will put out the guys that I think are the appropriate guys to play based on what’s good for our people, not for their people,” he said. “But we’re going to put a good team out there, regardless.”

The Brewers complete their regular season in Colorado, having already clinched at least a wild-card spot. The Cardinals, who swept a four-game series against the Cubs last weekend, also have locked up at least a wild card.

Entering Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago had lost eight straight.

Realmuto sits out Phils’ loss with knee soreness

Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto sat out Monday night’s 7-2 loss to the Nationals with right knee soreness after leaving Sunday’s loss in Cleveland in the eighth inning.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Realmuto, who is hitting .275 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs, has started 130 of Philadelphia’s 154 games at catcher. He made his second All-Star Game appearance this year.6

“J.T. was prepared today,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He was open about being willing to play today. It was a decision I made on his behalf to protect him and look out for his best interests.”

Realmuto said he suffered the injury while running out a double-play grounder in the fifth inning. He said he didn’t feel anything while running but experienced discomfort while catching.cheap nike nfl jersey

He said he would undergo an MRI as a precautionary measure.

“I don’t want to take any chances,” Realmuto said. “I don’t see it being anything too serious. I should feel better tomorrow.”

Alonso slugs 50th, now 2 away from Judge’s mark

The rookie Mets slugger hit his major-league-leading 50th home run of the season Friday, sending a towering two-run shot to deep right-center field in the eighth inning to help send New York to an 8-1 victory against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Alonso became the second rookie in major league history to hit 50 home runs and is just two shy of the mark set by the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who hit 52 in his first season in 2017. Alonso and the Mets have nine games left in the regular season.

“That’s just mind-boggling to me,” Alonso told SNY. “I’m a huge baseball fan. I’ve always been a baseball fan my entire life, and there’s so many great players who played this game. It’s just nuts — it’s just nuts to think about.”

Reds reliever Sal Romano was the victim Friday, as he watched Alonso crush a down-and-away 96 mph fastball some 437 feet at Great American Ball Park. It was Alonso’s 34th home run of at least 400 feet; the only other players with more than 30 such homers this year are the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout (32) and Kansas City Royals’ Jorge Soler (31).cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“The catcher reached down and to the right, and he reached out and flicked it to the steam towers,” New York manager Mickey Callaway said. “It was a well-executed pitch. I don’t know what you do if you’re a pitcher. [Former Red] Todd Frazier said he’s never seen a left-hander hit one there.”5

At 24 years, 287 days, Alonso is the third-youngest player to hit 50 in a season. Only Prince Fielder (23 years, 139 days) and Willie Mays (24, 137) were younger.

Alonso leads Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez by two for most home runs in the majors.

“I just wanted to be the best I can every single day,” Alonso told SNY when asked if he ever thought his rookie season would unfold as it has. “Maybe later on in my career. I didn’t know that it’d happen right away. I was striving to be the best I can every single day. Just hard work, dedication has paid off. It’s such a tremendous feeling.”

Alonso became the 30th player in major league history to have at least one season with 50-plus homers. The most recent nonrookie to hit 50 home runs in a season for New York’s teams was Alex Rodriguez, who had 54 en route to winning American League MVP in 2007.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

It’s been a record-setting season already for Alonso. He set the National League rookie home run mark with his 40th more than a month ago. The following week, he set the Mets’ franchise home run record with his 42nd.

The Mets are the 21st franchise with a 50-homer hitter and the 12th in the NL. The only NL franchises without one are the Rockies, Dodgers and Nationals.

White Sox shut down RHP Giolito with lat strain

The All-Star right-hander will miss the rest of the season with a mild lat strain. He was slated to pitch for the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday at Minnesota, but the team announced the injury after its 5-3 loss to the Twins in the series opener.

“If we were in the playoff hunt at this point, I’d be arguing as much as I could to go out there and pitch and compete,” Giolito said Monday. “I feel like with how I felt yesterday, I probably would have been able to get through it, but just understanding the situation, it’s probably for the best to shut it down.’‘cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The 25-year-old Giolito went 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA in 29 starts this year. He also recorded the first three complete games of his career.

Even with Giolito’s performance, the White Sox are a distant third in the AL Central, with a 65-85 record.7

“Certainly an incredible season for Lucas, even though it’s a couple starts short of a full season,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “Still one that, in my opinion, certainly merits Cy Young consideration, and I suspect he’ll receive some votes here once the votes are ultimately tabulated and something that he can obviously go into the offseason feeling proud about.”

Hahn said Giolito felt something Sunday when he went to throw a side session. An MRI on Monday revealed the lat strain, which Hahn said would typically require several weeks of recovery.

Ross Detwiler will start Tuesday in Giolito’s place.

Giolito was acquired in the December 2016 trade that sent Adam Eaton to Washington. He was selected by the Nationals in the first round of the 2012 draft.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“He’s doing ace-type stuff, and we’ll let time tell us as we continue to throw him out there and compete, what you guys will ultimately want to label him,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I see him as an ace-type guy.”

As wild-card race heats up, you gotta believe … in Pete Alonso

In his rookie season for the record books, Pete Alonso is tied with the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez for the major league lead with 47 home runs, shattering the New York Mets’ team record of 41, and he has a chance to break Aaron Judge’s rookie mark of 52. He ranks in the top 10 in the majors in RBIs and second with nine home runs in “late and close” situations, has the third hardest-hit ball of the season at 118.3 mph, has hit better against winning teams (.987 OPS) than losing teams (.871 OPS) and has even survived getting hit by 20 pitches.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In a Mets season typically full of injuries and various soap opera subplots, Alonso has been the constant: He’s been mashing all year long.

Those are just the numbers. Alonso’s impact for the Mets goes beyond the home runs hit and the runs driven in. Mets broadcaster Ron Darling put it perfectly the other day in describing how Alonso has become the face of the franchise: “Some people come to New York and play for the New York baseball team, and some become New Yorkers.”5

Alonso has not only successfully navigated major league pitching, but he’s successfully navigated New York like few players before him. That’s not an easy task. I don’t always completely buy into the “It’s tougher to play in New York (or Boston) than other cities,” but there’s something to the mantra. There’s more media and a portion of that media can be unrelentingly critical even when things are going right. The fans are passionate, but also quick to turn on you when things go wrong.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Like Mike Piazza, however, Alonso simply has that “it” factor, that larger-than-life personality. He has embraced New York and Mets fans have embraced him. Yes, 47 home runs goes a long way to winning over the fans, but what’s not to love?

If there’s one area of improvement for Alonso, it’s cutting down on his chase rate. At 31%, he’s above the league average of 28.8%. As he sees a steady of diet of sliders and curveballs, he should learn to lay off some of those pitches and either see a higher walk rate or see more fastballs that he might pummel.

For now, it’s about getting into one final hot streak these last two weeks. The Mets have a tough path to the wild card, but if anyone can carry them to the postseason, it’s the big kid with the big heart and the big swing.