Tag:NLDS
Posted on: October 4, 2011 11:06 am
 

Holliday won't be in Cardinals' Game 3 lineup

Matt Holliday

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Matt Holliday won't start Game 3 of the NL divisional series on Tuesday for the Cardinals, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Holliday has been limited to a single pinch-hit appearance, but the strained tendon in his right hand will keep him out of Tuesday's lineup. Holliday visited a hand specialist on Monday and didn't swing the bat, Strauss writes. Holliday underwent an MRI on Monday.

2011 playoffs

"It's more fun to be half full than half empty, but in this case it's tougher to be optimistic because he did feel significant pain in his one at-bat," La Russa told the newspaper. "We're kind of crossing our fingers, and I hope it's good news. But I don't know."

The team is not ready to disable Holiday, because doing so during the series would make him ineligible for the next round of the playoffs.

Holliday was used at as a pinch hitter in Game 1, striking out to end the game. He stood in the on-deck circle in Game 2, but La Russa admitted afterward he was just a decoy and was not going to hit.

The outfielder has been burdened by the injury since the last week of the season and was removed from a game in Houston on Aug. 26 because of pain in his hand when he tried to throw the ball.

Holliday hit .296/.388/.525 with 22 home runs and 75 RBI in an injury-filled 2011. Holliday needed an emergency appendectomy in the first week of the season, but missed just seven games, avoiding the disabled list. He struggled with a quad injury in May and June before finally going on the disabled list on June 1. And then in August, he had to leave a game after a moth flew into his ear. HIs latest injury came late in the season while swinging, but he had to leave last Monday's game with the Astros because he couldn't throw the ball without pain and hasn't started a game since.

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Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 8:18 pm
 

Diamondbacks return home with hope

Josh Collmenter

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

The Diamondbacks have two things going for them heading into Tuesday night's Game 3 of the National League division series -- Josh Collmenter and Chase Field.

The right-handed Collmenter has faced the Brewers twice this season, throwing a total of 14 shutout innings against the Brewers in back-to-back starts in July. Collmenter, who has an unorthodox over-the-top throwing motion, struck out 10 and walked just one in those two games against the Brewers. 

2011 playoffs

Left-hander Joe Saunders was scheduled to take the mound for Arizona in Game 3, but he hurt his hand in batting practice recently and the team wanted to give him another day of rest. Collmenter had been scheduled to go to the bullpen.

The Brewers held baseball's best home record in the regular season, going 57-24 at Miller Park and 39-42 on the road. Arizona had the National League's third-best home record at 51-30, behind just the Brewers and Phillies.

Despite the Brewers' road struggles, they did split their four games at Chase Field this season.

"You have to be confident. We were standing there like in the 8th inning, and I was talking to (Miguel Montero), and I think (Justin Upton) was over there, as crazy as it seems right now, this type of game, if you can come back and win, the momentum shifts on it," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said in Sunday's postgame news conference. "And I was specifically thinking about where we were against the Mets in 1988. We were basically three outs away from going down three games to one to Doc Gooden on the mound. So you have a will, you have to try and find a way. It's the attitude we'll take."

It will also mark the return to Chase Field of Prince Fielder, who was booed during the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game because of the new format that allowed the team captains to pick their own team. Fielder didn't pick Upton and instead took teammate Rickie Weeks, drawing the ire of the hometown fans in Phoenix -- he was booed again later in the month when the Brewers played in Arizona and should expect more boos Tuesday. Fielder, though, didn't take much offense at the time:



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Posted on: October 3, 2011 10:16 am
 

Cardinals' Holliday could miss entire NLDS

Matt Holliday

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday will have his hand examined in St. Louis on Monday and may not be able to play in the National League division series against the Phillies, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

2011 playoffs

Holliday missed the first two games of the NLDS with a strained tendon in his right palm. After taking batting practice before Saturday's game, Holliday didn't take batting practice on Sunday. Holliday has declined taking a cortisone shot, fearing it would hurt his chances to play, but has used a cortisone cream and received acupuncture.

"I left that (left field) spot open until it was confirmed as yes or now. And quickly the answer was no," La Russa told Strauss. "So I don't know about Tuesday. I know right now I'm more concerned than I was before (Saturday's) game because he took an at-bat and he did had soreness when he swung."

The Cardinals placed Holliday on the 25-man roster for the NLDS hoping he'd be able to play, but if he's replaced now, he would not be eligible for the next round of the playoffs.

"Obviously, when we put our roster together (Saturday) morning, we were optimistic he would be further along," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told the newspaper. "But I"m not prepared to say we may have to make a roster move at this point."

The Cardinals have used Lance Berkman in left field in Holliday's position, while using Allen Craig in right.

Holliday hit .296/.388/.525 with 22 home runs and 75 RBI in an injury-filled 2011. Holliday needed an emergency appendectomy in the first week of the season, but missed just seven games, avoiding the disabled list. He struggled with a quad injury in May and June before finally going on the disabled list on June 1. And then in August, he had to leave a game after a moth flew into his ear. HIs latest injury came late in the season while swinging, but he had to leave last Monday's game with the Astros because he couldn't throw the ball without pain and hasn't started a game since.

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Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:16 am
Edited on: October 3, 2011 12:26 am
 

La Russa complains about strike zone

Lee

By Evan Brunell

The Cardinals came away with a 5-4 victory in Game 2 of the NLDS to even the series at one apiece, but the game wasn't without a typical Tony La Russa complaint.

La Russa told TBS on national TV that there were two separate strike zones and that was the reason for Chris Carpenter's failed start. Carpenter was starting on three days rest, the first time he's ever done that. He was bombed for four runs over three innings and it was only due to a masterful, shutdown performance by the bullpen that the Cardinals eked out a victory.

But was La Russa right? Well, Cliff Lee had his own problems too and ended up surrendering five runs in six innings. His 12 hits allowed tied a career high, last achieving the feat on May 3, 2009 in Detroit while a member of the Indians, five teams back in Lee's mind. But Lee was dominant early on, and the below graphic shows Meals' strike zone through three innings, so it includes all of Carpenter's pitches, plus Lee's best stretch of pitching throughout the whole game, holding St. Louis scoreless through three.

Strike zone

As you can see, Meals isn't discriminating against either pitcher, although he doesn't allow the high and inside pitch to lefties. Meals may not be following the rules of a strike zone to a T, but at least he's consistent. Carpenter struggled because Meals wasn't calling the low pitch, which is Carp's bread and butter. But if you see the zone, Meals was actually spot on in not allowing Carpenter to get away with the low pitches out of the zone. Just because the umpire didn't gift Carpenter strikes doesn't give La Russa justification to go and complain about two separate zones, calling the umpire's integrity into question (although we certainly do plenty of that here at Eye on Baseball) when Meals was actually consistent on both sides. (The remainder of the game saw more of the same in Meals' strikezone.)

2011 playoffs
Both pitchers were getting squeezed, but Lee also suffered from bad luck. Some of the Cardinals' hits were flares or balls that snuck through the infield dirt. Hey, it all counts, but it's not as if Lee was getting ripped. He was dinked and dunked to death, and the hits just kept on piling up in the fourth and sixth, with Brad Lidge extricating Lee from further trouble by getting out of a no-out, first-and-third scenario.

After the game, La Russa admitted it wasn't "a great comment to make," and excused it away by saying that everyone cares too much. He later added that the Cardinals have no choice but to adjust to the strike zone that the umpire sets. Sounds like someone is trying to avoid a fine from MLB.

Next time, La Russa would do well to keep his mouth shut from the start and allow the Cardinals to do their speaking on the field. Look at what we're discussing in the postgame, after all, instead of a hard-fought Cardinals win.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 10:14 pm
 

Brewers' 'other guys' come through

Jonathan Lucroy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The guy who can't hit didn't need to -- all Jonathan Lucroy needed to do was lay down a bunt and he did that to help give Milwaukee a 9-4 victory over the Diamondbacks.

After Saturday's Brewers win, Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy said he didn't worry about pitching to the Brewers catcher because "it was a guy who can't really hit." Lucroy got Kennedy for what ended up being the winning run on a bloop single Saturday, and then drove in the winning run Sunday with his suicide squeeze in the Brewers' five-run sixth inning.

Lucroy was just one of the "other guys" who powered the team's big inning, as Milwaukee batted around in the inning.

On Saturday, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was criticized for not pitching around Prince Fielder, as the 3-4 tandem of Fielder and Ryan Braun combined to go 5 for 8 in Game 1, while the rest of the team was 3 for 23. Those two continued their dominance on Sunday, going a combined 4 for 8 with four RBI, but the "other guys" stepped up -- going 8 for 27 on the night, including three hits in the sixth.

"If we can get on base with those big guys, and two, three, four hole, that's the key a lot of times," Lucroy said at the postgame news conference. "Especially when he pitches around those guys so much. That means they've got to pitch to them, when we're on base in front of them. Like Corey (Hart) and Nyjer (Morgan)."

Sunday those guys and more came through when the Brewers needed them most. Braun and Fielder drove in four runs and the rest drove in five.

The key was the sixth inning when Jerry Hariston Jr. doubled with one out in the inning to chase Daniel Hudson from the game. Reliever Brad Ziegler then balked Hairston to third and after Yuniesky Betancourt walked, Lucroy came through with the bunt, which gave Milwaukee the lead. Saturday there were two outs for Lucroy when he hit the blooper off of Hudson, Sunday there was just one, so he could lay down the bunt. Lucroy had four sacrifice bunts during the season.

"It's always a tough call for me because I still like him offensively swinging the bat, but he's doing such a good job at the squeeze, that he's in the right spot to do it," manager Ron Roenicke said in the postgame news conference. "Sometimes you look at your lineups and you have that pitcher after him. If there's not a place to put Luc on, it's a nice play for him."

After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Mark Kotsay to put the double play back in order, Hart and Morgan came through with back-to-back RBI singles before Braun capped the scoring with an RBI single of his own. By that time, the damage was done and the guy "who can't really hit" came through.

"It don't matter to me. I just like to win," Lucroy said in the news conference. "Whether it's conventionally or unconventionally, I'll take a win any day."

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 9:38 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 9:39 pm
 

Carpenter puts Cards in 4-0 hole after two

Carpenter

By Evan Brunell

Chris Carpenter headed to the mound for Game 2 of the NLDS attempting to pitch on three days rest for the first time in his career.

Skipper Tony La Russa explained the move as wanting Carpenter to make two starts in the series as the reason for moving him up a day and slotting Jaime Garcia in Game 3. La Russa was taking a calculated risk, as three-days-rest outings in the postseason have decreased in both frequency and effectiveness over the last several seasons. And La Russa of all people should have noticed that, as his personal history bears out. Prior to Carpenter's start, La Russa started a pitcher on three days rest four times in the playoffs for St. Louis. The combined ERA for all four pitchers? 14.18. (hat tip: @BJRains)

Carpenter is more of the same, as his 18.00 ERA after two innings bears out. He needed 30 pitches just to record the first out of the game, loading the bases on a leadoff double and two walks, allowing two runners to come in on a Ryan Howard RBI single. That makrs six RBI in two postseason games for Howard, after six games last year led to zero RBI. Another run went on to score in the inning, then Carp got two quick outs in the second. Alas, Rollins doubled again to bring up Utley. Before a 3-2 pitch to Utley, TBS cameras caught La Russa yelling "s---!" He proved psychic as Utley walked, allowing Hunter Pence to drill a RBI single before Carpenter retired Howard to get out of the second.

A 4-0 hole in the playoffs is never good, but when it's scored by the Phillies, you can pretty much count the game over. With Cliff Lee on the mound, it's going to be hard enough to score one run, never mind four. Carpenter is coming out for the third inning, but unless he can turn it around quick, he won't be long for the game.

Follow the game live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 8:37 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 9:38 pm
 

Instant Reaction: Brewers 9, Diamondbacks 4

Rickie Weeks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

WP: Takashi Saito

LP: Daniel Hudson

HR: Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Braun, Chris Young, Justin Upton

Series: Brewers lead 2-0

Hero: Braun started the game's scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning and capped it with an RBI single in the five-run sixth inning. Braun's now 6 for 8 in the series with three RBI and four runs scored.

Goat: Brad Ziegler replaced Hudson with after Jerry Hairston Jr.'s sixth-inning double and had the task of just retiring two of the Brewers' worst hitters, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy. Ziegler balked to send Hairston to third and walked Betancourt on four pitches. That's when the Brewers took the lead on Lucroy's successful squeeze -- and Ziegler compounded his mistake by throwing the ball away instead of getting the sure out at first and also put runners on second and third. Ziegler intentionally walked pinch hitter Mark Kotsay before giving up three straight singles to Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan and Ryan Braun to make it 9-4. Kirk Gibson mercifully ended Ziegler's day after Braun's third RBI of the day.

Next: 10/4 at Arizona, 9:37 p.m. ET. Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54) vs. Josh Collmenter (10-10, 3.38)

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Brewers-Diamondbacks series2011 playoffs

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 10:56 pm
 

Umpire's blown call costs D-Backs' Hill a double

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Once again, an umpiring mistake has jumped to the forefront of a playoff game, even if it may not end up meaning too much in the large scheme of things. However, Arizona's Aaron Hill did get a base taken away from him in the first inning of Sunday's Game 2 of the NLDS.

With one out in the first, the Diamondbacks' second baseman hit a ball down the left-field line off of Brewers starter Zack Greinke. Umpire James Hoye, positioned on the line, called the ball foul, even as Hill scooted into second for a double. Replays showed Hill's liner hit on the fair side of a yellow stripe on the wall.

Hill went back to the plate and calmly nailed the next pitch into center for a single.

Hoye, who is working in the first postseason of his career, was in the sunlight and the ball landed into what was a shaded part of the stadium at that time. The shadows in Milwaukee have been an issue this series and may have played a part in Hoye's call.  

Greinke then got Justin Upton to pop up weakly to Prince Fielder in foul territory and struck out Miguel Montero on four pitches to end the inning. Despite that, it's impossible to say the inning was changed by the call, as pitchers pitch differently with a runner on second than they do with one on first. Chances are Greinke would get out of the inning, but there's no way to know that for sure.

Postseason games have umpires positioned on the outfield lines just for those calls. Of course, there's another way to fix those kinds of calls, but I think we here at Eye On Baseball have made our position on expanded replay clear, so no need to beat that dead horse (but feel free to do so in the comments).

More Brewers-Diamondbacks NLDS coverage 

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