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Giancarlo Stanton to Dodgers Trade Talks Rumored to Have ‘Little Momentum’

The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly talked with the Miami Marlins about Giancarlo Stanton, but "there is little momentum to those talks," according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

McCullough added, "The Dodgers have a reputation for doing due diligence on basically every elite-level talent who comes onto the market."

         

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Giancarlo Stanton Trade Rumors: Star Won’t Accept Red Sox, Cardinals Deals

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton reportedly will not accept a trade to the Boston Red Sox or St. Louis Cardinals, according to Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald.

Stanton has a no-trade clause as a part of his contract, giving him the ability to accept or decline any deals the Marlins agree to with another team.

         

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Ned Yost Talks Breaking Pelvis in Fall: ‘I Would Have Been Dead by Nightfall’

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost broke his pelvis after falling from a tree in Georgia last week. On Monday, he spoke about the severity of the life-threatening injury.

"There's no doubt I would have bled out if I didn't have my cellphone with me," he told Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. "There was nobody that was coming. Nobody would have found me. I would have been dead by nightfall."

He continued, "The trauma surgeon said, 'Man, Ned, I was really scared about you. We've seen these things before—this is a 25-30 percent mortality rate. You were crashing on the table. We couldn't get the bleeding stopped. I thought we were going to lose you.'"

Yost also confirmed he would need a wheelchair for two months:

         

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Carlos Beltran Announces Retirement After 20-Year MLB Career

Veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran announced his retirement Monday in a post on The Players' Tribune:

"I am blessed to have played this game for 20 years.

"I am blessed to have played for so many great organizations.

"I am blessed to have shared all of my experiences with my wife and my three kids, my family and friends. To have so many loving fans. To have been able to build a school in Puerto Rico and change the lives of so many kids. To have won the Roberto Clemente Award, which is the greatest honor I could have ever received as a ballplayer.

"And I am blessed to be a champion.

"But now, my time as a player has come to an end.

"Today, I am officially announcing my retirement.

"Muchas gracias, beisbol.

"I can't wait for what the next chapter holds."

Beltran, 40, had a solid season with the Houston Astros in 2017, hitting .231 with 14 homers and 51 RBI in 129 regular-season games. For his career, he hit .279 with 435 home runs, 1,587 RBI and 2,725 hits.

The nine-time All-Star and 1999 American League Rookie of the Year was superb in the postseason in his career, hitting .307 with 15 homers and 42 RBI in 65 career playoff games. While he didn't play a major role in the postseason for the Astros this past year, he was a part of the team that earned the title over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

If nothing else, his postseason experience was valuable for the Astros in October.

"Me being able to play in previous October games, I try to pass on to them that it's fun, yes, it's a lot of pressure, but at the end of the day, you have to be able to manage your emotions, be able to go out there and do whatever you have to do," he said during the 2017 ALCS against the New York Yankees, per Howie Kussoy of the New York Post.

He continued, "I'm passionate about passing on the things that I have learned in the game of baseball. It has been a fun year for me being the veteran guy, being around so many young guys. ... And honestly, it's a blessing [to have] this opportunity at this time in my career."

Beltran will present an interesting case to Hall of Fame voters once he's eligible for potential enshrinement to Cooperstown. 

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MLB Trade Rumors: Jackie Bradley Jr., Giancarlo Stanton and More

The trade rumors are coming in fast and furious now, like a brushback pitch between heated rivals. Below, we'll break down a few of the more intriguing rumors surrounding some of the biggest names potentially on the trade block.

             

Jackie Bradley Jr.

The San Francisco Giants are reportedly interested in making a move for Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., according to Jon Morosi of the MLB Network:

That second tweet is perhaps key, with Giancarlo Stanton a potential target for the Red Sox (more on that later). 

Bradley, 27, is coming off a somewhat disappointing season after hitting just .245 with 17 homers, 63 RBI and 58 runs in 133 games. He couldn't quite build upon his breakout 2016 season when he ripped 26 home runs, 87 RBI and scored 94 runs.

The Giants could use an infusion of offense after finishing 29th in the NL in runs scored (639) in 2017 and 30th in homers (128). While Bradley wouldn't represent the potential offensive boon that a few of the players discussed below would offer, he would certainly be an upgrade in San Francisco's offense.

And if the Red Sox do make a move for Stanton, Bradley could either be a trade chip in a three-way deal or bring back a few prospects if they move some of their talented young players in a deal with the Marlins.

           

Giancarlo Stanton

No bigger name is likely to change uniforms than Stanton this offseason, and not surprisingly, no player has had more rumors this fall than the Miami slugger. Let's round up the latest.

Morosi reported on Friday that the Marlins have had "preliminary discussions" with the Red Sox, Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, while Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports noted that the "Giants, Cardinals and Phillies have been the most consistent pursuers of Stanton since last summer."

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported on Saturday that, "According to a Major League source, talks between the Red Sox and Marlins involving a trade for the slugger 'may be heating up.'"

He continued: "'They're definitely in play,' the source said of the Red Sox, who are at least exploring the possibility of acquiring the Majors' reigning home run king."

For the Red Sox, Stanton would be the sort of major splash the organization likes to make each winter. In St. Louis and San Francisco, meanwhile, he would be a much-needed infusion of power for rosters perhaps a superstar away from being playoff contenders. And in Philadelphia, he would be the face of the franchise for a team that has been undergoing a slow rebuild but may have several talented young players promoted from the farm system this upcoming season. 

Without question, Stanton's 59 home runs with 132 RBI make him intriguing for any team. It's his no-trade clause and the $295 million he's owed over the next 10 years—along with an opt-out in three years—that complicates matters.

Heyman added further context to the no-trade clause and how it could affect talks:

"[While] he only has said that he isn't up for a rebuild, telling FanRag Sports two months ago in late September that he'd prefer not to endure yet another rebuild, he has the option of declining any deal, and thus has a lot of the power. Though he hasn't discussed anything besides his preference to play for a competitive team, others around the team suspect he prefers one of the coasts, and possibly most prefers the West Coast if given the choice."

Advantage: Giants. But this trade saga should take plenty of twists and turns and could end up being one of the more complex transactions in recent memory when everything is settled.

              

Josh Donaldson

Alongside their interest in Stanton, the Cardinals are also gauging the Toronto Blue Jays willingness to trade former MVP Josh Donaldson, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

If the Cardinals fail to land Stanton, Donaldson would be a heck of a consolation prize. The Blue Jays third baseman has ripped 101 homers and 300 RBI the past three seasons in Toronto, establishing himself as one of the top power hitters in baseball.

But would Toronto—following a disappointing 76-86 season—be willing to deal their 31-year-old slugger?

At the moment, the answer appears to be no. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reported Friday that the team has "zero intention" of trading Donaldson despite his looming free agency. Things change fast, of course, but perhaps put a pin in this rumor for now.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Jackie Bradley Jr., Giancarlo Stanton and More

The trade rumors are coming in fast and furious now, like a brushback pitch between heated rivals. Below, we'll break down a few of the more intriguing rumors surrounding some of the biggest names potentially on the trade block.

             

Jackie Bradley Jr.

The San Francisco Giants are reportedly interested in making a move for Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., according to Jon Morosi of the MLB Network:

That second tweet is perhaps key, with Giancarlo Stanton a potential target for the Red Sox (more on that later). 

Bradley, 27, is coming off a somewhat disappointing season after hitting just .245 with 17 homers, 63 RBI and 58 runs in 133 games. He couldn't quite build upon his breakout 2016 season when he ripped 26 home runs, 87 RBI and scored 94 runs.

The Giants could use an infusion of offense after finishing 29th in the NL in runs scored (639) in 2017 and 30th in homers (128). While Bradley wouldn't represent the potential offensive boon that a few of the players discussed below would offer, he would certainly be an upgrade in San Francisco's offense.

And if the Red Sox do make a move for Stanton, Bradley could either be a trade chip in a three-way deal or bring back a few prospects if they move some of their talented young players in a deal with the Marlins.

           

Giancarlo Stanton

No bigger name is likely to change uniforms than Stanton this offseason, and not surprisingly, no player has had more rumors this fall than the Miami slugger. Let's round up the latest.

Morosi reported on Friday that the Marlins have had "preliminary discussions" with the Red Sox, Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, while Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports noted that the "Giants, Cardinals and Phillies have been the most consistent pursuers of Stanton since last summer."

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported on Saturday that, "According to a Major League source, talks between the Red Sox and Marlins involving a trade for the slugger 'may be heating up.'"

He continued: "'They're definitely in play,' the source said of the Red Sox, who are at least exploring the possibility of acquiring the Majors' reigning home run king."

For the Red Sox, Stanton would be the sort of major splash the organization likes to make each winter. In St. Louis and San Francisco, meanwhile, he would be a much-needed infusion of power for rosters perhaps a superstar away from being playoff contenders. And in Philadelphia, he would be the face of the franchise for a team that has been undergoing a slow rebuild but may have several talented young players promoted from the farm system this upcoming season. 

Without question, Stanton's 59 home runs with 132 RBI make him intriguing for any team. It's his no-trade clause and the $295 million he's owed over the next 10 years—along with an opt-out in three years—that complicates matters.

Heyman added further context to the no-trade clause and how it could affect talks:

"[While] he only has said that he isn't up for a rebuild, telling FanRag Sports two months ago in late September that he'd prefer not to endure yet another rebuild, he has the option of declining any deal, and thus has a lot of the power. Though he hasn't discussed anything besides his preference to play for a competitive team, others around the team suspect he prefers one of the coasts, and possibly most prefers the West Coast if given the choice."

Advantage: Giants. But this trade saga should take plenty of twists and turns and could end up being one of the more complex transactions in recent memory when everything is settled.

              

Josh Donaldson

Alongside their interest in Stanton, the Cardinals are also gauging the Toronto Blue Jays willingness to trade former MVP Josh Donaldson, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

If the Cardinals fail to land Stanton, Donaldson would be a heck of a consolation prize. The Blue Jays third baseman has ripped 101 homers and 300 RBI the past three seasons in Toronto, establishing himself as one of the top power hitters in baseball.

But would Toronto—following a disappointing 76-86 season—be willing to deal their 31-year-old slugger?

At the moment, the answer appears to be no. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reported Friday that the team has "zero intention" of trading Donaldson despite his looming free agency. Things change fast, of course, but perhaps put a pin in this rumor for now.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Giancarlo Stanton Trade Rumors: Cardinals ‘Determined’ in Pursuit of Marlins RF

The St. Louis Cardinals have "had discussions already with Miami about trading for MVP candidate Giancarlo Stanton," according to 

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich

As long as Giancarlo Stanton remains a member of the Miami Marlins, the organization will be the epicenter of any MLB trade rumors.

After all, Stanton is a superstar slugger with an immense contract on a rebuilding team. He's a prime candidate to be moved, and there's enough smoke surrounding his name to suggest a fire is roaring behind closed doors.

His teammate, Christian Yelich, could also be on the move.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Cardinals "believe their best bet for a bat is via trade, and they'll engage in talks with the Marlins about Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich as well as options yet to surface."

As Goold noted, the Cardinals have two major goals for the offseason: adding a slugger and adding a closer.

Both Stanton, 27, and Yelich, 25, could provide the former. Stanton is coming off easily his best season as a pro after hitting .281 with 59 homers and 132 RBI. Yelich didn't come near those numbers—nobody in baseball did either—but he still hit .282 with 18 dingers and 81 RBI.

But Yelich may be more tradable than Stanton given their respective contracts. Consider the following from baseball writer Peter Gammons, who touched on the Stanton situation while touching upon Boston's desire to add a slugger:

"The Red Sox have not reached out to Stanton's agent Joel Wolfe, and they probably understand that not only is Stanton's contract sizeable, he—and no one else—will decide where he goes because of that contract.

"Boston is an unlikely choice (although Stanton's mother is from Ponce), and while the Cardinals have reportedly made one of their best young pitchers available if the Derek Jeter ownership will take back some of the money, there is no comparable pitching in the upper half of the Boston system right now even if in the unlikely event Stanton says he'd go there that they could agree on player compensation.

"Understand: in the last week three different general managers of profitable market teams have said that if Stanton were put on waivers, he would, like Manny Ramirez 12 years ago, go unclaimed. That's complicated."

Complicated, but perhaps not surprising. Stanton is just two years into a 13-year, $325 million contract, per Spotrac.com. While Stanton can opt out of the deal after the 2020 season, why would he? Is another team going to offer him more money than he'll make between 2021-28? Probably not.

Yelich, meanwhile, is due a far more affordable $61.2 million over the next five seasons, with a club option in 2022. That's not only more appealing for other clubs around baseball, along with the fact that Yelich is two years younger than Stanton, it's also more appealing to Miami.

And in late October, Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported that the Marlins hoped to trade Stanton, second baseman Dee Gordon and third baseman Martin Prado to trim budget, all in the hopes of cutting the payroll to $90 million. 

Per that report, meanwhile, the team would prefer to hold onto Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour and Dan Straily.

It's a new era in Miami under Jeter and his ownership group, and the Opening Day roster in 2018 could look drastically different. It continues to appear as though Stanton will be donning a new uniform come March. Yelich, on the other hand, seems more likely to stay.

Even he could be on the chopping block in the race to lower payroll, however. 

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Lorena Martin Hired by Mariners in New Role for Injury Rehab, Prevention

The Seattle Mariners hired Lorena Martin to serve as the team’s director of high performance, per Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, a role that will see Martin "oversee the medical, strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental skills departments."  

"We started opening doors I don’t know if anyone in baseball had really opened in the high-performance world," general manager Jerry Dipoto told Stone. "And we started realizing, 'Oh, my gosh, there's so much out there that we were not aware of, because we were always working in our close-minded baseball world.' That's where I've been for three decades."

Dipoto's goal is to limit the time players spend on the disabled list in the upcoming seasons by 25 percent, per Stone, and in Martin, they hired someone with an extensive background in a number of concentrations.

According to Stone, she has "a masters in psychology from Nova Southeastern University, a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from the University of Miami, and three post-doctorates in GIS spatial analysis, biostatistics and epidemiology from the University of California-San Diego, plus fluency in Spanish and status as a certified athletic trainer, certified strength coach and certified nutritionist."

For a Mariners team that dealt with constant injuries throughout the 2017 season and had to use a franchise-record 40 pitchers throughout the year, a cutting-edge approach to its health and training staff makes sense. Stone noted the team lost 1,477 days to injuries in the 2017 season, which certainly isn't conducive to winning should it become a pattern.

For the 78-84 Mariners, those health issues could have been the difference between reaching the postseason and missing October baseball. The team finished seven games out of the wild-card chase behind the Minnesota Twins.

Martin previously worked as a the director of performance analytics for the Los Angeles Lakers, but her new role with the Mariners will offer her the opportunity to utilize her varied background.

"My way of visualizing this is that everyone has an equation for how they best perform," she said. "There are certain things psychologically and physically that get that person into their zone to perform at their best. So finding that optimum for each player—I can't tell you all the tricks of the trade, but finding that for each player and putting that into practice is what I’m here to do."

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Report: Braves’ John Hart Had No Role in Rule Violations That Led to GM’s Exit

Atlanta Braves President John Hart reportedly was not involved in any of the infractions that ultimately led to former general manager John Coppolella and international scouting director Gordon Blakeley resigning in early October, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

Per Crasnick, "The Braves broke MLB rules related to both the domestic amateur draft and the international signing market."

          

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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A’s Catcher Bruce Maxwell Reportedly Arrested for Assault with Deadly Weapon

Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell was reportedly arrested in his Scottsdale, Arizona, home Saturday night and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after allegedly pointing a gun at a female food delivery driver, per TMZ Sports.

Maxwell remains in police custody.

          

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Dodgers vs. Astros: Game 3 Live Stream, TV Schedule and Latest Comments

After Game 2 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, Game 3 can't come soon enough.

Below, we'll break down all the relevant viewing information, preview Game 3 and share some comments from both teams following Wednesday's epic showdown.        

When: Friday, Oct. 27, at 8:09 p.m. ET

WhereMinute Maid Park, Houston

Watch: Fox

Stream: Fox Sports Go

          

Game 2 Preview and Comments

Game 2 was an instant classic, with the Astros holding off the Dodgers, 7-6, in 11 innings. It was a game that will live on in baseball history.

It featured eight home runs, an amazing first pitch narrated by the legendary Vin Scully, a baseball bouncing off the brim of Chris Taylor's hat in center field and bouncing to Joc Pederson (likely saving a run), brush fires starting in the vicinity of the ballpark, the Astros ending the L.A. bullpen's 28-inning scoreless streak, Marwin Gonzalez homering in the top of the ninth to force extra innings, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa blasting back-to-back homers in the top of the 10th that was followed by Correa's exaggerated bat flip, a fan jumping into the Astros bullpen before being escorted from the stadium, the Dodgers tying the game in the bottom of the 10th and that included Yasiel Puig blasting a homer and literally placing his bat on the ground in lieu of a bat flip, Chris Devenski hitting second-base umpire Laz Diaz with a pickoff attempt that amazingly helped the Astros as it kept the ball from sailing into the outfield, George Springer ripping a go-ahead, two-run homer in the top of the 11th, the Dodgers going through their entire bullpen, and Charlie Culberson hitting a solo shot in the bottom of the 11th, albeit in vain, as the Dodgers ultimately came up a run short.

Phew. Got all that?

"I've been part of some pretty exciting games, but with all that this one entailed to be in the World Series and to be down a game, the roller coaster of emotion," Justin Verlander, who started Game 2 for the Astros, told David Schoenfield of ESPN.com. "This is an instant classic, and to be able to be part of it is pretty special."

Houston's Alex Bregman summed it up more simply.

"Was that not the best baseball game ever?" he asked, according to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.

There's still the matter of winning three more games, of course. And with the next three games in Houston, the Astros have the opportunity to wrap things up at home. On the other hand, pulling off four straight wins against an excellent Dodgers team is a tall task.

And the Dodgers don't appear to be shook.

"If you look at the season, we sort of gave ourselves some breathing room out of the gate, and throughout the postseason won games early," manager Dave Roberts noted, per Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com. "But I still think that the preparation, the focus on each day to win each day, I think that will be there. Whether we're up 2-0 or tied 1-1 going into Houston, I don't think that's going to change our mindset."

Joc Pederson shared a similar sentiment.

"There's a lot of ways we can take this," he said "Sometimes you've just got to tip your cap and give the other team some credit. They've got a really good ballclub and a really good lineup."

There were questions after the game about whether Roberts should have pulled starter Rich Hill after just four innings or asked Kenley Jansen to get six outs. And there will be questions if L.A.'s dominant bullpen can regain its form after the Astros lit them up for six runs Wednesday. 

The prevailing storyline coming into this series was the Dodgers' excellent pitching against baseball's most productive and explosive lineup this season. In Game 1, Clayton Kershaw and the team's bullpen prevailed in a 3-1 win.

In Game 2—eight innings into Game 2, more precisely—Houston's bats came alive.

Game 3 is pivotal. Houston is an impressive 5-0 at home this postseason, and their starting pitcher, Lance McCullers Jr., has given up just six hits and three runs in 13.0 innings in the playoffs. He'll face Yu Darvish, who has gone 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 11.1 innings this postseason.

While the Astros have plenty of familiarity with Darvish—they faced him twice this year, managing four runs in 12 innings while he was still with the Texas Rangers—they know he's still a daunting matchup.

"We've had history with him," manager A.J. Hinch noted, per Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. "It doesn't guarantee anything. There's no more comfort facing Darvish on Friday than there was three months ago in Texas. We'll have more information on him, but the games will have to be played on the field."

The Dodgers, on the other hand, have to deal with McCullers' curveball. In Game 7 of the ALCS, McCullers amazingly threw 24 straight curves to put away the New York Yank.

"I've never been around or never caught a pitcher like McCullers, who literally the last [24] pitches you don't even have to put a sign down," Hinch said. "[Brian] McCann just said, 'Bring it.' And it shows the quality of the pitch. He's not sneaking up on anybody with his stuff. People know."

Are you excited for Game 3 yet? 

You should be. If Game 2 was any indication, this series has all the makings of an all-timer.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Dodgers vs. Astros: Game 3 Live Stream, TV Schedule and Latest Comments

After Game 2 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, Game 3 can't come soon enough.

Below, we'll break down all the relevant viewing information, preview Game 3 and share some comments from both teams following Wednesday's epic showdown.        

When: Friday, Oct. 27, at 8:09 p.m. ET

WhereMinute Maid Park, Houston

Watch: Fox

Stream: Fox Sports Go

          

Game 2 Preview and Comments

Game 2 was an instant classic, with the Astros holding off the Dodgers, 7-6, in 11 innings. It was a game that will live on in baseball history.

It featured eight home runs, an amazing first pitch narrated by the legendary Vin Scully, a baseball bouncing off the brim of Chris Taylor's hat in center field and bouncing to Joc Pederson (likely saving a run), brush fires starting in the vicinity of the ballpark, the Astros ending the L.A. bullpen's 28-inning scoreless streak, Marwin Gonzalez homering in the top of the ninth to force extra innings, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa blasting back-to-back homers in the top of the 10th that was followed by Correa's exaggerated bat flip, a fan jumping into the Astros bullpen before being escorted from the stadium, the Dodgers tying the game in the bottom of the 10th and that included Yasiel Puig blasting a homer and literally placing his bat on the ground in lieu of a bat flip, Chris Devenski hitting second-base umpire Laz Diaz with a pickoff attempt that amazingly helped the Astros as it kept the ball from sailing into the outfield, George Springer ripping a go-ahead, two-run homer in the top of the 11th, the Dodgers going through their entire bullpen, and Charlie Culberson hitting a solo shot in the bottom of the 11th, albeit in vain, as the Dodgers ultimately came up a run short.

Phew. Got all that?

"I've been part of some pretty exciting games, but with all that this one entailed to be in the World Series and to be down a game, the roller coaster of emotion," Justin Verlander, who started Game 2 for the Astros, told David Schoenfield of ESPN.com. "This is an instant classic, and to be able to be part of it is pretty special."

Houston's Alex Bregman summed it up more simply.

"Was that not the best baseball game ever?" he asked, according to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.

There's still the matter of winning three more games, of course. And with the next three games in Houston, the Astros have the opportunity to wrap things up at home. On the other hand, pulling off four straight wins against an excellent Dodgers team is a tall task.

And the Dodgers don't appear to be shook.

"If you look at the season, we sort of gave ourselves some breathing room out of the gate, and throughout the postseason won games early," manager Dave Roberts noted, per Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com. "But I still think that the preparation, the focus on each day to win each day, I think that will be there. Whether we're up 2-0 or tied 1-1 going into Houston, I don't think that's going to change our mindset."

Joc Pederson shared a similar sentiment.

"There's a lot of ways we can take this," he said "Sometimes you've just got to tip your cap and give the other team some credit. They've got a really good ballclub and a really good lineup."

There were questions after the game about whether Roberts should have pulled starter Rich Hill after just four innings or asked Kenley Jansen to get six outs. And there will be questions if L.A.'s dominant bullpen can regain its form after the Astros lit them up for six runs Wednesday. 

The prevailing storyline coming into this series was the Dodgers' excellent pitching against baseball's most productive and explosive lineup this season. In Game 1, Clayton Kershaw and the team's bullpen prevailed in a 3-1 win.

In Game 2—eight innings into Game 2, more precisely—Houston's bats came alive.

Game 3 is pivotal. Houston is an impressive 5-0 at home this postseason, and their starting pitcher, Lance McCullers Jr., has given up just six hits and three runs in 13.0 innings in the playoffs. He'll face Yu Darvish, who has gone 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 11.1 innings this postseason.

While the Astros have plenty of familiarity with Darvish—they faced him twice this year, managing four runs in 12 innings while he was still with the Texas Rangers—they know he's still a daunting matchup.

"We've had history with him," manager A.J. Hinch noted, per Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. "It doesn't guarantee anything. There's no more comfort facing Darvish on Friday than there was three months ago in Texas. We'll have more information on him, but the games will have to be played on the field."

The Dodgers, on the other hand, have to deal with McCullers' curveball. In Game 7 of the ALCS, McCullers amazingly threw 24 straight curves to put away the New York Yank.

"I've never been around or never caught a pitcher like McCullers, who literally the last [24] pitches you don't even have to put a sign down," Hinch said. "[Brian] McCann just said, 'Bring it.' And it shows the quality of the pitch. He's not sneaking up on anybody with his stuff. People know."

Are you excited for Game 3 yet? 

You should be. If Game 2 was any indication, this series has all the makings of an all-timer.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Astros vs. Dodgers: Game 1 Live-Stream Schedule and Pre-Series Comments

The Fall Classic is upon us and features two of the three best teams from the regular season in the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. That has set up an intriguing World Series matchup, with Game 1 scheduled for Tuesday night.

We'll break down the viewing information for that game and preview the series below.

        

When: Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 8:09 p.m. ET

WhereDodger Stadium, Los Angeles

Watch: Fox

Stream: Fox Sports Go

         

Preview

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw knows that more than just a title is on the line in the World Series—the team's place in history and in the collective memory of baseball fans everywhere is also at stake.

"I guess my first like real memory is probably the Yankees in the late '90s, early 2000, winning maybe three in a row or something like that," Kershaw said of his World Series memories, per Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

"I remember that pretty well. I remember when the Arizona Diamondbacks won 2001. So I guess the point is that I remember. You remember watching. You remember who went to the World Series. Unless you're a real baseball fan, you (don't) remember who loses, so we need to win."

History is written by the victors, as the old saying goes. It's also written about the victors far more often. 

But for the Astros, there are real-life implications to this particular World Series as well, as the city of Houston recovers from the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Per Sullivan, Justin Verlander further elaborated upon that point:

"I've touched on this before about having the experience of playing into a World Series with a city that kind of needed a boost and something to cheer for. And there's a lot of people that are really hurting right now in this city. And it gives the city something to rally around and gives people something to cheer for that otherwise may not have a lot to be hopeful for.

"And to be part of that, no matter how big or small it is, whether you're the MVP or whether you are the last pitcher in the bullpen, that's something that you will never forget, and how this city embraces all of that, I'll never forget."

Sometimes, the games are more than just games. 

As for those games themselves, however, they'll likely break down according to a few key battles. Most notably, the Dodgers bring a fantastic rotation and bullpen against Houston's devastating lineup. 

In Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Rich Hill and Alex Wood, the Dodgers have the clear advantage in starting pitching. On the other hand, no pitcher in baseball is hotter than Verlander right now, who has gone 9-0 since joining the Astros and is 4-0 this postseason with a 1.46 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 24.2 innings.

The Dodgers also hold the advantage in the bullpen, relying on pitchers like Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen to close out games. Those three have given up just one unearned run this postseason.

The Astros have struggled once games go beyond their starting pitchers, meanwhile, with a 5.03 ERA this postseason. Unless they suddenly improve, the Astros will need pitchers like Verlander, Dallas Keuchel (the team's Game 1 starter), Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton to go deep into games.

On the other hand, the Astros had baseball's best lineup in 2017, led by Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer. Altuve, in particular, has been clutch in the postseason, raking five homers and eight RBI while hitting .400. 

Correa believes Altuve is the best player going at the moment.

"He’s the MVP," Correa said of Altuve, per Adam Spolane of CBS Houston. "He’s the best player in the league right now, he showed it all year long, he’s very special."

"Best hitter on the planet," Correa added. "Nothing impresses me anymore."

Players like Altuve and Correa will be key for the Astros. If they can solve the Dodgers' starting pitching and bullpen and the offense continues clicking, the Astros have the ability to out-slug the Dodgers. While LA's offense is also dangerous, the Astros have tortured opposing pitchers all season long.

Of course, never underestimate the ability of a player like Yasiel Puig to come up big in a clutch moment for the Dodgers.

"[Puig's] been incredible this postseason," shortstop Corey Seager noted, per Beth Harris of the Associated Press. "It reminds me a lot of when he kind of came up in '13. He played with freedom. He played with passion. He really looked like he enjoyed himself, enjoyed playing the game. He wanted to be in the big moments, and he's been in the big moments this postseason and he's come through for us."

Still, the Dodgers will have the greatest advantage if the series evolves into a collection of pitching duels. With Kershaw on the mound in Game 1, the game's best pitcher—depending on whom you ask, of course—can set the tone for the rest of the series. 

Hill certainly believes that Kershaw has the ability to inspire his teammates, on and off the field.

"When you're around a guy like that who is passionate and intense and loves what they do every single day, you can't help but have that seep into your own game," he told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. "It's his constant pursuit of perfection. It's his intensity in the weight room. It's his continued preparation in his bullpens. His passion for the game is something that everybody can feed off of in the locker room, and everyone does."

In Game 1, the Dodgers would settle for feeding off his dominance.

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2017 MLB Free Agents: Latest Rumors and Predictions on Underrated Options

Players like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Mike Moustakas, Wade Davis and Eric Hosmer are among the big names set to become free agents this winter, and they justifiably will dominate the MLB rumor mill in the weeks to come.

But what about the less buzzworthy free agents? Where do we stand on some of the players who could be potential steals for the teams who sign them?

Let's break it down.

         

CC Sabathia and Todd Frazier

Let's start with CC Sabathia. On Oct. 12, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that "the Yankees would like to bring him back on a one-year deal, if possible—though the way he's pitched, there will be outside interest."

Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes the interest will be mutual:

"Still, I think Sabathia wants to stay and would do it on a one-year deal that would not be overly burdensome and, if so, bring him back. It allows the stashing of depth that is always needed. Sabathia has transformed himself to a valuable five-, six-inning starter. Plus, he is revered in the clubhouse and with so much youth around, veterans such as [Brett] Gardner and Sabathia remain valuable."

The Yankees perspective on a reunion is clear: Sabathia is a veteran leader who can provide a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm. 

"He's as good as I've ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you're on a losing streak or that you can count on," manager Joe Girardi after Game 7, per Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com. "Our players can learn a lot from CC. The kind of fighter that he is. The things that he has to overcome to be successful."

He wasn't just good in the clubhouse, however; he was also good on the mound. Last year, Sabathia finished 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 148.2 innings pitched. The 37-year-old went 1-1 in four postseason appearances with a 2.37 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in 19 innings.

That kind of production in the middle of your rotation is valuable.

But the Yankees probably offer Sabathia as much as he offers them. They have a talented young team and, of course, offer all the amenities a successful and lucrative organization brings to its players. It's little secret the Yankees are a desired destination.

Perhaps more importantly, however, the Yankees are beginning their ascent, loaded with potential superstars and a stocked farm system. They'll be one of the American League favorites heading into 2018 and may offer Sabathia as good a chance to win another World Series title as any other organization.

Fellow Yankee and pending free agent Todd Frazier perhaps said it best.

"You look at the youth of this team, my god," he noted, per Steve Politi of NJ.com. "From our first baseman [Greg Bird] to our right fielder [Aaron Judge] to Didi [Gregorius], I could just name four or five guys that didn't even make the roster that are still going to be biting at the bit. It's going to be a good Yankee team for a while."

He added, "This is the best group I've been around in baseball, to be honest with you. You see these guys giving hugs to everybody and obviously tears...it's a great group, it's a fun group to be around. The way the Yankee organization brought me in like one of their own straight from the get-go, I couldn't be happier."

Sabathia's interest in returning to the Yankees is suspected but unknown. Frazier was more forthright.

"I would love to be back here," he said. "I've said that numerous times."

Sabathia seems like a lock to return to the Yankees. But given some of the young talent the Yankees are looking to find a place for—Gleyber Torres, most notably—keeping Frazier is likely a much lower priority for the team.

Prediction: Sabathia returns; Frazier signs elsewhere.

       

Greg Holland

The St. Louis Cardinals need a closer. Seung Hwan Oh posted 20 saves last year but blew four opportunities and had a 4.10 ERA. Trevor Rosenthal missed the final month-and-a-half of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. 

Suffice to say, the team is keen to address the position. 

"The top priority this offseason is closer, and that pitcher will most likely come from outside the organization," the team's president of baseball operations, John Mozeliak, told the Tim McKernan Show.

Veteran free agent Greg Holland would appear to fit the bill. On Oct. 12, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Cardinals "plan to pounce" on Holland in free agency. Yes, the team could splash the cash for a player like Wade Davis, but they stayed out of last offseason bidding war for players like Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen. 

So Holland is probably more in their price bracket. While he had his ups and downs in 2017, he finished the year with 41 saves in 45 opportunities, a 3.61 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 57.1 innings.

If the Cardinals are truly intent on pouncing on Holland—and the marriage would certainly be a logical one—it's easy to see Holland coming off the market quickly.

Prediction: Cardinals sign Holland.

         

Jonathan Lucroy

Will Jonathan Lucroy return to the Colorado Rockies? According to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, both parties want a reunion.

"It's always great to be involved in a team that's hunting the same goal, hunting the same thing—a championship ring," Lucroy said before the Rockies' 11-8 National League Wild Card Game loss to the D-backs. "The positive side for this club is, it's just going to make them better for next year, and for years after that."

Harding wrote: "Lucroy is headed for free agency, but the Rockies are expected to attempt to turn his 'them' into 'us.'"

Lucroy certainly thrived once he joined the Rockies in August, hitting .310 with six homers and 40 RBI in 46 games. That, in turn, helped lead the Rockies to the postseason. 

Keeping a veteran slugger in the middle of the lineup like Lucroy would certainly keep the Rockies in the hunt for another trip to the playoffs.

Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post believes Lucroy will probably need to prepare himself for a bit of pay cut, however, noting that "his payday is likely to come down considerably. It’s reasonable to think Lucroy could get a three-year deal, a bit more lucrative than the $24.5 million contract Minnesota awarded Jason Castro." 

If the Rockies are willing to offer the 31-year-old that type of contract—and if Lucroy is willing to sign for that price point, likely below his market value before he stumbled to a slow start in 2017 with the Texas Rangers—a reunion seems more than feasible.

Lucroy will have his share of suitors. The Rockies may find themselves in a bit of a bidding war. But Lucroy thrived in Colorado, and the Rockies have a talented core. Returning to Colorado if the price is right makes sense.

Prediction: Lucroy re-signs.

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Joe Girardi on Returning as Yankees Manager: ‘There’s No Guarantees for Me’

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his future with the club is uncertain following the team's 4-0 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night.

"There's no guarantees for me," he said, per Andrew Marchand of ESPN.com.

Added Girardi:

"I love what I do. I've always said the first thing I do is I always talk to my family first. They come first. Because I think when you have a job, I mean, your family has to buy in, too. So I'll sit down, talk to my wife and my kids and where they're at and what they're thinking, and then we'll see what the Yankees are thinking."

General manager Brian Cashman—also in the final year of a contract extension—was cagey when discussing Girardi's season with New York.

"I thought everybody did everything they possibly could to get where we wanted to go—to be the last team standing," he noted. "It is what it is."

He was also asked directly if he'd recommend Girardi should return and sidestepped the question.

"My recommendation will be to talk to our owner and sit down and find out what is next," Cashman said.

The Yankees exceeded expectations in 2017, finishing 91-71—the club's best record since 2012—and making the postseason for just the second time in five years. They did that behind a mix of young talents like Aaron Judge (25), Gary Sanchez (24), Greg Bird (24) and Luis Severino (23); players in their prime like Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Masahiro Tanaka and Aroldis Chapman; and veterans such as Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Matt Holliday and CC Sabathia.

That blend of young and old coalesced perfectly for New York, making it one of MLB's most exciting teams in 2017 and earning it the nickname the Baby Bombers. And with a stocked farm system, the future appears to be bright for the Yankees.

Whether Girardi will again guide that promising young corps remains to be seen, however.

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Joe Girardi on Returning as Yankees Manager: ‘There’s No Guarantees for Me’

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his future with the club is uncertain following the team's 4-0 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night.

"There's no guarantees for me," he said, per Andrew Marchand of ESPN.com.

Added Girardi:

"I love what I do. I've always said the first thing I do is I always talk to my family first. They come first. Because I think when you have a job, I mean, your family has to buy in, too. So I'll sit down, talk to my wife and my kids and where they're at and what they're thinking, and then we'll see what the Yankees are thinking."

General manager Brian Cashman—also in the final year of a contract extension—was cagey when discussing Girardi's season with New York.

"I thought everybody did everything they possibly could to get where we wanted to go—to be the last team standing," he noted. "It is what it is."

He was also asked directly if he'd recommend Girardi should return and sidestepped the question.

"My recommendation will be to talk to our owner and sit down and find out what is next," Cashman said.

The Yankees exceeded expectations in 2017, finishing 91-71—the club's best record since 2012—and making the postseason for just the second time in five years. They did that behind a mix of young talents like Aaron Judge (25), Gary Sanchez (24), Greg Bird (24) and Luis Severino (23); players in their prime like Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Masahiro Tanaka and Aroldis Chapman; and veterans such as Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Matt Holliday and CC Sabathia.

That blend of young and old coalesced perfectly for New York, making it one of MLB's most exciting teams in 2017 and earning it the nickname the Baby Bombers. And with a stocked farm system, the future appears to be bright for the Yankees.

Whether Girardi will again guide that promising young corps remains to be seen, however.

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Yankees vs. Astros: ALCS Game 6 Time, TV Info, Live Stream and More

It's do-or-die time for the Houston Astros.

Once up 2-0 in the ALCS against the New York Yankees, the Astros went to New York and watched that lead turn into a 3-2 series deficit. Now, the Yankees will have the opportunity to close things out in Game 6 with the series shifting back to Houston.

The stakes couldn't be higher.

Below, you'll find all the viewing information you need and a preview of the crucial matchup between the Astros and Yankees.

      

When: Friday, Oct. 20 at 8:08 p.m. ET

WhereMinute Maid Park, Houston

Watch: FS1

Stream: Fox Sports Go

       

Preview

Any preview of this game has to start with the excellent pitching matchup: Luis Severino on the hill for the Yankees against Astros righty Justin Verlander.

Severino has had his ups and downs in three postseason starts, going 1-0 with a 5.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and nine strikeouts in 11.1 innings. He lasted just four innings in New York's 2-1 Game 2 loss, albeit coming off a 113-pitch start just five days earlier against Cleveland.

However, Severino was excellent in the regular season and certainly has the ability to shut down the dangerous Astros.

If he can keep his composure, that is.

"I hope I can control my emotions," he said, per Dan Martin and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. "I feel a lot of confidence in myself."

Severino may not even need to be at his best to stifle the Astros, though. The top offense in baseball during the regular season has gone cold in the ALCS, managing just nine runs in five games. As a team, they are hitting .167.

They were shutout in Game 5 and, if the bats don't wake up, it may not matter how well Verlander pitches in Game 6.

"We're going to go home," manager A.J. Hinch said after Game 5, per MLB.com. "We hit well. We get a day off tomorrow, which is probably the most important thing, and try to make some offensive adjustments. The playoffs, [are] about advanced scouting and exposing weaknesses, if they get you to crack a little bit outside of your game plan then they’ve got you. We haven't stayed in our game plan quite well enough to make adjustments."

While the Astros have gone cold, the Yankees have heated up. Aaron Judge's reemergence has been a huge factor. After registering just four hits in New York's opening eight postseason games, Judge caught fire over the past three games, posting four hits, two homers and six RBI.

That helped awaken a Yankees offense that had managed just two total runs in the first two games of the ALCS, both losses. 

So, will returning to Houston help the Astros regain their torrid offense? Will the Yankees stall against? It should be noted that the Astros are 4-0 this postseason at home, and will assuredly welcome playing in front of their home fans.

"New York is no joke. Yankee Stadium is a tough place to play," Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel acknowledged, per Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "And it was rocking these three games. But it’s going to be rocking Friday for us."

Having Verlander on the mound will help, too. He's 3-0 this postseason with a 2.04 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 16 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. In his five regular-season starts after joining the Astros, he went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 34 innings.

Suffice to say, Verlander is red hot. Having him on the mound will be a confidence booster for the Astros. Not that they were ever likely to lose faith.

"Our backs are against the wall," veteran Brian McCann told Scott Lauber of ESPN.com. "We'll be ready. This team, we've played extremely well all season long, and nothing's going to change. We'll be ready for Game 6. We've responded all year long."

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MLB Trade Rumors: Breaking Down Buzz on Giancarlo Stanton, Randal Grichuk, More

While the MLB postseason has been thrilling, the majority of the league is already looking ahead to next season. Between free agency and the trade market, 26 MLB organizations are already examining the moves they could potentially make to ensure they are playing in October come next season.

One player sure to be at the center of trade rumors all postseason and offseason is Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. And the fact that Stanton could potentially be moved makes sense from two different perspectives.

Firstly, Stanton is a superstar and plenty of teams would love to acquire his services. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the San Francisco Giants have shown the most interest in acquiring the slugger, with the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and a few other teams showing interest in Stanton over the summer.

One reason the Giants might make sense for Stanton, according to Heyman, is that the team could turn things around and be a contender quicker than a team like the Phillies. It's believed that Stanton doesn't want to be a part of a rebuild.

But Stanton also reportedly is interested in playing for a coastal team, leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox as possibilities as well.

That's the first thing to take into consideration in these rumors. The second angle comes from the fact that the Miami Marlins reportedly want to trim their payroll from the $115 million mark in 2017 down to somewhere closer to the $90 million range in 2018, per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

Stanton, meanwhile, is due $25 million next year and $295 million over the remainder of his contract.

While other players could be on the move as well—Spencer cited others such as Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon as potential trade chips—Stanton would be the player to move if cutting payroll is the team's primary goal for 2018. Not only would moving him help Miami accomplish that goal, he could also bring back a solid package of prospects for the Marlins.

After all, Stanton is fresh off a season that saw him hit .281 with 59 homers and 132 RBI. He's in the peak of his career, turning 28 in November, and when he's healthy is arguably the best power hitter in baseball. 

So Stanton could very well be on the move. If nothing else, he'll be the center of rumors for the foreseeable future.

On the less high-profile front, the St. Louis Cardinals has something of a logjam in the outfield, with seven players capable of filling out three spots. That could leave Randal Grichuk on the trade block.

According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, "In an effort to reduce roster redundancies, the Cardinals are expected to dangle various outfielders as possible trade pieces while the organization seeks to address other deficiencies."

Langosch described Grichuk's fit with the organization going forward as "tenuous." The outfielder himself even appeared to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"No. Not necessarily," he said when asked if he saw himself in the Cardinals' plans for next year. "But who knows. Anything is possible. It's going to be a fun offseason. It's going to be an interesting offseason to see what direction the club goes with a lot of guys. I'm excited to see what the future holds."

The 26-year-old had an up-and-down season with the Cardinals in 2017, hitting .238 with 22 homers and 59 RBI in 122 games. As Langosch wrote, he's flashed bursts of major upside but suffered from just as many bouts of inconsistency. 

Given the team's bevy of options in the outfield, it's the latter that very well could make him expendable this offseason.

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Anthony Rizzo’s 8th-Inning RBI Gives Cubs Win vs Max Scherzer, Nationals in NLDS

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo looped a game-winning single in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals on Monday night to give the Cubs a 2-1 victory in Game 3 of a National League Division Series.

After Leonys Martin scored, Rizzo was caught between first and second to end the inning. As the Wrigley Field crowd roared, the cameras zoomed in on his face.

"Respect me!" he yelled as he walked toward the dugout. "Respect me!"

That appeared to be in response to the Nationals' pitching to him with first base open and Martin on second. It was a decision Washington may lament. Monday's result gave Chicago a 2-1 advantage in the series and the opportunity to close things out Tuesday night at Wrigley.

Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan was befuddled by the sequence:

It wasn't the only decision that will be scrutinized.

With the Nationals leading 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Max Scherzer—who had been brilliant and had yet to allow a hit—gave up a one-out double to Ben Zobrist. With Scherzer sitting on 98 pitches and Kyle Schwarber on deck, manager Dusty Baker took Scherzer out of the game and went with left-handed reliever Sammy Solis.

Joe Maddon and the Cubs countered by bringing in Albert Almora Jr. to pinch hit, and he singled to left field to tie the game.

Those pivotal moments elicited a variety of responses after the game:

Baker stood by his decision to pull Scherzer, however.

"I couldn't live with myself if Schwarber had hit one out of the park," he said after the game, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

Schwarber played a major role in another key moment, albeit one that benefitted the Nationals. His two errors on a fly ball to left field with two outs in the top of the sixth inning allowed Daniel Murphy to reach third base. Maddon promptly pulled starter Jose Quintana (5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 7 K, 1 BB) in favor of Pedro Strop, but Ryan Zimmerman plated Murphy with a double to right that gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

That was the only run Washington mustered, however, a fact B/R's Zachary D. Rymer suggested was the biggest worry for the team heading into Game 4:

For Chicago, overcoming excellent pitching has become a theme in this series, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Tuesday night could feature another pitching duel, with Tanner Roark taking the mound for the Nationals and Jake Arrieta earning the nod for the Cubs.

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