especially when compared with the Dodgers’ impressive depth

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especially when compared with the Dodgers’ impressive depth

Postautor: elaine95 » 10 sty 2019, 1:56

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs have already clinched a spot in the National League playoffs.But as they begin their final regular-season series against the rival St. Louis Cardinals on Friday at Wrigley Field http://www.stlouiscardinalsteamshop.com/authentic-mike-shannon-jersey , the Cubs realize they need to be in the right mentality as they push for their third straight NL Central title.After a 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, the Cubs lowered their magic number to three to clinch the division title. More important, the win increased their lead over the idle second-place Milwaukee Brewers to one game in the Central.Article continues below ...While the Cubs’ postseason berth has already been secured, they are hoping to hold off the surging Brewers for the title. That will make the next three games against the Cardinals critically important.“I think these are all playoff games to get us ready for October,” Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. told reporters Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Cubs will continue to play without shortstop Addison Russell. Major League Baseball extended his administrative leave through Sunday as Russell remains under investigation for alleged domestic violence against his ex-wife.The Cubs have also been hampered with injuries, which makes finding a way to stick together for the next three days even more important. “(It’s) all hands on deck,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo told reporters, according to the Tribune. “We got to figure out how to win.”Kyle Hendricks (13-11, 3.49 ERA) will start for the Cubs on Friday and will be in search of his third straight victory.Hendricks has allowed just one earned run in three of his four starts in September and has at least worked into the seventh inning in each of his past two starts. He is 4-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 career stats against St. Louis.While the Cubs have plenty at stake, the Cardinals still have plenty of incentive. After being swept by the Brewers punctuated by a tough-to-swallow 2-1 loss on Wednesday, St. Louis could still find their way into the wild-card picture if they can find a way to get back on track in Chicago.But knowing the Cubs will be looking to still capture the division title, the Cardinals know what they’re up against.“In my mind, we have to win all three games — that’s all there is to it,” Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright told reporters on Wednesday, according to the team’s official website.“We had ourselves in a good spot and we just got beat three games by a good team over there and we did not make the pitches we needed to Whitey Herzog Jersey , make the plays we needed to, didn’t hit the way we needed to and that’s a good way to lose a baseball game, lose a series and get swept against a good team. You’ve got to capitalize and we had our chances certainly.”Wainwright will look to snap the Cardinals’ three-game skid when he takes the mound in Friday’s series opener. Wainwright (2-3, 4.08) has allowed four earned runs in two of his three September starts and will attempt to get St. Louis started in the right direction against Chicago, against whom he has a 15-9 career record in 44 outings (35 starts) with a 3.94 ERA. ATLANTA (AP) — After the Atlanta Braves leaned heavily on their youth in a breakout season, a lack of experience and depth finally caught up to them in October.The Baby Braves ran out of steam in the NL Division Series, falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 on Monday. Manny Machado delivered the crushing blow, a three-run homer in the seventh inning against Chad Sobotka, a rookie who made Atlanta’s postseason roster despite appearing in only 14 regular-season games. Los Angeles won the series 3-1.The Braves scored a combined two runs in their three losses.“We didn’t hit,” Freddie Freeman said. “Bottom line. Too many opportunities left out there.”Sobotka was the second straight rookie reliever, after Max Fried, used by manager Brian Snitker in the game.The Braves lost their ninth consecutive playoff series since sweeping the Astros in the 2001 division series. Still, the team has good reason for optimism after improving from 90 losses in 2017 to win their first NL East title since 2013.The Baby Braves enjoyed their postseason moment in the spotlight Sunday night, when 20-year-old rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. became the youngest player to hit a postseason grand slam and rookie Touki Toussaint earned the win in relief. The 6-5 win kept the Braves from being swept in the series.But the kids certainly had their struggles. Acuna’s slam was a highlight, but he batted just .188. Ozzie Albies hit .200 and appeared to miscommunicate with right fielder Nick Markakis on Yasiel Puig’s popup Monday. Johan Camargo was hitless in the series.“I think probably after we won the division, they probably sat around and thought about the playoffs http://www.stlouiscardinalsteamshop.com/authentic-vince-coleman-jersey ,” said Snitker of the group of young players. “But until you actually experience it, the intensity, just the electricity that’s involved in that. And like I say, if a team makes the playoffs, they’re pretty good.”There was obvious disappointment in the Braves clubhouse.“We didn’t win the World Series. It’s a lost season in my book,” Freeman said.Added Acuna through a translator: “That’s just baseball. Not everything goes the way you want it to. We did everything we could under our control. We put in maximum effort.”Snitker said the young players will benefit from their first postseason.“I think it’s just been a great experience for all those young guys to have experienced the postseason at such a young age,” Snitker said. “I hope they remember how good it felt when we clinched the division. And as they head to their offseason and their workouts and when they get to spring training, you know, they’ll have an eye on the prize there.”The veterans weren’t much of a help, either. Markakis had one hit in 12 at-bats, and Inciarte was 3 for 14. Reliever Jonny Venters created a jam that allowed David Freese to deliver a pinch-hit, two-run single off Brad Brach in the sixth Monday. Even Freeman, an All-Star, couldn’t match his usual production, going 4 for 16 with a homer.Atlanta’s thin bench was a glaring disadvantage, especially when compared with the Dodgers’ impressive depth.Kurt Suzuki Orlando Cepeda Jersey , pinch-hitting for Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, gave Atlanta the run with a two-run single off Rich Hill in the fourth . But Snitker’s other options on a thin bench included Ryan Flaherty, who hit .217 in the regular season, Lane Adams, Lucas Duda and backup catcher Rene Rivera.Duda just missed hitting a three-run homer off Kenta Maeda in the eighth, pulling the deep blast foul, before ending the inning with a fly ball to center.Atlanta’s depth took a hit when shortstop Dansby Swanson was left off the postseason roster with a hand injury.Charlie Culberson, normally a utility player, was forced into a starting role. Culberson was 1 for 4 on Monday and hit only .167 for the series.“It’s one of those things where everyone didn’t expect us to be here,” Culberson said. “We love to prove people wrong, but we’re pretty upset about not making it past the Division Series. … We’re looking forward. With everyone getting postseason experience this year, now we know what to expect and we have bigger goals in mind.”
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