Adam Wainwright is a long way removed from being the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff.
At 38 years old, Wainwright’s career is drawing to a close as he will be a free agent after this season and there is no guarantee he will back for another.
With that narrative in place, Sunday had the chance to be a special moment for the Cardinal icon, as Wainwright was doing what he has always done in October. Dominate.
Wainwright carried a career 3.03 postseason ERA into Sunday’s start, with 96 strikeouts across 89 innings pitched.
His first taste of the postseason action came in 2006 as a rookie, when he was still pitching out of the bullpen. Wainwright became the Cardinals closer and was on the mound as they closed out the NLDS, the NLCS and eventually the World Series.
That championship was the Cardinals first in 24 years and was just the start of an amazing career for Wainwright that has spanned 14 seasons.
Sunday could have been Wainwright’s swan song, as he pitched a scoreless gem in front of the St. Louis fans for maybe the last time.
Wainwright handed a lead to the bullpen in eighth inning, with just four outs remaining to seal their second win of the series.
Unfortunately for Wainwright, the Braves trotted out a young pitcher that is reminiscent of the 2006 version of himself in Mike Soroka, and the young ace was dealing all night in his own right.
Soroka allowed just two hits and one run across seven innings pitched, keeping his team in the game despite Wainwright’s dominance on the other end.
Once Wainwright was out of the game, the Atlanta Braves rallied in the ninth inning to stun the Cardinals.
Josh Donaldson led off the ninth inning with a double, but Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez struck out the next two batters to put the Braves one out away from defeat.
St. Louis then had a mound visit where they decided it would be best to intentional walk the left-handed Brian McCann and face the righty Dansby Swanson instead.
Well the Braves shortstop made the Cardinals pay, ripping a clutch double that may have just saved Atlanta’s season.
Adam Duvall got a basehit after Swanson, putting the Braves up 3-1 and erasing all of the brilliance that Wainwright had worked for through the first eight innings of the ballgame.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Braves closer Mark Melancon shut the door and Atlanta stole Game 3 on the road.
Now regardless of if they win on Monday, the Braves have sealed a trip back home to play Game 5 in front of their fans on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals could still theoretically use Wainwright again in relief in Game 5, but if they don’t come back in this series, Sunday likely marked the end of his season.
The question to answer after all this is said and done, is whether that marks the end of his career. But if it does, Wainwright certainly did his part to end his career on a high note.
Nationals Re-Sign NLCS MVP and World Series Hero Howie Kendrick
The Washington Nationals would not have won the World Series this year if not for Howie Kendrick.
It seemed like every time the Nationals needed a big hit in the playoffs, it was Kendrick that came up to the plate and delivered.
Now just before the Winter Meetings the Nationals have made one of their first moves of the offseason by bringing back the NLCS MVP on a one-year, $6.25 million deal.
Kendrick, 36, had a great season even before October, hitting .344 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs across 120 games played.
Then came the postseason, where Kendrick’s first clutch hit came in Game 5 of the NLDS, as Nationals upset the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With the game tied in extra-innings, Kendrick hit a grand slam that gave Washington a commanding lead and ultimately allowed them to advance to the NLCS.
In the NLCS, Kendrick hit .333, with four doubles, four runs scored and four RBIs. Following the four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, Kendrick was named the NLCS MVP.
Then in the World Series against the Houston Astros, Kendrick went 7-for-25. The most significant of those hits came in Game 7, when Kendrick delivered the biggest hit in Nationals history.
Now Kendrick gets to return to the Nationals and try to defend their title in 2020.
Blake Snell’s Hilariously Harsh Reaction to Teammate Tommy Pham Being Traded
If you have ever wondered how a player will react to the news that one of their teammates has been traded, you are in luck.
Thanks to Twitch, the live streaming service that video gamers use, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell’s reaction to the news of teammate Tommy Pham getting traded went viral late Thursday night.
Snell is immediately upset as he discovers that one of the best hitters on his team has been traded, “For Hunter Renfroe and some slap-d*** prospect!”
Pham, 31, is coming off a great season, as he hit .273/.369.818, with 21 home runs, 68 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He was originally traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Rays at the deadline in 2018.
After the shock of the trade settled in a little bit, Snell was able to give more context to his reaction on the trade, as Pham was really integral to a team that won 96 games last year.
As Snell pointed out, the trade is sending Rays outfielder Tommy Pham to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Hunter Renfroe and top prospect Xavier Edwards.
Renfroe, 27, will replace Pham in the Rays outfield and while he does not bring the same athleticism, he does have a big bat. Renfroe has 85 home runs over the last three years, 33 of which he hit last season.
Renfroe is a .235 career hitter, but the Rays should be able to find solid production out of him next season.
The real coup of the trade was the prospect Snell was so affectionate towards, as Edwards has the chance to be a future star for the Rays.
Edwards was drafted by the Padres in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft. He is a middle infielder that will likely have the versatility to play all over the diamond, maybe becoming a super utility type player.
Last season, Edwards hit .322/.375/.396, with 34 stolen bases and 76 runs scored across two levels of the Single-A, finishing the year in High-A.
That means that despite just turning 20 years old in August, Edwards is already a few promotions away from the big leagues. Once there, Edwards can try to mend fences with Snell after his brilliant introduction to the Rays.
New York Yankees Are Making Gerrit Cole Their Top Priority
Over the last couple of years, the New York Yankees have been uncharacteristically quiet during free agency, avoiding spending top dollar for the best players on the market.
But we always knew that at some point, the Yankees would go back to being the Yankees and Gerrit Cole appears to be the player they have been waiting for.
There are sure to be plenty of team vying for the services of Cole, after he had two great years pitching for the Houston Astros.
Cole was especially brilliant in 2019, pitching to league-best 2.50 ERA, while also pacing the AL in strikeouts with 326.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and the Yankees have all been seen as suitors for Cole, but now it appears that New York won’t be outbid.
With this many teams in on the bidding, there is no telling how large of a contract Cole may receive.
It would not be surprising to see Cole become the first pitcher to ever receive a contract exceeding $300 million.
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