LEADING OFF: 106-win Dodgers host Cards in wild-card game
A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
WILD OUT WEST
The 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers put their season on the line in the NL wild-card game against the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals. No team has ever won so many games and failed to win its division, but LA couldn’t catch the 107-win San Francisco Giants, forcing the club into the one-game playoff.
Max Scherzer will start for the Dodgers. The 37-year-old right-hander was 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA after joining Los Angeles from Washington, along with NL batting champion Trea Turner, at the July trade deadline. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is from the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield.
He’ll face Cardinals 40-year-old Adam Wainwright (17-7, 3.05 ERA). St. Louis used a 17-game winning streak down the stretch to lock up the second NL wild card
The Dodgers will be without slugger Max Muncy and ace Clayton Kershaw. Muncy injured his left elbow Sunday but could return if Los Angeles remains in the postseason. Kershaw has an issue in his left elbow/forearm and is done for the year.
CALLING IT A DAY
Umpire Joe West is set to work behind the plate in the NL wild-card game as his long, colorful career nears an end.
West, who turns 69 on Oct. 31, is planning to retire at the end of the season. He told The Associated Press that he doesn’t know whether he will be assigned any more postseason games after the St. Louis-Los Angeles matchup at Dodger Stadium.
West called his first big league game in 1976 and broke Bill Klem’s record for most games umpired when he worked his 5,376th regular-season game last May.
Known as “Cowboy Joe” and “Country Joe,” the former Elon College quarterback has worked the World Series six times.
West has been a polarizing figure throughout his 45 years in the bigs. At times, he has been at odds with managers, players and Major League Baseball officials. To hear many of his umpire crewmates tell it, however, there was never anyone who cared more about the game itself more than West.
With the Division Series set to begin with a pair of AL games on Thursday, teams have begun rolling out their projected rotations.
Astros manager Dusty Baker previously said Lance McCullers Jr. would start their opener against the White Sox and said Tuesday that left-hander Framber Valdez will go in Game 2. Chicago manager Tony La Russa said he was waiting until Wednesday to decide if Lance Lynn or Lucas Giolito will go in Game 1. It will be La Russa’s first time managing in the postseason since winning the World Series with St. Louis in 2011.
The Rays will host the winner of Tuesday’s wild-card game between the Red Sox and Yankees. They announced Tuesday that rookie left-hander Shane McLanahan would start Game 1 and rookie righty Shane Baz would go in Game 2.
The Colorado Rockies have locked up a couple key players as they try to build on a promising finish to 2021.
Right-hander Antonio Senzatela agreed to a $50.5 million, five-year deal with a club option for 2027, and first baseman C.J. Cron decided to come back on a $14.5 million, two-year contract.
The 26-year-old Senzatela has thrived at hitter-friendly Coors Field, with a .667 winning percentage in Denver that’s second highest by a Rockies starter at home (minimum 40 starts) in team history. He trails only Jorge De La Rosa, who was 53-20 at home (.726).
The 31-year-old Cron hit .281 with a team-leading 28 homers after signing a free-agent deal last February.
The Rockies went 54-53 after the start of June to finish 74-87 after trading star Nolan Arenado to St. Louis in the offseason.
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