Giants left-hander Matt Moore registered 10 strikeouts while holding the vaunted Cubs offense to two hits over eight innings in Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday night at AT&T Park, but the San Francisco bullpen again fell apart in the top of the ninth inning as Chicago scored four runs to grab a late 6-5 lead and ultimately advance to the National League Championship Series.
Aroldis Chapman closed out the win for the Cubs, striking out Gorkys Hernandez, Denard Span, and Brandon Belt in order in the bottom of the ninth inning to atone for his ugly blown save in NLDS Game 3.
This will be the second straight appearance in the National League Championship Series for the Cubs, who took care of the rival Cardinals in the 2015 NLDS before getting swept in the next round by the Mets.
Cubs second baseman Javier Baez starred all over the diamond in Tuesday’s NLDS Game 4 win, making a couple more spectacular plays on defense before swatting a go-ahead RBI single through the middle of the Giants’ infield to cap off Chicago’s big comeback in the ninth inning. The ninth-inning rally started with a Kris Bryant single and Anthony Rizzo walk, followed shortly by a Ben Zobrist RBI double to right field and a two-run single from Willson Contreras. The next Cubs batter, Jason Heyward, laid down a bad bunt but raced into scoring position when Brandon Crawford’s throw from the second base bag sailed wide of Brandon Belt at first.
San Francisco used five different relievers in that frame. The first four combined for one out.
Now the Cubs will wait to find out their 2016 NLCS opponent: the Dodgers or Nationals.
Game 5 of that series is set for Thursday evening at Nationals Park after Chase Utley’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning gave Los Angeles a 6-5 win in Game 4 on Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. It’ll be Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer versus Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill.
Ramos Rehab To Take Seven Months
It’s going to be a long winter for impending free agent catcher Wilson Ramos.
Ramos told MLB.com’s William Ladson on Tuesday that he is scheduled to undergo surgery this Friday on the ACL and meniscus in his right knee. The procedure is expected to require seven months of rest and rehab, meaning Ramos will not be ready for the beginning of the 2017 season and could very well be sidelined through mid-May.
That will do some serious damage to his free agent value, in the kind of market where he should be cashing in. There are very few high-level players available this winter, and Ramos is coming off a 2016 regular season in which he hit .307/.354/.496 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI in 131 games -- starting 122 of those games behind the plate. He blew out his right knee on September 26 while trying to corral a high relay throw at Nationals Park.
Ramos has acknowledged to reporters that he might be limited to negotiations with American League teams because he will probably have to DH frequently coming off the second major knee injury of his career. Ramos, 29, also tore his right ACL back in 2012, appearing in only 25 games that season for the Nationals.
Washington will be looking for a new starting catcher this winter -- apologies to Pedro Severino.
Strasburg Suffers Setback With Elbow
Stephen Strasburg’s participation in this postseason was already looking doubtful, but it’s now pretty much official that we won’t see the ace right-hander. No matter how far the Nationals advance.
Nats manager Dusty Baker told reporters Tuesday morning that Strasburg experienced renewed discomfort in his right elbow Monday while throwing a bullpen session in Los Angeles.
"He was supposed to throw 35 but he felt a little discomfort so we stopped him at 30, 31,” Baker told reporters, via Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic.com. “He was throwing the ball pretty good; very good, actually. But we said if he felt anything, then just shut it down.”
It was just the second bullpen session for Strasburg since he suffered a flexor strain in his right arm on September 7. He also missed part of August with elbow soreness. There’s simply no way he’s going to be healthy enough to pitch within the next three weeks.
An MRI last month showed no damage to Strasburg’s ulnar collateral ligament, but he’ll carry some big question marks into the 2017 fantasy baseball season despite posting a cool 15-4 record, 3.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 183/44 K/BB ratio across 147 2/3 innings in 2016.
Strasburg signed a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with the Nationals in early May.
He would have been a free agent this offseason.
Quick Hits: Braves named Brian Snitker as their full-time manager … CC Sabathia underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday … Blue Jays manager John Gibbons named Marco Estrada his ALCS Game 1 starter against the Indians … Carlos Beltran confirmed Tuesday that he intends to continue his playing career in 2017 … Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced Tuesday that John Farrell will return as manager in 2017 … Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will not require surgery for his left knee injury … Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had surgery Tuesday to repair a bilateral core muscle injury … Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Tuesday that Devon Travis (knee) is feeling "much, much better” … Francisco Liriano (concussion) said he's symptom-free and expects to be activated Saturday … Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit (calf) won't be ready for the ALCS … Rangers general manager Jon Daniels confirmed Tuesday that Jonathan Lucroy's $5.25 million club option for 2017 will be exercised … Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery Wednesday to repair a partially torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder … Bud Black confirmed Tuesday that he has interest in the Rockies' vacant managerial position … Royals right-hander Chris Young underwent surgery Tuesday on his bilateral core and right-side adductor.