Christian Yelich feels like he’s not really locked in

DENVER (AP) — — no more than usual , anyway.“Just taking it day by day,” the Milwaukee outfielder said.He and the Brewers are certainly dialed in, though. They have won 10 straight and seized a 2-0 lead against Colorado in the NL Division Series heading into Game 3 on Sunday in what could be a cool and damp afternoon in Denver.The Rockies hope a return to Coors Field can ignite their frigid bats. The team hit .154 over the opening two games and went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.A rest day couldn’t have come at a better time after a week that included travel to Los Angeles and Chicago, on to Milwaukee and then back home.“Clear the mind a little bit,” Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said Saturday. “I’m ready to go. We’ll be ready to go. It’s no problem.”Colorado’s scuffle at the plate isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. The Rockies hit .287 at Coors Field this season, one of their lowest averages in franchise history. Their .256 overall mark remains a team low.“No doubt there needs to be adjustments made,” Rockies shortstop Trevor Story said. “But it’s a good feeling to be back home, where we feel really comfortable hitting.”Story is 0 for 8 with five strikeouts in the series. He resembles the Story of last season, when he struck out 191 times, rather than this All-Star version that hit .291 with 37 homers.His swing in the eighth inning Friday epitomized the Rockies difficulty in timing Brewers pitchers, striking out on a breaking pitch from Jeremy Jeffress that hit the dirt way before the plate.“Story’s a good player. He understands,” Arenado said. “He clears his mind pretty quickly.”Game 3 features a matchup of contrasting pitchers. Milwaukee’s Wade Miley gets by more with sneakiness than speed. The left-hander is 3-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five career games at Coors Field.Colorado will hand the ball to German Marquez, a right-hander who throws heat and had a team-record 230 strikeouts. He got the call over lefty Kyle Freeland, another one of Colorado’s up-and-coming young arms who also happens to be a Denver native and would pitch Monday — if there is a Monday.“They have a potent lineup, but I’m going to execute my plan Kelvin Herrera Jersey , which is executing my pitches, hitting my target, and give our team a chance to win games,” Marquez said.Asked whether he would like to close the series out as quickly as possible, Brewers manager Craig Counsell just smiled.“Would we prefer to win it in three games? Of course,” Counsell said. “But they have something to say about that.”Counsell appreciates that anyone can step into the spotlight at any moment. Like in Game 2 when it was the turn of 38-year-old catcher Erik Kratz, who had two RBIs.“If you’re in the lineup, you get four shots. Everybody is going to get four shots,” Counsell said. “So last night, Erik was the one that cashed in on a really big opportunity.“Sometimes you’ve got to let these games unfold, and that’s how you know how to play them, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”One factor: The weather. It’s supposed to be around 60 on Sunday with a chance of rain.“It’s not ideal. It wouldn’t be anybody’s first choice,” said Yelich, an NL MVP candidate who is 2 for 5 in the series with a homer and four walks. “They have to pitch in it, they have to hit in it. We have to pitch in it , we have to hit in it. You have to find a way to win.”Being back at home, the Rockies are trying to keep everything as normal as ever. Especially Arenado, who’s sticking to his usual routine: Eggs and bacon in the morning with oatmeal and two cups of coffee, head to the park and go straight to the cage to hone his swing.“We’ve won three games in a row before,” said Arenado, whose team captured six of seven in their final homestand to force a tiebreaking game 163 in Los Angeles for an NL West title the Dodgers wound up winning. “But it’s not an easy task with the Brewers.”The energized crowd should help. It’s the first home game for the Rockies since 2009.“Everywhere we’ve played, it’s been super loud, and everybody hates us,” Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon said. “So now it’ll be super loud and everybody loves us. I hope.” CHICAGO (AP) — With every big swing, every defensive gem all over the infield, Javier Baez is making an argument for NL MVP.It’s turning into quite a case.Baez homered and the Chicago Cubs took advantage of huge mistake by Ryan LaMarre, beating the crosstown White Sox 8-3 on Saturday night to increase their lead in the NL Central.Ben Zobrist added two hits and two RBIs as the Cubs moved 2½ games ahead of second-place Milwaukee. Coupled with the Brewers’ 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh, the Cubs lowered their magic number for clinching their third straight division title to six.“We got a long ways to go,” pitcher Jon Lester said when asked about the standings. “I don’t ever want to jump too far ahead on that one.”Lester (17-6) labored through five innings to move into a tie with Washington ace Max Scherzer for the NL lead in wins. The left-hander allowed three runs, two earned Jason Hammel Jersey , and eight hits in his second straight victory.With the Cubs looking to hold off the hard-charging Brewers, Baez delivered once again. He hit a screaming liner for a two-run homer in the first and a run-scoring single in a three-run ninth. He has 34 homers and an NL-best 110 RBIs.“I feel like I can slow down a little bit and let the game come back to me,” he said, “and the pitchers, make them throw more strikes. That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s been working.”Tim Anderson connected for the White Sox, who lost for the fourth time in six games. Lucas Giolito (10-12) was charged with five runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings at Guaranteed Rate Field.Anderson’s leadoff drive in the third tied it at 2 and made him the first shortstop in franchise history with at least 20 homers and 20 steals in a single season. But LaMarre’s defensive miscue in the fifth helped the Cubs grab control.With one out and runners on first and second, Daniel Murphy hit a drive to left field. LaMarre broke in on the ball and it sailed over his head for an RBI double. Zobrist followed with a bouncer up the middle for a two-run single, giving the Cubs a 5-2 lead.“Basically I didn’t think he hit it as well as he did,” LaMarre said. “So I took a couple steps in, lost it in the lights just for a split-second. When it came out, it still had a little bit of steam on it, so it was a misread, a mistake, and I feel terrible.”The White Sox got one back on Matt Davidson’s RBI single in the bottom half of the inning. But Carl Edwards Jr., Jesse Chavez , Justin Wilson and Steve Cishek closed it out for the Cubs, combining for hitless relief after Lester departed.THEY GONEAnderson and White Sox manager Rick Renteria were ejected by umpire Joe West in the ninth after a hard slide by Baez into second helped break up a potential double play. Anderson also committed a throwing error, allowing Zobrist to score.Asked about West, Anderson responded: “I don’t have much to say about him. Everybody knows he’s terrible. But I didn’t say much. He threw me out. It’s OK.”MAKING MOVESThe Cubs selected Mike Freeman’s contract from Triple-A Iowa to provide some infield depth after Addison Russell was placed on administrative leave Friday following fresh allegations of domestic violence from his ex-wife. Russell has said the allegations are “completely false.”Freeman’s wife, Caroline, is pregnant with their first child, a girl. She is due Oct. 1.“She’s been great with it all. Knew this was a possibility,” he said. “I feel like I’m definitely more nervous about it than she was. She was excited for the opportunity and very gracious and very encouraging to me, which is a huge testament to her.”TRAINER’S ROOMCubs: OF Kyle Schwarber (lower back) went 2 for 3 with a walk while serving as the designated hitter for the second straight day. Manager Joe Maddon said he isn’t sure if Schwarber will be ready to play the field when the Cubs open a four-game series against Pittsburgh on Monday.White Sox: INF Leury García was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list. He had been sidelined by a strained left hamstring. … It’s unclear if 1B Jose Abreu will play again this season. Abreu was treated for a right thigh infection at a Cleveland hospital on Tuesday. “We’ll see how it goes in the next few days,” Renteria said.UP NEXTCubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (12-11, 3.58 ERA) and White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon (6-6, 3.30 ERA) pitch Sunday in the series finale. Hendricks is 3-1 with a 1.42 ERA in his last five starts. Rodon has struggled in September, going 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA in four outings.
Posted in Default Category on January 15 at 11:34 AM

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