On Bryan Price’s ground rule plotz

Matt Carpenter, possibly in slight disbelief himself at scoring a winning run that shouldn't have been just yet . . .

Matt Carpenter, possibly in slight disbelief himself at scoring a winning run that shouldn’t have been just yet . . .

Already thought to be on the hot seat for much of the year, with his Reds clearly in rebuilding mode and performing a little worse than expected, manager Bryan Price may not have thrown the switch on his own execution Thursday night. But being asleep at the switch against a team looking for every break it can get clawing for a second National League wild card spot can turn up the seat’s heat even further.

Tuesday night at the races

Sliding home safe with his first major league homer---an inside-the-park job padding a very temporary Braves lead Tuesday . . .

Sliding home safe with his first major league homer—an inside-the-park job padding a very temporary Braves lead Tuesday . . .

How Tuesday ended with one National League club all but eliminated from the postseason, another contender setting some home run records, a third contender showing a couple of vulnerabilities that might prove fateful come postseason time, and a couple of crazy (and heretofore unlikely) American League wild card sharps getting a little crazier . . .

Oscar Taveras, RIP: The next minute . . .

Oscar Taveras tying Game Two of the NLCS with a launch over the right field fence . . .

Oscar Taveras tying Game Two of the NLCS with a launch over the right field fence . . .

One minute, you’re sent out to pinch hit in a National League Championship Series and tie the game with a single swing. The next minute, seemingly, your team is stopped from a World Series trip and you’re dead in a grisly road accident.

The Giants are thrown onto the threshold of the Series

Adams didn't have to be told throwing on the run was a grave mistake . . .

Adams didn’t have to be told throwing on the run was a grave mistake . . .

Is it unreasonable for Cardinals fans to ask themselves whether their team is trying, literally, to throw this National League Championship Series to the Giants? Bad enough the Cardinals lost Game Three on a walk-off throwing error. Putting the Giants on the threshold of the World Series with two bad throws in Game Four’s sixth inning is worse.

Molina down, the Cardinals may have lost in winning Game Two

Tie an NLCS but lose your team backbone? Not an encouraging trade as Molina (center) walks off in serious pain . . .

Tie an NLCS but lose your team backbone? Not an encouraging trade as Molina (center) walks off in serious pain . . .

At what cost will the St. Louis Cardinals’ National League Championship Series-evening win Sunday night prove to have come? As great as it looked when Kolten Wong ended the game with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, that’s about how horrible it looked when another swing earlier in the game sent Yadier Molina out of the game—and out of who who knew what else—with an oblique strain.

Did Mattingly misread Kershaw’s tank?

Carpenter's three-run double off Kershaw raises questions about Mattingly's read of his ace and his arms . . .

Carpenter’s three-run double off Kershaw raises questions about Mattingly’s read of his ace and his arms . . .

It seems that Detroit isn’t the only city this postseason fated to have nervous breakdowns when it’s time for their team to call the bullpen. Los Angeles may be fated to reach for the nerve tonics in similar times, if Friday’s National League division series opener in Dodger Stadium was any barometer.

$215 million buys Kershaw lots of burgers, ping pong, and aid for at-risk kids

Signed, sealed, delivery . . .

Signed, sealed, delivery . . .

In maybe the worst hour or so of Clayton Kershaw’s life as a major league pitcher, his immediate opponent had nothing but praise for him. Maybe that’s a big measure of a pitcher as a man. But after the Cardinals battered Kershaw and his Dodgers in the third and fourth innings of National League Championship Series Game Six, it would be Matt Carpenter whose mano-a-mano with Kershaw stood tallest as the Cardinals advanced to the World Series.

B Invincible

Bagging a Series at Fenway for the first time since You-Know-Who pitched for the Red Sox . . .

Bagging a Series at Fenway for the first time since You-Know-Who pitched for the Red Sox . . .

It isn’t exactly tempting the wrath of the Boston gods anymore, ladies and gentlemen. “Party like it’s 1918.” So said a fan’s none-too-large placard in the Fenway boxes, while Koji Uehara was at his office in the top of the ninth Wednesday night, three outs standing between himself, his Red Sox, and hysteria.

Daddy took the T-Bird away

Kershaw's day didn't end soon enough Friday . . .

Kershaw’s day didn’t end soon enough Friday . . .

There’ll be no more fun, fun, fun for the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers. Daddy took the T-Bird away in Busch Stadium Friday. And you can spend all winter debating whether or not the Dodgers themselves gave him the ammunition on a platter.

Golden Trout, Golden Rookie (and yes he SHOULD be the MVP . . . )

An angelic Trout of many colours . . .

Maybe the one thing absolutely guaranteed about 2012 was that Mike Trout would nail the American League’s Rookie of the Year honours, which was made official with Monday night’s announcement. It wasn’t even close.

Trout landed every last first place vote possible as the unanimous pick. Nobody else in the running—not Yoenis Cespedes, not Yu Darvish, not Wei-Yin Chen, not Jarrod Parker—got any higher than 45 percent of a share of the voting. Bryce Harper landed the National League’s Rookie of the Year honours in a slightly tighter competition, with five more votes than runner-up Wade Miley and 70 percent of a share to Miley’s 66. The remaining National League contenders—Todd Frazier, Wilin Rosario, Norichika Aoki, Yonder Alonso (now, that’d be a name, if he had more than a little long ball power), Matt Carpenter, Jordan Pacheco—fell well behind Harper and Miley.