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Crew, Cards locked in season-long stalemate

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Crew, Cards locked in season-long stalemate

3 lessons learned during the St. Louis series

12:03 AM UTC

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers and Cardinals met Monday tied for first place, then bid farewell after Thursday’s 6-4 Milwaukee win still tied for first place, not to meet again until August.

Tyrone Taylor hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the fourth inning and Willy Adames homered for the fourth time in seven games as the Brewers split the team’s four-game series and pulled back into a tie atop the National League Central at 40-32.

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What lessons emerged from the past four days at American Family Field?

1) These teams are remarkably evenly matched

Beyond their identical records, the season series between the Cards and Brewers has been as even as it gets. The teams are 6-6 head to head with splits in each of the three four-game series. St. Louis scored 48 runs in those games; Milwaukee, 44. The hits narrowly favor the Cardinals, 91-88. The Brewers own the home run margin, 15-13.

“I’d like to play them every day,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “Honestly, I’d love to play them 100-whatever times. That’s a good team over there. I like the way the rosters match up. They’re a good team over there, they’re managed well, and they have good pieces.”

“That tells you how talented we both are,” Adames said. “They play hard. They have a really good team, and we are always battling with them. It was like that last year, too. Hopefully, we can take the division, though.”

Does he expect the race to come down to the end?

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“That’s what it looks like,” Adames said. “We’re going to keep pushing, keep fighting and we’re going to try — not try, but we’re going to end up winning the division. That’s what we need, and that’s what we want.”

One of the storylines in this series was who didn’t play. Starters Steven Matz and Jordan Hicks, closer Alex Reyes, catcher Yadier Molina and outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Corey Dickerson are on the IL for the Cardinals, and starters Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta and Aaron Ashby, reliable reliever Trevor Gott and second baseman Kolten Wong for the Brewers. Those are all impact absences.

Other than Reyes and possibly Peralta, who are question marks with shoulder injuries, all of those players could be healthy when these teams meet again Aug. 12-14 in St. Louis.

2) Brewers hitters need to diversify

Manager Craig Counsell never complains about his team hitting home runs, but there’s something to be said for having an ability to score in other ways as well. In this four-game series, the Brewers scored 10 of their 14 runs via home runs and were 3-for-28 with runners in scoring position, including a Victor Caratini single on Thursday that didn’t produce a run because Andrew McCutchen was thrown out on an awkward play at home plate.

Fortunately, Taylor followed with a fly ball that carried into the Brewers’ bullpen for a three-run homer and a 5-3 lead.

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“We need to be better. We need to be better at executing when we have men in scoring position,” Adames said. “Moving the runner over, we have to be better at that. We haven’t been doing a really good job, including myself, and we need to be way better.”

Taylor, Adames, and the Brewers’ bullpen spared the team from paying a price after a rough start to the series finale. The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead against Jason Alexander three batters into the game on Paul Goldschmidt’s Little League homer — score it an RBI double plus two Brewers throwing errors — and Milwaukee missed a chance in the third when it loaded the bases with nobody out and came away with no runs.

“We stuck to it today,” Counsell said. “The tack-on runs from Willy and good at-bats in the ninth were important. You have to do everything right in these games to beat good teams. We did some things wrong today, but we kept at it and did enough things right the last six innings to get a W.”

3) You’d better get a lead by the sixth

It’s hard to envision many games flipping in the late innings against each team’s “A” relievers. Génesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley of the Cardinals and Brad Boxberger, Devin Williams and Josh Hader of the Brewers combined in the series for 10 scoreless innings with three hits and nine strikeouts. Williams has delivered 17 consecutive scoreless appearances. Hader logged his 21st save in 22 chances and his 23rd scoreless outing in 24 appearances.

The Brewers, with Boxberger getting out of jams in the sixth and seventh innings on Thursday, improved to 35-3 when leading after seven innings and 34-1 when leading after eight.

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The Cardinals are 34-0 when leading after seven innings and 32-1 when leading after eight.

“I think good baseball teams generally have that formula and have guys who can finish games,” Counsell said. “Our guys did a great job. Box came into a tough situation. We asked him for four outs today and he made some great pitches.”

It will be nearly two months before the teams tangle again.

“Hopefully we can pull away here for a little bit,” Boxberger said. “But they’re a good team over there, and we’re a good team, so I think it’s going to be neck-and-neck the whole way.”

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2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Saturday livestream

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2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Saturday livestream

What should have been the 30th edition of the hillclimb had it not been for the COVID cancellation in 2020, an array of racing and road machinery ranging from Formula 1, to MotoGP, to sportscars and electric vehicles, will either tackle the course at speed or parade up the concourse for fans to admire.

Current Mercedes Formula 1 star George Russell will take one of the marque’s racers up the hill this weekend, while Nigel Mansell’s 1992 world title will be celebrated by a display from the man himself in some of his most iconic machines.

Elsewhere, three-time MotoGP world champion Wayne Rainey will make an emotional debut at the Festival of Speed, as the American – who was paralysed in an incident in 1993 – will ride a specially adapted Yamaha YZR500 he took to his last world title in 1992 this weekend.

You can watch all of the live action from the hill on Motorsport.com and Motorsport.tv throughout the weekend.

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Mercedes: Zero complacency over F1 2022 100% finishing record

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Mercedes: Zero complacency over F1 2022 100% finishing record

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have finished every race so far in 2022 to ensure that Mercedes is the only squad without a retirement.

On the other hand, championship contenders Red Bull and Ferrari have endured their fair share of mechanical problems in the opening phase of the campaign.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen retired from the grands prix in Bahrain (fuel pump) and Australia (fuel leak), while Sergio Perez also failed to finish in Bahrain (fuel pump) and was forced out in Canada last week with a gearbox problem.

Ferrari has also had race-stopping car problems beyond the incidents that put Carlos Sainz out in Australia and Imola.

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The Spaniard suffered an hydraulics failure in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, while teammate Charles Leclerc had engine failures in Baku and Spain.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff welcomed the finishing record of his squad but did not believe that it had created an invincible car.

“It’s funny that both teams keep having their cars stop,” he said. “But you can’t be complacent about that because it can swing in the other direction very quickly.

“We’re happy about our reliability. Last year, when we look at how we went with the engine, we had the other phenomenon [and lots of problems]. That’s why I don’t want to get too excited too soon.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, limps back to the pit trailing smoke

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, limps back to the pit trailing smoke

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Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

While Ferrari’s reliability failures have been very costly in championship terms, with Leclerc potentially losing two wins because of problems, team boss Mattia Binotto does not think that DNFs will solely decide the title fight.

“Reliability is certainly important, as important as the performance, but I don’t think will be the only factor,” he said after the Canadian Grand Prix.

“I think development from now until the end of the season is another one, as is the budget gap, and then reliability finally.”

Read Also:
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  • Wolff: Mercedes needs to be “careful” with F1 expectations
  • Mercedes F1 plans British GP upgrades amid raised expectations
  • Ferrari hopes FIA will prove impartiality over ex-Mercedes lawyer

While F1’s cars are all-new for this year, the power units are a carryover with the engine regulations not due to change until 2026.

But Binotto says that Ferrari has been exposed by an overhaul during the winter, plus limitations that have been imposed on dyno running.

“The power unit is a completely new design compared to the past, and the problem is because it’s certainly a young project,” he said.

“On top of that, there are limitations on the dynos which were not there in the past, so you cannot run much on the dyno. We are limited, which means the exercise is more complicated.”

Additional reporting by Christian Nimmervoll

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“Intense pain” forces Espargaro withdrawal from MotoGP Dutch GP

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“Intense pain” forces Espargaro withdrawal from MotoGP Dutch GP

The Spaniard injured his ribs in a heavy crash in FP1 at the Sachsenring last weekend, and was ultimately forced to retire from the race due to the pain.

He had hoped to be better for this weekend’s Dutch GP but, after ending Friday 19th overall, he said the pain he was experiencing was much worse than expected and was unsure if he could continue.

Having undergone treatment overnight at Assen and seeing no substantial improvement in his conditions, Espargaro has taken the decision to withdraw from the Assen weekend.

Honda hopes Espargaro will recover in time for August’s British Grand Prix.

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A statement from the team read: “Repsol Honda Team’s Pol Espargaro will not participate in the remainder of the Dutch GP due to his injuries sustained at the Sachsenring.

“Since suffering his fall in Free Practice 1 at the German GP, Pol Espargaro has tried his maximum in order to recover and be fit for Round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship.

“After Free Practice 2 on Friday, Espargaro was still in intense pain and discomfort.

”Consequently, he feels he is not capable of racing a MotoGP bike and together with the Repsol Honda Team has elected to sit out the race in Assen.

“The Repsol Honda Team is looking forward to welcoming a fully fit Pol Espargaro back in Silverstone after the Summer Break.

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“Stefan Bradl will continue to contest the Dutch GP with the Repsol Honda Team.”

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Espargaro explained on Friday at Assen that the damage to the muscles around his ribs was also giving him severe back problems.

He also revealed that on the Monday following the German GP that he struggled to even lift himself out of his bed, such was the intensity of the pain he was feeling following the Sachsenring race.

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Espargaro is set to leave Honda at the end of the 2022 MotoGP season and return to KTM with the Tech 3 squad.

Suzuki’s Joan Mir is expected to take his place at the factory Honda squad next year, while Alex Rins will replace Alex Marquez at LCR in 2023 on a factory contract.

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