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Dodgers headed to St. Louis for start of NLCS

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 22:29 Published in Sports

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After two days of waiting, the Los Angeles Dodgers found out they will play St. Louis in the National League championship series.

The Dodgers worked out Wednesday just as the decisive Game 5 between Pittsburgh and St. Louis began. The team went through hitting sets with the game shown on the stadium's video boards, although there was no noticeable reaction as it progressed.

With the Cardinals winning 6-1, the Dodgers boarded buses to the airport for a flight to St. Louis.

"They're not going down easy," manager Don Mattingly said before the Cardinals won. "We felt like they were the best team in that division. They're a good mix of everything."

If the Pirates had won, the Dodgers would have unpacked their suitcases to stay home for the start of the series Friday.

Beating the Atlanta Braves to wrap up their division series in four games Monday night gave the Dodgers extra rest and time to reset their rotation. They took Tuesday off.

Zack Greinke will start Game 1 of the NLCS. Clayton Kershaw, who pitched on three days' rest Monday for the first time in his career, was set to go on regular rest in Game 2.

The team hopes the layoff will benefit rookie pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who struggled in Game 3 against Atlanta, giving up four runs and six hits over three innings.

"I felt he was a little nervous the other day," Mattingly said. "He did some things that he doesn't usually do."

Ryu has said he isn't injured, but the left-hander's performance wasn't as solid as what he showed during the regular season.

"He claims he felt fine and he continues to say he had no type of injury," general manager Ned Colletti said. "Everybody can have a bad start from time to time."

The Dodgers will announce a new 25-man roster for the NLCS. Mattingly said spots were still being discussed.

Andre Ethier was limited to pinch-hitting duty against the Braves, but if his left ankle has healed sufficiently, he could play the outfield. He did some hitting during the workout.

"I still have to sleep tonight to see if it responds tomorrow," Ethier said. "It feels good."

Hanley Ramirez got some rest for a bad back that has slowed him at shortstop, but not at the plate.

Mattingly goes into the next round not knowing if he will be managing the Dodgers next season. The club's new owners, including Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson, didn't guarantee his option for 2014 last offseason.

"I don't want to speak about my contract," he said. "It's not the right time."

 

Colletti said he wasn't worried about Mattingly's status, adding, "That will all resolve itself."

Steen's late goal lifts Blues over Blackhawks

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 22:26 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Alexander Steen's slap shot with 21.1 seconds remaining beat Chicago goalie Corey Crawford and gave the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Steen broke down the left side as part of a 3-on-1 rush. He kept the puck and let go a drive from just inside the circle that trickled through Crawford.

The Blues (3-0) matched their best start to a season, also done in the 1969-70 and 1993-94 campaigns. Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves in his third straight win. Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes also scored for St. Louis.

Patrick Kane scored for the third straight game for the Blackhawks, and Jonathan Toews had the other Chicago goal. Crawford made 31 saves.

Tarasenko gave the Blues a 1-0 lead when he beat Crawford with a wrist shot from the slot with 4:16 left in the first period.

Kane tied it with a power-play goal 1:17 later. Patrick Sharp's shot from the right circle trickled through to Kane at the left post, and he swatted the puck in.

In the second period, Backes put the Blues back in front at 8:37 when he redirected Alex Pietrangelo's shot from the right point into the net. But after Jaden Schwartz went off for hooking, Toews tied it 39 seconds later when he shoved a rebound past Halak.

NOTES: Kane's power-play goal was the first allowed by the Blues in 12 chances this season. The goal also ended Halak's shutout streak at 111 minutes, 52 seconds. ... The game featured a matchup of the two most successful coaches in Blues history. Current St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock entered with the best winning percentage of .676 (74-32-13). Chicago's Joel Quenneville is second at .598 (307-191-95).

OBAMA PLANS TO TALK TO GOP AGAIN ON SHUTDOWN, DEBT

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 11:15 Published in National News

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is making plans to talk with Republican lawmakers at the White House in the coming days as pressure builds on both sides to resolve their deadlock over the federal debt limit and the partial government shutdown.

With the shutdown in its ninth day Wednesday and a potential economy-shaking federal default edging ever closer, neither side was revealing clear signs of bending.

Amid the tough talk, though, there were hints of the possibility of a brief truce. There were indications that both sides might be open to a short-term extension of the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit and a temporary end to the shutdown, giving them more time to resolve their disputes.

Obama was to huddle with House Democrats Wednesday afternoon as both parties look for a way forward.

So far, the underlying standoff remains the same. Republicans demand talks on deficit reduction and Obama's 2010 health care law as the price for boosting the government's borrowing authority and returning civil servants to work. The president insists that Congress first end the shutdown and extend the debt limit before he will negotiate.

"Speaker Boehner could end this government shutdown today, an hour from now" by letting the House vote to do so, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

On Tuesday, Boehner told reporters he was not drawing "lines in the sand." He sidestepped a question about whether he'd raise the debt limit and fund government for short periods by saying, "I'm not going to get into a whole lot of speculation."

Hours later, Obama used a White House news conference to say he "absolutely" would negotiate with Republicans on "every item in the budget" if Congress first sent him short-term measures halting the shutdown and the extending the debt limit.

"There's a crack there," Boehner said of the impasse late Tuesday, though he cautioned against optimism.

The White House said Obama would reach out to Boehner's House Republicans in the coming days with an invitation to the White House. He also intends to meet with senators of both parties, officials said.

A White House sit-down with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders last week yielded no progress. But the stakes are growing higher.

The financial world is flashing unmistakable signs that it fears Washington's twin battles could hurt the economy.

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund's financial counselor, Jose Vinals, said a failure by Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling and a subsequent U.S. default would cause "a worldwide shock."

Also, the National Retail Federation became the latest business group to urge lawmakers to quickly end their standoff. In a letter to congressional leaders, federation President Matthew Shay wrote Congress must "reverse the economic crisis it has created through the shutdown while it is still a short-term crisis and not the beginning of another recession."

The Obama administration has said that unless Congress acts, it expects to have an estimated $30 billion in cash left by Oct. 17. That is pocket change for a government that can spend tens of billions more than that on busy days and $3.6 trillion a year.

Hitting that date without congressional action would risk an unprecedented federal default that would wound the economy and deal lasting harm to the government's ability to borrow money, many economists warn. Some Republicans have expressed doubt that the damage would be as severe.

In the House, Republicans were continuing their tactic of pushing through narrowly targeted bills — over Democratic objections — that would restart popular parts of the government.

On Wednesday, they planned votes on a measure financing death benefits to families of fallen U.S. troops. Blaming the shutdown, the Pentagon has halted the $100,000 payments, usually made within three days of a death.

The stoppage of those payments drew the attention of Senate chaplain Barry Black, who in his prayer opening Wednesday's Senate session said, "When our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to families of children dying in faraway battlefields, it's time for our lawmakers to say, 'Enough is enough.' "

But an official of a conservative group that has pressed Republicans to try repealing Obama's health care law was unyielding Wednesday, saying that fight should continue.

"We should not fund the government until we address the president's unfair, unaffordable and unworkable law," Michael Needham, chief executive officer of Heritage Action for America, said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats introduced legislation letting the government borrow money through Dec. 31, 2014. It contained no spending cuts or other deficit-cutting steps many Republicans seek.

The bill's fate was uncertain, since the 54 votes Democrats can usually muster are short of the 60 votes they would need to overcome a conservative filibuster aimed at derailing the bill. An initial test vote seemed likely by Saturday.

Obama said Tuesday that he would negotiate, but added: "I'm not going to do it until the more extreme parts of the Republican Party stop forcing John Boehner to issue threats about our economy. We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy."

Two hours later, Boehner stood firm.

"What the president said today was if there's unconditional surrender by Republicans, he'll sit down and talk to us," Boehner said. "That's not the way our government works."

Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee and the party's 2012 candidate for vice president, proposed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Wednesday that the stalemate be resolved by having both sides agree to "common sense reforms of the country's entitlement programs and tax code."

___

AP Special Correspondent David Espo and AP reporter Donna Cassata contributed to this report.

 

 

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