News from around the Central:
- Where in the world is Ryan Franklin? The erstwhile St. Louis closer has lost his job and then some, as Rob Neyer notes that Franklin has only been used once since giving up two runs in Houston on April 27.
- Injured Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen took batting practice with his teammates before Monday's game, but there is still no timetable for his return from the strained left shoulder that's sidelined him for most of the year.
- Pittsburgh right-hander Jose Ascanio has finished his rehab assignment for AAA Indianapolis, but the results weren't impressive and Ascanio is out of minor league options. Charlie at SBN's Bucs Dugout asks: what do the Pirates do with him?
- Attendance at Wrigley Field is down on the young season, with the Cubs drawing almost 4000 fewer fans per game than last year. But with the Cardinals coming to town, Cryin' Mike Quade expects Cub fans to turn out in droves this week. (And if they don't, he'll probably complain about it.)
- After yesterday's game against the Reds, the Astros designated former Brewer Nelson Figueroa for assignment. The 36-year-old Figueroa was off to a bad start this season, going 0-3 with an 8.69 ERA and quickly losing his spot in the starting rotation to youngster Aneury Rodriguez. Houston recalled Sergio Escalona from AAA Oklahoma City to take Figueroa's spot on the roster.
- Cincinnati pulled within a game of first-place St. Louis with a 6-1 win in Houston. Left-hander Travis Wood won this one single-handedly, pitching 6.2 innings of six-hit ball while striking out six and clubbing a three-run homer off of Aneury Rodriguez in the third inning. Ramon Hernandez, filling in for first baseman Joey Votto, who got his first day off of the season, also homered for Cincinnati.
- Break up the Pirates: for the first time in seven years, it's the middle of May and Pittsburgh is over .500, thanks to a gift-wrapped 4-1 victory over the Dodgers last night. The game was knotted at 1 going into the bottom of the eighth, though it probably shouldn't have been: with men on first and third and nobody out in the top of the eighth, Juan Uribe roped a shot to left fielder Jose Tabata. Tabata clearly trapped the ball, but third base umpire Mike DiMuro blew the call and ruled Tabata had caught the ball cleanly, and Matt Kemp was doubled off first base as a result. Call blown, rally snuffed, and then game lost when Neil Walker doubled in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth.
- Chicago and St. Louis were idle.
On tap for tonight:
- The Cardinals and Cubs begin a three-game set at Wrigley Field with a 7:05 p.m. CDT contest. St. Louis' Chris Carpenter (0-2, 4.19) is still looking for his first win, and standing in his way is Chicago's Carlos Zambrano (4-1, 4.23).
- Houston and Cincinnati continue their series at 7:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Homer Bailey (1-0, 1.50) is scheduled to make his second start of the season for the Reds, and he'll face Astros right-hander Brett Myers (1-2, 4.47).
- Pittsburgh hosts Los Angeles in a 6:05 p.m. CDT game at PNC Park. The Pirates send Kevin Correia (5-2, 2.91) to the bump, and the Dodgers counter with lefty Ted Lilly (2-3, 4.93).