Around the NL Central: July 3 Edition

News:

Our Lord and Savior's fractured wrist has shown a marked improvement, which could allow the Cardinals' first baseman to return immediately after the all star break.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette handed out their grades on the Pirates at the midpoint of the season.  It ended up being about what you would expect from a home-town newspaper in a town that hasn't had a winning baseball season since just a year after the first gulf war ended.

Marlon Byrd, who has been out since May 21 after being hit by a pitch under his left eye, has returned to the lineup for the Cubs.

Yesterday's Matchups:

The Pirates beat the Nationals 5-3 in the first game of their double header.  Alex Presley was 3-4 with a walk, Garrett Jones was 3-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, including a solo home run, and Andrew McCutchen picked up a couple hits,a solo homer and a double. James McDonald had a pretty good start, going 6.1 innings and giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks.  He also struck out seven.  Joel Hanrahan locked down the save, despite giving up a run.

The Pirates lost to the Nationals 4-3 in the second game of the double-header.  Andrew McCutchen (have I mentioned lately how infatuated with the guy I am) went 3-4 with a double and a triple and also drove in a run.  Overall on the day, he was 5-8 with two doubles, a triple and a home run--hitting for the cycle on the day.  Chase D'Arnaud was 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI.  Brad Lincoln got the spot start and had a nice day, making it through six innings and allowing two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out seven Nationals hitters.

Matt Garza was fantastic for the Cubs, but they still fell to the White Sox 1-0.  Garza had seven strikeouts as he went the full nine innings, giving up that one run on four hits and two walks.  Phillip Humber went seven scoreless innings and Matt Thornton had two perfect frames for the White Sox.  The only offensive player worth mentioning for the Cubs is Darwin Barney, who had two hits and also drew a walk.

The Reds lost to the Indians 3-1Joey Votto was 2-5 and scored the Reds lone run with a solo blast in the eighth.  Scott Rolen also had a couple hits, including a double.  Homer Bailey made it seven innings, striking out seven and giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk. 

The Astros lost to the Red Sox 10-4Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn were the lone bright spots for Houston as Pence went 3-4 with a walk, two RBI and a solo homerun and Bourn was 4-5 with a triple and two runs scored.  JA Happ wasn't at his best, giving up five runs in 6.2 innings.  Fernando Abad had an awful outing in relief, allowing four runs (including a three run home run to Darnell McDonald) in one inning. 

The Cardinals lost to the Rays, 5-1David Freese, Yadier Molina and Skip Schumaker all had a couple hits, but the only run St Louis could muster was off a Lance Berkman solo home run.  Kyle McClellan didn't have one of his better starts, allowing five runs in 5.2 innings while striking out four.  

The Brewers came back from seven down to win 8-7.  You can find our recap here.

Updated Standings:


W L GB Last 10 Streak
Cardinals 45 39 -- 5-5 L1
Brewers 45 39 -- 5-5 W1
Pirates 42 41 2.5 6-4 L1
Reds 42 42 3.0 4-6 L2
Cubs 34 50 11.0 4-6 L2
Astros 29 55 16.0 2-8 L2

 

Today's Games:

Mike Leake (7-4, 3.89) for the Reds will face Mitch Talbot (2-4, 4.96) for the Indians.

For the Pirates, Kevin Correia (10-6, 3.79) will face off against Jordan Zimmerman and the Nationals (5-7, 2.63).

The Cardinals' Kyle Lohse (8-4, 2.78) will face Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 3.18) of the Rays.

The Astros' Jordan Lyles (0-3, 4.75) will take on Josh Beckett (6-3, 2.20) of the Red Sox.

For the Brew Crew, Zach Greinke (7-3, 5.63) will face the Twins' Nick Blackburn (6-6, 3.64).

Rodrigo Lopez (0-2, 5.40) for the Cubs will take on Gavin Floyd (6-7, 4.19) for the White Sox.

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