Around the NL Central: August 16 Edition

News and notes from around the Central:

Yesterday's action:

  • How you know things are going your way: your starter allows six hits and gives up five walks, but doesn't give up any runs (and only throws 101 pitches) over eight innings. How'd it happen? Check out the recap of Milwaukee 3, Los Angeles 0.
  • The Cardinals seemed to have Pittsburgh starter James McDonald on the ropes a couple of times during last night's 6-2 loss to the Pirates, but St. Louis could never deliver the knockout blow: McDonald tightroped his way through 5.2 innings, giving up six hits and two walks but just two earned runs, and four Pirate relievers finished off the Cards with 3.1 scoreless innings. Meanwhile, the Bucs worked Cards starter Jake Westbrook for five runs (four earned) in 5.2 innings, as Xavier Paul and Ryan Doumit clubbed homers (with Doumit's being a three-run shot) to power the Pirates to the win.
  • It's probably not fair to call this series the Battle for the Basement, since Chicago is 16.0 games ahead of the comically-bad Astros in the Central, but whatever: in the Battle for the Basement, the Cubs claimed a 4-3 victory over Houston thanks to a pair of 2-RBI doubles: Carlos Pena knocked in two runs in the first with a booming fly to center field, and Geovany Soto ripped a double into the corner in the sixth to plate two more. Matt Downs drove in all three Astro runs, but the Astros were held hitless over the last 3.2 innings, and Kerry Wood picked up his first save of the year, setting Houston down in order in the ninth.
  • Cincinnati had the day off.

Your updated standings for August 16:


W L GB Last 10 Streak
Brewers
71 51 -- 9-1 W4
Cardinals 65 57 6.0 6-4 L1
Reds 59 62 11.5
5-5 L1
Pirates 57
63 13.0 3-7 W1
Cubs 54 68 17.0 7-3 W3
Astros 38 84 33.0 1-9 L7

 

The Wild Card race looks like this right now:


W L GB Last 10 Streak
Braves
71 51 -- 7-3 W1
Brewers*
71 51 -- 9-1 W4
Giants 66 56 5.0 4-6 L1
Cardinals 65 57 6.0
6-4 L1
Reds 59
62 11.5 5-5 L1

 

On tap for tonight:

  • The Crew and Dodgers are back in action at 7:10 p.m. CDT tonight, when Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.67) takes on Chad Billingsley (10-9, 4.17).
  • The Cardinals and Pirates resume their series at 6:05 p.m. CDT at PNC Park. Chris Carpenter (8-8, 3.68) faces Jeff Karstens (9-6, 3.04) in game two.
  • Cincinnati is in Washington to open a three-game series with the Nationals at 6:05 p.m. CDT. Mike Leake (10-7, 3.84) matches up against Chien-Ming Wang (1-2, 3.60) in the opener.
  • The Cubs get to take the billyclub to the Astros again at 7:05 p.m. CDT at Minute Maid Park. Ryan Dempster (10-8, 4.70) is on the bump for the Baby Bears, while Brett Myers (3-12, 4.71) continues to punch the pay clock for Houston.
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