News and notes from around the Central:
- This gives new meaning to the phrase "bitten by the injury bug": St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday had to leave yesterday's game against the Dodgers after a moth flew into his ear in the eighth inning. Trainers were able to get the bug out before it ate Holliday's brain, and he should be good to go tonight.
- Reds outfielder Chris Heisey was eligible to come off the DL on Sunday as he attempts to return from the strained oblique that's sidelined him since August 6, but he wasn't ready to be activated yet: Reds skipper Dusty Baker says Heisey began doing baseball activity a few days ago and might be able to return later this week.
- A few days after losing left-hander Paul Maholm to a shoulder injury, the Pirates lost another starter when right-hander Kevin Correia landed on the DL with a strained left oblique. Correia was scheduled to start Wednesday's game against the Crew, and the Bucs haven't announced who's going to take Correia's turn in the rotation.
- Precocious Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro got himself sat yesterday after he had his back turned to the plate as James Russell delivered a pitch in the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the Cardinals. Castro said he thought Russell was still throwing warm-up pitches, but that wasn't a good enough excuse for Cryin' Mike Quade, who called Castro's lapse in focus "unacceptable."
- Jordan Schafer FINALLY made his debut as an Astro last night, which should put an end to my impressive streak of "when's Jordan Schafer coming back?" notes in Around the NL Central.
Milwaukee and Pittsburgh split a doubleheader, with the Crew blowing out the Bucs in game one and the Pirates returning the favor in game two. Our recap is here.
- St. Louis got a marvelous start from Chris Carpenter, who worked eight innings of five-hit ball and kept the Cardinals' paper-thin 1-0 advantage -- earned on Lance Berkman's 29th homer of the year in the second inning -- intact. But things came apart for the Redbirds in the ninth inning: Carpenter plunked Juan Rivera with a pitch to open the ninth, and, after Arthur Rhodes fanned Andre Ethier, Tony LaRussa handed the ball to Fernando Salas, who promptly surrendered a game-tying triple to Aaron Miles and a go-ahead RBI grounder to Rod Barajas. Javy Guerra took over from there there, working around a two-out hit to secure his 11th save of the season.
- Ryan Dempster was pretty good last night, holding the Braves to three runs on six hits in six innings while striking out eight, but his offense did him no favors: the Cubs worked Jair Jurrjens for eight hits and five walks in 6.1 innings, but Chicago couldn't cash in any of those opportunities and got blanked by Atlanta, 3-0, at Wrigley Field. The Braves used homers from Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla and an RBI groundout from Martin Prado to gain the three-run advantage, and the Braves 'pen made it hold up: after Arodys Vizcaino and Eric O'Flaherty turned in 1.2 scoreless innings, Jonny Venters worked around a couple of walks to nail down his fifth save of the year.
Houston's game against the Rockies was over early yesterday: Colorado jumped on Brett Myers for six first-inning runs, thanks to a walk, four doubles, and two singles, with the big blow coming from pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, who delivered a two-out, two-run double to secure the six-run advantage. Chacin didn't exactly coast from there -- he gave up 11 hits and a walk in his seven innings -- but he limited the 'Stros to one run. Things got a little interesting in the ninth when Matt Downs hit a three-run, pinch-hit homer and the Astros loaded the bases with one out, but Clint Barmes went down swinging to put an end to the madness.
- Cincinnati had the day off.
Your updated standings for August 23:
|W||L||GB||Last 10||Streak||Elimination #
The Wild Card race looks like this right now:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew and Pirates are back in action at 6:05 p.m. CDT, when Marco Estrada (3-8, 4.28) takes on Ross Ohlendorf (0-0, 7.27).
- The Cardinals and Dodgers resume their series at 7:15 p.m. CDT. Kyle Lohse (11-7, 3.33) is on the bump for the Cards, while Clayton Kershaw (15-5, 2.60) gets the ball for L.A.
- The Reds kick off a three-game series with the Marlins in Miami at 6:10 p.m. CDT. Johnny Cueto (9-5, 1.89) looks to continue his stellar season, while Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 4.25) gets the start for the Fish.
- The Cubs and Braves play under the lights at Wrigley Field at 7:05 p.m., when Casey Coleman (2-5, 7.43) faces Mike Minor (3-2, 4.26).
- Houston takes on the Rockies at Coors Field at 7:40 p.m. CDT. Bud Norris (6-8, 3.61) battles new Rockie Alex White (1-0, 3.60) in this one.