News and notes from around the Central:
- In an article that's probably been written about every team save for the Astros and Royals this year, Derrick Goold of stltoday.com wonders if the Cardinals' offense has been too reliant on the home run this season. (I'll answer in a word: no.)
- Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez missed his third straight game yesterday, sitting out because of a badly bruised right forearm. Hernandez says he thinks he'll be back in the lineup in the next couple of days.
- Pirates starter Jeff Karstens, who couldn't make it through four innings in his last start, was scratched from his scheduled turn in the rotation on Friday. Karstens says he was more sore than normal after Sunday's start against the Cards, so the Bucs will let him rest his arm for five extra days.
- Injured Cubs right-hander Andrew Cashner, out since April 6 with a strained right rotator cuff, had an effective rehab outing yesterday, striking out the side in one inning of work for AA Tennessee. Cashner is expected to move up to AAA Iowa to make two more rehab appearances, and if those go well, he'll probably rejoin the Cubs this weekend.
- Since he's only had about 360 at-bats this season while splitting time between Houston and Oklahoma City, Astro outfielder Brian Bogusevic says he's heading to the Dominican Republic this winter to work on his swing.
- Pittsburgh barfed up a 3-2, seventh-inning lead against Houston, allowing the Astros to score four runs in the seventh as Houston swiped at 7-4 win at Minute Maid Park. The Bucs plated three runs in the fourth (Andrew McCutchen's two-run home run, Ryan Doumit's RBI double) and turned over the 3-2 lead to Jason Grilli, who made it through the sixth inning but only recorded one out in the seventh: after Jason Bourgeois grounded out, Grilli hit Jordan Schafer with a pitch and Jose Altuve doubled, bringing an end to Grillli's day. Jose Veras followed and gave up an RBI fielder's choice to J.D. Martinez, and Carlos Lee followed with a backbreaking, three-run homer to give the 'Stros the lead and, eventually, the win. Wandy Rodriguez bounced back from a rough start against Colorado, working seven innings and giving up four hits and three walks while striking out a career-high 13.
Cincinnati and Philly were tied at 1 at the start of the eighth inning, but Shane Victorino changed that with a one-out, two-run homer off of Homer Bailey -- who worked eight otherwise effective innings, giving up six hits and three runs while punching out nine -- to lead the Phillies to a 3-2 win over the Reds. Cincy managed to get one run back in the bottom of the eighth, when Dave Sappelt drove in Ryan Hanigan with an infield single, but the Reds couldn't get over the hump: Joey Votto grounded out with runners at first and third in the eighth, and Edgar Renteria grounded out with a man on first to end the game.
- Chicago somehow managed to plate five runs off of Giants starter Tim Lincecum and ran away from San Francisco, 7-0, at AT&T Park. The Cubs were clinging to a 1-0 lead heading into the seventh, but they tacked on five runs in the frame -- one on Geovany Soto's leadoff homer, three more on Blake DeWitt's three-run bomb, and another on Carlos Pena's 26th homer of the year -- to chase Lincecum from the game and turn this one into a laugher. Randy Wells was on top of his game last night, throwing a complete game two-hitter on 113 pitches while fanning seven.
- Milwaukee and St. Louis had the day off.
Your updated standings for August 30:
|W||L||GB||Last 10||Streak||Elimination #
The Wild Card race looks like this right now:
And here are the playoff participants, if the season ended today:
Braves (Wild Card)
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew and Cardinals begin a big three-game series at Miller Park at 7:10 p.m. CDT. Shaun Marcum (11-4, 3.38) takes on Edwin Jackson (10-9, 3.94) in the opener.
- The Reds resume their series with the Phillies at 6:10 p.m. CDT at Great American Ballpark. Bronson Arroyo (8-10, 5.02) might be punching out of his weight class in this one, as the Phils start Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56).
- The Pirates and Astros are back at it at 7:05 p.m. CDT, when Charlie Morton (9-7, 3.63) faces Henry Sosa (1-2, 5.09).
- The Cubs look to make it two in a row against the Giants at 9:15 p.m. CDT. Matt Garza (6-10, 3.68) gets the call for the Baby Bears, while San Francisco starts Ryan Vogelsong (10-4, 2.54).