News and notes from around the Central:
- The Cardinals have pushed back Kyle Lohse's next start, which was scheduled for Sunday, and Lohse will now start on eight days' rest next Tuesday. Edwin Jackson will take Lohse's turn in the rotation on Sunday
- Coming into today's start, Cincinnati right-hander Mike Leake has worked 152 innings in his second major league season, and GM Walt Jocketty says that the team plans to cap Leake's innings after another start or two.
- The Pirates officially threw up the white flag on Wednesday when they dealt outfielder Matt Diaz to the Braves and sent AAA outfielder John Bowker to the Phillies. Both players were dealt for a PTBNL or cash.
- There's been some speculation that the Cubs might make a run at Boston GM Theo Epstein to fill their vacant GM spot, but Epstein is having none of it, telling reporters that he's happy in Boston.
- J.A. Happ has looked like a new man since returning from his demotion to AAA Oklahoma City, leading Chip Bailey of the Houston Chronicle to wonder: what took Happ so long?
Milwaukee fell on its face literally and figuratively, as Ryan Braun's comical faceplant on what should have been an inside-the-park homer set the tone for an 8-3 loss to St. Louis. Our recap is here.
Cincinnati got handcuffed by Cliff Lee -- not that there's any shame in that -- for 8.2 innings as Philadelphia grabbed a 3-0 victory over the Reds at Great American Ballpark. Lee gave up six hits and walked one while fanning seven in his stellar outing, and Ryan Madison picked up the save when he got Yonder Alonso to pop out after Lee loaded the bases with two out in the ninth. Dontrelle Willis was his usual erratic self, walking five in 6.2 innings and giving up all three Philly runs.
- Break up the Astros, and while you're at it, break up the Pirates: Houston completed the sweep of Pittsburgh behind J.A. Happ's gem, blanking the Bucs 2-0. Happ worked seven scoreless innings, giving up just three hits and a walk while striking out six, and the Astros provided all the offense Happ needed with two fourth inning runs (on Humberto Quintero's RBI groundout and Jordan Schafer's run-scoring bunt single). Mark Melancon worked a clean ninth inning for his 16th save.
Chicago couldn't finish the sweep of the Giants, getting shut down by Madison Bumgarner as San Francisco coasted to a 4-0 win. Bumgarner fanned 11 Cubs and allowed just two hits in his eight innings of work, and Sergio Romo put the Cubs down in order in the ninth to finish the shut out. Meanwhile, Rodrigo Lopez did Rodrigo Lopez things for 5.1 innings, giving up nine hits (including a pair of homers in the fourth inning, to Pablo Sandoval and Jeff Keppinger) and four runs while striking out two.
Your updated standings for September 1:
|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 today:
- The Crew tries to avoid the sweep at 3:10 p.m. CDT this afternoon, sending Yovani Gallardo (15-8, 3.37) to the mound to face the Cardinals' Brandon Dickson (0-0, 0.00).
- The Reds are also attempting to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Phillies at 11:35 a.m. CDT, when Mike Leake (11-8, 4.04) takes on Vance Worley (9-1, 2.65).
- The Pirates welcome the Dodgers to PNC Park for a make-up game at 3:05 p.m. CDT. Brad Lincoln (1-0, 3.42) matches up with former Brewer Dana Eveland (0-0, ---) in this one.
- The Cubs and Astros have the day off.