News and notes from around the Central:
- Extending the contract of Chris Carpenter shows that the Cardinals are intent on bringing back the same team in 2012, says Derrick Goold of stltoday.com.
- Reds infielder Chris Valaika suffered one of the strangest (and cruelest) on-field injuries this season when he popped his ACL on a fifth-inning swing on Sunday afternoon. Valaika will have surgery sometime next week and hopes to be healthy for Spring Training.
- While the team hasn't publicly commented on the situation, the Pirates have notified their Venezuelan academy that they won't be participating in the Venezuelan Summer League anymore. Instead, the team will shift operations to its academy Dominican Republic, and the team plans to field two teams in the Dominican Summer League in 2012.
- Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez has a one-year, $16-million mutual option remaining on his contract, but he says he's not interested in playing on a one-year deal; he wants a two- or three-year contract.
- Former Astro Hunter Pence returned to Minute Maid Park as a visiting player for the first time yesterday, but with all the turnover to the Astros' roster after he was traded, things didn't exactly look familiar.
St. Louis stubbed its toe after an impressive weekend sweep of the Braves, gagging away a 4-3 eighth-inning lead and falling to Pittsburgh, 6-5, at PNC Park. Albert Pujols' two-run, sixth-inning homer had given the Cards the one-run advantage, and Tony LaRussa tabbed Octavio Dotel in the eighth inning. Dotel struck out Andrew McCutchen but walked Derrek Lee, and TLR then summoned Marc Rzepczynski to face Ryan Doumit. Doumit foiled that move by ripping a game-tying double to right field, and after an intentional walk to Ryan Ludwick, Scrabble fanned Josh Harrison and gave way to Fernando Salas, who promptly surrendered a cue-shot, 2-RBI double to Pedro Ciriaco. Joel Hanrahan wasn't on top of his game, giving up two hits and allowing a run to score on a wild pitch, but he struck out Corey Patterson to secure his 37th save of the year.
Cincinnati has eliminated its margin for error in the NL Central race after getting stomped by Chicago, 12-8, at Great American Ballpark. The Cubs roughed up Dontrelle Willis in a big way, plating eight earned runs on nine hits and three walks in just 3.1 innings, and though Rodrigo Lopez wasn't much better (5.1 IP, nine hits, five earned runs, four homers allowed), he was good enough to earn his fifth win on the year. Aramis Ramirez hit his 25th home run on the year, and Starlin Castro homered and hit two doubles en route to a 3-for-4, 3 RBI day.
- Houston got its 50th win of the year courtesy of a 5-1 triumph over the NL East-leading Phillies. Brett Myers held the Phils in check for eight innings, giving up just one run on six hits and a walk while striking out four. Meanwhile, former Astro Roy Oswalt got roughed up by his old team, as the Astros worked Oswalt for five earned runs on 11 hits in seven innings. Carlos Lee hit his 16th homer to support Myers' cause.
- Milwaukee had the day off.
Your updated standings for September 13:
|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 welcomes the Rockies to town for a quick two-game set that kicks off at 7:10 p.m. CDT. Zack Greinke (14-6, 3.93) faces Esmil Rogers (6-5, 6.26) in game one.
- The Cardinals and Pirates are back in action at 6:05 p.m. CDT at PNC Park, when Chris Carpenter (9-9, 3.75) takes on Jeff Karstens (9-9, 3.32).
- The Reds and Cubs resume hostilities at 6:05 p.m. CDT at Great American Ballpark. Mike Leake (11-9, 4.00) makes what's probably his last start of the year against Ryan Dempster (10-11, 4.74).
- The Astros go for the improbable series win against the Phillies (no type) at 7:05 p.m. J.A. Happ (5-15, 5.77) faces his former mates, while Cole Hamels (14-7, 2.60).