News and notes from around the Central:
- The news isn't good on Cardinals left-fielder Matt Holliday, who returned to St. Louis after injuring his right hand during the ninth inning of Tuesday's win over Pittsburgh: Holliday has a strained tendon in his hand and is being shut down for this weekend's critical series in Philadelphia.
- And there seems to be bad news on the horizon for Reds ace Johnny Cueto, who had to exit yesterday's game against the Cubs because of an injury to his pitching shoulder. I'm not an expert, but when the young man says he felt something "pop" in his back after a pitch, that can't portend good things.
- There is no joy in Mudville for a 19th straight season: yesterday's loss to the Cardinals was Pittsburgh's 82nd defeat, eliminating the slim possibility that the Pirates could go .500 on the year. At least the team got to wear fun Hawaiian shirts to the airport after the loss.
- For the first time since the job came open, I've got a note about a candidate for the Cubs' GM position that doesn't include the phrase "totally uninterested": rumors are going around that current Cleveland President Mark Shapiro is "intrigued" by the job on the North Side.
- The Astros currently feature sixteen rookies on their roster, and there's some promising talent in the bunch with J.D Martinez, Jimmy Paredes, and Jose Altuve, to name a few. But Chip Bailey of the Houston Chronicle says that the team needs to add more to continue the rebuilding.
- Shaun Marcum was bad for the first time in a while, and a reeling Brewers offense couldn't bail him out as Milwaukee saw its advantage in the Central shrink to 5.5 games in a 6-2 loss to the Rockies. Our recap is here.
St. Louis stayed on Milwaukee's heels with a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh. Yadier Molina had the crucial hit in this one, as his two-run double in the top of the fourth snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Cards a two-run advantage that held up for the rest of the game. Edwin Jackson worked out of danger in his 6.2 innings, giving up eight hits and five doubles but limiting the Bucs to just two runs. The St. Louis bullpen took over from there, slamming the door with 2.1 hitless innings and five strikeouts. Jason Motte picked up his seventh save with a perfect ninth inning.
Cincinnati managed to overcome the loss of Johnny Cueto by rocking Chicago's Casey Coleman for six runs in 3.2 innings en route to an easy 7-2 win over the Cubs. Ramon Hernandez kicked off the party with a three-run bomb off of Coleman in the second inning and Juan Francisco tacked on two more with a single in the third inning that plated Jay Bruce and Joey Votto. Meanwhile, the Reds 'pen held the Cubs after Cueto's exit: Sam LeCure worked 2.1 innings and gave up two runs, but the three relievers who followed him gave up just one hit and no runs over the last three innings.
- Houston couldn't complete the sweep of Philadelphia, though it's hard to be upset about this result if you're an Astros fan: the Phils grabbed a run in the first inning against Bud Norris on Shane Victorino's double and Placido Polanco's RBI single, and that was it for scoring for the day. Roy Halladay blanked the 'Stros in a complete-game shutout, holding the Astros to just six hits and a walk while fanning seven. The win gives Halladay 18 on the year and the shutout lowers his ERA to 2.34.
Your updated standings for September 15:
|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 Reds and Cubs conclude their series at 6:10 p.m. CDT, when Homer Bailey (8-7, 4.34) takes on Randy Wells (7-4, 4.73).
- The Pirates head to L.A. for a series with the Dodgers that starts at 9:10 p.m. CDT. Ross Ohlendorf (0-2, 8.03) faces Dana Eveland (2-0, 0.60) in game one.
- The Crew, Cardinals, and Astros have the day off.