News and notes from around the Central:
- There's been a lot of talk about Matt Holliday's injured hand in the last couple of days, but Holliday wasn't the only one banged up in the Cardinals recent series against Pittsburgh: shortstop Rafael Furcal injured his left knee trying to steal second base in the fifth inning of Wednesday's game against the Pirates, but he claims he's not going to miss any more time because of the injury.
- On the other end of the spectrum is injured Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who's likely done for the season after injuring his back during Wednesday's start against the Cubs. If he's done for the year, Cueto will finish six innings short of the minimum number of innings needed to qualify for the ERA title.
- The Pirates interrupted catcher Matt Pagnozzi's offseason when the Bucs claimed the former Rockies catcher on waivers on Wednesday. Pagnozzi had already returned to his Phoenix home to begin his offseason workouts when he got the call that he was joining the Pirates for the last week of the season.
- Cubs rookie Bryan LaHair has been on fire since being summoned from the minors two weeks ago (.458 batting average since he was called up), but what impresses Cryin' Mike Quade most about LaHair is that LaHair can hold his own at multiple positions in the field.
- The Astros learned this week that they'll get the honor of opening the new Marlins stadium in Miami next season, and there's no Astro more excited by that news than outfielder JD Martinez, who grew up as a big fan of the Fish.
- Cincinnati crawled back towards the .500 mark, pulling within two games of the break-even point with a walkoff, 8-6 win over Chicago in 11 innings. The Cubs jumped on Reds starter Homer Bailey for four runs in the first inning courtesy of a pair of two-run homers from Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd, respectively. But the Reds got off the mat and scored the game's next six runs and led, 6-4, going into the top of the ninth. But CoCo Cordero didn't have it on this night, as the Cubs scored two runs in the ninth on Alfonso Soriano's double and Darwin Barney's RBI single. All's well that ends well for the Reds, though, as Jay Bruce sent the crowd home happy with a booming homer in the bottom of the 11th.
- Pittsburgh worked former Brewer Dana Eveland for four runs in five innings as the Bucs breezed to an easy 6-2 win over the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. Brandon Wood started the scoring for the Pirates with a run-scoring single, and Pittsburgh starter Ross Ohlendorf helped his own with a three-run homer that gave the Pirates a 4-1 lead. On the mound, Ohlendorf worked 7.0 strong innings, limiting the Dodgers to two runs on four hits and six strikeouts, and Joel Hanrahan picked up a cheap save by recording the game's final out after Evan Meek walked the bases loaded with two down in the bottom of the ninth.
- Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Houston all had the day off ...
- As did Arizona, which saw its lead in the West trimmed to 7.0 games when San Francisco won its fifth game in a row, dumping the Rockies, 8-5, in Denver.
Your updated standings for September 16:
|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 visits its personal House of Horrors this weekend, opening a three-game series against the Reds at 6:10 p.m. CDT. Randy Wolf (12-9, 3.44) faces Bronson Arroyo (8-11, 5.28) in game one.
- The Cardinals face the Phillies in the start of a four-game series at 6:05 p.m. CDT. Jaime Garcia (12-7, 3.68) faces Vance Worley (11-2, 2.92) in the opener.
- The Pirates continue their series with the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CDT. Jeff Locke (0-1, 5.40) takes on Hiroki Kuroda (11-16, 3.25) in game two.
- The Battle of the Basement resumes at Wrigley Field at 1:20 p.m. CDT as the Cubs and Astros open a three-game series. Matt Garza (8-10, 3.54) faces Wandy Rodriguez (11-10, 3.51) to kick things off.