Around the NL Central: September 19 Edition

News and notes from around the Central:

Yesterday's action:

  • Milwaukee took full advantage of an emergency start by Matt Maloney, battering the Cincinnati left-hander for seven runs in one-plus innings and sweeping the series from the Reds with an 8-1 win at Great American Ballpark. Our recap is here.
  • St. Louis gained a game on Atlanta in the Wild Card race with a 5-0 shutout of the Phillies on Sunday night. Chris Carpenter spun a gem, holding the Phillies scoreless for eight innings and giving up eight hits while striking out five. Al Pujols sparked the Cards' offense with a two-run homer off of Cole Hamels in the first inning, and Allen Craig put the game out of reach with a two-run shot of his own in the sixth. Craig added another homer in the eighth to account for the final margin as the Cards crept to within 3.5 games of the Braves in the battle for the last playoff spot.
  • Pittsburgh got slaughtered by the Dodgers, 15-1, at Dodger Stadium. L.A. banged out 23 hits on the day and bludgeoned Pirates starter Brad Lincoln for six earned runs in just 1.2 innings, and the seven Pirates relievers who followed didn't fare much better: Aaron Thompson gave up three earned in a third of an inning; Chris Leroux gave up two in two-thirds of an inning; and Daniel McCutchen got touched for three earned runs and six hits in just 1.1 innings. There were plenty of hitting heroes for the Dodgers, but James Loney deserves special mention: he was 5-for-6 on the day with three runs batted in.
  • Houston clipped Chicago, 3-2, at Wrigley Field to avoid its 101st loss the year. The Astros got all their offense in the first inning, as J.D. Martinez drove in the game's first run with a single and Clint Barmes added a 2-RBI single to give Houston an early 3-0 lead. That was all the offense Brett Myers  needed, as the right-hander worked 7.2 innings, scattering six hits and giving up two runs (one earned) while striking out five. Mark Melancon worked the last inning-and-a-third, striking out three of the four Cubs he faced to earn his 18th save.
  • Arizona avoided the sweep by the Padres with a 5-1 win on Sunday afternoon. Joe Saunders worked 8.2 innings of seven-hit ball, and J.J. Putz picked up a cheap 41st save by retiring the last hitter with runners on second and third in the bottom of the ninth. Paul Goldschmidt was 2-for-3 with a solo homer and three runs driven in as the D-backs reduced their magic number to clinch the NL West to five.

Your updated standings for September 19:


W L GB Last 10 Streak Elimination #
Brewers
90 63 -- 5-5 W3 --
Cardinals 83 69 6.5 8-2 W1
4
Reds 74 79 16.0
4-6 L3 Done
Pirates 68
85 22.0 2-8 L3
Done
Cubs 67 86 23.0 5-5 L1 Done
Astros 52 100 37.5 4-6 W1 Done

 
The Wild Card race looks like this right now:


W L GB Last 10 Streak
Brewers*
90
63 -- 5-5 W3
Braves
87 66 3.0 4-6 L1
Cardinals 83 69 6.5 8-2 W1
Giants 83 70 7.0
8-2 W8
Dodgers 76
76 13.5 6-4 W3

 
And here are the playoff participants, if the season ended today:


W L GB Last 10 Streak
Phillies (East) 98 53 --
6-4 L1
Brewers (Central) 90 63 9.0 5-5 W3
D-backs (West)
88 65 11.0 6-4 W1
Braves (Wild Card)
87 66 12.0
4-6 L1

 

On tap for today:

  • The Crew heads to Wrigley Field to begin a three-game series with the Cubs at 7:05 p.m. CDT. Chris Narveson (10-7, 4.40) faces Casey Coleman (2-8, 7.06) in game one.
  • The Cardinals wrap up their four game set with the Phillies at 6:05 p.m. CDT, when Kyle Lohse (13-8, 3.62) battles Roy Halladay (18-5, 2.34).
  • The Reds host Houston at 6:10 p.m. CDT at Great American Ballpark. Dontrelle Willis (0-6, 5.04) is scheduled to start for Cincinnati, providing his back cooperates, while J.A. Happ (6-15, 5.59) goes for the Astros.
  • The floundering Pirates visit Phoenix for a series with the NL West-leading Diamondbacks that begins at 8:40 p.m. CDT. Charlie Morton (9-10, 3.81) takes on Ian Kennedy (19-4, 2.99) in the opener.
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