News and notes from around the Central:
- Cards manager Tony LaRussa tried some reverse psychology after St. Louis' sweep of the Brewers, telling reporters that he sees no reason for the Brewers to doubt themselves heading into the last month of the season.
- Cincinnati outfielder Fred Lewis, whose miserable second half (.154, one homer, 4 RBI) led to the team designating him for assignment earlier in the week, cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Louisville.
- The Pirates purchased the contract of AAA pitcher Brian Burres and the Bucs are throwing him into the fire right away, giving the lefty the start against the Cubs today. Pittsburgh also recalled catcher Jason Jaramillo from Indianapolis.
- Aramis Ramirez's agent says that the Cubs' lack of a permanent GM makes it less likely that the slugging third baseman will re-sign with the club: "We have no idea where they are headed now. With Jim (Hendry), I had a good idea."
- The Padres claimed right-handed reliever Jeff Fulchino off of waivers from Houston. Fulchino was 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA for the 'Stros in 36 games this season.
- All Milwaukee needed to do to end St. Louis' season was win one game at home. That was too much to ask of Yovani Gallardo, though: Yo blew up in a big way, giving up four homers in a weak 4.2 inning effort as the Crew got swept by the Cards, 8-4. Our postmortem is here.
- Cincinnati also got swept, but at least Cincy's four straight losses are understandable: the Phillies are steamrolling everything in their path right now, and the Reds just happened to be in the way this week. On Thursday afternoon, the Phils scored four runs against starter Reds Mike Leake (three run-scoring singles and Ryan Howard's 30th homer) and tacked on two more in the seventh on Michael Martinez's two-run homer. That was enough support for Vance Worley, who ran his record to 10-1 despite giving up eight hits and four earnies in 6.0 innings, as Philadelphia completed the sweep with a 6-4 win.
- Pittsburgh dropped its fifth straight game -- in a related story: the NL Central is really bad -- bowing to the Dodgers, 6-4, in a makeup game at PNC Park. L.A. jumped on Brad Lincoln right at the start, scoring three runs in the first thanks to Aaron Miles' 2-RBI single and Tony Gwynn Jr.'s sac fly. Lincoln settled down from there, holding the Dodgers scoreless over the next five innings, but L.A. tacked on some insurance runs in the eighth and held on as the Bucs staged a three-run rally in the ninth. But Kenley Jackson put out the fire, striking out Josh Harrison and Brandon Wood to end the game.
Chicago and Houston had the day off.
Your updated standings for September 2:
|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 snap out of its recent sleepwalking fit against the Astros at 7:05 p.m. CDT at Minute Maid Park. Zack Greinke (13-5, 4.05) faces youngster Lucas Harrell (0-0, 7.20) in this one.
- The Cardinals look to keep the good times rolling against the reeling Reds at 7:15 p.m. CDT at Busch Stadium. Chris Carpenter (8-9, 3.76) takes on Johnny Cueto (9-5, 2.05) in the opener.
- The Pirates and Cubs play out the string in a three-game series at Wrigley Field that starts at 1:20 p.m. CDT this afternoon. Ryan Dempster (10-10, 4.76) battles Brian Burres (0-0, ---) in game one.