News and Notes:
- This headline was just too intriguing to pass up.
- Second baseman Jose Altuve has made some changes at the plate and they have apparently paid off early in the year.
- The Astrodome: A stadium truly ahead of its time.
- Astrosdaily writer Bob Hulsey has an interesting take on how new owner Jim Crane can completely win over the Houston fanbase.
- starter Chris Carpenter continues his rehab work and is now scheduled to return in June rather than May.
- First baseman Lance Berkman was forced to sit out the finale against Cincinnati and manager Mike Matheny shuffled up the line-up on get away day.
- are no strangers to spending to remain competitive. With the Brewers, and more recently the Reds, increasing their commitments they are no longer the only big spenders in the NL Central.
- are keeping things positive after losing the series finale in Cincinnati.
- have a pretty exciting home opener scheduled for Friday.
- radio play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes has an uplifting outlook, suited quite well for his line of work.
- Left Fielder Alfonso Soriano hasn't been known for his defense, but apparently his improvements have been noticeable. As pointed out by a number of comments in the game thread for Wednesday's afternoon game even a blind mouse will occasionally find the piece of cheese.
- Center fielder Marlon Byrd is off to a slow start to the season.
- face of the franchise Andrew McCutchen is off to a hot start to begin the season.
- are emphasizing a quality approach at the plate in hopes of maximizing their offensive potential in their efforts to break their long streak of losing seasons.
- are hoping that the good start of the season continues for former Brewer Casey McGehee.
- have money and they are not afraid to use it.
- Second baseman Brandon Phillips isn't afraid to show his emotional side.
- injured closer Ryan Madson was scheduled to have his Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.
- rookie Shortstop Zack Cozart is settling in nicely for the Reds and is off to a great start to the season.
This is how the NL Central stands going into Thursday's slate of games:
The Reds open a series against the Nationals in Washington at 12:05 p.m. CDT in the home opener at Nationals Ballpark. In a matchup of new starters Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez are both looking to pick up their first wins for their respective new teams.
Pittsburgh will conclude their series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers in a game set to get underway at 9:10 p.m. CDT. Jeff Karstens takes the mound for the Pirates and goes up against Dodger starter, and former Brewer, Chris Capuano.