News and Notes:
- Is Jose Altuve really this good?
- New GM Jeff Luhnow is looking forward to facing his former organization. Only time will tell if he can have as much success in Houston as he did in St. Louis.
- Outfielder Jordan Schafer was forced to leave Wednesday's game early but he should be back for Friday's opener against the Cardinals.
- It's always fun to look back and compare the past to today. How do the Astros stand up to last year?
- Lance Berkman is eligible to return from the disabled list but will still be out of action for "...a couple of days." This, and other notes including Manager Mike Matheny on bunting, Carlos Beltran, and the powerful offense from mlb.com.
- Injuries and surprises have dominated the starting rotation so far in 2012 for the Cards.
- T.S. Eliot must have been full of crap. April certainly wasn't the cruelest month for the Cardinals.
- Does anyone want to trade places with Carlos Marmol right now? His latest outing didn't go so well causing his status as closer to be up in the air raising the question: Should he keep his job? Seriously, hopefully he has some really thick skin.
- In news that doesn't involve Marmol, Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood have come back from their stints on the disabled list. Scott Maine and Randy Wells have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the roster.
- I can't resist... one more Carlos-Marmol-blows-lead-and-now-his-closer-status-is-in-jeopardy link for the road.
- His early record (2-4) may not be that great (cementing the belief that there are so many better ways to evaluate pitcher performance than W-L record) but Erik Bedard has pitched well to begin the year for the Pirates. Not a bad FA signing for the Bucs.
- Someone had to benefit from the latest Carlos Marmol implosion.
- The Reds have signed right-handed reliever Michael Wuertz to a minor league contract.
The Brewers begin a series in San Francisco tonight with a game against the Giants scheduled for 9:15 p.m. CDT. In a series that should feature some quality pitching match-ups game one will see Zack Greinke (3-1) face off against Tim Lincecum (2-2).
The Astros welcome divisional foe St. Louis to Minute Maid Park for a weekend series. In tonight's game, scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. CDT start, Lucak Harrell (1-2) will start for the Astros against Kyle Lohse (4-0) and the Cardinals.
The Cubs begin a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field this afternoon. Paul Maholm (2-2) and Chad Billingsley (2-1) are the scheduled starters. Game time in Chicago is set for 1:20 p.m. CDT.
In a match-up of NL Central rivals the Pirates will entertain the Reds for a weekend series in Pittsburgh. Game time for tonight's game is set for 6:05 p.m. CDT. Kevin Correia (1-1) will make the start for the Pirates and Johnny Cueto (3-0) will take the hill for the Reds looking to continue his strong start.