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Around the NL Central: May 24 Edition

News from around the Central:

  • For the first time in a while, the Cardinals got some good news on the injury front: St. Louis activated second baseman Skip Schumaker in time for Monday's game against the Padres and optioned reliever Mitchell Boggs to AAA Memphis. The move paid immediate dividends when Schumaker factored into the winning rally in last night's contest (more on that below). The Cards also called up minor league catcher Tony Cruz to replace the injured Gerald Laird (broken finger).
  • In case you were chained in the crawl space yesterday and missed the news, the Reds sent Opening Day starter Edinson Volquez to AAA Louisville a day after Volquez (curiously) faulted his teammates for not scoring enough runs to overcome his 2.2 inning disaster start against Cleveland on Sunday. Paul Daugherty of says that talent has never been the issue for Volquez -- the problem is keeping his head on straight.
  • Former Pirate skipper Jim Leyland had nice things to say about the current edition of the Bucs after Pittsburgh's weekend series in Detroit, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Cook says that Leyland wasn't blowing smoke: the Pirates could have three All-Stars on the roster this season
  • The Cubs are probably going to be without outfielder Marlon Byrd for most of the year as Byrd recovers from the serious facial injuries suffered on Saturday night. For the time being, Chicago will have to make do in the outfield with Reed Johnson and Tony Campana (and maybe Tyler Colvin).
  • Houston also got good news on the injury front: Jason Bourgeois took a couple dozen swings off the tee and reported no problems with the strained oblique that has sidelined him for the last two weeks. There was also positive news on injured reliever Brandon Lyon, who threw off flat ground as he rehabs from a tear in his rotator cuff.

Yesterday's action:

  • Thanks to a two-run rally in the top of the ninth inning, St. Louis swiped the first game of a three-game series in San Diego, 3-1. The winning rally started on a one-out double by Skip Schumaker, who was singled home by rookie Daniel Descalso. Descalso took second on the throw to the plate and came around to score on Ryan Theriot's two-out duckfart to right field. The rally made a winner of right-hander Kyle Lohse, who held the Padres to five hits and one run over eight innings. Oh, and Albert Pujols hit a homer that was barely a homer -- not that it stopped him from taking 10 seconds to admire his handiwork.
  • The bus is a-wobblin' and there's a bridge abutment on the horizon for the scuffling Reds, who got dumptrucked, 10-3, by the Phillies at Citizens Bank Ballpark. It was Cincinnati's sixth straight loss, and there were culprits aplenty, but the lion's share of the blame falls on starter Bronson Arroyo, who lasted just 2.2 innings -- the second time in as many days that the Reds starter has failed to get out of the third inning -- and gave up nine earnies on ten hits (including two homers) and a walk. The top three hitters in Cincy's lineup -- Joey Votto, Drew Stubbs, and Paul Janish -- combined to go 0-12 with three punchouts (all by Stubbs). 
  • Trailing 3-1 in the ninth inning, Houston staged a big rally to clip the Dodgers, 4-3, at Minute Maid Park. Bill Hall singled with one out, Angel Sanchez walked after a Matt Downs strikeout, and Michael Bourn doubled them both home with a two-out two-bagger down the right-field line. After Clint Barmes was plunked, right fielder Hunter Pence sent the locals home happy with a sharp single to left to plate Bourn with the winning run.
  • Pittsburgh and Chicago had the day off.

Your updated standings for May 24:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
Cardinals 29 20 -- 7-3 W3
Brewers 25 23 3.5 8-2 W4
Reds 25 23 3.5 4-6 L6
Pirates 22 24 5.5 4-6 L1
Cubs 20 25 7.0 4-6 L1
Astros 18 30 10.5 4-6 W2


On tap for tonight:

  • St. Louis plays game two of its three-game set with the Padres at 9:05 p.m. CDT tonight. The Cards start Kyle McClellan (6-1, 3.43), and the Padres counter with Aaron Harang (5-2, 4.31).
  • The Reds try to end their six-game skid at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight in Philadelphia. Johnny Cueto (2-1, 1.45) tries to stop the bleeding for Cincinnati, while the Phillies send right-hander Vance Worley (2-0, 1.13) to the mound.
  • The Pirates host the Braves in a three-game series at PNC Park. Game one is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight and features Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens (5-1, 1.80) and Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton (5-1, 2.62).
  • The Cubs welcome the Mets to town for a three-game series that starts at 7:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Jon Niese (3-4, 4.39) gets the call for New York and Ryan Dempster (2-4, 6.91) takes the ball for Chicago.
  • Houston continues its home series with the Dodgers at 7:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Scheduled to start for L.A.: Chad Billingsley (2-4, 3.47); for Houston: J.A. Happ (3-5, 5.30).