News from around the Central:
- The Cardinals struggling rotation gets a boost today when right-hander Kyle McClellan returns to the mound after missing the last two weeks with a hip flexor strain. It doesn't sound like McClellan is completely right -- he's changed his position on the mound to take stress off his hip -- but he's coming back anyway.
- Your weekly Aroldis Chapman update: the flame-throwin' Reds reliever had a miserable outing for AA Carolina last Thursday (three runs in 2/3 of an inning) but was a bit better on Sunday, only walking two in two scoreless frames. Chapman has nine days left on his 30-day rehab assignment.
- New Pirates catcher Michael McKenry has been thrown into the fire by his new club: he started on Monday and is doing his best to get on the same page with the Pittsburgh pitchers.
- There's been some talk that Houston might be the team moving from the NL to the AL if MLB adopts the plan of axing the divisions and putting 15 teams in each league. Astro skipper Brad Mills isn't keen on that idea.
- In lieu of a Cubs note (I don't much feel like talking about the Cubs today, if you don't mind), here's another Houston item: the Astros fired pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and replaced him with Doug Brocail.
- Milwaukee blew a 4-1, eighth-inning lead to Chicago and fell in ten innings to the Baby Bears, 5-4. That's really all I feel like saying about that. Our recap is here.
- Not to be outdone, St. Louis blew a lead to an equally-inept team, gagging away a 6-1 advantage as Washington scored six seventh-inning runs and swiped an 8-6 win from the Cards in our Nation's capital. Miguel Batista was the goat for St. Louis, pitching two-thirds of the seventh and giving up four hits, a walk, and five earned runs. Ryan Zimmerman doubled in a run in the winning rally, Jayson Werth and Danny Espinosa had RBI singles, and Laynce Nix drew a bases loaded walk to drive in another.
- Cincinnati took its second straight game over Los Angeles, squeaking out a 3-2 win at Dodger Stadium. This game was knotted at 1 going into the eighth, but Joey Votto changed that with an RBI single that drove in Miguel Cairo. The Reds tacked on another run in the ninth thanks to a Drew Stubbs single, and Cincinnati hung on from there: CoCo Cordero gave up a walk and an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, but he struck out Casey Blake and then got Rod Barajas to pop up for the final out for his 14th save. Johnny Cueto picked up his fourth win with seven innings of strong work (seven hits, one walk, five strikeouts).
- The Pirates have ascended Mount .500 once again courtesy of a 1-0 win over Houston at Minute Maid Park. Jeff Karstens was lights-out for Pittsburgh, pitching 6.2 innings without giving up a run and only allowing three hits. Clint Hurdle used five relievers after that and the 'pen did its job, limiting the Astros to one hit and one walk over the last 2.1 innings. Bud Norris was almost as good for Houston, going 7.0 innings and striking out nine while giving up six hits and two walks. But a Garrett Jones second-inning single plated Neil Walker, and that proved to be the difference.
Your updated standings for June 15:
On tap for today:
- The Crew and Cubs take the field at 7:05 p.m. CDT tonight for game three of their four-game series. Tonight's game features Chris Narveson (3-4, 4.32) and Carlos Zambrano (5-3, 4.40).
- St. Louis and Washington are back at it at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight at Nationals Park. Kyle McClellan (6-2, 3.86) makes his return to the Cards rotation, facing the Nats' Livan Hernandez (3-8, 4.15).
- The Reds and Dodgers wrap up their series at 2:10 p.m. CDT at Dodger Stadium. Travis Wood (4-4, 5.38) starts for Cincinnati, while Chad Billingsley (5-5, 4.13) gets the call for L.A.
- Pittsburgh and Houston continue their series at 7:05 p.m. CDT tonight at Minute Maid Park. Charlie Morton (6-3, 3.08) is on the bump for the Pirates, and he'll match up with the Astros' J.A. Happ (3-8, 5.04).