News from around the Central:
- The Cards placed outfielder Allen Craig on the 15-day DL with a right knee injury last weekend, days after Craig collided with the Minute Maid Park wall, but yesterday they learned that the injury is more severe than they thought: Craig actually fractured his kneecap, and he's not going to be coming back when he's eligible to come off the DL on June 23.
- Cincinnati's Jay Bruce is the reigning NL Player of the Month, but he's scuffled badly on the Reds' recent roadtrip -- he's 1 for 14 in the last five games, and 2 for his last 20 -- and got a mental rest day yesterday in the finale of Cincy's three-game series with the Dodgers.
- Pirates reliever Joe Beimel is struggling in his return from the left elbow injury that's kept him out of action for the last three weeks: Beimel can throw off flat ground with no issues, but he quickly lost strength when throwing off the mound.
- In what can only be described as great news for the rest of the Division: during something called a "State of the Cubs" news conference, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said he has "100% confidence" in GM Jim Hendry and opined that Chicago manager Mike Quade has done "a great job" so far this year.
- Deposed Astros closer Brandon Lyon's return to the field from a partial rotator cuff tear and biceps tendinitis didn't last long, as Lyon has again been placed on the 15-day DL because of tendinitis. Lyon will be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum on Friday, and he acknowledged that surgery might be needed to address the injury.
- Milwaukee got big production out of the bottom of its lineup, getting two RsBI a piece from Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Yuni Betancourt, and Jon Lucroy -- plus a massive home run from Rickie Weeks -- and pulled out a 9-5 win over Chicago. Our recap is here.
- St. Louis lost its fifth in a row, and its second straight to lowly Washington, in a 10-0 bludgeoning at the hands of Livan Hernandez and the Nats. Michael Morse had a big game against a team other than the Brewers, going 3-4 with a double and two homers (a solo shot and a two-run tater), three runs driven in, and three runs scored. The ageless Livan threw a complete game shutout, blanking the punchless Cards on three hits while striking out six.
- Cincinnati finished off the sweep of the Dodgers with a 7-2 thumpin' of L.A. yesterday afternoon. The Reds scored all their runs in the first four innings of the game, thanks to two doubles and a single by Scott Rolen (3-5, 3 RBI); two doubles by Fred Lewis (2-3 with a walk, 2 RBI); and a pair of hits by Ryan Hanigan (2-3 with a walk, 2 RBI). Travis Wood didn't have his best stuff, needing 114 pitches to get through six innings (five hits, one run, five walks), but the 'pen held L.A. in check for the final three innings of the game.
- Don't adjust your sets: it's June 16, and the Pirates are over .500, courtesy of a 7-3 win over Houston at Minute Maid Park. Pittsburgh banged out fourteen hits, including four doubles, a triple, and a homer, and drew five walks on the night, and chased Astro starter J.A. Happ after five innings (six hits, two runs, four walks, seven strikeouts). The Bucs made hay against the putrid Astro bullpen, scoring a pair of runs off of Enerio Del Rosario and another pair on Fernando Rodriguez to put the game out of reach. Neil Walker was 2-3 with a walk and three driven in, and Xavier Paul was also 2-3 with two RBI.
Your updated standings for June 16:
On tap for today:
- The Crew and Cubs finish their four-game series at 1:20 p.m. CDT this afternoon. It's a matchup of offseason acquisitions as Zack Greinke (6-1, 4.69) faces Matt Garza (2-6, 3.84).
- Washington goes for the sweep against St. Louis at 6:05 p.m. CDT at Nationals Park. John Lannan (4-5, 3.60) starts for the Nats, while Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.67) gets the call for the Cards.
- The Pirates and Astros conclude their three-game series at 1:05 p.m. CDT today. Right-hander James McDonald (4-4, 4.80) takes on youngster Jordan Lyles (0-1, 4.15).
- Cincinnati has the day off.