News from around the Central:
- The Cardinals bullpen is fraying around the edges, thanks to a spate of short starts from and injuries in St. Louis' starting rotation, but help might be on the way: there are rumors that the Cards have their eye on lefty J.C. Romero, who was recently DFA'd by the Phillies.
- With his save on Tuesday against the Dodgers, Reds closer Francisco Cordero climbed to 19th on the all-time saves list. CoCo now has 304 saves in his career.
- The Pirates are in Cleveland for a series with the Indians this weekend, so the Bucs get the benefit of the DH for the next three games. Manager Clint Hurdle says the Pirates aren't planning to summon a hitter from the minors to fill that role, even though outfielder Alex Pressley has been red hot at AAA Indianapolis.
- Los Yankees are in Chicago to play the Cubs today (and tomorrow and Sunday), and Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com speculates that mercurial right-hander Carlos Zambrano might end up with the Yanks before July is over.
- Faithful readers will remember that the Astros canned pitching coach Brad Arnsberg earlier this week, and Houston GM Ed Wade cited "philosophical differences" as the reason for the split. At SB Nation Houston, Rivers McCown notes that Arnsberg was a convenient scapegoat for the Astros' early struggles.
- Nothing went right for Milwaukee yesterday -- aside from homers by Ryan Braun and George Kottaras, I guess -- as Zack Greinke was roughed up for eight runs (six earned) in 5.1 innings and the defense committed two errors (and probably could have been charged with a couple more) in a 12-7 loss to Chicago. Our recap is here.
- Fortunately for the Brewers, second-place St. Louis is mired in its longest losing streak since September 2008, as the Cards dropped their sixth in a row and got swept out of town by Washington, 7-4, in 10 innings. St. Louis knotted the game at 4 in the top of the ninth thanks to a Yadier Molina homer (his fourth of the year), but the Nats walked off in a big way when Danny Espinosa clubbed a three-run shot in the bottom of the tenth off of Fernando Salas.
- Pittsburgh finished off the sweep of Houston with a 5-4 win at Minute Maid Park. Garrett Jones staked the Bucs to a three-run advantage in the first inning with a two-out, three-run bomb off of Astro rookie Jordan Lyles (5.2 IP, four hits, five runs, three earned, one walk, eight strikeouts). As he's been wont to do, James McDonald did just enough to earn the win, going 5.2 innings and giving up seven hits and four walks and three earned runs. The ninth inning got dicey for the Pirates, as Jeff Keppinger singled home Jason Bourgeois with one out, but Jose Veras got back-to-back groundouts from Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee to end it.
- Cincinnati was idle.
Your updated standings for June 17:
On tap for today:
- The Crew is in Boston to begin a three-game series against the Red Sox. Game one starts at 6:10 p.m. CDT tonight and features Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.68) and John Lackey (4-5, 7.41).
- St. Louis enters the AAA portion of its schedule with a home series against the Royals that starts at 7:15 p.m. CDT tonight. Chris Carpenter (1-6, 4.47) faces Felipe Paulino (0-4, 3.79) in the opener.
- The Reds host the Blue Jays at Great American Ballpark at 6:10 p.m. CDT tonight. Scheduled to start: for Cincy, Mike Leake (6-2, 4.06); for the Jays, Jo-Jo Reyes (2-5, 4.30).
- Pittsburgh looks to keep the good times rollin' in Cleveland at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Kevin Correia (8-5, 3.73) is on the bump for the Bucs, facing the Indians' Josh Tomlin (7-4, 4.14).
- The Cubs welcome the Yankees to Wrigley Field for a three-game series that kicks off at 1:20 p.m. CDT this afternoon. For some reason, Doug Davis (0-5, 5.90) gets another start for the Baby Bears, while Freddy Garcia (5-5, 3.60) takes the ball for New York.
- The Astros are the lone NL Central team that's playing an NL foe, as Houston begins a three-game series against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CDT. Brett Myers (2-6, 5.03) gets the start for the Astros, and he'll match up with Ted Lilly (5-5, 3.98).