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Around the NL Central: June 26 Edition



Cubs reliever Kerry Wood is eligible to come off the DL, however he will still be out for a while as his blister is still bothering him.

The Pirates designated catcher Dusty Brown for assignment.  In his place, they called up Eric Fryer from AAA.

Yesterday's Games:

The Brewers beat the Twins 11-1.  You can read all about it at our recap.

The Reds beat the Orioles 10-5.  Baltimore was able to keep up with Cincinnati for a few innings, but the Reds offense proved too powerful.  Joey Votto had a huge day, going 3-4 with two home runs, five RBI, three runs scored and, to top it off, a walk.  The Reds had five home runs overall, with nine of their runs scoring via longball.  Along with Votto, Drew Stubbs, Scott Rolen and Jonny Gomes each hit a home run.  Stubbs and Rolen were both 2-5 while Brandon Phillips went 3-5 with two runs and an RBI.  Bronson Arroyo wasn't great but pitched well enough to get the win, giving up "just" five runs in 6.1 innings.  The Orioles hit four home runs off of Arroyo, so this game saw a whopping nine home runs overall.  

The Astros lost to the Rays 7-2.  Bud Norris had a mediocre start, going five innings and allowing three runs with five strikeouts.  Carlos Lee was 2-4 with an RBI and Jeff Keppinger also went 2-4 with a run.  The loss made Houston the first team to reach 50 losses this season.

The Cubs lost to the Royals 3-2.  The game was tied late, but Kansas City managed to sneak a run in during the eighth inning to take the win.  Both of the Cubs runs came via solo homers as Aramis Ramirez (who went 2-4) and Geovany Soto both went deep.  Reed Johnson also had a couple hits, but couldn't contribute to any scoring.  Carlos Zambrano allowed plenty of baserunners (eight hits and three walks) but was effective enough to let just two runs cross the plate in seven innings.

The Pirates won their second straight game against the Red Sox, 6-4.  I don't know.  Maybe the Pirates are a legitimate contender.  I have a hard time buying them as a team that could win the division, but somehow, someway, they just won their series against Boston and are just three games behind the first place Brewers.  Garrett Jones was 2-4 with a home run.  Lyle Overbay hit a three run homer.  Ronny Cedeno was 2-3 with a run.  Jeff Karstens continued to be effective.  And the Pirates are rolling.

The Cardinals lost to the Blue Jays6-3.  Our old friend Carlos Villanueva is still helping out the Brewers despite not even being on the team anymore.  Today, he held the Cards to just two runs in five innings while the Blue Jays offense managed five runs off of Jaime Garcia, though just one was earned.  Ryan Theriot, Jon Jay, and Daniel Descalso all had a couple hits.

Updated Standings:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
Brewers 43 35 -- 5-5 W2
Cardinals 41 37 2.0 3-7 L2
Reds 40 38 3.0 6-4 W1
Pirates 39 37 3.0 5-5 W4
Cubs 31 45 11.0 4-6 L1
Astros 28 50 15.0 3-7 L2


Today's Matchups:

The Pirates go for the sweep of the Boston Red Sox.  James McDonald (5-4, 4.86) isn't Pittsburgh's best, but they are facing the weak link of the Sox rotation in Andrew Miller (0-0, 4.76)

Homer Bailey (3-1, 3.00) is back on the mound for the Reds as they face the Orioles and Jeremy Guthrie (2-9, 3.79)

J.A. Happ (3-9, 5.33) and the Astros try to avoid being swept by the Rays and Jeff Niemann (2-4, 4.82).

The Cardinals try to avoid a sweep of their own to the Blue Jays.  The pitching match up isn't too favorable for them, though, as Toronto has Ricky Romero (6-7, 2.98) against Kyle McClellan (6-3, 3.73).

Randy Wells (1-1, 5.70) will try to get something going for the Cubs as they face the Royals and Luke Hochevar (4-8, 4.97)

The Brewers go for a rare sweep (at least for Milwaukee) of the Minnesota Twins.  Chris Narveson (4-5, 4.55) gets the call against Carl Pavano (5-5, 4.05).