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Around the NL Central: July 2 Edition



Hey, look!  Tony La Russa has an opinion that many of us probably share!  The Cardinals skipper was asked about what should be done with the designated hitter rule and he poignantly replied, "Dump it."  Attaboy, La Russa.

The Cubs placed Carlos Zambrano on the DL with lower back soreness.  Zambrano says he gets angry anytime he is placed on the DL, but knows that the Cubs do it to "protect" him.  Ramon Ortiz was called up to take his roster spot.

Hunter Pence, about whom their have been rumors of being on the trading block, says that he wants to stay in Houston.  How very diplomatic.

Yesterday's Games:

The Pirates lost a closely contested game to the Nationals, 2-1Charlie Morton had a very good start for Pittsburgh, allowing one run on three hits in 5.2 innings, but Tom Gorzellany was even better for the Nationals as he gave up just one unearned run in seven innings.  An unlikely duo combined for the sole Pirates run as catcher Michael McKenry scored on an Alex Presley RBI.  Andrew McCutchen was the only player to reach base twice for the Pirates.

The Cubs lost to their cross-town rivals the White Sox, 6-4Randy Wells continued his not-so-magical season by allowing six earned runs in 6.1 innings, narrowly avoiding a disaster start.  Aramis Ramirez was Chicago's offensive star, hitting a solo homerun and driving in one more en route to a 2-3 day.  Kosuke Fukudome and Reed Johnson also had a couple of hits each and Fukudome scored a run. 

The Reds lost to the Indians 8-2Brandon Phillips did about all he could do to help Cincinnati as he was 3-4 with two solo home runs.  Unfortunately, the rest of the Reds' offense combined for a whopping two hits.  Justin Masterson was masterful for the Indians, allowing just one run on four hits in eight innings.  Bronson Arroyo was the opposite of that.  Arroyo allowed eight runs in just 4.2 innings, with four of the runs coming on three homers. 

The Astros lost to the Red Sox 5-7.  Six different Houston hitters had two hits and Hunter Pence drove in two runs while Michael Bourn scored two.  Bud Norris racked up ten strikeouts, but allowed four runs in six innings and Sergio Escalona gave up two runs without recording an out in relief.  

The Cardinals beat the Rays 5-3.  Some awful ball/strike calls doomed the Rays as two (incorrect) walks in front of Colby Rasmus allowed him to hit a three run home run when he should likely not have even been up that inning, had the calls worked in Tampa Bay's favor.  But, alas, that's baseball.  Rasmus ended up with four RBI in a 1-4 night and Lance Berkman scored two runs.  Jake Westbrook was very good, pitching seven two-hit, shutout innings and striking out seven. 

The Brewers lost and that's all I want to say about that.

Updated Standings:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
Cardinals 45 38 -- 5-5 W4
Brewers 44 39 1.0 4-6 L4
Pirates 41 40 3.0 6-4 L1
Reds 42 41 3.0 4-6 L1
Cubs 34 49 11.0 4-6 L1
Astros 29 54 16.0 2-8 L1


Today's Matchups:

The Cubs continue the battle for Chicago against the White Sox. Matt Garza (4-6, 4.07) faces Philip Humber (7-4, 2.89).

The Pirates have a double header going against the Nationals.  In the first game, it's James McDonald (5-4, 4.52) against John Lannon (5-5, 3.48).  In the second game, it's ??? (?-?, ?.??) against Livan Hernandez (5-8, 3.81).

The Battle for Ohio rages as Homer Bailey (3-2, 3.86) and the Reds face Fausto Carmona (4-10, 5.89) and the Indians.

JA Happ (3-9, 5.54) and the Astros play against the Red Sox and Andrew Miller (1-0, 3.09).

The Narv-Dog (5-5, 4.42) tries to give the Brewers a win over the Twins and Carl Pavano (5-6, 4.24).

Kyle McClellan (6-4, 4.02) gets the start for the Cardinals as they go up against the Rays and Jeff Niemann (2-4, 5.58).