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Around the NL Central: July 9 Edition


Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano did well in a rehab start for class A Peoria.  He allowed just one unearned run in four innings while striking out four batters.

Unfortunately for Chicago as Zambrano works his way back they lost reliever Marcos Mateo for over a month due to a forearm strain.  Mateo had a 4.30 ERA and 3.21 FIP over 23 innings this year.

The Cubs also released minor league outfielder Fernando Perez.  This wouldn't really be notable except that he was sent to Chicago by the Tampa Bay Rays in the deal that also saw Matt Garza come to the Cubs.

The Cincinnati Enquirer has a nice slideshow featuring all twenty shortstops that have played alongside long-time Reds' second baseman Brandon Phillips.

Yesterday's Games:

The Astros lost to the Marlins 6-3.  Florida had a nice little pattern going, scoring every other inning they were up to bat and switching between scoring two runs or just one.  Houston, meanwhile. managed to score two runs in the first inning and one in the ninth.  It was the seven innings in between that were a problem.  The Astros hitters were baffled by Javier Vasquez, who went seven innings without giving up a single earned run.  Houston's big offensive days were Brett Wallace (2-4 with a run and an RBI) and Michael Bourn (2-5 with a run).  Rookie starter Jordan Lyles struggled, giving up five runs in six innings.  

The Cardinals lost to the Diamondbacks, 7-6.  Arizona only scored in two innings, but made them count, putting up three and four runs in them.  The game had been tied 3-3 after the fourth, but then Kelly Johnson came up to bat with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and knocked one out for a grand slam.  St. Louis rallied, scoring three runs in the eighth, but fell just short.  Matt Holliday had a nice day, going 2-5 with a home run, a double and 2 RBI.  Lance Berkman was 2-4 and also hit a home run.  He scored two runs yesterday.  Danny Descalso was 2-3 with two RBI and a run and Skip Schumaker picked up a couple of hits as well.  Kyle Lohse had an awful time, giving up all seven Diamondbacks' runs in 6.2 innings while striking out just three.

The Pirates beat the Cubs 7-4.  Chicago led by a run after the first half of the eighth, but the Pirates scored four in the bottom of that frame, including Michael McKenry's first career home run.  For the Cubs, Marlon Byrd went 3-3 with two runs and a double and Aramis Ramirez was 2-4 with a home run and two runs scored.  Darwin Barney and Alfonso Soriano also had two hits apiece with one and two RBI, respectively.  For the Pirates, Josh Harrison was 3-4 with a run and an RBI and Lyle Overbay and Alex Presley each had a couple of hits and scored a run each.  In addition, Andrew McCutchen hit a solo homer.  Both starting pitchers, James McDonald and Rodrigo Wilson, gave up three runs in 5.2 and 6.0 innings.

The Brewers came from behind for the second straight night and beat the Reds 7-6.  You can find our recap here.  The Brewers are now back in first, just one game ahead of both St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

Updated Standings:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
Brewers 48 42 -- 4-6 W3
Cardinals 46 42 1.0 5-5 L3
Pirates 47 43 1.0 6-4 W1
Reds 44 46 4.0 3-7 L2
Cubs 36 54 12.0 4-6 L1
Astros 30 60 18.0 2-8 L2


Today's Matchups:

The Cubs and Pirates continue their series as Ryan Dempster (5-6, 4.99) and Kevin Correia (11-6, 3.74) face off.

The Reds and Brewers each send what have been their best pitchers this season to the mound.  That means Shaun Marcum (7-3, 3.32) and Johnny Cueto (5-3, 1.77) are going head to head.  

The Astros send Brett Myers (2-8, 4.67) to the mound to take on Ricky Nolasco (5-5,  3.91) and the Marlins.

The Diamondbacks and Cardinals might have a pretty good pitchers duel with Chris Carpenter (4-7, 3.74) taking the mound for the Cards and Daniel Hudson (9-5, 3.75) going for Arizona.