News and notes from around the Central:
- A lot of people expected the Cardinals' rotation to struggle this season after ace Adam Wainwright was lost in spring training, but pitching coach Dave Duncan wasn't one of them. Duncan says he's disappointed in the showing from the St. Louis starters this summer, especially since they aren't pitching deep into games: since May 29, Cards' starters have failed to pitch six innings 29 times.
- I'm not exactly sure where they came from, but there have been rumors that the Reds might consider moving Joey Votto from first base to left field to open a spot for prospect Yonder Alonso, who's been nothing short of atrocious in left field in his brief time there. But Cincy skipper Dusty Baker says Votto won't be changing positions on his watch.
- Last week, the Pirates designated right-handed reliever Tim Wood for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Ross Ohlendorf. Yesterday, the Bucs dealt Wood to the Rangers for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
- As expected, the MLBPA filed a grievance on behalf of disqualified Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, challenging the 30-day time-out he was given after threatening to retire last week. There's no timetable for resolving the grievance, and if the parties can't agree on a resolution, the case will be heard by an arbitrator.
- There still hasn't been any action on the proposed sale of the Astros, and the next possible window for approval of the sale comes in November. At the Houston Chronicle, Chip Bailey wonders if Drayton McLane's lame duck status could stretch into next season.
- All good things must come to an end, and Clayton Kershaw made sure of that yesterday, dominating Milwaukee for eight innings as the Dodgers avoided the sweep with a 5-1 victory over the Crew. Our recap of the carnage is here.
Cincinnati couldn't get the bats going against Jordan Zimmermann or any of the relievers that followed Zimmermann to the mound, and the Reds dropped a 3-1 decision to the Nats last night. The Reds certainly made Zimmermann earn his paycheck, working his pitch count to 102 in just 5.2 innings, but Zimmermann worked around six hits and two walks and held the Reds scoreless. The only offense the Reds could muster came on an RBI groundout from Brandon Phillips in the seventh, but the Nationals got a solo homer from Jesus Flores and a 2-RBI single from former Red Jonny Gomes to secure the win.
St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Pittsburgh all had the day off.
Your updated standings for August 19:
|W||L||GB||Last 10||Streak||Elimination #
The Wild Card race looks like this right now:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew begins a three-game series in the Big Apple against the Mets. Game one starts at 6:10 p.m. CDT and features Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.50) taking on Mike Pelfrey (6-9, 4.58).
- The Cardinals travel to the Friendly Confines for a three-game set with the Cubs that starts at 1:20 p.m. CDT this afternoon. Jaime Garcia (10-6, 3.42) battles Randy Wells (4-4, 5.90) in this one.
- The Reds continue their road trip with a stop in Pittsburgh and a three-game series with the Pirates that starts at 6:05 p.m. CDT. Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.43) is on the bump for the Reds, while Kevin Correia (12-11, 4.62) takes the ball for the Pirates.
- Houston welcomes San Francisco to town at 7:05 p.m. CDT, when Wandy Rodriguez (8-9, 3.50) takes on Ryan Vogelsong (10-2, 2.47).