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Around the NL Central: August 23 Edition

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News and notes from around the Central:

Yesterday's action:

  • Milwaukee and Pittsburgh split a doubleheader, with the Crew blowing out the Bucs in game one and the Pirates returning the favor in game two. Our recap is here.
  • St. Louis got a marvelous start from Chris Carpenter, who worked eight innings of five-hit ball and kept the Cardinals' paper-thin 1-0 advantage -- earned on Lance Berkman's 29th homer of the year in the second inning -- intact. But things came apart for the Redbirds in the ninth inning: Carpenter plunked Juan Rivera with a pitch to open the ninth, and, after Arthur Rhodes fanned Andre Ethier, Tony LaRussa handed the ball to Fernando Salas, who promptly surrendered a game-tying triple to Aaron Miles and a go-ahead RBI grounder to Rod Barajas. Javy Guerra took over from there there, working around a two-out hit to secure his 11th save of the season.
  • Ryan Dempster was pretty good last night, holding the Braves to three runs on six hits in six innings while striking out eight, but his offense did him no favors: the Cubs worked Jair Jurrjens for eight hits and five walks in 6.1 innings, but Chicago couldn't cash in any of those opportunities and got blanked by Atlanta, 3-0, at Wrigley Field. The Braves used homers from Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla and an RBI groundout from Martin Prado to gain the three-run advantage, and the Braves 'pen made it hold up: after Arodys Vizcaino and Eric O'Flaherty turned in 1.2 scoreless innings, Jonny Venters worked around a couple of walks to nail down his fifth save of the year.
  • Houston's game against the Rockies was over early yesterday: Colorado jumped on Brett Myers for six first-inning runs, thanks to a walk, four doubles, and two singles, with the big blow coming from pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, who delivered a two-out, two-run double to secure the six-run advantage. Chacin didn't exactly coast from there -- he gave up 11 hits and a walk in his seven innings -- but he limited the 'Stros to one run. Things got a little interesting in the ninth when Matt Downs hit a three-run, pinch-hit homer and the Astros loaded the bases with one out, but Clint Barmes went down swinging to put an end to the madness.
  • Cincinnati had the day off.

Your updated standings for August 23:

W L GB Last 10 Streak Elimination #
77 53 -- 8-2 L1 --
Cardinals 67 61 9.0 4-6 L1
Reds 62 65 13.5
6-4 W1 21
Pirates 60
67 15.5 4-6 W1
Cubs 56 72 20.0 6-4 L2 14
Astros 42 86 34.0 4-6 L2 Done


The Wild Card race looks like this right now:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
77 52 -- 7-3 W5
77 53 0.5 8-2 L1
Giants 68 60 8.5 4-6 W1
Cardinals 67 61 9.5
4-6 L1
Nationals 62
64 13.5 6-4 W2


On tap for tonight:

  • The Crew and Pirates are back in action at 6:05 p.m. CDT, when Marco Estrada (3-8, 4.28) takes on Ross Ohlendorf (0-0, 7.27).
  • The Cardinals and Dodgers resume their series at 7:15 p.m. CDT. Kyle Lohse (11-7, 3.33) is on the bump for the Cards, while Clayton Kershaw (15-5, 2.60) gets the ball for L.A.
  • The Reds kick off a three-game series with the Marlins in Miami at 6:10 p.m. CDT. Johnny Cueto (9-5, 1.89) looks to continue his stellar season, while Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 4.25) gets the start for the Fish.
  • The Cubs and Braves play under the lights at Wrigley Field at 7:05 p.m., when Casey Coleman (2-5, 7.43) faces Mike Minor (3-2, 4.26).
  • Houston takes on the Rockies at Coors Field at 7:40 p.m. CDT. Bud Norris (6-8, 3.61) battles new Rockie Alex White (1-0, 3.60) in this one.