News and notes from around the Central:
- Injured St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday was able to throw during pre-game warm-ups yesterday, but manager Tony LaRussa says Holliday still isn't quite ready to return and won't play against the Mets today.
- Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips is in the final year of his four-year contract, but there's a club option for $12 million that Reds GM Walt Jocketty says the club will pick up. Jocketty also says that the team is trying to work out an extension for Phillips, but Phillips made clear he won't come cheap: "There is no homeboy hookup. I just want to be paid what I'm worth."
- The Pirates will send right-hander Gerrit Cole, the top overall pick in the 2011 first-year player draft, to the Arizona Fall League. Cole spent the last several weeks at the Pirates' complex in Florida working out, so the Pirates won't be overly stingy with his innings in the AFL.
- Today in Wishful Thinking: soon-to-be-canned Cubs manager Cryin' Mike Quade was asked if he thought Wednesday's contest against the Brewers might be his last game at Wrigley Field, and he told reporters: "I plan to be back and I plan to do a good job next year." (Sadly, no one followed up by pointing out that Quade could've improved his job prospects if he'd done a good job this year.)
- The Astros announced that right-hander Bud Norris, who had to exit Tuesday's game against the Reds after his shoulder started barking, has biceps tendinitis and probably won't make his last start of the season.
- The combination of wind and sun proved too much to overcome for Milwaukee, as Randy Wolf got roughed up for six runs in a 7-1 loss to Chicago. Our recap is here.
St. Louis victimized the pathetic Mets bullpen for the second straight day, as a three-run homer from David Freese in the seventh inning gave the Cards a 6-5 win over New York at Busch Stadium. The Cards jumped out to an early 3-0 lead (Freese's 2-RBI triple in the first, Allen Craig's run-scoring single in the second), but the Mets rallied for four runs in the top of the third (two of which scored on a error by shortstop Rafael Furcal) to claim a 4-3 lead. But it all went to hell when the Mets turned to the pen in the seventh, just like the night before: after the first two Cards were retired, Al Pujols singled and Lance Berkman followed with another, setting the stage for Freese's heroics.
- Cincinnati and Houston turned in a "playin' out the string" classic, wrapping up their contest in just two hours and 12 minutes as the Reds took a 2-0 win on Wednesday afternoon. Bronson Arroyo -- he of the 44 homers allowed on the year -- somehow threw a complete game shutout, holding the Astros to six hits while striking out two and walking nobody. Wandy Rodriguez was almost as good, working seven innings and giving up just four hits and two walks, but one of those hits was a solo homer by Miguel Cairo, and another was a run-scoring single by Chris Heisey.
Pittsburgh did its damndest to get back in the game after falling behind Arizona 8-1 in the third inning, but the Bucs couldn't quite get over the hump and fell to the D-backs, 8-5, at Chase Field. The Snakes bludgeoned Ross Ohlendorf, working the right-hander for seven runs on seven hits and two walks in just two innings, but the Pirates 'pen held the D-backs in check from there, giving up just one run over the game's final six frames. The Pirates clawed their way back into the game behind Derrek Lee, who homered and had an RBI single, and Jason Jaramillo, who doubled in a run in the eighth, but J.J. Putz overwhelmed the Pirates in the ninth, fanning all three Bucs who faced him for his 43rd save.
Your updated NL Central standings for September 22:
|W||L||GB||Last 10||Streak||Elimination #
On tap for today:
- The Cardinals go for the sweep against the Mets at 12:45 p.m. CDT, when Jake Westbrook (12-9, 4.58) takes on Chris Capuano (11-12, 4.47).
- The Astros head to Colorado to face the Rockies at 7:05 p.m. CDT. Henry Sosa (2-5, 4.74) faces White (3-2, 6.75) in game one.
- The Crew, Reds, Cubs, and Pirates have the day off.