The Pittsburgh Pirates have 2nd place in their sights now, moving a half game back of the Chicago Cubs after a 15-hit, 11-5 win over the San Diego Padres.
Starling Marte reached base three times and poked his 10th homer of the season, Andrew McCutchen had three hits with a pair of doubles, and Jung Ho Kang did this, crushing a three-run homer on a slider that didn’t slide and hung in the middle of the plate. Yow.
A.J. Burnett didn’t have his A game, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) and 10 base runners over just 5.2 innings of work, but he still improved to 5-1 on the year.
Ron Cook has a great profile on Pirates’ pitching coach Ray Searage over at the Post-Gazette. Read it over there.
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Speaking of pitcher wins, if you haven’t been following Joe Posnanski‘s recent missives on that statistic, you should. It’s been good stuff. Here’s part 1, 2 and 3. I assume he’s reached his end, but Joe loves words, so I wouldn’t be surprised if more are coming today.
You’ll find Burnett atop the leader board for pitcher’s WAR down below. I had been doing RBI and Wins leaders on Fridays, but I just can’t excuse myself for doing that anymore. I’ll still give you some old school leaders (AVG and ERA) during the week, but I gotta’ mix some things in here a little. WAR isn’t a perfect statistic, of course, and sabermetricians will admit to that, but it’s still an interesting talking point and much more illuminating than RBI or W.
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With the way Matt Adams was struggling, part of me can’t help but feel that his injury might actually lead to the St. Louis Cardinals improving, rather than scrambling to keep things together. You never root for a guy to get hurt, of course, but the team was likely going to commit to using him as their starting first baseman no matter how much he struggled this season. (Sure, there’s a point, like hitting .100 with no extra-base hits for two straight months.) This kind of forces their hand. Now the team has carte blanche for improving the position. Ideally the replacement comes from within the system, but I just don’t see any prospects who are going to do any better than a replacement level player. Let’s see what GM John Mozeliak has up his sleeve.
There are no indications that Matt Holliday would move from left fielder to first base.
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There’s been some talk lately about what the Cubs should do about their prospects. Is it time to deal some of the bigger names in exchange for starting pitching that could really turn the team around? Is it time to call up Javier Baez to shore up problems with their defense up the middle? To the latter, I say perhaps. To the former, I say nay. The plan all along for the Cubs was that 2015 was going to be the year they started to content, but 2016 was kind of the first real push. You had to get a full season of play in the bank for guys like Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. Let them get their feet wet, then strike the free agent market for a big name (or two) this next off-season, and then go full throttle in ’16. Their good start is nice and all, but I think the team should stick to it’s initial vision. Status quo from here on out. Sure, you could net something huge for Dan Vogelbach, who is pretty well blocked from getting called up as long as Anthony Rizzo is putting up MVP numbers at first base. But you could also wait until this upcoming CBA and see whether or not the DH is coming to the National League in the next year or two as most people are predicting. If it is, Theo Epstein comes out clean, Vogelbach is your monster bat at DH, and nobody has to watch Jon Lester bat anymore.
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Todd Rosiak has a nice feature story on Milwaukee Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress over at the Journal Sentinel. You Brewers’ fans should check it out over there.
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NL Central Leaders
|Anthony Rizzo (CHC)||2.5|
|Todd Frazier (CIN)||2.3|
|Kolten Wong (STL)||1.8|
|Matt Carpenter (STL)||1.8|
|Jhonny Peralta (STL)||1.6|
|A.J. Burnett (PIT)||2.2|
|Michael Wacha (STL)||1.9|
|Gerrit Cole (PIT)||1.7|
|Johnny Cueto (CIN)||1.4|
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|St. Louis Cardinals||31||16||–||W4|
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|28-18||Royals||Volquez (4-3, 2.77)|
|25-21||CUBS||Arrieta (4-4, 2.95)|
|3:05 PM CT|
|28-19||Nationals||Strasburg (3-5, 6.50)|
|19-27||REDS||DeSclafani (2-4, 3.46)|
|6:10 PM CT|
|21-25||Diamondbacks||De La Rosa, R (4-2, 4.27)|
|16-32||BREWERS||Nelson (2-5, 3.67)|
|7:10 PM CT|
|28-18||Dodgers||Bolsinger (3-0, 0.71)|
|31-16||CARDINALS||Lackey (2-3, 3.18)|
|7:15 PM CT|
|25-22||PIRATES||Liriano, F (2-4, 3.86)|
|23-26||Padres||Shields (6-0, 3.75)|
|9:10 PM CT|