Montero Goes Yard Again in Cubs Win

Miguel Montero has been hitting the ball hard lately.

Miguel Montero is 5-for-8 with 2 HR in the last two days.

Miguel Montero picked up a 3-run homer for the second night in a row as the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds, 6-3, on Thursday.

Montero, batting cleanup, hit his 8th homer of the year in the 1st inning off of Reds’ starter Michael Lorenzen, who lasted just 4.1 innings and allowed 6 runs (5 earned).

Starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada struggled again for the Cubs, getting pulled after allowing 3 runs in 3 innings of work, putting on 6 base runners. Travis Wood stepped in and picked up the win (3-2), going 2.1 shutout innings, allowing just one hit and no walks.

In Wada’s last two starts, he has gone a combined 6.1 innings with an 11.37 ERA and 2.369 WHIP.

Hector Rondon was again tasked with picking up the save, and did so with a scoreless 9th. The Cubs’ bullpen really bailed Wada out, at one point retiring 14 consecutive Reds.

For Cincy, it marked the end of a modest 4-game winning streak.

Video Highlights (

Here’s a proposal for the Cubs. Start Wada – allow him one time through the order against a lineup which has been constructed to face a left-handed starter. Then bring in Edwin Jackson – again, one time through the order, now facing a lineup which is probably going to be right-handed heavy. Then you can either go back to another lefty (Wood) or turn it over to the rest of the bullpen. Crazy? Last year, opponents batting from the right side put up an .816 OPS against Jackson versus .930 from the left side. Piggy-backing those two is something to think about.

For the Reds, Zack Cozart’s knee injury was a big one. He’s out for the season. That hurts. In 53 games, Cozart’s 2.0 WAR was among the highest in the league, per At the plate, he was putting up a slash line of just .258/.310/.459 for a decent OPS+ of 108, but he had committed just 3 errors at shortstop for a .986 fielding percentage, well above the league-wide mark of .971. In short, he was a plus defender who was showing some pop this year, having belted 9 homers already.

* * *

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Washington Nationals, 6-5, lending even more doubt as to the idea that the Nats are a great team.

Milwaukee trailed 5-1 heading into the bottom of the 4th only to chip away for the win.

Tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 8th, Milwaukee got a few base runners on thanks to poor pitching (a wild pitch on a strikeout), poor fielding (an Anthony Rendon error while trying to turn a double play), and then an RBI base hit by Scooter Gennett that gave the Brewers the lead.

It had to be a good feeling for Gennett, who had a miserable start to the 2015 season before being optioned to AAA. He had just gotten called back up yesterday.

Gerardo Parra, Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Jean Segura had two hits a piece for the Brew Crew.

Francisco Rodriguez continued to showcase himself as good trade bait in the next two months, picking up his 13th save and lowering his ERA to 1.17 on the season.

Video Highlights (

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Stephen J. Nesbitt at the Post-Gazette took a look at the success of the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ pitching staff at keeping balls on the ground, leading to a league-best number of double plays turned. Read about it over here.

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Pending a pass of a physical, the St. Louis Cardinals are looking to sign their 1st round pick in this week’s draft, Nick Plummer, by week’s end. Plummer was the #23 overall selection of the 2015 draft.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

WAR (fielders)
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 3.0
Todd Frazier (CIN) 2.9
Joey Votto (CIN) 2.6
Jhonny Peralta (CIN) 2.4
Kolten Wong (STL) 2.2
WAR (pitchers)
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 2.5
A.J. Burnett (PIT) 2.4
Michael Wacha (STL) 2.2
Jason Hammel (CHC) 1.9
2-way tie 1.8

* * *


W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 39 21 W1
Chicago Cubs 32 26 6.0 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 32 27 6.5 W1
Cincinnati Reds 27 32 11.5 L1
Milwaukee Brewers 23 38 16.5 W1

* * *


27-32 REDS Cueto (4-4, 2.64)
32-26 CUBS Hammel (5-2, 2.76)
3:05 PM CT
22-39 Phillies Correia (NR)
32-27 PIRATES Locke (3-3, 5.37)
6:05 PM CT
31-29 Nationals Zimmermann (5-3, 3.18)
23-38 BREWERS Fiers (2-6, 4.06)
7:10 PM CT
34-23 Royals Ventura (3-5, 4.62)
39-21 CARDINALS Garcia (1-3, 2.67)
7:15 PM CT

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