Category: News

Poz on Votto, SOE Worships Arrieta

Joe Posnanski did a column on Joey Votto.

Joe Posnanski did a column on Joey Votto.

No time for regular write-ups this week, as you may have noticed.

But did want to point folks to some goodies written by other folks.

Leading off is my absolute favorite sportswriter, Joe Posnanski, who had a nice column on Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto over at NBC Sports this week. Read it over there.

And also make sure to check out Joe’s Blog regularly. It’s worth it.

In light of a stellar August (6-0, 0.43, 9.1 SO/9, 0.69 WHIP) and his recent no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sports On Earth named Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta as “This Week’s Greatest Athlete on Earth”. Check out the video over there.

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Lackey Leads Cards To 4th Straight Win

Kolten Wong celebrates with teammates after scoring to put them ahead by a pair of runs.

Kolten Wong celebrates with teammates after scoring to put them ahead by a pair of runs.

The St. Louis Cardinals were 3-1 winners over the Arizona Diamondbacks last night, running their winning streak up to 4 games.

John Lackey improved to 11-8, throwing a steady 7 innings of work, allowing 1 run on 7 hits and a walk. Lackey served up a solo homer to slugger Paul Goldschmidt in the 1st and then tossed 6.1 shutout innings to finish off his day.

Kolten Wong‘s RBI double in the 7th inning broke a 1-1 tie and Matt Carpenter‘s RBI single plated Wong to pad the lead.  Since taking three games off to get his head straight, Wong has three hits in the last two nights.

Trevor Rosenthal picked up his 40th save of the season, joining Pirates closer Mark Melancon in that club. Rosenthal is out this weekend on paternity leave with his wife scheduled to be induced into labor tomorrow.

The Redbirds got more solid defense, turning 3 double plays.

Highlights

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The Pittsburgh Pirates scored 6 in the 2nd inning en route to an easy 7-2 win over the Miami Marlins, winning for the 11th time in their last 14 games.

Andrew McCutchen had a pair of extra-base hits – his 20th homer and 32nd double – driving in 4 runs.

Jeff Locke (W 7-8) went 7 innings, allowing a pair of runs on 5 hits and a walk.  It snapped a 6-game streak in which Locke had failed to escape the 6th inning.  He had gone 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA in that stretch.

The Bucs remain 4.5 games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central.  September should provide plenty of drama with those two teams battling for the division title.

Highlights

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The Chicago Cubs fell back to even in their series with the San Francisco Giants, falling 4-2 and snapping a 6-game winning streak.

Buster Posey hit an RBI double over the head of Chris Coghlan in right field to break a 2-2 tie in the 6th.

Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant each had a double and single, with Bryant driving in a pair of runs to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the 1st.

Even with the loss, the Cubs are still 21-5 in their last 26 games.

Highlights

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Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett is feeling well after throwing a two inning simulated game and is hopeful to be back soon. He’s scheduled to throw another simulated game – this time three innings – on Sunday as he tries to work his way back into the rotation for the postseason run.

The often entertaining Adam Bittner of the Post-Gazette had a nice write-up on the use of Pirates “first baseman” Pedro Alvarez. Check it out over there.

Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs.com wrote up 23-year-old Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco, focusing on his improved handling of southpaws. Last year, Polanco had a slash line of .171/.222/.244 against left-handed pitchers. This year? .214/.275/.321. Still not great, but improving. FYI: His numbers against RHP are pretty similar between last year and this. By the way, both Polanco and Alvarez sat last night against the left-handed Chris Narveson. Read it.

Anthony Castrovince takes a look at 2015’s Most Impactful MLB Managers and, wouldn’t you know it, 3 of the top 6 are from the NL Central. The Bucs’ Clint Hurdle comes in at #6, the Cards’ Mike Matheny at #4 and the Cubs’ Joe Maddon is #1. Read it at Sports On Earth.

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Joey Votto continues to have a monster season, upping his on-base percentage yet another 10 points this past week to hit .446 at the top of the NL Central Leader Board.

In 14 games played since August 12th, Votto has a .571 OBP to go along with a .372 AVG, .837 SLG, 1.409 OPS, 5 HR and 5 2B. That’s spanning 63 plate appearances. Unreal.

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Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 81 45 W4
Pittsburgh Pirates 76 49 4.5 W1
Chicago Cubs 73 52 7.5 L1
Milwaukee Brewers 53 74 28.5 L4
Cincinnati Reds 52 73 28.5 L2

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 76 49 +3.0
Chicago Cubs 73 52
San Francisco Giants 67 59 6.5
Washington Nationals 63 62 10.0

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Schedule

69-56 Dodgers Greinke (13-3, 1.67)
52-73 REDS DeSclafani (7-9, 3.97)
11:35 AM CT
73-52 CUBS Haren (8-8, 3.76)
67-59 Giants Bumgarner (15-6, 3.02)
2:45 PM CT
76-49 PIRATES Cole (14-7, 2.49)
51-76 Marlins Nicolino (2-1, 3.77)
6:10 PM CT
81-45 CARDINALS Martinez (12-6, 2.85)
62-64 Diamondbacks De La Rosa (11-5, 4.32)
8:40 PM CT

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NL Central Leaders

On-Base Percentage
Joey Votto (CIN) .446
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) .400
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .396
Kris Bryant (CHC) .368
Jung Ho Kang (PIT) .364
WHIP
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 0.93
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 0.98
Jason Hammel (CHC) 1.09
Michael Wacha (STL) 1.12
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 1.13

Pirates Avoid Sweep

Lance Lynn had what you might call a rough night

Lance Lynn had what you might call a rough night

The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to come out ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday night, avoiding a 3-game sweep to move back within 6 games.

The Bucs put 7 runs on the board in the top of the 1st en route to a 10-5 win.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn didn’t make it out of the 1st inning, allowing 7 runs on 6 hits and no walks, retiring 2 batters. Thankfully, only 3 runs were earned, due to a throwing error by Matt Carpenter.

Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez led the offensive charge with three hits a piece, including Pedro’s 17th tater of the season.

It was the Bucs’ first win in St. Louis this season, where they are now 1-5.

Highlights

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The Chicago Cubs won for the 13th time in their last 14 games, pounding the Milwaukee Brewers 9-2 to complete their second sweep of their neighbors to the north in the past two weeks.

Rookie Kyle Schwarber was back to mashing, going 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs (8). Anthony Rizzo poked his 22nd, Chris Denorfia his 2nd and Dexter Fowler his 12th.

Fowler has been playing well of late, and reached base four times yesterday, scoring 3 runs.

It wasn’t all good news for the Cubs, as Jon Lester tried to pick a runner off for the first time since April and once again threw it away for an error – his third of the year. Lester allowed 5 stolen bases in the game and is worst in the league in that category.

He struck out 10 in 7 innings of work, improving to 8-8 on the year.

The Cubs now head into the dreaded “Crosstown Classic” that brings out the absolute worst in Chicago baseball fans. In my experience, it involves fans of the White Sox openly berating anybody who is minding their own business and wearing Cubs gear and, on the flip side, has Cubs fans talking about the number of teeth that most White Sox fans have.

If you don’t live in a market with multiple baseball teams, consider yourself lucky.

Highlights

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Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 73 40 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 65 46 7.0 L2
Chicago Cubs 64 48 8.5 W6
Cincinnati Reds 50 62 22.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 48 67 26.0 L2

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 65 46 +1.5
Chicago Cubs 64 48
San Francisco Giants 60 53 4.5
Washington Nationals 58 55 6.5

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Schedule

65-48 CUBS Hendricks (6-5, 3.73)
54-58 White Sox Samardzija (8-7, 4.62)
3:10 PM CT
66-46 PIRATES Happ (4-7, 4.78)
63-53 Mets Colon (10-11, 4.76)
6:15 PM CT
46-69 Phillies Morgan (3-3, 4.06)
48-68 BREWERS Peralta (2-7, 4.48)
7:10 PM CT
46-68 Marlins Koehler (8-9, 3.75)
73-41 CARDINALS Garcia (4-4, 1.77)
7:15 PM CT
51-62 REDS Lamb (NR)
64-51 Dodgers Wood (7-7, 3.72)
9:10 PM CT

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NL Central Leaders

WAR (fielders)
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 5.4
Joey Votto (CIN) 4.8
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) 4.0
Jason Heyward (STL) 3.8
Jung Ho Kang (PIT) 3.6
WAR (pitchers)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 4.6
Carlos Martinez (STL) 3.3
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 3.3
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 3.1
John Lackey (STL) 3.1

Martinez, Cardinals Strike Pirates; Cubs Win Again

Carlos Martinez fanned 8 Pirates last night

Carlos Martinez fanned 8 Pirates last night

The St. Louis Cardinals took game 1 of their 3-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates, coming off as 4-3 winners at home.

The Bucs took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 5th only to have the Cards peck away – two walks, an RBI single, a ground out that moved runners up, a sac fly, an RBI single.

Small-ball.

Carlos Martinez struck out 8 men in as many innings of work, improving to 12-4 with a 2.62 ERA for the Redbirds.

Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the 9th for his 34th save.

All’s well in the Cardinals’ world, where they now lead Pittsburgh by 6 games in the Central.

They go at it again tonight, with Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.39) squaring off against Michael Wacha (13-4, 2.92). Great match-up.

Game Highlights

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Though not competing for the division anytime soon, the Chicago Cubs won for the 11th time in their last 12 contests, beating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 in relatively easy fashion.

Anthony Rizzo had a pair of hits, including his 29th double, driving in a pair of runs.

Jorge Soler had two RBI as well.

Starlin Castro continued to ride the bench, but did come in to the game as defensive replacement – at second base. He made a nice catch in foul ground in the 9th inning.

Game Highlights

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Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs.com takes a look at Jung-Ho Kang. Read it over there.

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Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 72 40 W1
Pittsburgh Pirates 65 45 6.0 L1
Chicago Cubs 63 48 8.5 W5
Cincinnati Reds 49 62 22.5 L3
Milwaukee Brewers 48 66 25.0 L1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 65 45 +2.5
Chicago Cubs 63 48
San Francisco Giants 60 52 3.5
Washington Nationals 58 54 5.5

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

49-62 REDS Iglesias (2-4, 4.73)
54-60 Padres Shields (8-4, 3.75)
2:40 PM CT
48-66 BREWERS Garza (6-12, 4.95)
63-48 CUBS Hammel (6-5, 3.17)
7:05 PM CT
65-45 PIRATES Cole (14-5, 2.39)
72-40 CARDINALS Wacha (13-3, 2.92)
7:15 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

Home Runs
Todd Frazier (CIN) 28
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 21
Ryan Braun (MIL) 19
Marlon Byrd (CIN) 19
Joey Votto (CIN) 19
Strikeouts
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 158
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 144
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 143
Jon Lester (CHC) 139
Carlos Martinez (STL) 139

2015 Trade Deadline (Updated 3:36 PM CT)

The Cubs acquired RP Tommy Hunter late at the deadline.

The Cubs acquired RP Tommy Hunter late at the deadline.

A couple of last minute deals in.

The Pittsburgh Pirates dealt with the Los Angeles Dodgers, acquiring 1B/LF Michael Morse in exchange for OF Jose Tabata.

The Bucs also dealt with the Seattle Mariners, acquiring SP J.A. Happ.

The Chicago Cubs dealt with the Baltimore Orioles, acquiring RP Tommy Hunter in exchange for OF Junior Lake.

Also, check out Fangraphs.com for a look at the Milwaukee Brewers haul of prospects. Read it here.

Here’s an updated list of deals made this past week:

St. Louis Cardinals
Traded for RF/1B Brandon Moss with the Cleveland Indians.
Traded for RP Steve Cishek with the Miami Marlins, sending #88 prospect LHP Rob Kaminsky.
Traded for RP Jonathan Broxton with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Traded for 3B Aramis Ramirez with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Purchased P Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals.
Traded for RP Joakim Soria with the Detroit Tigers.
Traded for 1B/LF Michael Morse with the Los Angeles Dodgers, sending OF Jose Tabata.
Traded for SP J.A. Happ with the Seattle Mariners.

Chicago Cubs
Traded for SP Dan Haren with the Miami Marlins.
Traded for RP Tommy Hunter with the Baltimore Orioles, sending Junior Lake.

Cincinnati Reds
Traded SP Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Brandon Finnegan.
Traded SP Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

Milwaukee Brewers
Traded CF Carlos Gomez and SP Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros for #39 prospect OF Brett Phillips and #88 prospect OF Domingo Santana.
Traded OF Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles.
Traded RP Jonathan Broxton to the St. Louis Cardinals.

2015 Trade Deadline Update (1 PM)

Dan Haren came in just under the amount the Chicago Cubs had available to add to their payroll.

Dan Haren came in just under the amount the Chicago Cubs had available to add to their payroll.

The Chicago Cubs dealt with the Miami Marlins, picking up SP Dan Haren.

Here’s an updated list of deals made this past week.

St. Louis Cardinals
Traded for RF/1B Brandon Moss with the Cleveland Indians.
Traded for RP Steve Cishek with the Miami Marlins, sending #88 prospect LHP Rob Kaminsky.
Traded for RP Jonathan Broxton with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Traded for 3B Aramis Ramirez with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Purchased P Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals.
Traded for RP Joakim Soria with the Detroit Tigers.

Chicago Cubs
Traded for SP Dan Haren with the Miami Marlins.

Cincinnati Reds
Traded SP Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Brandon Finnegan.
Traded SP Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

Milwaukee Brewers
Traded CF Carlos Gomez and SP Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros for #39 prospect OF Brett Phillips and #88 prospect OF Domingo Santana.
Traded OF Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles.
Traded RP Jonathan Broxton to the St. Louis Cardinals.

2015 Trade Deadline

Carlos Gomez finally got out of Milwaukee.

Carlos Gomez finally got out of Milwaukee.

Yesterday we saw the Milwaukee Brewers get a deal done for Carlos Gomez, finally shipping one of their few assets for future prospects, hauling in a couple of nice pieces from the Houston Astros.

We’re heading towards the trade deadline later this afternoon – one of the more exciting times of the year for fans of Major League Baseball.

Let’s play a little catch up on what’s happened in the last week!

St. Louis Cardinals
Traded for RF/1B Brandon Moss with the Cleveland Indians.
Traded for RP Steve Cishek with the Miami Marlins, sending #88 prospect LHP Rob Kaminsky.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Traded for 3B Aramis Ramirez with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Purchased P Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals.
Traded for RP Joakim Soria with the Detroit Tigers.

Chicago Cubs
No moves

Cincinnati Reds
Traded SP Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Brandon Finnegan.
Traded SP Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

Milwaukee Brewers
Traded CF Carlos Gomez and SP Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros for #39 prospect OF Brett Phillips and #88 prospect OF Domingo Santana.

Other players were involved in some of these deals, but I’ve only noted them if they are either current/former Major Leaguers or among MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects.

The Brewers, for example, received four prospects from the ‘stros, but those two mentioned were the big haul.

The Reds’ Leake was dealt for the #1 prospect in the Giants’ system, but he wasn’t currently considered a Top 100 prospect in all of baseball, so I skipped mention of him as well.

And, of course, it’s interesting that (so far) the Cubs have chosen to stand pat, although there have been plenty of rumors involving them over the last couple of days.

Let’s see what happens these last few hours.  Should be interesting.