Tagged: Aroldis Chapman

All-Star Game Results

Andrew McCutchen hit a line drive over the left field wall for a solo homer in last night's All-Star Game.

Andrew McCutchen hit a line drive over the left field wall for a solo homer in last night’s All-Star Game.

The American League was a 6-3 winner over the National League in the All-Star Game.

Here are the lines for players from the NL Central:

Chicago Cubs
Kris Bryant: 0-for-1, BB
Anthony Rizzo: 0-for-2

Cincinnati Reds
Aroldis Chapman: 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 SO
Todd Frazier: 0-for-3

Milwaukee Brewers
Ryan Braun: 1-for-1, 3B, R
Francisco Rodriguez: 1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 SO

Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit Cole: 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 SO
Andrew McCutchen: 1-for-3, HR, R, RBI, SO
Mark Melancon: 1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 SO

St. Louis Cardinals
Yadier Molina: 1-for-1
Jhonny Peralta: 1-for-1, RBI, BB

Your highlights were McCutchen with a solo homer in the 6th inning and Chapman striking out the side in the 9th. The American League bench’s reaction to Chapman’s 103 mph fastball was pretty great.

Back to business on Thursday!

Garcia Latest Cardinal Bit By Injury Bug?

Jaime Garcia was solid again

Jaime Garcia was solid again

The St. Louis Cardinals were 6-1 winners over the Miami Marlins.

Another nice start for Jaime Garcia, who went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and no walks. He’s 3-3 with a 1.69 ERA now.

Not all good news for Jaime, however, as he left the game with a cramp near his left groin while rounding 3rd base.

Kolten Wong went 2-for-4 with a 2-run homer in the 3rd inning, put the Cards up 2-1.

Jason Heyward homered for the 3rd straight game.

Game Highlights from MLB.com

Cardinals Notes: Lance Lynn returns to the rotation tonight, having missed his last two starts with a forearm strain…

* * *

The Cincinnati Reds put 4 runs up on Gerrit Cole in the 1st inning en route to a surprising 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

J.J. Hoover got the save for the Reds with Aroldis Chapman out on paternity leave. Hoover threw a spotless 9th, ending with a pair of strikeouts. Chapman is available for tonight’s game.

Cole went 4.2 innings, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, falling to 11-3 with a 2.16 ERA this season.

Marlon Byrd went 2-for-4 with his 12th homer of the year, driving in 3 runs.

Game Highlights from MLB.com

Reds Notes: Raul Iglesias did some bullpen work as he starts the road to returning to the Reds’ rotation, tossing 30-plus pitches in the bullpen as he recovers from an oblique injury. Iglesias is due back before the All-Star break… Brandon Phillips sat out last night with a jammed thumb…

* * *

The Chicago Cubs‘ winning streak was ended with a 5-2 loss at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Another rough start for Kyle Hendricks, who has allowed 10 earned runs in 10 innings across his last two starts.

Game Highlights from MLB.com

Cubs Notes: Still no word from the Cubs on whether or not Tsuyoshi Wada will be available to make his scheduled start on Saturday. Seems they’d rather not go to Edwin Jackson or Travis Wood, each of whom has fared well since being put in the bullpen. The top 3 of the Cubs’ rotation has been solid. After that, things are fragile…

* * *

The Milwaukee Brewers were 4-1 winners over the New York Mets.

Jimmy Nelson improved to 4-8, going 8 innings and allowing 1 run on 2 hits and a walk.

Game Highlights from MLB.com

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 47 24 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 40 31 7.0 L1
Chicago Cubs 39 31 7.5 L1
Cincinnati Reds 33 37 13.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 27 46 21.0 W2

* * *

Schedule

36-37 Mets deGrom (7-5, 2.34)
27-46 BREWERS Jungmann (2-1, 3.50)
1:10 PM CT
39-34 Dodgers Frias (4-5, 4.68)
39-31 CUBS Lester (4-5, 3.80)
1:20 PM CT
33-37 REDS DeSclafani (5-5, 3.48)
40-31 PIRATES Burnett (6-3, 2.05)
6:05 PM CT
47-24 CARDINALS Lynn (4-4, 3.07)
30-43 Marlins Haren (6-4, 3.19)
6:10 PM CT

* * *

NL Central Leaders

On-Base Percentage
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .417
Joey Votto (CIN) .405
Matt Carpenter (STL) .387
Kris Bryant (CHC) .384
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) .376
WHIP
Jason Hammel (CHC) 0.938
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 0.949
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 0.985
Michael Wacha (STL) 1.087
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 1.088

Redbirds Top Dodgers

Michael Wacha wins again - number 8 on the season.

Michael Wacha wins again – number 8 on the season.

The St. Louis Cardinals had no trouble handling the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night as the NL Central leaders took down the top dog in the NL West, 7-1.

Michael Wacha improved to 8-1 with a 2.18 ERA, going 7 innings and allowing 1 run.

On the offensive front, Jhonny Peralta had three safeties while Kolten Wong and Matt Holliday had two hits each.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

Rick Hummel takes a look at Trevor Rosenthal‘s big 2015 season thus far. Read it over at the Post-Dispatch.

* * *

Desperate to get back into some winning ways, the Chicago Cubs came away with a nice 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals.

Jake Arrieta started the season on fire but had cooled off lately. In his last two starts, he had a 4.85 ERA. Last night he allowed 1 run in 6 innings of work, striking out 8 and improving to 5-4, picking up his first W since May 12th.

The game ended bizarrely, with the Nats putting men on 1st and 2nd with one out. After Denard Span flew out to center for the 2nd out, catcher David Ross picked Clint Robinson off of 1st base for the final out. The grey-beard was pumped. Ross later revealed that first baseman Anthony Rizzo had signaled to him that Robinson was taking too big of a lead and to be on the lookout. Nice job by the 25-year old and unofficial captain of the team.

Rizzo also made a nice play in the field, spearing a line drive up and to his left with the bases loaded in the 6th inning to kill a Washington rally.

At the plate, Rizzo and Dexter Fowler each had two hits.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

The word now is that the Cubs will not call up Javier Baez (at least not immediately) and instead may call up Chris Denorfia to help shore up the outfield. Denorfia has been rehabbing an injured hamstring. Regular right fielder Jorge Soler is on the DL for probably three weeks with an ankle injury. Delaying Baez’s call-up also gives him more time to get his feet wet playing third base, something he only just started doing earlier this week.

* * *

The Cincinnati Reds once again took a lead into the late innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, but this time they held on to it for a 6-4 win.

Aroldis Chapman rebounded from a tough game Wednesday night (1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 SO), striking out all 3 batters he faced in the bottom of the 9th to record his 10th save.

Brandon Phillips had three hits with a double at the top of the order.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

Speaking of Chapman, Craig Edwards at Fangraphs.com had a close look at him yesterday. Check it out.

* * *

Bill Brink at the Post-Gazette profiles Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton, who makes his 3rd start of the season this evening. Read it here.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

WAR (fielders)
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 2.9
Todd Frazier (CIN) 2.5
Jhonny Peralta (STL) 2.2
Kolten Wong (STL) 2.0
Matt Carpenter (STL) 1.9
WAR (pitchers)
A.J. Burnett (PIT) 2.1
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 2.1
Michael Wacha (STL) 1.8
Jason Hammel (CHC) 1.6
3-way tie 1.5

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 36 18 W3
Pittsburgh Pirates 29 24 6.5 W3
Chicago Cubs 28 24 7.0 W1
Cincinnati Reds 23 29 12.0 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 18 36 18.0 L2

* * *

Schedule

28-24 CUBS Wada (0-0, 2.30)
29-25 Nationals Roark (1-2, 2.59)
6:05 PM CT
27-28 Padres Ross, T (2-5, 3.76)
23-29 REDS Iglesias, R (1-1, 5.11)
6:10 PM CT
29-24 PIRATES Morton (2-0, 1.93)
26-27 Braves Perez, W (1-0, 2.66)
6:35 PM CT
18-36 BREWERS Lohse (3-6, 6.50)
32-21 Twins Gibson (4-3, 2.61)
7:10 PM CT
36-18 CARDINALS Martinez, C (5-2, 3.13)
31-23 Dodgers Anderson, B (2-3, 3.42)
9:10 PM CT

Reds Lose in Walk-off Fashion (Again)

Ryan Mattheus couldn't handle a throw from Joey Votto, but it was only the straw in an epic Reds collapse.

Ryan Mattheus couldn’t handle a throw from Joey Votto, but it was only the straw in an epic Reds collapse.

The Cincinnati Reds took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the 9th and found a way to lose.

Mike Leake started the 9th, poised to pick up the shutout but allowed leadoff singles to Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur.

That’s fine, right? You’ve got this left-handed weapon named Aroldis Chapman who throws triple digits like it’s nothing.

In he comes. Chase Utley hit what looked to be a double into left-center, only to have Billy Hamilton make a fantastic diving catch that turned it into a sac fly. Ryan Howard walked, and Maikel Franco hit a three-run homer.

Tie game.

The Philadelphia Phillies ended up winning, 5-4, on an error by pitcher Ryan Mattheus in the bottom of the 11th. After Cody Asche doubled with one out, Freddy Galvis hit a grounder in the hole on the right side. First baseman Joey Votto fielded the ball and tossed to Mattheus, but the throw was a little high and went off the top of his glove, rolling into foul territory while Asche sped home with the winning run.

It’s that kind of season for the Reds, who lost a second straight walk-off game.

In the loss, Votto went 3-for-6 with his 10th homer and a pair of doubles. Brandon Phillips had three hits, including a double, walk and stolen base (7th).

Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart each went 0-for-6.

Leake finished with 2 runs allowed in 8 innings of work, giving up just 3 hits and a pair of walks while whiffing 9 Phils. He had taken a no-hitter into the 7th inning.

The Reds have faced Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels 13 times now and have nothing to show for it. That’s right. 0 wins in 13 chances. Hamels himself is 10-0 with a 1.51 ERA in those 13 starts against Cincinnati.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

* * *

The Pittsburgh Pirates are on a roll, sweeping the San Francisco Giants with a 5-2 win last night.

The Bucs have won 11 of their last 13 games, finally passing the Cubs and moving into 2nd place in the NL Central.

Francisco Liriano went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 6 to improve to 3-4.

Andrew McCutchen stayed hot, reaching base in 2 of his 4 plate appearances.

Jordy Mercer homered for a second straight day. By the way, these were his first two long balls of the season. Quirky.

Mercer, who lost his staring job at shortstop with the combination of himself getting off to a bad start and Jung Ho Kang hitting well, seems to be finding his groove. Although he’s still hitting just .210, he’s hit .370 over his last 9 games.

Mark Melancon, who faced two batters to record his 16th save, now has a 0.47 ERA across his last 19 outings.

Josh Harrison had an off night, going 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

In other Pirates news, Legendary Pictures – the media company who put together the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” – is reportedly doing the same for Roberto Clemente.

* * *

The St. Louis Cardinals put 5 runs up on Jimmy Nelson and the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1st inning and cruised to a 7-4 win.

Gerardo Parra had a big night for Milwaukee, going 4-for-5 with a HR (3rd).

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

Kevin Modelski at the Post-Dispatch has a feature article on Kolten Wong kick-starting things atop the Cards’ lineup. Go check it out.

* * *

The Chicago Cubs slide continued as Jon Lester was demolished in a 7-3 loss to the Miami Marlins.

Miami took a 6-0 lead and went on from there.

For those who expected the Cubs to compete this season, I’d point out that they’ve now lost series to the Marlins and Brewers this season.

Junior Lake caused a commotion with some unnecessary and misplaced showboating following a homer he hit at a time late in the game when his team trailed 6-0. Acting the fool when you’re team is getting crushed is a really stupid time to be acting that way, Junior. Let’s treat the job with some respect, okay?

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

Gordon Wittenmyer (Sun-Times) had a nice feature article on Addison Russell yesterday that’s worth a read. Read it here.

We wrote a bit yesterday about Javier Baez‘s numbers at Iowa (AAA) and we’ve postulated on how things could be put together were he to get called back up to The Show. Well, add another wrinkle to that story. Baez is getting some work at the hot corner now. So maybe it’s as simple as Kris Bryant moving to left, Starlin Castro and Russell staying where they are, and Chris Coghlan still finding some time in the outfield now that Jorge Soler is expected to miss three weeks with an ankle injury.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

On-Base Percentage
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .443
Matt Holliday (STL) .430
Matt Carpenter (STL) .396
Joey Votto (CIN) .387
Kris Bryant (CHC) .382
WHIP
Jason Hammel (CHC) 0.896
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 0.953
Michael Wacha (STL) 1.042
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 1.050
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 1.085

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 35 18 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 29 24 6.0 W3
Chicago Cubs 27 24 7.0 L2
Cincinnati Reds 22 29 12.0 L2
Milwaukee Brewers 18 36 17.5 L2

* * *

Schedule

27-24 CUBS Arrieta (4-4, 3.18)
29-24 Nationals Gonzalez, G (4-2, 4.73)
6:05 PM CT
22-29 REDS DeSclafani (3-4, 3.41)
21-33 Phillies Harang (4-5, 2.02)
6:05 PM CT
35-18 CARDINALS Wacha (7-1, 2.27)
31-22 Dodgers Frias (4-2, 4.29)
9:10 PM CT

Memorial Day Hangover

The Cincinnati Reds are awful. And one of their few decent players might be hurt.

The Cincinnati Reds are awful. And one of their few decent players might be hurt.

A long weekend coupled with some things going on work this week means I’m a little delayed here in catching up with things.

But here’s what you missed since Friday…

The St. Louis Cardinals went 2-2, dropping 2 of 3 visiting the Kansas City Royals. That’s three straight series which the Cards have not won. Chinks in the armor? Since May 7th, they’re 8-9, although they’ve played some decent teams: Royals, Tigers, Mets, Pirates and Cubs. Also, check out the Leaders below – the Cards have 4 of the division’s top 5 hitters by batting average.

Fortunately for the Cards, the 2nd place Chicago Cubs had a 1-3 weekend, including losing a series on the West Coast against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team is just 12-12 in May and has a tough stretch coming up here against the Nats, Royals and Tigers. The wheels could come off here.

Here come the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning four straight over the holiday weekend. A 3-game sweep at home over the New York Mets and then a win yesterday against the woeful Miami Marlins. They’ve moved up to just 6.5 games back and an upcoming schedule suggests they could move past the Cubs soon.

Oh, Cincinnati Reds. Loser of 9 straight after being swept in an intra-state series against the Cleveland Indians and then falling yesterday to the Colorado Rockies. This could make the Johnny Cueto sweepstakes interesting, as the team could decide to shed parts sooner rather than later. Oh wait, he had to skip a start and is also undergoing an MRI due to elbow stiffness. I’m also reading some interesting thoughts about getting rid of Aroldis Chapman and seeing him on a contender would be really interesting.

The Milwaukee Brewers went 1-3 and have a 3-game losing streak heading into tonight’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

AVG
Matt Carpenter (STL) .325
Kolten Wong (STL) .323
Matt Holliday (STL) .317
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .314
Jhonny Peralta (STL) .304
ERA
A.J. Burnett (PIT) 1.37
Michael Wacha (STL) 1.87
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 2.05
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 2.95
Jason Hammel (CHC) 2.98

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 29 16 W2
Chicago Cubs 24 20 4.5 L2
Pittsburgh Pirates 22 22 6.5 W4
Cincinnati Reds 18 26 10.5 L9
Milwaukee Brewers 16 30 13.5 L3

* * *

Schedule

18-28 Marlins Urena (0-0, 9.00)
18-20 PIRATES Locke (2-2, 5.28)
6:05 PM CT
27-18 Nationals Zimmerman (4-2, 3.52)
24-20 CUBS Hendricks (1-1, 4.14)
6:05 PM CT
18-25 Rockies De La Rosa, J (1-2, 6.51)
18-26 REDS Lorenzen (1-1, 3.79)
6:10 PM CT
26-20 Giants Bumgarner (5-2, 2.84)
16-30 BREWERS Garza (2-6, 5.71)
7:10 PM CT
21-23 Diamondbacks Bradley, A (2-1, 4.00)
29-16 CARDINALS Garcia, J (0-1, 2.57)
7:15 PM CT

Carpenter Homer Leads Cards Over Tribe

Matt Carpenter's two-run shot gave the Redbirds a win in Cleveland.

Matt Carpenter’s two-run shot gave the Redbirds a win in Cleveland.

Left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski was brought in to face the left-handed hitting Matt Carpenter in the top of the 8th inning with the Cleveland Indians staked to a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.

It didn’t work out.

Carpenter hit a high fly ball to right-center that carried, carried, carried just to the edge of the wall where center fielder Michael Bourn lept, only to have the ball hit his glove, the glove hit the wall, the ball fall out of his glove, the glove fall off his hand, the ball bounce on top of the yellow line that runs along the length of the wall.

Carp’s two-run homer in the 8th inning put the Cardinals up for good and they held on to win 2-1.

Michael Wacha went 5 innings and got the ND, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. His ERA fell to 2.06 on the year.

Matt Adams (.236) went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts and is now in a 1-for-30 slump. Actually, “slump” might not be a strong enough word. That’s pretty horrible.

Jason Heyward‘s nightmare season continued, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout and GIDP, dropping him .236 this year.

Mark Reynolds, Kolten Wong and Yadier Molina had a pair of hits each out of the 5-7 spots in the lineup. Wong is hitting .320 now.

Down in the minors, Marco Gonzales‘ bid to get into the rotation hit a setback. He allowed 7 runs last night thanks in part to 3 homers allowed in 4 innings of work. That’s not getting it done.

Jaime Garcia, another potential replacement, gets a start down in the minors this evening.

By the way, Fangraphs had a really nice article on Lance Lynn yesterday. Read it over here.

OF Jon Jay went on the DL yesterday. 1B/OF Xavier Scruggs was recalled. LF Matt Holliday was originally out of yesterday’s lineup but petitioned to play DH shortly before game time. He had taken a low-90s fastball from Corey Kluber on the left elbow in the 1st inning of Wednesday’s game.

* * *

The Chicago Cubs kept getting one hit after another in a 4-run 5th inning, coming back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game up, then taking the lead in the 7th inning on a passed ball. Pedro Strop threw nothing but strikes, striking out a pair in the 8th inning and Hector Rondon struck out Dilson Herrera with a man on 3rd to notch his 8th save.

The 6-5 win over the New York Mets gave the Cubs a 4-game sweep of the top team in the NL East. New York entered the series 20-11.

Dexter Fowler had a solo homer in the 4th and scored the go-ahead run in the 7th. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk.

* * *

Marlon Byrd‘s solo homer in the bottom of the 8th inning snapped a 3-3 tie and help up to lead the Cincinnati Reds in a 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect 9th, striking out the first two men he faced and recording his 7th save.

Byrd finished 2-for-2 with 3 RBI (see division leaders below) and a pair of walks.

Johnny Cueto struck out 9, going 7 innings and allowing a pair of runs.

Jay Bruce‘s struggles continued – since April 14 he’s hitting .141 with 30 strikeouts.

* * *

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-2, leaving them with a split of their 4-game series.

The Bucs trailed 4-0 heading into the 9th, scoring a pair of runs that final inning thanks to Starling Marte – he drove in a run with a double and then scored on a ground out.

Andrew McCutchen stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter with two outs and a man on, but popped out to Ryan Howard off of first base in foul ground.

Pittsburgh was done in by a pair of unearned runs, with Neil Walker (0-for-4, GIDP) and Jordy Mercer (0-for-3, K) committing the fielding gaffes while simultaneously having bad days in the field.

Marte finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.

Josh Harrison had another nice game as he shows signs of busting out of his slump. He had three base hits while receiving his first start this year in the outfield. Harrison had been a regular in the lineup last season, but was moved around at multiple infield and outfield positions. In essence, an “everyday utility” player. The Pirates had tried to make him a regular third baseman this season, but fielding problems coupled with a sub-.200 batting average and inability to draw walks have led to some shuffling around. He’s had a couple nice games this week against Philly, so we’ll see where he goes from here.

Things aren’t going good for the Pirates so far. As I wrote in the pre-season, I had a wide margin for this team. I could see them winning 92 games, but I could see them winning 75. I couldn’t figure them out in March and I still can’t figure them out in May.

* * *

SS Jean Segura heads to the DL for the Milwaukee Brewers. Segura was hitting .262 with 2 HR, 12 RBI and 6 SB.

Hooray for Brewers baseball. (sigh…)

* * *

NL Central Leaders

RBI
Starling Marte (PIT) 25
Matt Carpenter (STL) 23
Todd Frazier (CIN) 23
Marlon Byrd(CIN) 22
2-way tie 21
Wins
Michael Wacha (STL) 5-0
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 5-1
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 4-3
4-way tie 3-1

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 24 10 W1
Chicago Cubs 19 15 5.0 W4
Cincinnati Reds 18 17 6.5 W3
Pittsburgh Pirates 17 18 7.5 L2
Milwaukee Brewers 12 23 12.5 L2

* * *

Schedule

17-18 PIRATES Locke (2-2, 4.71)
19-15 CUBS Hendricks (0-1, 4.65)
1:20 PM CT
12-23 BREWERS Lohse (2-4, 7.03)
20-15 Mets Colon, B (6-1, 3.30)
6:10 PM CT
17-18 Giants Bumgarner (3-2, 3.30)
18-17 REDS Marquis (3-2, 5.66)
6:10 PM CT
21-14 Tigers Greene (3-2, 4.71)
24-10 CARDINALS Martinez, C (3-1, 4.89)
7:15 PM CT

Cubs Hold Off Mets; Marte, Cole Keep Pirates Hot

The Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo connected for his 7th homer of the year last night.

The Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo connected for his 7th homer of the year last night.

No intra-divisional games going on last night which means a whole lot of recapping to do. With the St. Louis Cardinals getting their first day off in 21 days, we’ll work our way down from the #2 spot in the division to #5.

* * *

The Chicago Cubs opened up the Wrigley Field bleachers for the first time in 2015 – well, except for right field which is still under construction. It’s a start.

Anyhow, you may all remember that awful stretch to begin the season, but Jon Lester is now tied for the Cubs’ team lead in wins (3), picking up his 3rd straight win in a 4-3 victory over the NL East-leading New York Mets.

Kris Bryant (2nd) and Anthony Rizzo (7th) hit back-to-back homers in the 1st inning, while the Cubs got some mixture of luck and great defense in the latter innings to hold their lead. In the 8th, with a man on 1st and none out, the Mets’ Lucas Duda hit a scorcher down the right field line that was caught by Rizzo at first who was then a step away from doubling Michael Cuddyer up. In the 9th, the Mets again led off by putting the potential tying runner on base, but Dilson Herrera‘s liner up the middle was caught by a diving Starlin Castro from shortstop, and then pinch-hitter Johnny Monell‘s grounder to second appeared to eat up the fielder only to have Addison Russell quickly recover to start a game-ending 4-6-3 double play, complete with a Castro fist pump as the ball hit Rizzo’s glove for the final out.

* * *

From Starlin to Starling Marte, who hit his 8th homer of the season while Gerrit Cole picked up his 5th win to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates over the intra-state rival Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3.

Mark Melancon picked up his 8th save, but not without some drama. In the 9th, Odubel Herrera led off with a homer that made it a 1-run game. Carlos Ruiz singled with one out, but Melancon got a pair of fly outs to close the game out.

Cole went 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and a pair of walks, striking out 6. That raised his ERA to 2.32, still among the division’s best.

Jung Ho Kang got his 3rd straight start as he continued to shed a bad Spring Training and show he might just belong in the lineup after all. Kang has a .333/.386/.529 slash line in 21 games while the struggling Josh Harrison is at .173/.209/.282 in 28 games. Also a factor – Harrison’s .938 fielding percentage to go with 5 errors at third base; Kang has fielded 16 balls at third without an error in 2015.

Pittsburgh has rattled off three straight wins.

* * *

Aroldis Chapman‘s wild pitch allowed the eventual game-winning run to score in the top of the 9th as the Cincinnati Reds lost at home to the Atlanta Braves, 2-1.

Between innings, Chapman appeared to throw his glove about 103 miles per hour in the dugout.

It’s a small sample size, of course, but in the last two nights Chapman has gone 1.2 innings and allowed 6 hits. His ERA had been 0.00 before then; it’s now up to 1.26.

The loss dragged the Reds’ losing streak out to 3 games.

Cincinnati’s inability to muster any offense against Braves starter Shelby Miller (1.60 ERA) spoiled another nice start by Mike Leake, who went 6 innings and allowed one run on 8 hits and a pair of walks.

At one stretch, Miller retired 15 straight Reds. Dominating effort.

* * *

Check it out. The Milwaukee Brewers win again, this time a 10-7 win over the Chicago White Sox who are now 2-10 on the road.

Milwaukee had an early 6-0 lead, only to fritter it away and allow the ChiSox to tie it up 7-7 in the top of the 8th.

In the bottom of the inning, Elian Herrera (3rd) and Khris Davis (3rd) each took White Sox reliever Zach Duke deep, giving the Brew Crew their 7th win in their last 10 games. They have won their last three in a row.

Carlos Gomez homered (2nd) and tripled for Milwaukee, driving in a pair of runs.

On the down side, Scooter Gennett was 0-for-3 (.189) and committed his 3rd error of the season. Gennett’s .953 fielding percentage at second is the league’s 3rd worst mark, with the Cubs’ Addison Russell (.949) at the bottom.

37-year old Aramis Ramirez missed his fourth straight game with a sore lower back. He’s planning on retiring after the 2015 season.

* * *

I’m a little concerned about Matt Carpenter, who has been having bouts of vertigo, exhaustion, dehydration – you name it… Carpenter was off to an amazing start, connecting for a potential record-breaking number of doubles. But the last week has seen him miss some games with various maladies. He’s expected to play tonight against the Cleveland Indians, but nothing is guaranteed. We’ll keep an eye on this one.

* * *

Interesting note on the NL Central’s ERA Leaderboard below. As much as the Cards are known for their top pitching staff right now, look which teams have some of the top marks thus far. In fact, were I to extend that board, you’d find only one Cardinal pitcher in the top 7.

What does it mean? Well, it could mean the Cardinals’ bullpen has been better. It could just mean the Cardinals have more depth from 1 to 5 in their rotation than other teams. It could also mean that, in a playoff series where you can lean on your top guns more, some of these teams might actually be better poised for success than the Redbirds.

It’s also only May 12th, so let’s stay tuned on this one.

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NL Central Leaders

ERA
A.J. Burnett (PIT) 1.66
Michael Wacha (STL) 2.09
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 2.32
Mike Leake (CIN) 2.36
Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) 2.50

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Schedule

22-9 CARDINALS Lynn (1-3, 3.82)
11-19 Indians Carrasco (4-2, 4.71)
5:10 PM CT
16-16 PIRATES Burnett (1-1, 1.66)
11-22 Phillies O’Sullivan (0-1, 4.91)
6:05 PM CT
15-17 Braves Foltynewicz (2-0, 5.23)
15-17 REDS DeSclafani (2-3, 2.50)
6:10 PM CT
20-12 Mets Syndergaard (NR)
16-15 CUBS Arrieta (3-3, 3.41)
7:05 PM CT
12-17 White Sox Sale (2-1, 5.93)
12-21 BREWERS Fiers (1-4, 5.46)
7:10 PM CT

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Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 22 9 L2
Chicago Cubs 16 15 6.0 W1
Pittsburgh Pirates 16 16 6.5 W3
Cincinnati Reds 15 17 7.5 L3
Milwaukee Brewers 12 21 11.0 W3