Tagged: Dexter Fowler

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

* * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * *

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
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Cardinals, Cubs Distancing Selves From Rest of Division

Matt Adams helped pace a big offensive evening for the Cardinals.

Matt Adams helped pace a big offensive evening for the Cardinals.

Carlos Martinez had his best Game Score (68) in nearly a month and the St. Louis Cardinals offense put up 14 hits in 9-0 shutout of the New York Mets.

There were many 6-run innings on Tuesday night and we had another one on Wednesday as the Redbirds put a 6 spot up in the 4th, batting around the order.

Jason Heyward and Matt Adams each connected for their 4th home runs of the season in that 6-run outburst.

Martinez went 6.1 innings, striking out 5 and improving to 4-2.

Jaime Garcia makes his return to the Cardinals rotation this evening. He’ll become the third left-handed pitcher to try and plug in the hole left in the rotation since Adam Wainwright went down with a season-ending Achilles injury.

The always entertaining Bernie Miklasz has a nice write-up on Michael Wacha over at the Post-Dispatch. Read it here and thank me later.

* * *

Tsuyoshi Wada made his 2015 MLB debut, striking out 9 over 4.2 innings of work to help get the Chicago Cubs started in a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres. Not getting the requisite 5 innings to qualify for the win and only having thrown 69 pitches, Wada was pulled after allowing a hit, hitting a batter, and having a few hard-hit outs. Cubs skipper Joe Maddon: “I’m more about the Cubs winning as opposed to any particular pitcher winning.”

Wada, to his credit, seemed cool with it.

Justin Grimm, Zac Rosscup, Jason Motte, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon combined for 4.1 innings of shutout relief work. They got a couple of clutch efforts there, particularly when Motte struck out Matt Kemp in the 7th with two man on and again when Rondon struck out Abraham Almonte to end the game with the tying run on 3rd.

Down 2-1 in the top of the 5th, Dexter Fowler tied it up with an RBI triple and then scored the go-ahead run on a sac fly by Kris Bryant.

There’s talk of Javier Baez getting recalled soon. The question, then, is how the Cubs will make room for him. It would seem the odd man out would be LF Chris Coghlan with Bryant moving out there. But then who plays third? Baez, hitting .296 at AAA, has been splitting time between middle infield positions, so it wouldn’t be him. SS Starlin Castro has said he would prefer to move to second if moved at all. So does all of this mean 2B Addison Russell moves over to the hot corner? A natural shortstop, Russell is already being asked to play a position he’s unfamiliar with and his defensive metrics haven’t looked so good. But my guess is that that’s where the team is headed. Either that or the Cubs are hoping to flip Baez for assets. Baez has made 6 errors in 8 games at short and 1 in 10 games at second, which again points towards the team being influenced to move Russell to the hot corner. I’m interested in seeing how this one plays out.

* * *

The Cincinnati Reds lost their 5th straight, again getting no offense in a 7-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

Jason Marquis (still in the rotation) went 3.2 innings, allowing 4 runs and falling to 3-4 with a 6.91 ERA.

A case can be made that you can live with a starting pitcher who puts up pedestrian numbers provided they are chewing up innings and affording your bullpen some rest when their turn in the rotation comes up. But 6.91 is about 2 runs higher than I think you can ignore. Also, not making it through 4 innings of work (as Marquis has now failed to do in consecutive starts) is inexcusable.

Brandon Phillips had three hits for Cincinnati, upping his season average to .314.

Coming into last night’s game, Devin Mesoraco had a slash line of .400/.438/.600 since May 9th.

* * *

Joe Mauer‘s homer gave the Minnesota Twins a 4-3 win in 13 innings over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pittsburgh was down 3-1 and tied it up by scoring in the 7th and 8th.

Another nice game for Josh Harrison, who went 3-for-6 and is now hitting .514 during his current 8-game hitting streak.

Andrew McCutchen was 3-for-5 with his 5th homer of the year.

Gregory Polanco is mired in an 0-for-18 slump.

When trailing after 7 innings, the Bucs are now 0-17 in 2015.

* * *

The Milwaukee Brewers were 5-2 losers against the Detroit Tigers.

Ryan Braun hit his 10th homer of the year. That’s his 2nd tater in as many days and it gives him 6 in May.

If you’re a Brewers fan, you’re desperate for some reason to feel good about the future. 22-year old shortstop Luis Sardinas, who came over in the Yovani Gallardo deal, was hitting .429 through his first 4 games with the team.

Martin Maldonado was 0-for-3 and is hitting .036 in his last 8 games.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

On-Base Percentage
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .460
Matt Holliday (STL) .442
Kris Bryant (CHC) .416
Joey Votto (CIN) .387
2-way tie

.377
WHIP
Jason Hammel (CHC) 0.919
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 0.964
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 1.038
Michael Wacha (STL) 1.046
Mike Leake (CIN) 1.098

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 27 13 W2
Chicago Cubs 22 17 4.5 W1
Cincinnati Reds 18 22 9.0 L5
Pittsburgh Pirates 18 22 9.0 L2
Milwaukee Brewers 15 26 12.5 L1

* * *

Schedule

27-13 CARDINALS Garcia, J (NR)
23-18 Mets deGrom (4-4, 3.21)
12:10 PM CT
15-26 BREWERS Garza (2-5, 5.72)
19-20 Braves Teheran (3-1, 4.33)
6:10 PM CT
22-17 CUBS Hendricks (0-1, 5.15)
20-21 Padres Despaigne (2-2, 6.75)
8:10 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

Cards Shut Down by Kluber, Indians

We usually use a player from the NL Central as our featured image, but DAMN! Can't ignore last night's performance by Cleveland Indians' starting pitcher Corey Kluber.

We usually use a player from the NL Central as our featured image, but DAMN! Can’t ignore last night’s performance by Cleveland Indians’ starting pitcher Corey Kluber.

Corey Kluber did this to the St. Louis Cardinals last night, erasing his 0-5 start to the season: 8 shutout innings with 1 hit allowed, no walks and 18 strikeouts.

18!!!

Kluber, the defending AL Cy Young winner, joined Bob Feller as the only Cleveland pitchers to strike out 18 men in a game. That’s good company.

John Lackey (L 2-2) allowed 2 runs in 5.1 innings, which seems like a small miracle considering he allowed 5 hits and walked 5 as well. The Indians went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Jhonny Peralta had the sole Cardinal hit – a single with two out in the 7th.

Mark Reynolds and Peter Bourjos each struck out in all three plate appearances.

Dominant stuff.

Matt Holliday took a 94-mph Kluber fastball to the left elbow in the 1st inning and had to be pulled from the game. A scan revealed a “deep contusion” and he’ll likely be out at least a few days. With Jon Jay already nursing an injury (left thumb bruise) and Randal Grichuk‘s back injury keeping him off the team, the Cards’ outfield situation is pretty grim right now.

* * *

A walk-off walk for Chris Coghlan and the Comeback Cubs as they take their 3rd straight game against the visiting New York Mets.

Jason Hammel held his own against Matt Harvey, leaving the Chicago Cubs trailing 1-0 headed into the bottom of the 8th. Addison Russell singled with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch, then scored on a base hit by Dexter Fowler to tie it up.

In the bottom of the 9th, Anthony Rizzo led off with a hard single into right. Starlin Castro roped one through the left side for another hit, moving pinch-runner Matt Szczur to 3rd. After Miguel Montero was intentionally walked, reliever Jeurys Familia entered the game. He struck out Jorge Soler, who swung at some pitches that he really shouldn’t have. But then Coghlan stepped up with the bases loaded and left the bat on his shoulders on a 3-1 pitch that wasn’t close.

Hammel went 8 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 6. Check him out on the division’s WHIP leader boards below.

A rough night for Soler, who couldn’t possibly look more miserable about playing in weather below 50 degrees. The entire field will be full of guys in short sleeves and there’s Soler with a parka on. He might have signed up for the wrong team. His plate appearances tonight: 4-6-3 double play, strike out, 4-6-3 double play, strike out with the bases loaded.

* * *

Jeff Francoeur can still throw the ball and his arm helped save the Philadelphia Phillies in a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jordy Mercer‘s fly ball into right field was caught in foul territory by Francouer for the 2nd out. Steve Lombardozzi then attempted to tag up from 3rd but was thrown out at the plate by a good 5 feet, giving Francouer his 123rd career outfield assist. That’s 3rd best among active outfielders behind only Carlos Beltran (135) and Torii Hunter (125). For reference, the career leader is “The Grey Eagle”, Tris Speaker, who had 449.

Cole Hamels was impressive against Pittsburgh, going 7 innings for the win while allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 9.

Andrew McCutchen is still only hitting .231 this season, but he had a 2-RBI single last night and is hitting .293 with 6 extra-base hits in his last 14 games.

Sean Rodriguez, who my wife finds exceptionally handsome for a hirsute man, struck out twice and also grounded into a double play.

The loss ended the Bucs’ four-game winning streak.

Some exciting news for Pirates prospects as the #2 pick of the 2010 draft, starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, is slated to throw his first inning of work since undergoing Tommy John surgery last April.

Also recovering is Charlie Morton, scheduled to start in the minor today in his rehab from hip surgery. Morton is among the front-runners to replace Vance Worley in the bullpen.

* * *

Raul Iglesias made his second career start an impressive win, firing 5+ innings of no-hit ball to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Iglesias finished with 8 innings of work, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5.

Zack Cozart returned to the Cincy lineup and had a double and sac fly. He also made this pretty sweet play in the field. The shortstop is hitting .321 this season.

On the other side of the middle infielders, Kristopher Negron is hitting just .111 after an 0-for-2 day – he filled in for Brandon Phillips and his injured toe at second.

* * *

The Milwaukee Brewers tried to come back but couldn’t overcome the 3 runs they allowed in the 1st inning, falling to the Chicago White Sox 4-2.

The Journal Sentinel has a nice short article on Elian Herrera. Herrera signed as an amateur free agent in 2003 and didn’t see action in the big leagues until 2012 when he was already 27 years old. Read the full article here.

Herrera has been filling in at third base while Aramis Ramirez sits out with back problems. Rami, who has missed the last six games, is expected to return to the lineup Friday.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

OBP
Matt Holliday (STL) .466
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .463
Kris Bryant (CHC) .411
Joey Votto (CIN) .408
Matt Carpenter (STL) .391
WHIP
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 0.877
Mike Leake (CIN) 0.966
Jason Hammel (CHC) 0.993
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 1.007
Michael Wacha (STL) 1.034

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 23 10 L1
Chicago Cubs 18 15 5.0 W3
Cincinnati Reds 17 17 6.5 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 17 17 6.5 L1
Milwaukee Brewers 12 23 12.0 L2

* * *

Schedule

23-10 CARDINALS Wacha (5-0, 2.09)
12-20 Indians Bauer (2-1, 4.19)
11:10 AM CT
17-17 PIRATES Worley (2-2, 4.63)
12-23 Phillies Harang (3-3, 2.38)
12:05 PM CT
20-14 Mets Niese (3-2, 1.95)
18-15 CUBS Wood, T (2-2, 4.96)
1:20 PM CT
17-17 Giants Lincecum (3-2, 2.00)
17-17 REDS Cueto (3-3, 2.98)
6:10 PM CT

Brewers Win; Closers Do Their Job

Pittsburgh Pirates' starting pitcher Jeff Locke

Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher Jeff Locke

All the closers were represented yesterday and all of them got their jobs done, with the Pittsburgh PiratesMark Melancon, Milwaukee BrewersFrancisco Rodriguez and St. Louis CardinalsTrevor Rosenthal all closing out their teams wins for saves.

* * *

Melancon (Sv 3), Radhames Liz, and Arquimedes Caminero combined for 4 shutout innings of relief work, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 5 as the Pirates up-ended the Chicago Cubs, 5-4, handing them their first back-to-back losses of the season.

Pushed into the #3 spot because of a day off being granted to Andrew McCutchen and an injury to Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco had 3 hits (.300) with a double and stolen base.

For the Cubs, Brian Schlitter (L 0-2, 9.53 ERA) continued to struggle, allowing a run in an inning of work.

Marte is day-to-day after being hit on the wrist Wednesday night, but did pinch-run and play center field in yesterday’s game. X-rays on the wrist were negative.

Kris Bryant got his first career start in center field with Dexter Fowler going through some groin issues. Fowler is hopeful to play Friday night. For you Strat-O-Matic fans, that’s Bryant’s 2nd appearance in center, so he’ll probably be rated there on his 2015 card now – congratulations!

The Bucs’ win put them back at .500 again. They’ll have Gerrit Cole on the mound tonight against the D-Backs in an attempt to finally move about the even mark.

The Cubs try to get their first win out of Jon Lester this evening in Cincinnati.

* * *

The Brewers ended their 8-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. They finally got some homers, with Adam Lind (3 hits, .309) hitting his 2nd and Aramis Ramirez his 1st in his farewell season. (Maybe?)

Kyle Lohse (W 1-3) finally had a good start, going seven innings and allowing a pair of runs on just three hits and a walk to go along with four strikeouts.

K-Rod pitched a scoreless 9th, redeeming himself after a rough game Wednesday night, notching his 350th career save.

For the Reds, Kevin Gregg had a “nice” outing, dropping his ERA to 10.29 by allowing only one earned run in 1.1 innings of work. Yikes.

* * *

The Cardinals stayed hot, beating the Washington Nationals on the road, 4-1.

Michael Wacha (W 3-0) went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and a pair of walks, striking out 6.

Rosenthal picked up save #6, working a perfect 9th and striking out one.

Matt Carpenter went 2-for-4 to up his average to .386 and also collected his 8th double of the year. I know pitching is back in fashion these days, but I’m starting to wonder if he can’t make a run at .400 this year. It’s early, I know, but he’s sick.

* * *

Bernie Miklasz at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a nice column on why won-loss records for pitchers are kind of ridiculous, using Lance Lynn as an example. It’s worth a read.

* * *

Some good stuff by Anthony Witrado at Bleacher Report on Joey Votto with a little focus on Brandon Phillips‘ complete misunderstanding that getting on-base actually correlates with winning games; they’re not at odds. Read it here.

* * *

Schedule

8-7 CHICAGO Lester (0-2, 6.89)
8-8 CINCINNATI Leake (0-1, 3.92)
6:10 PM CT
10-4 ST. LOUIS Martinez, C (1-0, 2.08)
3-13 MILWAUKEE Garza, M (1-2, 5.40)
7:10 PM CT
8-8 PITTSBURGH Cole (2-0, 2.65)
8-7 Arizona Collmenter (1-2, 3.38)
8:40 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 10 4 W2
Chicago Cubs 8 7 2.5 L2
Cincinnati Reds 8 8 3.0 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 8 8 3.0 W2
Milwaukee Brewers 3 13 8.0 W1

PANIC!!!

11949846888132734don_t_panic__dan_gerhard_01.svg.hiI thoroughly enjoyed reading numerous local bloggers as well as listening to phone-ins to sport talk shows to get a good feel for how much panic there can be after just 3 or 4 games into a Major League Baseball season.

Lest you’ve forgotten, an MLB season is 162 games long. So we’re talking about assessing your team based on 2% of a total season.

Giving up on your MLB team after 3.5 games… In NFL terms, this would be akin to giving up on your team’s season with 9 minutes and 16 seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter. (I did the math for you, but feel free to double check.)

Reading Chicago sports media, for example – by the way, this is never recommended – there was utter panic that the White Sox were 0-4 and Cubs were 1-2. Never mind that the ChiSox had faced the defending American League Champion Kansas City Royals in those first three games and the Cubs had split 2 games with the still powerful St. Louis Cardinals.

I don’t know what record the Cubs and White Sox will have after 162 games are done. If I boiled down the dozens of season previews I’ve read over, I’d say national prognosticators have both teams somewhere in the range of between 81 and 86 wins. But I sure as shit know that I can’t base my opinion of them on 3 or 4 games.

* * *

Let’s get to the weekend recap in the NL Central.

The Cincinnati Reds hosted the St. Louis Cardinals. Coming into the series, the Reds were 3-0, coming off of a surprising sweep of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cards had split a rain-soaked Opening Series in Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.
The Reds took the series opener, 5-4, behind a pair of Joey Votto homers and yet another stolen base by Billy Hamilton.
The Cards won game 2, 4-1, behind Michael Wacha’s 6.1 innings, allowing 1 earned run. Johnny Cueto took the loss to fall to 0-1 with a 0.64 ERA; he went 7 innings and allowed 1 run.
The Cards then took the rubber game of the series, winning 7-5 in 11 innings when Matt Carpenter connected for a 2-run homer in the top of the inning off of Kevin Gregg, who I still can’t believe has a job. Carlos Martinez did not get a decision, but threw nicely for the Red Birds, going 6 innings and striking out 8 while allowing 2 runs.
Carpenter is hitting .300, while Jhonny Peralta (.333), Matt Holliday (.300) and Kolten Wong (.294) are also off to nice starts.
Votto has a slash line of .333/.429/.708 with 3 HR and 8 RBI. So far, the comeback is going nicely. Hamilton had 7 stolen bases.

The Cubs took to Colorado to face the Rockies. After losing game one 5-1, their offense showed up big time in a 9-5 win to even the series. Dexter Fowler enjoyed his homecoming (more on that later) with a pair of triples. And the Baby Bears had their first homers of the season with Chris Coghlan, Mike Olt and Starlin Castro all doing a number. Castro had 3 hits, by the way. Olt took a pitch off the wrist later in the game, getting those Kris Bryant whispers revved up. Bryant also homered at AAA the night of this game. Olt’s x-rays were negative and he would actually pinch hit in game 3 of the series.
Speaking of which, the Cubs showed they aren’t the same pushover team of recent years, coming back to win 6-5 and take the series. Trailing 5-3 with a man on 2nd and 2 outs in the 9th, Wellington Castillo singled in a run and then Fowler took LaTroy Hawkins into the upper deck in right field for a go-ahead two-run homer. Hector Rondon stranded the tying runner at 3rd, picking up his 2nd save.
Fowler had a slash line of .308/.400/.846 in the 3-game series at Colorado.
Arismendy Alcantara has looked fluid when he’s played second base, but he’s 0-for-12 at the plate. On the bright side, his 5 walks give him a .294 OBP which, while not spectacular, helps make up for some of that. His OPS+ is currently negative 5, which I didn’t even think was possible. Castro is hitting .300, but no other Cubs’ regular is hitting over .250 and four are hitting below .200.

And in Milwaukee, the Brewers finally won a game, but it was the Bucs taking the series, 2 games to 1. So no NL Central swept or was swept over the weekend.
After Pittsburgh took game one, 6-2, Milwaukee came back to take game two, 6-0. Jimmy Nelson tossed 7 shutout innings, striking out 9 while allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks. Vance Worley went 6.1 innings and allowed 6 earned runs for the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen did not play.
The Pirates took the final game of the series, 10-2, behind McCutchen’s 2nd homer of the year. He had 4 RBI while Neil Walker had three, picking up his first homer of the season.

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National League Ranks

Cincinnati: 6th in Runs Scored/Game, 10th in Runs Allowed/Game
St. Louis: 9th in Runs Scored/Game, 2nd in Runs Allowed/Game
Chicago: 8th in Runs Scored/Game, 6th in Runs Allowed/Game
Pittsburgh: 7th in Runs Scored/Game, 8th in Runs Allowed/Game
Milwaukee: 13th in Runs Scored/Game, 15th in Runs Allowed/Game

* * *

Schedule

6-0 Detroit Sanchez, An (1-0, 0.00)
2-4 PITTSBURGH Cole (0-0, 5.40)
12:35 PM CT
1-5 MILWAUKEE Garza, M (0-1, 7.20)
3-2 ST. LOUIS Wainwright (1-0, 0.00)
3:15 PM CT
4-2 CINCINNATI Leake (0-0, 4.76)
3-2 CHICAGO Lester (0-1, 6.23)
7:05 PM CT

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Standings

W L GB Strk
Cincinnati 4 2 L2
Chicago 3 2 0.5 W2
St. Louis 3 2 0.5 W2
Pittsburgh 2 4 2 W1
Milwaukee 1 5 3 L1