Tagged: Jake Arrieta

Tired Yet?

Michael Wacha is one of the young arms to keep an eye on in September.

Michael Wacha is one of the young arms to keep an eye on in September.

The final month of the 2015 season is upon us and I can’t believe it’s here already.

I’ve frequently written about a young pitcher who has struggled down the stretch and wondered if it didn’t have something to do with them hitting new career highs in terms of the number of innings they’ve pitched in any given professional season.

Here’s a look at some young arms who may be taxed in these last four weeks, not to mention the playoffs.

All Innings Pitched totals are rounded off and include totals from all professional leagues – Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, and International Leagues.

St. Louis Cardinals

86-47, 6.5 Games Ahead, 29 Games Remaining

Name Age 2015 IP 2014 IP High IP
Michael Wacha 23 157 109 150 (2013)
Carlos Martinez 23 155 112 114 (2013)
Jaime Garcia 28 107 51 195 (2011)

The Cardinals, it seems, might want to consider pumping the breaks a bit here. With 29 games left in their schedule, they have an 11 game lead on the #2 team in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

ELEVEN GAMES!!!

Even if the Cards go 14-15 in their final 29 games – and there’s little reason to believe they won’t do better than that – the Dodgers would need to go 25-4 to tie them.

Let that sink in.

Marinating…

Okay, now look at those innings pitched totals again.

Why would you put Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez or Jaime Garcia out there? It’s always a tricky thing, of course. You don’t want to use them so infrequently that they head into the playoffs rusty. But it’s also hard to justify putting them out there for long starts.

If I’m the Cardinals, I’m considering something like a 6- or 7-man rotation in this final month of the season. Rosters are expanded. There’s just no call for using those three guys named above in more than, say, 5 or 6 innings per week.

Keep an eye on them, for sure.

Pittsburgh Pirates

79-53, 6.5 GB, 4.0 Games Ahead for #1 Wild Card, 30 Games Remaining

Name Age 2015 IP 2014 IP High IP
Gerrit Cole 24 174 160 185 (2013)
Jeff Locke 27 145 187 187 (2014)

For the Bucs and Cubs, things are a bit different. They don’t have anything locked up yet. But they also have pretty nice leads and are pretty much fighting it out only to see who gets home field advantage in the NL Wild Card game. Which, of course, accounts for a swing of no more than 2% in your chance of winning, such is home field “advantage” in professional baseball…

Gerrit Cole has had less on his stuff, overall, in the second half. He’s 11 innings shy of his professional high (185), set in 2014. And he’s already 14 over his mark from last season. Again, this is tough, but I think you ease off on the 24-year old. He’s a power pitcher and I want to see that gas in the Wild Card game.

I admit I was surprised to see that Jeff Locke had thrown 187 last year. He’s been a bit up and down this season, having stretches of awful and stretches of really good.

Chicago Cubs

75-57, 10.5 GB, 4.0 GB #1 Wild Card, 7.0 GA for #2 Wild Card, 30 Games Remaining

Name Age 2015 IP 2014 IP High IP
Jake Arrieta 29 183 177 177 (2014)
Kyle Hendricks 25 147 183 183 (2014)

In Chicago, Jake Arrieta has hit his career high, with 6 more innings thrown than he did combined last season between the Majors and Minors. He’s obviously showing no signs of a tired arm yet, after a brilliant August. I know he’s also really gone crazy with conditioning this season and seemed headed into 2015 with a goal of proving that last season was no fluke. So who knows… Still, another guy worth keeping an eye on.

Kyle Hendricks is a bit like Locke, above, in that I was surprised to see how many innings he had put up last season at various levels of pro ball. He’s still 36 innings shy of last year’s total, so he should have plenty left in the tank. How much value he brings to the team is questionable right now, as he’s had an overall down year. But the Cubs need some help from the back end of their rotation if they’re going to hold on to the Wild Card spot.

* * * * * * * * *

Big Series this weekend between the Cardinals and Pirates.

Looking forward to that!

Game One Friday, 7:15 PM CT
(PIT) Happ: 7-7, 4.10
(STL) Martinez: 13-6, 2.91

Game Two Saturday, 3:05 PM CT
(PIT) Morton: 8-6, 4.22
(STL) Garcia: 7-4, 2.03

Game Three Sunday, 7:05 PM CT
(PIT) Cole: 15-8, 2.64
(STL) Lackey: 11-8, 2.87

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.

Arrieta Throws No-Hitter

Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs last night.

Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs last night.

Odds are that you heard about this already, but if not… Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta fired a 12-strikeout no-hitter last night.

I feel a bit guilty for thinking it, but there’s a part of me that’s always waiting for Arrieta to get busted for doctoring the baseball.

The movement on his pitches is consistently filthy. Something is up in the batter’s wheelhouse at 90 miles per hour and then suddenly drops three feet. It’s ridiculous.

Anyhow, kudos to Arrieta who was a highly-touted 5th round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2007, then a bust, then dealt to the Cubs as part of their Sabermetric-driven sign-and-trade of Scott Feldman, and has since then been a stud.

In 63 starts in Baltimore, Arrieta was 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA. (Not a typo.) He had a 1.47 WHIP, allowing 9.3 hits per 9 innings and walking 4.

In 61 starts in Chicago, he’s 31-13 with a 2.48 ERA. (Also not a typo.) He has a 0.98 WHIP, allowing 6.3 hits per 9 and walking 2.5.

Night and day.

If not for guys in Los Angeles named Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, Arrieta might be the top name in the discussion for the National League Cy Young award. He might still be, with one more month to go.

W-L ERA SO/9 WAR
LAD Greinke 14-3 1.61 8.2 6.7
LAD Kershaw 11-6 2.24 11.5 6.4
CHC Arrieta 17-6 2.11 9.3 5.9

(NOTE: WAR above is the average from BaseballReference and Fangraphs.)

The no-no wasn’t without controversy, of course, as Starlin Castro was charged with an error in the bottom of the 3rd inning when he was eaten up by a hard grounder that short-hopped him.

I’m going to refrain from voicing too strong an opinion one way or the other on that call. I’ve watched it four times and keep waffling on it. I’ve definitely seen it called both ways in the past.

One thing I definitely have an opinion on is something that I heard on sports radio this morning. “If it hadn’t have been a no-hitter situation, that would have been called a base hit.”

It was the 3rd inning. That seems a little premature to get excited about a no-hitter. It’s not like they originally scored it a single and then, after 6 innings, “changed their mind”. It was earlier. To that point he had thrown just 2.2 innings of no-hit ball, just like probably a hundred pitchers have done this season alone. Having a no-hitter after 2.2 innings of work is a pretty commonplace situation.

Also, the game was in Los Angeles, where the official scorekeeper would be more likely to score that a single so as to help pad the stats of a Dodgers’ player.

The story-line that he felt pressured to score it an error to keep the no-hitter intact? It makes no sense on several fronts. Let’s move on.

It was the first no-hitter for a Cubs pitcher since Carlos Zambrano‘s 2008 “road” game (played in Milwaukee) against the Houston Astros.

Here’s all 27 outs.

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 84 46 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 79 50 4.5 L1
Chicago Cubs 74 55 9.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 55 75 29.0 W1
Cincinnati Reds 53 76 30.5 L1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 79 50 +5.0
Chicago Cubs 74 55
San Francisco Giants 69 61 5.5
Washington Nationals 66 63 8.0

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

53-76 REDS Lorenzen (3-8, 5.46)
74-55 CUBS Hendricks (6-6, 4.117)
7:05 PM CT
66-63 Nationals Gonzalez (9-7, 4.11)
84-46 CARDINALS Lackey (11-8, 2.92)
7:15 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 10th 1st
Pittsburgh 5th 2nd
Chicago 6th 6th
Milwaukee 11th 12th
Cincinnati 12th 11th

Pirates, Cubs Move Up In Wild Card

Charlie Morton led the Pirates to a shutout of the Giants.

Charlie Morton led the Pirates to a shutout of the Giants.

The Pittsburgh Pirates shut out the outside-looking-in San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs were dominant winners over the Atlanta Braves, giving both teams a bit more room in the National League Wild Card race.

Starting with Pittsburgh, Charlie Morton went 6.2 innings in a 4-0 win over the Giants, improving to 8-4 on the season.

Neil Walker hit his 13th homer of the season and had a pair of hits. Also joining in with multi-hit games were Starling Marte and Jung-Ho Kang.

It was the Bucs’ 7th win in their last 8 games as they moved within 4.5 games of the idle St. Louis Cardinals. That’s the closest Pittsburgh has been since July 29th.

It also gave them a full 8-game lead over the Giants in the Wild Card race. They remain 4 ahead of the Cubs.

Tonight will be tough for the Pirates as they have Jeff Locke going up against Madison Bumgarner (14-6, 2.98) who, besides being a good hitter, is also a decent pitcher.

Both 3B Josh Harrison (thumb) and SS Jordy Mercer (knee) are expected to return from the DL this weekend, with the team having survived thrived while missing the left side of their infield over the last five weeks.

Kang has excelled and 3B Aramis Ramirez looks rejuvenated since coming back to where his career started, so manager Clint Hurdle will have some tough decisions to make.

Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

Jake Arrieta won his 15th game of the year with 6 shutout innings, striking out 7 as the Cubs pounded the Braves, 7-1.

Anthony Rizzo hit his 24th homer and Addison Russell his 8th as the Cubs scored 4 in the 3rd and came out to a 7-0 lead after 5 innings of play. That tends to hold up when Arrieta is on the bump.

In breaking their 3-game skid, Chicago moved 4 ahead of the Giants for the 2nd Wild Card spot.

The Cubs get a tough draw later this afternoon against Shelby Miller (5-9, 2.43) and the Braves.

Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

The Cincinnati Reds lost their 6th straight and are now just a half game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers at the bottom of the division.

Or a half game away from tying them up for a higher draft pick, if you’re a “glass half full” kind of person.

* * * * * * * * *

Fangraphs has a Q&A with Brewers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson. Check it out.

* * * * * * * * *

If you want to know why the NL Central is the most entertaining division in baseball, Anthony Witrado at Bleacher Report has an article explaining that. Go enjoy it.

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 77 43 W1
Pittsburgh Pirates 72 47 4.5 W3
Chicago Cubs 68 51 8.5 W1
Cincinnati Reds 51 68 25.5 L6
Milwaukee Brewers 52 70 26.0 W1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 72 47 +4.0
Chicago Cubs 68 51
San Francisco Giants 65 56 4.0
Washington Nationals 60 60 8.5

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

53-68 Braves Miller (5-9, 2.43)
68-51 CUBS Hendricks (6-5, 3.97)
3:05 PM CT
52-70 BREWERS Nelson (9-9, 3.61)
60-60 Nationals Gonzalez (9-5, 3.86)
6:05 PM CT
65-56 Giants Bumgarner (14-6, 2.98)
72-47 PIRATES Locke (6-7, 4.31)
6:05 PM CT
59-61 Diamondbacks De La Rosa (10-5, 4.40)
51-68 REDS Holmberg (1-2, 5.95)
6:10 PM CT
77-43 CARDINALS Lackey (10-7, 2.87)
59-62 Padres Cashner (4-12, 4.20)
9:10 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

WAR (fielders)
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 5.7
Joey Votto (CIN) 5.2
Jason Heyward (STL) 4.0
Starling Marte (PIT) 3.9
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) 3.8
WAR (pitchers)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 4.9
John Lackey (STL) 3.3
Michael Wacha (STL) 3.3
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 3.2
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 3.1

Cards Lose Grichuk, Win Game

Brandons : Crawford of the Giants makes a bad decision as Moss slides into second

Brandons : Crawford of the Giants makes a bad decision as Moss slides into second

As first reported yesterday, the St. Louis Cardinals did end up placing rookie center fielder Randal Grichuk on the 15-day disabled list.

Grichuk, leading the team with a 141 OPS+ while batting .284 with 43 extra-base hits in 85 games, was diagnosed with a “low-grade sprained ligament in the (throwing) elbow” as well as a “low-grade muscle strain”.

Jason Heyward was moved from right to center field with Brandon Moss and Stephen Piscotty getting the starts at the corner outfield positions last evening.

But Heyward, too, was injured, leaving the game with a hamstring injury in the 3rd inning.

If he’s out for considerable time, that could mean Peter Bourjos and Tommy Pham splitting time in center.

It’s a patchwork situation for now, though Grichuk, LF Matt Holliday, 1B Matt Adams and OF Jon Jay are all possibilities to return from the DL by mid-September.

So don’t panic yet, Cardinals fans.

Oh, also, you just gained a game on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Baseball Prospectus has the Red Birds at 99.7% locks to make the playoffs with an 80.4% chance to win the Central. Those are good odds.

* * * * * * * * *

Piscotty tripled and scored in the 8th inning last night, breaking a tie to give the Cardinals a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.

With one out and Piscotty on 3rd base, the Giants elected to give Moss a free pass, setting up the inning-ending double play.

They appeared to have gotten just that when the slow-footed Mark Reynolds hit a grounder to shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Though the second baseman was there waiting for the flip to start a 6-4-3 DP, Crawford instead motioned as though he would flip the ball, pulled his arm back, ran to second for the force, pirouetted around to throw to first, and had his throw go wide of first and allowing Piscotty to score.

Trevor Rosenthal notched his 37th save of the year, ending the game by retiring pinch-hitter Buster Posey on a long fly out to Bourjos at the wall in right-center.

Michael Wacha took the ND, but went 7 innings and allowed just 1 run on 6 hits and a walk, striking out 6.

Heyward, by the way, is hitting .333 in his last 29 games.

Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

The Pirates were 4-1 losers at home to the Arizona Diamondbacks as Gerrit Cole continued to struggle in the second half, ending Pittsburgh’s 4-game winning streak.

Cole went 6.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits and a walk, striking out 5. He fell to 14-7 with the loss.

He has yet to post a Game Score above 54 in his 4 August starts, posting a 4.70 ERA while allowing 27 hits in 23 innings.

Cole threw 160.1 innings last season between AAA and the Majors. He’s at 155.1 this season and keeps appearing as though he could really use a breather.

With the Bucs in the midst of a playoff race and with A.J. Burnett currently unavailable, it’s hard to see how they can squeeze that in, but Cole certainly seems off right now.

Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs has pitched 11 straight games with a Game Score north of 50, going at least 6 innings in each start.

Your division leader in ERA has posted a 9-2, 1.35 mark across that time span, allowing just 46 hits in 80 innings of work.

* * * * * * * * *

Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds has a modest 6-game hitting streak and is batting .403 across his last 24 games.

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 76 42 W1
Pittsburgh Pirates 69 47 6.0 L1
Chicago Cubs 67 49 8.0 L1
Cincinnati Reds 51 65 24.0 L3
Milwaukee Brewers 51 69 26.0 L1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 69 47 +2.0
Chicago Cubs 67 49
San Francisco Giants 64 54 4.0

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

58-59 Diamondbacks Anderson (5-5, 4.31)
69-47 PIRATES Liriano (8-6, 3.19)
6:05 PM CT
71-46 Royals Volquez (11-7, 3.27)
51-65 REDS Iglesias (3-4, 4.70)
6:10 PM CT
56-61 Tigers Sanchez (10-10, 4.95)
67-49 CUBS Hammel (6-5, 3.10)
7:05 PM CT
48-70 Marlins Conley (1-0, 5.00)
51-69 BREWERS Cravy (0-4, 5.92)
7:10 PM CT
64-54 Giants Vogelsong (8-8, 4.15)
76-42 CARDINALS Lynn (9-7, 2.95)
7:15 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

AVG
Joey Votto (CIN) .310
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .296
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) .292
Jason Heyward (STL) .287
Brandon Phillips (CIN) .285
ERA
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 2.39
Carlos Martinez (STL) 2.59
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 2.61
Michael Wacha (STL) 2.85
John Lackey (STL) 2.87

Cubs Sweep Twin-Bill Against Cards

Jake Arrieta pitched strong in the opening game of a double-header sweep for the Chicago Cubs.

Jake Arrieta pitched strong in the opening game of a double-header sweep for the Chicago Cubs.

You disappear for a few days of vacation, come back, and everything looks a little different.

Not hugely different, maybe. Just different.

For example, before heading away for a little rest and relaxation, I fully expected to start focusing more on the National League Wild Card and less on the National League Central.

But things have taken a bit of a turn and the race seems back on. For the moment, anyhow.

We’ll put off bringing the Wild Card into the discussion for just a little bit longer, although your #2 and 3 teams in the division here have pretty decent leads in that race, particularly with the San Francisco Giants having recently lost a whole mess of games.

Let’s dive back in as we usually do here, getting into yesterday’s recaps.

* * * * * * * * *

Coming into yesterday’s day-night double-header, the Chicago Cubs had lost 5 straight to the St. Louis Cardinals and were just 2-8 against them this season.

So it was a bit surprising to see them sweep the Cards, winning 7-4 behind Jake Arrieta‘s 9th win in the afternoon and then 5-3 with a little bit of luck in the night game.

The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-3 with his 16th homer and a pair of walks in the opening game.

The Cards’ Tim Cooney went 5.1 innings, allowing one run on 3 hits and a walk in the second game, leaving with a 2-1 lead. But the Cubs rattled off 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th, en route to the win.

Game two was a wild one, with Dallas Beeler getting called up and starting for Chicago, going 5-plus strong innings. Beeler, a 41st round draft pick, was only ranked the Cubs’ #24 prospect by Baseball America following the 2013 season.

The big play came with Chicago down 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th with 2 men on and 1 out. Addison Russell faced Seth Maness, hitting a grounder down the 1st base line for a game-tying single. Pretty much everybody on the Cards thought the ball went foul. But the umps ruled it fair. Maness was tossed from the game and Mike Matheny came out to argue for a while.

It was a strange play, as Russell’s grounder hit foul just in front of the plate, then appeared to cross just fair (maybe?) as it came over the first base bag, then veered back foul afterwards. Whole lot of English on that ball…

On the next play, Dexter Fowler hit a grounder back to new pitcher Kevin Siegrist, who turned to try to start an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play, instead throwing it into center field for an error that allowed Chicago to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Jason Motte started the 9th with a 3-run lead, putting the first two Cardinals batters on base, eventually allowing a run and putting the tying run on base before retiring Matt Carpenter on a foul pop out to third and Jhonny Peralta on a 6-4 fielder’s choice.

The Cubs have won 7 of their last 9 games.

Game Highlights (MLB.com) – Game 1

Game Highlights (MLB.com) – Game 2

In other Cardinals’ news, left fielder Matt Holliday is hoping to be brought back from the DL for this weekend’s series against the Pirates. Meanwhile, Kolten Wong left the opening game after taking a tumble chasing after a wind-blown pop up, forcing him from the game with signs of a concussion.

* * * * * * * * *

The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Diego Padres, 3-2, led by Gregory Polanco‘s tie-breaking RBI triple in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless 9th for his 28th save. That’s now 26 straight appearances going back to May 15th without a run allowed. 25.2 innings of work, 16 hits, 4 walks, 20 strikeouts, 1 win, 20 saves.

Francisco Liriano went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 6.

The Bucs have won 7 of their last 8 and 9 of their last 11. On June 28th, they were 9 games back. Now? Half that.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

* * * * * * * * *

Johnny Cueto continues to look like potential game-changing bait for the upcoming trade deadline, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-0 win over the Washington Nationals while out-dueling Max Scherzer.

Cueto went the distance, striking out 11 while allowing just 2 hits and a walk in a 122-pitch shutout. He’s 6-5 with a 2.61 ERA this season.

His Game Score of 93 tied a career best and the elbow looked just fine, hitting 95 mph routinely with his fastball. Cueto has allowed 1 run in 17 innings of work across his last two starts.

Joey Votto went 3-for-5 with his 15th homer and a double, driving in 3 runs.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

* * * * * * * * *

The Milwaukee Brewers lost 4-3 at home to the Atlanta Braves.

Khris Davis was brought back from the 15-day DL after having surgery to remove cartilage from his right knee. Davis, who was hitting .250 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 46 games, took over in left field for Gerardo Parra, who is hitting .309 with 8 HR. Parra also had a stretch of six straight games with multiple hits. Make of that what you will.

Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, also grounding into a double play as his batting average fell to .237 in his farewell season.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

* * * * * * * * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 54 30 L2
Pittsburgh Pirates 49 34 4.5 W4
Chicago Cubs 46 37 7.5 W2
Cincinnati Reds 38 44 15.0 W2
Milwaukee Brewers 36 50 19.0 L2

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

42-42 Braves Teheran (6-4, 4.60)
36-50 BREWERS Fiers (4-7, 3.83)
1:10 PM CT
38-44 REDS Lorenzen (3-3, 3.58)
46-38 Nationals Gonzalez (6-4, 4.16)
6:05 PM CT
39-47 Padres Cashner (3-9, 4.06)
49-34 PIRATES Morton (6-2, 4.30)
6:05 PM CT
54-30 CARDINALS Wacha (10-3, 2.66)
46-37 CUBS Hammel (5-4, 2.89)
7:05 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

Home Runs
Todd Frazier (CIN) 25
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 16
Ryan Braun (MIL) 15
Adam Lind (MIL) 15
Joey Votto (CIN) 15
Strikeouts
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 119
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 114
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 113
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 111
Carlos Martinez (STL) 105

Cubs Unload on Bengals

Miguel Montero was seeing the ball well last night, as were most of the Chicago Cubs.

Miguel Montero was seeing the ball well last night, as were most of the Chicago Cubs.

NL Central Hub was out yesterday but is back today for our regular weekday posts.

* * *

The Chicago Cubs picked up a pair of big innings (4 in the 3rd, 6 in the 7th) en route to a 12-3 dismantling of the Detroit Tigers.

Miguel Montero and Chris Coghlan each drove in three runs. Miggy had three hits including a 3-run homer in the 7th and Coghlan picked up his 8th homer of the year in the 3rd.

Six Cubs had a multi-hit game.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

You may have missed this article on Jake Arrieta‘s curveball over at Sports on Earth. If so, JAKE ARRIETA HAS A DANGEROUS CURVE. Opponents are hitting .135 against Arrieta’s curve, swinging and missing at 38.5% of those offerings, which is 6th best in the National League.

Also, while we were away, the Cubs picked up free agent closer Rafael Soriano. Something to keep an eye on with the Cubs volatile closer situation. Soriano is probably a month or so out from being able to contribute to the team, not having pitched since last year’s disastrous second half (6.48 ERA in 27 appearances).

* * *

The St. Louis Cardinals came out 4-2 winners against the Colorado Rockies.

Carlos Martinez improved to 7-2, carrying a shutout into the 7th inning until he allowed a 2-run homer which chased him from the contest.

Trevor Rosenthal notched his 20th save.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

Jeff Sullivan has a nice article on Martinez’s emergence as a starting pitcher over at Fangraphs.com. Sully’s focus is on Martinez’s change-up and it shows some pretty impressive differences in the amount of run he gets on that pitch, comparing 2014 data to 2015. Really shines some light on why Martinez has had a breakout year. Read the article now.

The Matt Holliday quad tear isn’t as severe as that which struck down Matt Adams a few weeks ago. It doesn’t appear that the Cardinals starting left fielder will require surgery, and he’ll probably miss about a month of play.

* * *

The Pittsburgh Pirates shut out the Milwaukee Brewers, 2-0, as Charlie Morton continued to be a bright spot in his return to an already impressive rotation.

Morton improved to 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA, going 7.1 shutout innings while allowing 6 base runners and striking out 6.

Mark Melancon picked up his 19th save with a perfect 9th.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

From Gene Collier’s column at the Post-Gazette, here are numbers from the Bucs’ relievers in recent games:
Tony Watson: 0.79 ERA in last 21 games
Melancon: 0.40 ERA in last 22 games

* * *

The Cincinnati Reds won their 4th straight, taking a 5-2 game at home against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Brayan Pena was 4-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBI while Ivan De Jesus Junior picked up another homer on a 3-run shot that was part of a 4-run 1st inning.

The Reds have won 8 of their last 12 games, but keep in mind that the combined winning percentage of opponents in those games was .434. The most impressive part of this stretch was a 3-game sweep of the Washington Nationals, but they’re only 31-28, hardly performing like the world-beaters they appear to be on paper.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

* * *

NL Central Leaders

On-Base Percentage
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .443
Matt Holliday (STL) .417
Joey Votto (CIN) .403
Kris Bryant (CHC) .392
Matt Carpenter (STL) .385
WHIP
Jason Hammel (CHC) 0.893
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 0.945
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 1.018
Michael Wacha (STL) 1.078
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 1.103

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 39 21 W1
Chicago Cubs 31 26 6.5 W1
Pittsburgh Pirates 32 27 6.5 W1
Cincinnati Reds 27 31 11.0 W4
Milwaukee Brewers 22 38 17.0 L1

* * *

Schedule

27-31 REDS Lorenzen (1-1, 3.29)
31-26 CUBS Wada (0-1, 4.19)
7:05 PM CT
31-28 Nationals Roark (2-2, 3.16)
22-38 BREWERS Garza (4-7, 5.09)
7:10 PM CT