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.
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NL Central Leaders
|Anthony Rizzo (CHC)||.460|
|Matt Holliday (STL)||.442|
|Kris Bryant (CHC)||.416|
|Joey Votto (CIN)||.387|
|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|
* * *
|St. Louis Cardinals||27||13||–||W2|
* * *
|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|
I find the talk about bringing the designated hitter to the National League sooner rather than later to be a bit ridiculous.
Let me clarify. I am not opposed to the DH in the NL. I prefer keeping the rules as they are.
However, there are multiple reasons that lead me to believe it is inevitable that the DH is introduced to the National League. I’ve written about them before and don’t need to rehash it, but it’s basically something I’m resigned to.
What chafes me, however, is pointing to the Adam Wainwright injury as a point in favor of the DH.
That Achilles injury had nothing to do with being asked to hit. Yes, it happened while he was in the batter’s box. But that’s a matter of circumstance more than anything.
As the broadcasters pointed out during last night’s broadcast, when Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard suffered the same injury a few years back, doctors told him that it was basically a time bomb waiting to go off. There was nothing he could have done about it. It was going happen somehow, someway.
So while Waino’s Achilles tore while starting to run out of the batter’s box, it could just as easily have happened while he was picking up a gallon of milk at the grocery store.
Wainwright, by the way, is a career .198 hitter with 6 homers. Not shabby for a pitcher.
He’s scheduled to have surgery this Thursday.
* * *
In action last night, the Chicago Cubs were winners over the Pittsburgh Pirates, ending the Bucs’ 5-game winning streak.
Jason Hammel went 8 innings for the win, striking out 7 in the 4-0 shutout.
Anthony Rizzo continued to stay hot, picking up two RBI; he has reached base in 32 of his last 60 plate appearances. Jorge Soler broke an 0-for-15 slump with a pair of hits, including a nice hit through the right side on a hit and run play.
* * *
The St. Louis Cardinals couldn’t hold on to a mid-game lead, losing 4-1 to the Phillies.
Philly starter Cole Hamels, an ideal replacement for Wainwright in the St. Louis rotation, went 7 innings for the win, striking out 9 Cardinals.
Cody Stanley entered the game as a pinch-hitter and struck out as the potential tying run against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Left-handed pitcher Tim Cooney (AAA: 2-1, 3.63), one of the possible guys to replace Wainwright in the rotation, was pulled from his start in Memphis last night. So take that as a strong indicator that he’ll be starting this Thursday.
The Cardinals got good news on Marco Gonzales‘ injury, with an MRI revealing “no structural damage” and him being cleared to resume throwing tomorrow. He seems to be the more likely long-term guy to plug into the rotation and he has plus stuff.
* * *
The Cincinnati Reds handed the Milwaukee Brewers another loss.
To keep with the theme of pointing out pitcher’s hitting abilities, Reds starter Jason Marquis had a hit and an RBI, also pitching 8 innings in the 9-6 win.
Jimmy Nelson had a horrible outing, with four unintentional walks, matching his total from his previous three starts. Nelson’s line: 2.1 IP, 7 R, 6 ER, 6 H, 5 BB.
The Milwaukee staff walked nine, hit a batter, and threw four wild pitches.
It was a blowout until Milwaukee staged a little rally in the 9th. Aroldis Chapman struck out Ryan Braun, who entered the game as a pinch hitter and represented the tying run at the plate, to end the game. Braun is hitting .226 in 66 plate appearances with just one extra-base hit.
For the Reds, Jay Bruce homered (4th) and had a trio of walks. On the flip side, Joey Votto went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts and also grounded into a double play.
* * *
Another starting pitcher goes down, with the Reds’ Homer Bailey going on the DL with a right elbow ligament strain. Like Wainwright, this should be the end of Bailey’s season.
Bailey had surgery last September and started this year on the DL, eventually going 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in 2 starts.
* * *
|4-16||MILWAUKEE||Lohse (1-3, 7.94)|
|9-10||CINCINNATI||Cueto (1-2, 1.86)|
|6:10 PM CT|
|11-9||PITTSBURGH||Locke (2-0, 3.32)|
|11-7||CHICAGO||Wood, T (1-1, 3.24)|
|7:05 PM CT|
|8-12||Philadelphia||Gonzalez, S (NR)|
|12-6||ST. LOUIS||Wacha (3-0, 1.33)|
|7:15 PM CT|
* * *
|St. Louis Cardinals||12||6||–||L2|
You see guys like Jumbo Diaz and Kevin Gregg in their bullpen and then Jason Marquis starting last night and wonder how the Cincinnati Reds are supposed to win any games.
Marquis last posted an ERA+ of 100 or better in 2009, when he went 15-13 with 4.04 ERA (4.10 FIP) for the Colorado Rockies.
Maybe the Reds were impressed by his 4.05 ERA in pitcher-friendly San Diego last year, but his peripherals tell a very different number.
Anyhow, Marquis was beaten around last night by the Chicago Cubs, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks in 4 innings of work.
Anthony Rizzo had his first homer of the season. Cubs win 5-0, taking their second straight series and re-claiming first place for the time being.
Travis Wood (W 1-1) went 7 shutout innings for the Baby Bears, allowing 3 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 7. He’s got his ERA down to 2.31 after that performance.
Cubs’ reliever Neil Ramirez left the game after 3 pitches with an injury. Cubs skipper Joe Maddon described the right shoulder injury as “nothing real positive” which, for the eternally optimistic Maddon, is really something. Ramirez, who has been a pretty solid pitcher out of the Chicago pen, was throwing his fastball at 90 mph – 5 mph slower than usual.
In 50 appearances, Ramirez had a 1.44 ERA with 10.9 K/9.
* * *
In St. Louis, the Cardinals were 4-2 winners over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Lance Lynn needed 99 pitches to complete 5 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits and a walk to go along with 4 strikeouts. He’s 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA.
He used up 4.5 pitches per batter faced, up from 4.0 in his prior game. The National League average this season is 3.8 pitches per batter faced.
Yadier Molina had 3 hits (.240) and Matt Carpenter had 2 (.345), while Jason Heyward picked up his 4th double of the year already. He’s on pace for 93 two-baggers, if you wanted to know. Only 96% more of the season left to play!
We knew this would be a bad season for Milwaukee – put together with a horrible farm system, being in a division with teams that do have good farm systems and are already better than them to boot, it might be a bad decade – but it got a little worse when Center fielder Carlos Gomez went down with a hamstring injury legging out a fielder’s choice in the 9th inning.
Milwaukee already lost Ryan Braun for a couple of games earlier. Through the first week and a half of play, the outfield has been snake-bit.
Gomez was quoted as saying: “I’ll have to wait until the morning and see how it is. Right now, it’s sore. Tomorrow is the day that we know if it’s going to be a couple of days or a lot.”
He’s expected to not play in today’s game.
* * *
Finally, in Pittsburgh, the Pirates lost another close one in inter-league play against the red hot Detroit Tigers, who are now 8-1.
Alfredo Simon improved to 2-0, going 8 shutout innings for Detroit and allowing just 2 hits. He fanned only 2, with the Pirates failing to “hit ’em where they ain’t”.
Francisco Liriano had nothing to show for a good outing – 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K. He’s 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
Rajai Davis’ solo shot in the 6th ended up the game’s only run.
The Bucs have now gone 19 innings without scoring a run and haven’t walked in four straight games.
Andrew McCutchen had one of the two Pittsburgh hits – he’s hitting just .207 this season. No Pirate in the top 5 of their order is currently hitting better than .235.
It’s pretty amazing to look at the league stats right now. The National League as a whole is hitting just .240, with the Pirates’ .207 mark the worst. (The Cardinals, at .248, are 4th in the NL – tops in the Central.)
Things are looking up, however, as Starling Marte has shaved his head in hopes of bringing some change of fortune. I can vouch that bald is beautiful. I think this will work.
* * *
Thank you, Paul Daugherty. Daugherty writes about Reds manager Bryan Price’s misuse of the Reds’ bullpen weapon known as Aroldis Chapman. Price has been driving me a little bonkers all season long. I guess I’m just glad that I’m not the only one.
* * *
Just one game on the scoreboard today, with the Cards and Brew Crew finishing up their 3-game set.
A St. Louis win puts them into a tie for 1st atop the division.
* * *
|2-6||MILWAUKEE||Fiers (0-1, 9.00)|
|4-3||ST. LOUIS||Lackey (0-0, 6.00)|
|12:45 PM CT|
* * *
|St. Louis Cardinals||4||3||0.5||W1|