Tagged: Jordy Mercer

Kang Out For Season

Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang is out for the season

Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang is out for the season

When you have a playoff race as entertaining as the one in the NL Central has been all season long, you hate to see this happen.

In yesterday afternoon’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates, the Bucs lost infielder Jung Ho Kang for the season.

Kang’s knee bent the wrong way as Chris Coghlan came in for what appeared to be a clean take-out slide on the front-end of an attempted double play.  (Kang has said he doesn’t hold Coghlan responsible.)

While he won’t win the award, Kang was sure to get some votes for Rookie of the Year, batting .287/.355/.461 with 15 HR and a 123 OPS+.

Kang started the year as sort of a part-time player, starting in just 3 of the Pirates’ first 12 games.

When Josh Harrison went down with an injury, Kang became a more regular player.

During Harrison’s absence (July 6th – August 20th), Kang made 37 starts, batting a stellar .329/.401/.564.

He started that stretch replace Harrison at third base, then moved to short when the Pirates acquired veteran Aramis Ramirez near the trade deadline.

It’s a big blow for the Pirates, who now lead the Cubs by just 2 games after the North Siders took 3 out of 4 against them at PNC Park earlier this week.

Pittsburgh now trails the St. Louis Cardinals (winners of 4 straight) by 5 games in the NL Central and the chances of them getting back into that race seem pretty bleak at this point.

Stranger things have happened, but it’s starting to look more and more like the only race remaining is the one to see who hosts the NL Wild Card game.

How big of an effect Kang’s injury will be on the Pirates’ playoff run remains to be seen.

Jordy Mercer becomes the everyday shortstop now. In 100 games, he’s put up a slash line of .239/.289/.304, which is pretty much what you expect from him.

Both Kang and Mercer have comparable range factors per 9 innings, though Mercer is the surer-handed fielder (.984 fielding percentage versus .961).

Baseball Info Solutions has both shortstops with 0 defensive runs saved.

Even if Mercer is an upgrade defensive-wise, the bat is a definite step down. There’s no way to sugar-coat this thing. Losing Kang is a big deal. It’s just a question of how big of a deal.

If you watched yesterday’s sloppy loss, you know how desperate the Pirates are for better defensive play.

They rank 13th in the National League in Defensive Efficiency (balls in play turned into outs) and have committed more errors (113) than any team in the league. Mercer may help shore that up a touch, but not so much that it will make up for the loss of Kang’s bat.

Things don’t get any easier for them.  They now head out for a 7-game swing out West before 3 more road games at Wrigley Field.  Their first two match-ups are in Los Angeles against Cy Young hopefuls Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.

* * * * * * * * *

Remaining Games

Cardinals (16): @ Cubs (3), REDS (3), BREWERS (4), @ Pirates (3), @ Braves (3)
Pirates (16): @ Dodgers (3), @ Rockies (4), @ Cubs (3), CARDINALS (3), REDS (3)
Cubs (16): CARDINALS (3), BREWERS (3), PIRATES (3), ROYALS (1), @ Reds (3), @ Brewers (3)

* * * * * * * * *

Magic Numbers

The Cardinals’ magic number to clinch the playoffs is 2, so they’re in line to celebrate this evening.

The San Francisco Giants trail the Cubs for the 2nd Wild Card spot by 8 games, giving the Pirates a magic number of 7 and the Cubs a 9.

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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.

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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.

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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

Weekend Recap

The Pittsburgh Pirates closed within 5 games of the division lead again, sweeping the New York Mets over the weekend.

It puts them right back where they were exactly one week ago. They haven’t been closer than 5 back since after the games of July 29th, when they pulled within 4.5 games.

The St. Louis Cardinals won 2 out of 3 against the Miami Marlins and the Chicago Cubs had a 9-game winning streak upended although they still defeated the cross-town Chicago White Sox 2 out of 3 as well.

In the Wild Card chase, everybody’s pre-season pick to win the whole she-bang, the Washington Nationals, are now below .500 as they have dropped 6 straight games. Sweeping them over the weekend was the San Francisco Giants, who are now just 3.5 games behind the Cubs for the 2nd Wild Card spot.

* * * * * * * * *

The Cardinals now take on the Giants at home for a 3-game set starting this evening. Puts the Pirates and Cubs in an interesting situation, for sure. Trying to win the division still? Gotta’ root for the Giants. Want to just make sure you make the playoffs? Root for the Cards.

The Red Birds then head West for a 10-game trip on the Pacific coast, finishing this week against the San Diego Padres.

The Bucs are in the midst of a stretch in which they must play every day for 20 straight days. This week they have a 7-game home-stand against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Giants.

The Cubs are also at home for their next 7 games. They take today off, then play two against the Detroit Tigers, four against the Atlanta Braves and one make-up game against the Cleveland Indians.

* * * * * * * * *

Cardinals center fielder Randal Grichuk is expected to undergo an MRI today, checking out some problems with his right (throwing) elbow that forced him out of yesterday afternoon’s game.

A popular name in the NL Rookie of the Year race, the 23-year old Grichuk is hitting .284 with 21 doubles, 7 triples and 15 homers in 85 games. He leads the team with an OPS+ of 140, 9 points higher than Matt Carpenter.

* * * * * * * * *

The Post-Gazette reports that starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (8-5, 3.06) is close to pitching off of a mound again as he recovers from a flexor strain in his right elbow.

Also close to returning from the DL for Pittsburgh is the left side of their infield, with both Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer expected back soon after making recent rehab starts at AAA.

Tonight’s Pirate starting pitcher, Gerrit Cole, is an interesting watch to me. In three August starts, he’s 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA, failing to go more than 6 innings in any start.

In his 5 prior starts, he had gone at least 6.2 innings each time out.

Cole threw 160.1 innings of pro ball last year and is up to 148.2 right now, so he’s closing in on his previous high. Is he fatigued?

I’m interested to see if he can rebound against Arizona.

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 75 42 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 69 46 5.0 W4
Chicago Cubs 67 49 7.5 L1
Cincinnati Reds 51 65 23.5 L3
Milwaukee Brewers 51 68 25.0 W3

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 69 46 +2.5
Chicago Cubs 67 49
San Francisco Giants 64 53 3.5

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

57-59 Diamondbacks Hellickson (8-8, 4.73)
69-46 PIRATES Cole (14-6, 2.48)
6:05 PM CT
64-53 Giants Heston (11-7, 3.38)
75-42 CARDINALS Wacha (14-4, 2.93)
7:09 PM CT
47-70 Marlins Nicolino (1-1, 4.86)
51-68 BREWERS Garza (6-12, 4.82)
7:10 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 8th 1st
Pittsburgh 4th 3rd
Chicago 7th 5th
Cincinnati 10th 10th
Milwaukee 11th 11th

Yadi’s Triple Brings Win to Cards

Yadier Molina's base-clearing triple lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to comeback win over the Chicago White Sox.

Yadier Molina’s base-clearing triple lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to comeback win over the Chicago White Sox.

With his team down 2-0 and the bases loaded in the 8th inning, Yadier Molina ripped a David Robertson pitch into the right field corner for a stand-up triple, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

It was the Cards’ 4th win in 5 games since the All-Star Break, as they improved their lead in the NL Central to 6 games.

Yadi had a three-hit game, but none was as big as that 3-RBI three-bagger.

Lance Lynn had a nice start, going 6 innings and allowing a pair of runs on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 8.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

On the flip side of the Second Half Coin, the Pittsburgh Pirates have lost 5 of 6 after being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers and losing 2 of 3 against the Kansas City Royals.

The series loss came after dropping the rubber game of the series, 5-1, yesterday.

Starling Marte had three hits for the Bucs.

The team is reeling behind injuries to the left side of the infield, with both Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer most likely out until September.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

With the San Francisco Giants having won 8 of their last 9, the Chicago Cubs are going to have to do a lot better than splitting a 4-game series with teams like the Cincinnati Reds.

That came on the heels of winning a series in Atlanta, so they are still a respectable 4-3 since the All-Star Break. But with more series coming up against teams that are ripe for the picking – at home against the Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies, then visiting the Brewers and battered Pirates – they really need to start stepping things up.

Yesterday, the Cubs split a day-night double-header.

In the afternoon game, they were owned by Mike Leake, who went 8 innings and allowed 1 run on 4 hits allowed with 6 strikeouts against no walks. The Cincy offense was also on, as they pounded the Cubs 9-1.

Game two went 6-5 to the Cubs, who narrowly held on. The big play came in the 8th when the Reds loaded the bases in a tie game and Todd Frazier at the plate. Frazier ripped a Hector Rondon pitch up the middle that bounced off the pitcher, directly to first baseman Anthony Rizzo who came home for a 1-3-2 force out at the plate. Jay Bruce then flew out to left to end the inning with the game still tied.

In his last 10 games, Joey Votto has a .609 on-base percentage and is batting .455. In his last 7 games, his slash line is .538/.647/.846 for a 1.493 OPS.

Game 1 Highlights
Game 2 Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

The Brewers fell 7-5 to the Cleveland Indians.

Adam Lind went 4-for-5 with a homer (16th), double and 4 RBI in the loss.

Scooter Gennett had a three-hit day, including a double.

Game Highlights

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 60 34 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 54 40 6.0 L2
Chicago Cubs 51 43 9.0 W1
Cincinnati Reds 42 51 17.5 L1
Milwaukee Brewers 42 53 18.5 L1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 54 40 +3.0
Chicago Cubs 51 43
San Francisco Giants 51 44 0.5
New York Mets 49 46 2.5

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

51-42 Nationals Firster (3-5, 4.30)
54-40 PIRATES Liriano (5-6, 2.98)
6:05 PM CT
57-36 Royals Young (8-5, 3.03)
60-34 CARDINALS Lackey (8-5, 2.90)
6:15 PM CT
42-53 BREWERS Fiers (5-7, 3.79)
43-50 Diamondbacks Godley (NR)
8:40 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

On-Base Percentage
Joey Votto (CIN) .413
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .402
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) .388
Adam Lind (MIL) .374
Kris Bryant (CHC) .367
WHIP
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 0.95
Jason Hammel (CHC) 0.98
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 0.98
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 1.03
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 1.09

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

Hendricks Dominant in Cubs Win

Kyle Hendricks picked up his 1st win of the year in an impressive shutout.

Kyle Hendricks picked up his 1st win of the year in an impressive shutout.

He doesn’t throw 100 mph and he doesn’t throw a knee-buckling curve. But Kyle Hendricks is controlled and steady.

The Chicago Cubs had some hope that, despite not having the kind of “stuff” that blows away scouts, he had the makeup of a quality starting pitcher and maybe some sort of intangible “it”.

After a rough start to the 2015 season, Hendricks finally had a shining moment last night against the San Diego Padres, putting up a game score of 84 with a 5-hit, no-walk shutout, striking out 7. Hendricks’ ERA plummeted to 4.14 while picking up his first win of the season, throwing 108 pitches in the process.

A couple of the rookies got it done at the plate, with Kris Bryant (5th) and Addison Russell (3rd) going deep in the 1st and 7th innings, respectively, to account for every run in the 3-0 win.

* * *

Jacob deGrom ruined what could have been a special comeback game for Jaime Garcia, blanking the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-0 win for the New York Mets.

Garcia – now expected to be the permanent replacement for Adam Wainwright‘s vacated spot in the starting rotation – went 7 strong innings, allowing a pair of runs on 5 hits. He did struggle with his command a bit, walking 5.

But deGrom went 8 shutout innings allowing just a single hit and no walks, striking out 11. At one stretch, he retired 23 consecutive batters. Truly dominant stuff.

The top 5 men in the Cardinals lineup each struck out twice while Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter combined for the only two times a man reached base.

* * *

The highlight from the Milwaukee Brewers‘ 10-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves was reliever Will Smith getting tossed.

That should tell you something.

Matt Garza took the loss, falling to 2-6 on the season with a 5.71 ERA after allowing 4 runs in 6.1 innings of work.

* * *

There was a nice article at the Post-Gazette with some comments from Pittsburgh Pirates‘ middle infielders Neil Walker and Jordy Mercer on the use of defensive shifts. As I stated earlier this week when the Cards’ John Lackey did a little flip out about a ball being hit where the shortstop would have been had the team not been playing an extreme shift to the right side of the infield, for every one team you get beat by the shift, there are a couple of teams where the shift saved you. The numbers don’t lie – batting average on balls put into play keeps dropping, and the advanced scouting and more widely adopted use of shifts is the reason. In fact, giving the numbers so far this season, teams are on pace to employ the shift 7.5 times more often than they did just 4 seasons ago. Read the article here.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

RBI
Ryan Braun (MIL) 29
Kris Bryant (CHC) 27
Starling Marte (PIT) 27
Matt Carpenter (STL) 24
6-way tie 23
Wins
Michael Wacha (STL) 6
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 5
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 4
Jon Lester (CHC) 4
Carlos Martinez (STL) 4

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 27 14 L1
Chicago Cubs 23 17 3.5 W2
Cincinnati Reds 18 22 8.5 L5
Pittsburgh Pirates 18 22 8.5 L2
Milwaukee Brewers 15 27 12.5 L2

* * *

Schedule

24-18 Mets Syndergaard (1-1, 3.18)
18-22 PIRATES Cole (5-2, 2.40)
6:05 PM CT
18-22 REDS Leake (2-2, 3.62)
17-23 Indians Carrasco (4-4, 4.98)
6:10 PM CT
15-27 BREWERS Peralta, W (1-5, 4.32)
20-20 Braves Wood, A (2-2, 3.83)
6:35 PM CT
27-14 CARDINALS Lynn (3-3, 2.96)
26-14 Mets Young, Cr (3-0, 0.94)
7:10 PM CT
23-17 CUBS Lester (4-2, 3.70)
19-21 Diamondbacks Collmenter (3-5, 5.36)
8:40 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.

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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…)

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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

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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

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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