Tagged: Kyle Lohse

1st Round Picks Locked Up

Francisco Liriano was the latest Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher to conquer an opponent.

Francisco Liriano was the latest Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher to conquer an opponent.

At this point, it appears that every team from the NL Central has signed their first round draft pick.

The St. Louis Cardinals struck first, signing Nick Plummer last Thursday. Plummer even made an appearance at Busch Stadium yesterday, taking part in pregame activities with two other Cardinal draft picks.

Over the weekend, the Cincinnati Reds followed suit by inking Tyler Stephenson.

And yesterday, the Chicago CubsIan Happ, Milwaukee BrewersTrent Clark, and Pittsburgh PiratesKevin Newman all put pen to paper.

Now on to the recaps.

* * *

The Pirates, hooooo boy…, they did things. Terrible things to the Chicago White Sox. An 11-0 dismantling, allowing 2 hits and 1 walk, striking out 13.

That’s not polite.

Pittsburgh put 5 runs on the board in the bottom of the 1st and cruised from there, as Francisco Liriano went 8 shutout innings, striking out 12 to improve to 4-5 on the season.

The top two hitters in the lineup, Josh Harrison and Starling Marte, each had four-hit games. In total, seven Pirates had multi-hit games.

First baseman Sean Rodriguez (0-for-4, SO) must be feeling like a total clown this morning.

That’s five straight wins now for Pittsburgh, who’s trying their best to keep up with the Redbirds. In this winning streak, Pirates’ starting pitchers have gone 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA, the worst start coming by Gerrit Cole. That’s saying something.

Game Highlights from MLB.com

* * *

The Cardinals were 3-2 winners at home against the Minnesota Twins.

Yadier Molina had three hits and homered for the first time in almost a year (6/27/2014), picking up his long-ball on the back end of back-to-back homers with Mark Reynolds in the 4th inning.

John Lackey rebounded from a rough prior start, going 8 innings for the win (5-4), allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk to go along with 6 strikeouts.  Lackey had allowed 12 hits in 4 innings of work last week.  This was his best start since going 7 shutout innings on May 29th and was his longest start since going 9 innings last June 18th, almost exactly a year ago.

Game Highlights from MLB.com

* * *

The Reds were blanked 6-0 by the Detroit Tigers as they were owned by Anibal Sanchez (CG, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 7 SO).

And, hey, why not more bad news for a Reds team that had very little to look forward to in 2015? Starting pitcher Jon Moscot faced just 3 batters before leaving the game with a dislocated shoulder. The injury happened on this play, with Moscot running Anthony Gose back to second base on a rundown. Bad form on that play, by the way. You run straight at the runner. Not sure why he curled around Gose’s right side. He should have never had to dive at Gose if he had just run straight at him.

Moscot becomes the 3rd player the Reds will have put on the disabled list in the last 5 days. This month they have already put down Zack Cozart (knee), Marlon Byrd (wrist), Tony Cingrani (shoulder) and Raul Iglesias (oblique).

Game Highlights from MLB.com

* * *

The Brewers put together a late rally to result in a final score that made the game appear closer than it was, falling 8-5 to the Kansas City Royals.

K.C. put up 3 in the 1st and 2 in the 5th to open up an eventual 5-0 lead. That lead was 8-2 heading into the bottom of the 9th when the Brew Crew had their first 5 batters reach base to pick up a trio of runs in garbage time.

Enough was enough, so the Royals called on Wade Davis to retire the next three batters in order.

Kyle Lohse (L 3-8) now has a 6.44 ERA for the season and I’m finding it hard to believe any team will be looking to trade for him at the deadline.

Carlos Gomez was out and continues to be day-to-day with a hip injury.

Game Highlights from MLB.com

* * *

The Cubs were rained/flooded/tornadoed out, so their fans stayed home to watch the Chicago Blackhawks win their 3rd Stanley Cup in the last 6 years instead.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo was in attendance. I’m just trying to figure out how he managed to get a ticket for the game…

Rizzo, by the way, slipped out of the lead in batting average (see below); he’s 0-for-14 with 5 strikeouts in his last 3 games.

Probable future National League Designated Hitter, Kyle Schwarber, is getting called up to do just that – play DH – in inter-league games for the next 6 days. The #4 pick of the 2014 draft, Baseball America had Schwarber as the #19 prospect in baseball following the 2014 season. Speaking to the team’s prospects, he was still only ranked 4th in the list of the organization’s prospects. 19th among all 30 teams, but 4th on this team. Unreal.

Drafted as a catcher, Schwarber is hitting .320 with 13 HR and a 1.017 OPS at AA Tennessee.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

AVG
Jhonny Peralta (STL) .316
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .307
Matt Holliday (STL) .303
Joey Votto (CIN) .299
Brandon Phillips (CIN) .296
ERA
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 1.71
A.J. Burnett (PIT) 1.89
Michael Wacha (STL) 2.45
Jason Hammel (CHC) 2.81
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 2.85

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 42 21 W4
Pittsburgh Pirates 36 27 6.0 W5
Chicago Cubs 34 27 7.0 W2
Cincinnati Reds 28 35 14.0 L3
Milwaukee Brewers 24 41 19.0 L3

* * *

Schedule

34-29 Twins Gibson (4-4, 3.24)
42-21 CARDINALS Wacha (8-2, 2.45)
12:45 PM CT
28-34 White Sox Quintana (3-6, 4.00)
36-27 PIRATES Morton (4-0, 2.05)
6:05 PM CT
28-35 REDS Lorenzen (1-2, 4.01)
34-30 Tigers Ryan (1-0, 2.08)
6:08 PM CT
29-33 Indians Bauer (5-3, 3.53)
34-27 CUBS Arrieta (6-4, 3.16)
7:05 PM CT
35-25 Royals Young (5-2, 2.25)
24-41 BREWERS Garza (4-7, 4.80)
7:10 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

Cardinals, Carpenter Heating Up

Adam Wainwright (L) and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (R)

Adam Wainwright (L) and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (R)

The Annual St. Louis Cardinals Playoff Train has taken off. They swept the woeful Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, moving 2 games up in the division.

I remember when everybody got all excited about small sample sizes and thought that the Reds’ 4-0 start actually meant something. Nostalgia… They’ve now lost 7 of their last 8. I don’t think they’ll win 12.5% of their remaining games, but that’s still a bit more representative of the level of talent on their team.

St. Louis has now won five straight while Matt Carpenter is rolling on a streak of seven straight games with a pair of hits. After game 4 on April 11th, Carp was hitting .267. Since then, he’s gone 14-30 (.467), upping his average to an even .400. 9 of those 14 hits have been extra-base hits – 7 doubles and a pair of taters.

* * *

The Milwaukee Brewers got swept again, dropping their 5th straight on Sunday. They were dropped by the Pittsburgh Pirates who, look at this, are now up to even at 6-6 this season.

Milwaukee is off to its worst start in franchise history and has connected for just three home runs through 12 games. They’re 14th in batting average and 15th in both on-base and slugging. And the top 2 pitchers in the rotation have ERAs of 10.34 (Kyle Lohse) and 5.40 (Matt Garza). On the bright side, 26-year old Jimmy Nelson has been solid with a 1.50 ERA in his two starts.

In his first two games after shaving his head, Starling Marte went 4-for-8 with 2 HR for the Bucs. Is it the bald dome? Or is it facing Brewers’ pitching?

* * *

The Kris Bryant Parade started with a 0-4, 3 strikeout day and including somebody in Wrigley yelling “YOU SUCK!!!” at him. The next day he had a pair of singles and drew three walks. Game 3 had a double and another strikeout.

So going up against a San Diego Padres team that is off to a great start, he finished with a .300/.500/.400 slash line. The 4 strikeouts in 13 plate appearances is about what was expected of him. So, so far he’s pretty much played as expected.

While the Chicago Cubs are excited to have Bryant in the lineup now, they loss their first series of the year and only avoided a sweep narrowly, nearly blowing game 2 before coming back to win it in extra innings.

* * *

Speaking of Bryant, here were some interesting articles on him from over the weekend.

Chris Mitchell writes on Fangraphs.com about projections for Bryant’s career.

Tim Healey at Sports on Earth tells you why folks are excited about Brant.

And Dave Cameron at Fangraphs.com tells us that Bryant might be the next… Troy Glaus?

On non Kris Bryant news, Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs.com takes a look at Aroldis Chapman’s… changeup!

* * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 9th 1st
Chicago 7th 9th
Pittsburgh 11th 2nd
Cincinnati 12th 11th
Milwaukee 14th 15th

* * *

Schedule

6-5 CHICAGO Arrieta (1-1, 1.98)
6-6 PITTSBURGH Burnett, AJ (0-1, 2.25)
6:05 PM CT
5-7 CINCINNATI DeSclafani (1-0, 1.38)
2-10 MILWAUKEE Peralta, W (0-1, 4.50)
6:20 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 8 3 W5
Chicago Cubs 6 5 2.0 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 6 6 2.5 W3
Cincinnati Reds 5 7 3.5 L4
Milwaukee Brewers 2 10 6.5 L5

Frazier homer lifts Reds

Todd Frazier's 3-run homer pushed the Reds past the Pirates on Opening Day 2015

Todd Frazier’s 3-run homer pushed the Reds past the Pirates on Opening Day 2015

I spent the day at home from work, as I often do for Opening Day. Just trying to cram as much baseball as possible into my brain.

In the end, I did stick with the NL Central games, which meant watching a Milwaukee Brewers team that I picked for last place in the division.

They sure didn’t disappoint, as Kyle Lohse was smacked around for 8 runs, allowing as many hits as outs – 10.

Adam Lind had three hits for the Brew Crew, but they were down 10-0 heading into the bottom of the 4th inning and things stayed that way.

It was tough to watch, as pretty much every thing off the bats of Colorado fell in for a single or split outfielders into a gap for a double.

In their 16-hit attack, half of those went for extra-bases: 8 doubles and a pair of homers.

To add insult to injury, Ryan Braun left the game with a rib cage injury and is due for an MRI today.

When your team’s most optimistic expectations are to win high-scoring games, but you get shutout on Opening Day and lose one of your sluggers to injury? It doesn’t bode well.

The better game of the day was Opening Day in Cincinnati, where the Reds topped the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 behind an 8th inning, tie-breaking homer by Todd Frazier.

Johnny Cueto picked up right where he left off in 2014, tossing 7 shutout innings allowing 4 hits and a walk and striking out 10.

But Kevin Gregg came on to pitch the 8th inning and did some things. Horrible things.

If you didn’t even realize that Gregg was on an MLB roster, that may explain why most folks don’t expect much from the Reds this season.

He faced four batters – retiring half of them. Unfortunately the last batter he faced was Andrew McCutchen.

Here’s a highlight reel of Cueto’s performance, well worth watching. You also get some nice fielding plays by Cueto, who is no slouch with the glove.

Thoughts Due Up

  1. I somehow forgot to mention it, but that strike zone on Opening Night was insane. And for both teams. It sort of felt as though the ump felt “You threw it 60 feet 6 inches? Good ’nuff! STEEEEEERIIIIIIIIKE!”
  2. Hearing about the bathroom situation at Wrigley Field made my stomach turn. Horrible. Hopefully they get that park fixed up sooner rather than later. I thought about bringing my kids there, as they are just now starting to show some interest in sports, but… no.
  3. Looking forward to Cubs/Cards tonight. But I really hate it when the MLB schedule-makers give the Cubs home games in that first week of the season; and night games to boot? That seems like lunacy.

Schedule

1-0 St. Louis Lynn (0-0, -)
0-1 Chicago Arrieta (0-0, -)
7:05 PM CT
1-0 Colorado Lyles (0-0, -)
0-1 Milwaukee Garza, M (0-0, -)
7:10 PM CT

Standings

W L GB STRK DIV
Cincinnati 1 0 W1 1-0
St. Louis 1 0 W1 1-0
Milwaukee 0 1 1 L1 0-0
Chicago 0 1 1 L1 0-1
Pittsburgh 0 1 1 L1 0-1