Tagged: Marco Gonzales

Reds Snap 9-Game Skid

The Cincinnati Reds turned a few double plays and snapped their 9-game losing streak.

The Cincinnati Reds turned a few double plays and snapped their 9-game losing streak.

The 9-game losing streak ended for the Cincinnati Reds last night when Skip Schumaker‘s looper over third base landed just inside the foul line, rolling into the corner for a walk-off double.

Marlon Byrd started the 9th by drawing a walk, moving to 2nd on a sacrifice laid down by Kristopher Negron, then scored on Schumaker’s hit.

Michael Lorenzen went 7 strong innings for Cincy, giving up 1 run on just 2 hits and 3 walks. The rookie is sporting a 3.12 ERA this year.

In other developments, an MRI of Johnny Cueto‘s stiff elbow revealed nothing more than the “standard” inflammation you see in a pitcher. With days off on the schedule both Thursday and Monday, there’s a good chance they’ll just push Cueto’s next start back a week. He’s 3-4 with a 3.03 ERA (3.33 FIP) this season, striking out 8.3 per 9.

Dave Fleming at Bill James Online has a lengthy article on Billy Hamilton, focusing on the Reds’ decline that started when he was dropped from the leadoff spot. Read it over here.

* * *

On the other side of streaks, the Pittsburgh Pirates won their 5th in a row, beating the Miami Marlins 5-1.

Josh Harrison has certainly found his stride and he kept it again last night, with two more hits including a double. After May 10th, he was hitting .173 but has now hit .431 with 7 extra-base hits in the last 12 games.

Also hitting is Jung Ho Kang, who has an 8-game hitting streak (.406) going after picking up a pair of singles.

Jeff Locke (W 3-2) went 5.2 shutout innings for the win, striking out 6.

* * *

Another 1-run win and another walk-off win for the Chicago Cubs, who came back to beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 last night.

The Cubs lead the league in 1-run wins, doing it last night by tying it in the 8th inning on this ridiculous homer by Kris Bryant, Hector Rondon picking off Yunel Escobar on this pretty bad base-running play (by the way, he almost ran himself into an out earlier when he started to go from 2nd to 3rd after a stolen base even though Addison Russell was standing 5 feet away from him with the ball in his hand) and then finally ending it when Russell hit a ball over Denard Span in the bottom of the 9th.

It was a good capper for the 21-year old Russell, who had a 3-hit night to snap an 0-for-10 stretch.

Kyle Hendricks came off strong from the shutout in his prior start, going 7 innings and allowing 1 run.

That snapped a mini losing streak for the Cubs, who go back against the Nats for the rubber game tonight. And it’s a fun one – Jon Lester versus Max Scherzer.

* * *

Jaime Garcia got his first win of 2015 as the St. Louis Cardinals survived a rough start and beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4.

Matt Adams, limping into 2nd base on a double in the 5th inning, left with a quad injury. A trip to the DL is expected with Mark Reynolds taking over as the regular first baseman.

Matt Belisle and Seth Maness combined for 3 shutout innings of relief work, the latter recording his 3rd save when he entered the game with 2 out and men on 2nd & 3rd. Regular closer Trevor Rosenthal had the night off, barring emergency, after tossing 2 innings Monday night.

Matt Holliday tied a franchise record by reaching base for the 42nd straight time to start the season. That equaled a mark set by Albert Pujols in 2008. Holliday is hitting .322 after picking up a pair of hits Tuesday.

To the friend who I suggested keep an eye on Marco Gonzales as a fantasy baseball sleeper, I truly apologize. The southpaw will be out most of June with a “shoulder impingement” injury. Gonzales was in talks to replace Adam Wainwright in the rotation, but couldn’t take the job because of a pectoral injury at AAA. Garcia, also injured, got better quicker and made a decent showing in the minors, earning his spot. Gonzales had struck out 7 across 6 innings of work in his most recent start.

* * *

The Milwaukee Brewers were 6-3 losers at home against the San Francisco Giants.

Aramis Ramirez had a pair of hits and collected his 6th homer of the season.

Matt Garza (L 2-7) continued his nightmare season, escalating his ERA to 6.00 after allowing 5 runs in as many innings of work, surrendering 8 hits and walking 3 to go with 7 punch outs.

Jonathan Lucroy begins a 4-day minor league rehab assignment today and could be on the active roster when the Brew Crew starts a series against the Cards on Monday.

Also returning from the DL is shortstop Jean Segura (broken finger), who should return to action on Friday.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

Home Runs
Todd Frazier (CIN) 13
Ryan Braun (MIL) 12
Marlon Byrd (CIN) 10
3-way tie 9
Strikeouts
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 64
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 63
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 62
Lance Lynn (STL) 62
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 60

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 30 16 W3
Chicago Cubs 25 20 4.5 W1
Pittsburgh Pirates 23 22 6.5 W5
Cincinnati Reds 19 26 10.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 16 31 14.5 L4

* * *

Schedule

18-26 Rockies Kendrick, K (1-6, 6.58)
19-26 REDS Leake (2-3, 4.14)
11:35 AM CT
18-29 Marlins Hand (0-1, 5.48)
23-22 PIRATES Cole, G (6-2, 2.05)
11:35 AM CT
27-20 Giants Vogelsong (3-2, 4.60)
16-31 BREWERS Fiera (1-4, 4.63)
12:40 PM CT
27-19 Nationals Scherzer (5-3, 1.67)
25-20 CUBS Lester (4-2, 3.56)
7:05 PM CT
21-24 Diamondbacks Collmenter (3-5, 5.19)
30-16 CARDINALS Lynn (3-4, 3.46)
7:15 PM CT
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Cards Drop 2 of 3 Against Tigers

Kolten Wong's solo homer helped the Cardinals avoid a sweep last night.

Kolten Wong’s solo homer helped the Cardinals avoid a sweep last night.

Recapping the NL Central results from over the weekend…

The St. Louis Cardinals took the Sunday night game at home against the Detroit Tigers, avoiding being swept… The Chicago Cubs won their sixth straight on Saturday before the streak was broken by the Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field… The Cincinnati Reds were swept at home by the San Francisco Giants, pushing them back into a tie with the Bucs for 3rd place… The Milwaukee Brewers predictably lost 2 of 3 visiting the New York Mets

* * *

It’s official. Jaime Garcia is joining the Cardinals’ rotation. When Adam Wainwright went down with a season-ending Achilles injury, it was assumed that the spot would be filled in by either Garcia or Marco Gonzales, but both have been rehabbing from injuries. Ultimately, Garcia pitched decently enough and got healthier faster that Gonzales.

Before Garcia was ready, the Cards went with Tim Cooney (1 GS) and Tyler Lyons (3 GS). They combined for a 6.46 ERA in four starts and averaged fewer than 4 innings per start. That’s not getting it done.

Garcia will get the start Thursday, pitching the final game of a 4-game set against the New York Mets.

* * *

The Brewers sent Scooter Gennett to AAA. I remember driving around this winter and listening to Wisconsin sports radio, naively predicting good things for the Crew this year. (I’ve lamented about this before, but for some reason blind optimism just really grates on me.) I remember them calling out Gennett as one of the bright spots for this team.

If Scooter Gennett is somebody you’re pinning your hopes on, your team is in trouble. This is why nobody with an ounce of objectivity was predicting good things for your team, Milwaukee Sports Radio… Gennett never cracked Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list. His best ranking ever within the Brewers system was #5 following the 2011 season. In other words – not a guy who a whole lot is expected of by people who know these sorts of things.

Gennett was hitting .159/.209/.206 this season. Read it again. Slowly.

He hit .324 in 69 games during the 2013 season but drew just 10 walks for a .356 OBP. Last year he played 137 games and hit .289 with a decent .754 OPS. By Baseball Reference’s calculations, Gennett was a 2.2 WAR player in 2013 and 1.3 last season – not too bad. He was a minus 1.0 thus far in 2015. He may not be given a chance to rebound.

* * *

On Friday afternoon, I sent out this tweet about the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo.

On Saturday, Tim Healey at SportsOnEarth had stolen all of my hard research and written up this article about Rizzo standing closer to the plate, leading to more plunks.

* * *

Back with the goods tomorrow!

* * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 5th 1st
Chicago 6th 8th
Cincinnati 10th 9th
Pittsburgh 12th 4th
Milwaukee 13th 14th

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 25 12 W1
Chicago Cubs 21 16 4.0 L1
Cincinnati Reds 18 20 7.5 L3
Pittsburgh Pirates 18 20 7.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 13 25 12.5 L2

* * *

Schedule

13-25 BREWERS Fiers (1-4, 5.00)
23-15 Tigers Lobstein (3-3, 4.33)
6:08 PM CT
25-12 CARDINALS Lackey (2-2, 3.226)
22-16 Mets Harvey (5-1, 2.31)
6:10 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

Pirates take weekend series against Cards

NL Pitcher of the Month Gerrit Cole (4-1, 2.27) takes the mound this evening in Philly

NL Pitcher of the Month Gerrit Cole (4-1, 2.27) takes the mound this evening in Philly

The NL Central Hub returns!

I’m back from a work trip which kept me away from baseball for four days. Returned home to a blown out water heater that led to me tending to standing water in the basement, though thankfully not too much. In the past six days I got to listen to two games, watch a few innings with a traveling salesman from St. Louis late at night in a hotel bar, and watched Cards/Pirates and Cubs/Brewers on Sunday.

Over the weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals lost their first series of the year, as the Pittsburgh Pirates were finally able to take 2 of 3 against them. You may recall that in the prior weekend, the Bucs were swept by the Redbirds, losing three straight games in extra innings.

The Milwaukee Brewers showed that they can, in fact, win – as long as they’re playing the Chicago Cubs, against whom they are now 4-2.

The Cincinnati Reds dropped two out of three in an inter-league series against the Chicago White Sox.

* * *

Some quick hits…

The Cardinals get a welcome day off today. They’ve played in 20 straight days… Jaime Garcia made a rehab start in the minors and was hitting low-90s on his fastball. Garcia’s next start will be Friday as he continues to aim his sights on taking the spot in the rotation that opened up when Adam Wainwright went down with an Achilles injury… Marco Gonzales, also hoping to take that spot, makes his next rehab start on Thursday…

Gerrit Cole is back doing his thing for the Pirates tonight. He was the first Pirates pitcher to win National League Pitcher of the Month in 23 years, which is kind of ridiculous. Seriously?! Cole went 4-0 with a 1.76 ERA in April, striking out 35 men in 30.2 innings of work…

* * *

So the standings aren’t too terribly different from where we sat one week ago. The Cards are still kicking butt, the Cubs have stalled, the Reds and Pirates are kind of floating around, and the Brewers have regressed towards the mean. Not a lot of action here.

In NL Ranks, the big move up this past week was the Cardinals, who jumped up from 7th to 4th in Offense.

On the way down was the Cubs’ pitching, falling from 5th to 10th. Their bullpen continues to drag the team down.

* * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 4th 1st
Chicago 8th 10th
Pittsburgh 12th 3rd
Cincinnati 9th 9th
Milwaukee 13th 14th

* * *

Schedule

15-16 PIRATES Cole, G (4-1, 2.27)
11-21 Phillies Williams, J (2-2, 5.18)
6:05 PM CT
14-17 Braves Miller, S (4-1, 1.66)
15-16 REDS Leake (2-1, 2.47)
6:10 PM CT
12-16 White Sox Samardzija (2-2, 4.38)
11-21 BREWERS Peralta, W (1-4, 3.92)
6:20 PM CT
20-11 Mets deGrom (3-3, 2.95)
15-15 CUBS Lester (2-2, 4.04)
7:05 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 22 9 L2
Chicago Cubs 15 15 6.5 L2
Cincinnati Reds 15 16 7.0 L2
Pittsburgh Pirates 15 16 7.0 W2
Milwaukee Brewers 11 21 11.5 W2

Villanueva Steps Up, Pitches Cards Past Phils

Matt Carpenter is chasing Earl Webb

Matt Carpenter is chasing Earl Webb

Tim Cooney‘s Major League debut went about as you might have expected given some pedestrian numbers in the minor leagues.

Bad.

He faced 15 batters and 8 of them reached base.

Thankfully for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Philadelphia Phillies are really awful and that allowed the Redbirds to win 9-3.

Props to Carlos Villanueva who came on in long relief to replace Cooney and was masterful, tossing 3.2 innings without allowing a single base runner. In 9+ innings this season, Villanueva is sporting a 0.96 ERA.

Ya, it’s early and his career ERA+ is 98, but I still say that you have to consider using Villanueva as your starter to replace Adam Wainwright in the rotation, at least until Marco Gonzales is ready for the call up. Villanueva has played the role of swing man in the past, making 76 starts in his 10-year career.

Also in the running is Jaime Garcia who threw 54 pitches in a simulated game yesterday, going 5 virtual innings (I guess). He’ll throw again Tuesday while Gonzales (recovering from a DL stint) is expected to throw in the minors again on May 10th. Until then, we’ll see if that spot in the rotation can tread water.

Matt Adams went 3-for-5 with a HR (3rd) and 3 RBI. His 2-run shot in the bottom of the 3rd broke a 3-3 tie and the Cards never looked back. “Big City” was hitting .200 with 1 HR and 4 RBI after 11 games, but in the 9 games since then he has hit .412 with 2 HR and 10 RBI. His OPS over that time frame is 1.123 and the Cardinals have gone 7-2 in those games.

Matt Carpenter went 2-for-3 with yet another double and a pair of walks. Carp now has 13 doubles and is hitting .372 this year. Is it too soon to start the Earl Webb Watch? Webb hit 67 doubles in 1931. Carpenter is currently on pace for 100.

Matt Holliday had a pair of doubles (4), upping his average to .379 while driving in two runs.

Jason Heyward, who had had two nice games since being moved down to 6th in the order, batted 5th and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and also grounded into a double play. He’s hitting .217 this year.

Speaking of Waino, no problems were reported in yesterday’s surgical procedure to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left heel. He’s still expected to be ready to go in Spring Training 2016.

* * *

Mike Leake (W 1-1, 3.03) went 8 shutout innings and allowed 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3 to lead the Cincinnati Reds over the Atlanta Braves, 5-1.

Oh, he also homered.

Injured catcher Devin Mesoraco was reported as still being 7-10 days away from catching again.

* * *

Schedule

5-17 MILWAUKEE Peralta, W (0-3, 5.04)
12-8 CHICAGO Lester (0-2, 6.23)
1:20 PM CT
11-11 CINCINNATI DeSclafani (2-1, 1.04)
10-12 Atlanta Foltynewicz (NR)
6:35 PM CT
12-10 PITTSBURGH Burnett (0-1, 1.80)
15-6 ST. LOUIS Lynn (1-2, 3.63)
7:15 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 15 6 W3
Chicago Cubs 12 8 2.5 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 12 10 3.5 W1
Cincinnati Reds 11 11 4.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 5 17 10.5 W1

Cardinals Move On Without Wainwright; Cubs Snap Bucs’ Win Streak

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo

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.

* * *

Schedule

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

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 12 6 L2
Chicago Cubs 11 7 1.0 W3
Pittsburgh Pirates 11 9 2.0 L1
Cincinnati Reds 9 10 3.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 4 16 9.0 L1

Wainwright Suffers Achilles Injury

Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright

Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee. Top of the 5th inning. 1-2 count.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was at the plate and hit a pop up to Adam Lind at first base.

At first glance, it appeared the ball would drift foul. So Wainwright stood in the batter’s box, looking up to watch the ball soaring into the air.

Noticing the ball was coming back towards play, with Milwaukee Brewers‘ first baseman Adam Lind positioning himself underneath it, Wainwright motioned to jog towards first base.

Only that first step never really happened.

Wainwright lurched forward, trying to force himself down the line.

But whatever damage was going to occur had already been done.

It appears to be an Achilles injury, which is a long and difficult path back.

4 shutout innings in the books to go along with 4 strikeouts, no walks and a 1.44 ERA on the 2015 season.

And that’s how we might be remembering Adam Wainwright until next season, because this could very well be it for the 33-year old veteran leader of the pitching staff.

You’re going to hear a lot about how this is the end of the Cardinals’ season, but I’m not buying it.

Yes, it’s obviously a huge blow. John Lackey, 36, is the only other veteran left in the starting rotation. I don’t see him stepping up to be the new leader; he’s a relative newcomer to the franchise.

But it’s not as though Lance Lynn, 28, isn’t capable of being that veteran face of the staff. He’s in his 5th year in the Bigs, all spent with the Cardinals, and owns a 50-30 lifetime record with a 3.47 ERA and 8.8 strikeouts per 9 innings.

The Cards came into the season with a surplus of pitching in case this sort of thing came up, as it so often does for a team during the course of a 162 game season.

Don’t worry about the Cardinals. They’ll be fine. They’re still going to be favorites to win the division. They always seem to find a way.

2015 will still likely be a successful season.

It just won’t be the same without Wainwright.

* * *

Internally available candidates who have been mentioned to replace Wainwright in the rotation:

* Marco Gonzales – He almost made the team out of spring training and has started well in AAA but was recently placed on the 7-day DL with a sore pectoral. Possibly the Cards tread water with this spot in the rotation for a turn or two until Gonzales can get the call up.
* Carlos Villanueva – The relief pitcher has often worked in a “swing” role before.
* Tim Cooney – Doing so-so in AAA this year, but questions remain about the lefties ability to get righties out at the big league level. The peripherals don’t look so great.
* Tyler Lyons – The lefty made 12 ineffective starts for the Birds last year, had a bad spring and is getting tagged at AAA.
* Zach Petrick – 25-year old right-hander with a bloated ERA (8.66) at AAA but some decent peripherals (12/2 K/BB ration in 17 innings).
* Jaime Garcia – Had a nice spring in trying to work his way back to the bigs, but injuries will likely keep him out another couple of months.

Waino’s turn in the rotation is due up Thursday, so look for one of those first three names to take his spot until Gonzales and Garcia have recovered from injuries they are dealing with.

I have a strange feeling we’ll see the Cards pull off a trade that brings in a stud to replace Wainwright. They’ll have an opportunity to scout Cole Hamels tonight, in fact, going up against the lefty and the Philadelphia Phillies at home.

The bright spot, if you believe in those sorts of things, is that Wainwright missed out on the 2011 season with Tommy John surgery. That was the most recent World Series win for the franchise.

Also don’t forget that they already have some young kids contributing in a huge way, namely Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha. It’s not as though Wainwright himself was the sole reason the Cards lead the National League with a 2.24 team ERA.

* * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 9th 1st
Chicago 3rd 7th
Pittsburgh 7th 2nd
Cincinnati 11th 12th
Milwaukee 14th 15th

* * *

Schedule

4-15 MILWAUKEE Nelson (1-1, 1.35)
8-10 CINCINNATI Marquis (1-1, 7.20)
6:10 PM CT
11-8 PITTSBURGH Worley (2-1, 4.00)
10-7 CHICAGO Hammel (1-1, 5.19)
7:05 PM CT
7-12 Philadelphia Hamels (0-2, 3.75)
12-5 ST. LOUIS Lackey (1-0, 4.34)
7:15 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 12 5 L1
Chicago Cubs 10 7 2.0 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 11 8 2.0 W5
Cincinnati Reds 8 10 4.5 L3
Milwaukee Brewers 4 15 9.0 W1