Tagged: Matt Garza

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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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

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

Rainouts in Chicago’s Favor

Scooter Gennett is hitting .167 for the Brewers, who fell to 0-2 on Tuesday night.

Scooter Gennett is hitting .167 for the Brewers, who fell to 0-2 on Tuesday night.

Last night’s Cubs / Cardinals game was called on account of inclement weather.

I don’t want to get all “conspiracy theory”, but the game was called over 6 hours before the first pitch was scheduled and there are several strange coincidences at play here.

1. The whole mess with the bathroom situation at Wrigley Field.
2. Delaying the game until a later date helps ensure that uber-prospect Kris Bryant will be available for the Cubs when this game is made up.
3. If the game is delayed past the All-Star break, it may also mean the Cubs get their other uber-prospect, Addison Russell, available for that game.

With more rain in the Chicago area today, I wouldn’t doubt this afternoon’s game being called as well. It certainly would be welcome news for the Cubs – buying them time to improve their field and the product that they put on it.

* * *

Watched the Brewers / Rockies game last night. Matt Garza looked pretty decent early on, keeping hitters off-balance with a mix of a breaking ball and low-to-mid 90s fastball that seemed to catch hitters unaware.

But in the 4th inning the breaking stuff was flat. Curves were hanging, sliders weren’t sliding… It was a mess.

A 3-run Rockies’ 4th ensued and the Brewers fell 5-2.

Garza went 5 innings, which is better than the 3.1 innings that Kyle Lohse went on Opening Day.

The early part of the season has a lot of off days packed in, which is good for Milwaukee because their bullpen is being taxed so far.

In good news for the now 0-2 Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun’s MRI revealed nothing significant going on with his ribs, so he is expected back soon.

* * *

Looking at where the Pirates were in their lineup when they trailed 2-0 in Cincinnati heading into the 8th inning (eventually tying it on a 2-run homer by Andrew McCutchen against Kevin Gregg), I was struck by how this was a perfect opportunity to explain the concept of “high leverage” situations and exploit the obsession with the save statistic as being a very flawed one.

Well, Mike Petriello over at Fangraphs just took care of that for me.

My original thought was that it might have been a good case for using stud closer Aroldis Chapman in the 8th and somebody else in the 9th.  Sometimes the game is won or lost in the 8th inning and it’s better to use your star reliever in that situation rather than saving him for the 9th just so he can collect a save.

But Petriello points out that, with the Reds having Tuesday off, there’s no reason to not use Chapman for two innings.  (What is it, 1985?!)

And, yes, I know, this can all fall under the topic of “hindsight is 20/20” and it’s plenty easy to criticize the decision after it’s already happened.

But we can agree that the Reds were facing a tough spot (pinch hitter followed by the top of the order) and that they were more likely to face lesser hitting in the 9th.  The game was on the line at that moment and they chose Gregg instead of Chapman.

Thankfully for them, Todd Frazier’s 3-run blast in the bottom of the inning would change things.  But it was still a strange decision.

Read his full article over here.

Schedule

1-0 St. Louis Lynn (0-0, -)
0-1 Chicago Arrieta (0-0, -)
1:20 PM CT
0-1 Pittsburgh Cole (0-0, -)
1-0 Cincinnati Leake (0-0, -)
6:10 PM CT
2-0 Colorado Butler (0-0, -)
0-2 Milwaukee Peralta, W (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
Chicago 0 1 1 L1 0-1
Pittsburgh 0 1 1 L1 0-1
Milwaukee 0 2 1.5 L2 0-0

Good Morning! for April 13

Back to the full schedule today.  Interesting matchup in St. Louis with the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija trying to show that his exceptional debut start for 2012 wasn’t a fluke and the Cardinals’ Adm Wainwright trying to do the opposite.  The Pirates are in San Francisco going up against Matt Cain with both teams trying to get over .500 for the season.


CUBS (2-5) @ CARDINALS (5-2)
2:15 PM CT

 W-L  ERA  WAR  SIERA
CHI Samardzija 1-0 1.04 0.3 2.45
STL Wainwright 0-1 4.76 0.1 2.13

PIRATES (2-4) @ Giants (2-4)
3:35 PM CT

 W-L  ERA  WAR  SIERA
PIT McDonald 0-0 3.00 0.0 4.04
SF Cain 0-0 7.50 -0.1 4.97

REDS (3-4) @ Nationals (5-2)
6:05 PM CT

W-L ERA WAR SIERA
CIN Arroyo 0-0 5.68 0.2 3.94
WAS Zimmerman 0-1 1.29 0.3 3.51

ASTROS (3-3) @ Marlins (2-5)
6:10 PM CT

W-L ERA WAR SIERA
HOU Harrell 0-0 0.00 0.3 1.62
MIA Nolasco 1-0 3.38 0.0 2.78

BREWERS (4-3) @ Braves (2-4)
6:35 PM CT

W-L ERA WAR SIERA
MIL Wolf 0-1 5.40 0.2 2.10
ATL Jurrjens 0-1 6.23 -0.2 5.68