National League Central News
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John Holdzkom was compared to the great Mariano Rivera today after the New Zealand Diamondblacks pitcher helped the Pittsburgh Pirates continue their playoff push with a 4-0 win over the defending Major League Baseball champions, the Boston Red Sox. The 26-year-old reliever is fast becoming a fan favourite after pitching a perfect seventh inning at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, throwing 12 strikes in his 18 pitches.
It's hard to imagine this game going more perfectly for the Pirates. Charlie Morton looked about as solid as he's looked all year with the Pirates, throwing five shutout innings, striking out six Red Sox, walking two, and scattering four hits.
It's the proverbial substance of a baseball team on a roll. The players cannot make a wrong move.
Red Sox 101 provides 24/7 obsessive sports coverage of the Boston Red Sox as a part of Sports Media 101 . For news, op/ed, game reviews, team updates and even rumors you will find all of it on Red Sox 101.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has picked up right where Hall of Famer Tony La Russa left off. In his third full season as bench boss for the red birds, they are poised to win their second consecutive NL Central title.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are betting their offense is up to the task against Boston Red Sox starter Anthony Ranaudo tonight. The right hander has battled in his six starts allowing eight homers since joining the big league team and has an ERA of 6.14 in his past three starts.
In 2011, the Houston Astros lost 100+ games for the first time in franchise history . That season, they finished in dead last and were 40 games out of first place in the NL Central.
When their 2014 schedule was announced, the Milwaukee Brewers knew their final trip of the season to St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati could have a lot riding on it. But there was no way to know at the time just how much.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer posted the latest edition of his BAR this morning , with this one's focus on the sad numerical state of the 2014 Cincinnati Reds . Their magic number for being eliminated officially from the NL Central race sits at just 1, and he also notes that only a miraculous 11-1 finish to the season could see the Reds finish above .500.
Yorman Rodriguez picked up the first hit of his Major League career in a pinch-hit appearance in yesterday's game, and since the residents of this bloghole were too previously disposed to write a recap, we missed getting to dote on him. Fortunately, Yorman opted to swat another hit tonight, and since nobody else on the offense managed to do much of anything, he gets an Honorary Memorial Honorary Star of the Game named after Nuxy the great.
Cubs fans will see Kris Bryant at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, but he won't be in the lineup. Not yet.
The big hits keep coming, one after another. Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison had two more Sunday, taking another step toward the franchise's 25th National League batting championship.
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After weeks of chasing the Brewers in the National League Central, the St. Louis Cardinals caught up to Milwaukee on August 31 before taking sole possession of first place on September 1. Making the feat uncanny was the Cards' -7 run differential on the day they ascended to the top of the Central. By Pythagorean expected record, the Redbirds should have had a losing record, yet there they were, 73-63, alone in first.
In the last 10 days, the Pirates have gotten multiple looks at Felix Doubront and Tsuyoshi Wada -- two starters who joined the Cubs' rotation after the early July deals of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A's, who subsequently also acquired Boston ace Jon Lester . All those moving pieces seemed relevant to the situation of the Bucs, who were roundly questioned for having stayed pat at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The Brewers are in the thick of the National League Wild Card race, but they're a series win against the Cardinals away from making the NL Central race even more interesting. Trailing the Pirates by 1 1/2 games for the second Wild Card and the Cards by five games in the Central, Milwaukee visits St. Louis for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night.
Updated: Wed Sep 17, 2014 07:15 am
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