Wainwright dominates Dodgers, improves to 10-0 at home

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Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright nearly won the National League Cy Young Award last season and he has put his name atop the list of candidates again this year.

Through 20 starts, the 28-year-old right-hander is 14-5 with a 2.02 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 130 strikeouts in 142 1/3 innings.  He has four complete games and one shutout, and on Saturday night he was excellent once again.

Wainwright allowed only five hits over six scoreless innings and added three strikeouts to his season-long total as the Cardinals won their third consecutive game over the Dodgers.  He also became the first St. Louis pitcher to win his first 10 starts at home since the fine folks at STATS LLC began recording such things in 1920.  He has thrown 19 straight scoreless innings.

The success isn’t anything new for Waino, and it’s certainly not catching anybody by surprise.  Cardinals fans, though, will be happy to know that he is still working to get better.  At the All-Star Game last week, he learned Tim Lincecum’s changeup and used it in his first start of the second half.

“I asked him his changeup grip and he showed it
to me,” Wainwright said Saturday. “I hope this doesn’t get him in trouble but I
threw it in the bullpen during the All-Star game.  I kind of worked with it
on the fly during the game today. I probably threw eight or 10 of them.
It’s a work in progress but it’s a certainly a good pitch.”

His ERA at Busch Stadium this year is 1.13 and he’s fired 27 consecutive quality starts at home.  Back when Cardinals legend Bob Gibson recorded his famous 1.12 earned-run average in the summer of 1968, his home ERA was 1.41.  In some ways this season, Wainwright has been better.

Mets tell Jay Bruce they plan on having him start in right field

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jay Bruce #19 of the New York Mets reacts after striking out in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.

With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.

Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.