Rays send Jeremy Hellickson back to the minors


The Rays sent Jeremy Hellickson to Single-A Charlotte following last night’s loss to the Athletics, presumably as punishment for him finally giving up more than two runs.

(Sarcasm, I hope you know.)

Hellickson wasn’t quite as sharp, allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings as part of a no-decision. The rookie right-hander actually left the game in position for the win, however the bullpen blew it in the bottom of the eighth. He scattered seven hits — including a solo homer by Jack Cust — while striking out seven and walking just one.

Hellickson tallied a very impressive 2.05 ERA and 0.76 WHIP over his first four major league starts, including a stingy 25/4 K/BB ratio in 26 1/3 innings. He has a strong case to stay in the rotation, but Rays manager Joe Maddon told Bill Chastain of MLB.com that the move was expected with Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann on schedule to be activated from the disabled list next week.

“This is something that we talked about in advance. He’s been very much
aware of it. Again, from the outside looking in it might seem awkward or
strange. But from the inside looking out it’s very common sensical. For
us, we had planned on doing it this way. There’s nothing he could have
done to change that. Outside of like somebody being hurt possibly. But
for now we’re getting the other two guys back.” 

Hellickson will pitch out of the bullpen during his time with Single-A Charlotte in anticipation of rejoining the major league team on September 1.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.