Reds surprisingly pick Volquez over Arroyo for Game 1 start

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Bronson Arroyo indicated following his final regular season start that he expected to start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Reds, but instead Dusty Baker announced yesterday that Edinson Volquez will take the mound in the playoff opener.
Volquez returned from Tommy John elbow surgery in July and was demoted to the minors following a rough stretch in August, but has a 1.95 ERA, .183 opponents’ batting average, and 31/8 K/BB ratio in 27.2 innings since rejoining the Reds’ rotation.
In addition to Volquez’s strong post-demotion performance Baker seemingly indicated that Arroyo’s struggles against left-handed hitters played a part in the Game 1 decision, noting that “the Phillies have a lot of lefties.”
Lefties have hit .285 with a .786 OPS off Arroyo this season, compared to a .185 batting average and .576 OPS versus righties, and his career splits are similarly extreme. Volquez has been much been tougher on lefties, holding them to a .227 batting average and .314 slugging percentage, although he has allowed a .377 on-base percentage that includes a poor 33/25 K/BB ratio versus lefties.
By starting the NLDS opener Volquez is also set up to pitch a potential Game 5, with Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, and either Homer Bailey or Travis Wood each in line to make just one start.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.