Greinke’s arm, bat power the Brewers past the Nats

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Did you like that headline? Sounded just like a real newspaper article, huh? Never had one day of J-school!

Anyway, Zack Greinke, some may recall, was a pretty good prospect as a position player back in high school. He swung a nice bat and, indeed, many think he could have gone pretty far a hitter.

That was a long time ago, of course, but he got some wood on a ball today, hitting the go-ahead home run in the fifth inning of the Brewers-Nats game.  Oh, and since they pay him to pitch he did a little of that too, striking out ten dudes in seven innings of work.

This was the Brewers’ 13th win in the past 16 games.  Or their 27th in their last 50.  Or their 104th in their last 212th.  Remember, I didn’t go to J-school, so I never learned how to properly construct those littler sports reportery-sounding statistical blurbs.

The point stands, however: the Brewers are hot. And even if that four-team race so many of us predicted in the NL Central this year doesn’t materialize, we may very well have the makings of a pretty nice two or three team race soon.

Note: I am aware that the photo is blurry. Just as I’m pretending to be a real journalist for the purposes of this post, I think the AP photographer was pretending to be an artist. I kinda like it when they do that.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.

The Dodgers are concerned about Julio Urias’ shoulder

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Things are going great for the Dodgers lately. They’ve won seven consecutive games and 13 of their last 14. They lead the National League in wins and are in first place in, arguably, the best division in baseball.

But there are a lot of moving parts on a baseball team, and even when some things are going great, other things can go not-so-great. Like this:

Urias has been diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and shut down indefinitely. An MRI last week showed no structural damage, but his shoulder is still bothering him. He has not pitched in the bigs since late May, when he allowed seven runs in less than three innings against the Miami Marlins. He was sent down after that and went 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA, six walks and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched in three starts with Oklahoma City before being shelved.