Cards stuff: Albert Pujols plays third, Allen Craig has fracture

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I’m not sure they’re all worthy of separate entries, but there’s plenty of Cardinals news today:

– Albert Pujols is making his fourth start and fifth appearance at third base in Wednesday’s game against the Nationals.  It may not mean a whole lot to some, but that fifth appearance gives him third-base eligibility in a lot of fantasy leagues, making the game’s No. 1 property even more valuable.

– Allen Craig, who had been doing excellent work before going on the DL on Sunday with a left knee contusion, was found to have a small fracture in his kneecap, likely putting him out through the All-Star break.  Craig has hit .336/.405/.523 with 23 RBI in 107 at-bats this year, so it’s a substantial loss.  Still, he wasn’t going to play quite so much anymore because…

– The Cardinals confirmed Wednesday that Matt Holliday would come off the disabled list on Thursday.  He’s been out since June 1 with a left quad strain.

– The team also revealed that rookie setup man Eduardo Sanchez was sent home Wednesday for a shoulder examination.  The hope is that he merely has some inflammation, leaving him day-to-day.  Still, the Cards will want to be careful with the 22-year-old.  Sanchez, who was briefly the team’s closer last month, has a 1.88 ERA in 28 2/3 innings.

– Finally, the team sent down third baseman Matt Carpenter today to make room for Kyle McClellan, who is coming off the DL to start against the Nationals.  Carpenter was 1-for-15 during his brief stay.

 

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.

Shelby Miller has a tear in his UCL, considering Tommy John surgery

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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and is considering undergoing Tommy John surgery. Surgery would end Miller’s 2017 season and would cut into a significant portion — if not all — of his 2018 season as well.

Miller sent his MRI results to Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. James Andrews for second and third opinions, respectively. He could choose to rehab his elbow rather than undergo surgery, but that comes with its own set of positives and negatives.

Miller lasted only four-plus innings in his most recent start on Sunday and carries a 4.09 ERA on the season, his second with the Diamondbacks. His time in Arizona has not gone well.