James McDonald gives up six runs, wins anyway

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Maybe this really is the Pirates’ year.

All-Star Game snub James McDonald won Wednesday despite surrendering six runs to the Rockies in five innings at Coors Field. The Pirates knocked Jeremy Guthrie around for six runs in the first three innings and scored three more times in the fifth in a 9-6 victory.

McDonald became the first Pirates pitcher since Paul Maholm on Aug. 18, 2007 to give up six runs in a victory. It had happened just three times since 2000, with Josh Fogg (June 14, 2003 against the Rays) and Kris Benson (May 26, 2004) also accomplishing the feat.

McDonald opened the season with a stretch of 14 straight starts in which he allowed three runs or less, and he entered the All-Star break 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA. He’s struggled in back-to-back outings since, allowing 11 runs — 10 earned — in 9 2/3 innings.

Adrian Gonzalez might retire after his contract is up if his back isn’t any better

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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:

“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.

“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”

Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.