Don’t read the Cardinals last rites just yet

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I know the Cardinals are crumbling like a cookie right now, but there is hope in store. The upcoming schedule:

Four games against the equally crumbling Dodgers;

  • Three games against the Houston LoLStros;
  • Three games against the Chicago Cubs; and
  • Three more games against the LoLStros again.

Yes, they end against the Nationals and the Reds,* but both of those teams will have long since clinched by then and should be resting starters.

The Phillies and Brewers can charge all they want, but I think the Cardinals still have a great shot.

*I originally omitted the Reds from the Cardinals schedule. I’m sure they would like to do that too, but alas, they have to play the games.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.