The NL Central continues to provide drama as September rages on, with the Cardinals and Pirates waging battle for first place in the division this weekend. Adam Wainwright brought his A-game with his team entering the night 0.5 games out of first place, as he shut the Pirates out over seven innings of work. He allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out eight, lowering his ERA to 3.03 in the process.
The Cardinal offense got to Pirates starter Jeff Locke in the fourth, scoring twice on a David Freese sacrifice fly and a Pete Kozma RBI single. They would tack on a run in each of the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings as well, more than enough support for their ace. Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness, and Randy Choate teamed up for the final six outs of the game to lock up the 5-0 victory, pushing the Cardinals 0.5 games ahead of the Pirates at the top of the NL Central.
It’s already been established that the Blue Jays would throw deadline acquisition David Price in Game 1 of their ALDS matchup against the Rangers and fast-rising right-hander Marcus Stroman in Game 2.
Now we know how they’ll fill out the rest of their rotation for the best-of-five round …
John Lott of the National Post notes that R.A. Dickey threw a simulated game on Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Centre, which lines him up for a potential ALDS Game 4 next Monday in Texas. Marco Estrada will take Game 3 on Sunday night in Arlington.
Mark Buehrle retired after his final regular-season start, so he’s obviously out of the mix.
Toronto is the World Series favorite to many as the postseason gets underway.
Yasiel Puig appeared in just 79 games during the regular season and missed all of September with a right hamstring strain. He returned on October 3 and appeared in the Dodgers’ final two regular-season games, but that doesn’t mean he is anywhere close to 100 percent heading into the NLDS.
Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says the Dodgers are unlikely to start Puig over Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford against right-handers in the best-of-five Division Series. And the Mets are scheduled to throw three righties in the first three games: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. The only left-hander in the Mets’ postseason rotation is Steven Matz, and he is somewhat questionable with a back injury.
Would it make sense to leave Puig off the NLDS roster entirely? If he does aggravate the hamstring injury, which seems possible even in a limited role, that would put him out of the mix for the NLCS.
They could send Puig to Arizona and have him face live pitching for the next 8-10 days.
But that’s just a suggestion. It doesn’t sound like it’s actually a consideration.