With Craig out of town, we have a “Settling the Score” in place of the usual “And That Happened.” Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.
The Cardinals have at least assured themselves a spot in the NL Wild Card game, but they still have a division to win. After falling 6-4 to the Brewers on Sunday night, they currently hold a two-game lead over the Pirates and Reds in the NL Central with six games remaining in the regular season. Here’s how things set up this week.
The Cardinals are still sitting pretty right now, as they will play their final six games at home. They’ll begin a three-game series against the Nationals tonight before facing the last-place Cubs this weekend. The Reds will also be at home for their final six games. They’ll start at three-game series against the Mets tonight before getting the Pirates this weekend. As opposed to the Cardinals and Reds, the Pirates will finish the season on the road. They’ll play the Cubs for three before going to Cincinnati.
Whoever finishes in second and third place in the NL Central will almost certainly face off in the Wild Card game one week from tomorrow (the Nationals’ elimination number is down to two), but nobody wants their season to come down to just one game. Here’s hoping for a fun and dramatic final week.
Your Sunday box scores:
Giants 2, Yankees 1
Astros 2, Indians 9
Mets 4, Phillies 3
White Sox 6, Tigers 3
Reds 11, Pirates 3
Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 5
Marlins 4, Nationals 2; Marlins 4, Nationals 5
Orioles 1, Rays 3
Braves 5, Cubs 2
Rangers 0, Royals 4 (10 innings)
Dodgers 1, Padres 0
Diamondbacks 13, Rockies 9
Mariners 3, Angels 2
Twins 7, Athletics 11
Cardinals 4, Brewers 6
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.
Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and now we know why. He injured his right elbow and both hips falling in the shower three weeks ago, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He has had anti-inflammatory shots applied in both areas and he’ll be be shut down from pitching for a few more days.
Iglesias might not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Bryan Price. Iglesias, however, thinks otherwise. He said, “I’m going to be OK. I’m probably going to throw one bullpen, and after that, mentally and physically, I’ll be ready to join the season and compete.”
Price said throughout the offseason that he intended to pick his closer according to the matchups rather than naming one official closer. As a result, this injury likely doesn’t change much except that Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, and Tony Cingrani may get a few more early season save chances if Iglesias doesn’t start the season on time.
Iglesias, 27, finished last season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings across five starts and 32 relief appearances.