We say ratings don’t matter, but …

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As a baseball fan I know it’s silly to get wrapped up in ratings comparisons to other sports–baseball is dying! blah, blah, blah–but as a Minnesotan who actually went to a bar Monday night to watch the 1-4 Vikings and 0-6 Giants play what has to be one of the worst Monday Night Football games of all time … well, this made me sad:

I can’t imagine sticking through more than like 15 minutes of the MNF game if you weren’t a Minnesotan or a New Yorker, and even my group of Vikings fans at the bar pretty much gave up paying attention by the third quarter. And yet … more people watched than tuned in for Game 1 of the friggin World Series. Oh well.

UPDATE: So apparently those initial reports were a bit off. I’m now told that Game 1 averaged 14.4 million viewers, compared to 13.2 million for MNF. Doesn’t really change my overall point a ton, but it’s less sigh-inducing if nothing else.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.