Cole Hamels was the shining star of Saturday’s slate, but there’s a ton of coverage of his feat already posted here. Let’s talk about the Cardinals, who have the best record in Major League Baseball at 63-34, the best run differential in baseball at +108, and the longest current winning streak now at five games.
23-year-old right-hander Carlos Martinez was again excellent Saturday at Busch Stadium, hurling eight innings of scoreless ball against the Braves in a 1-0 victory. He narrowly out-dueled former teammate Shelby Miller, who was charged with the game’s only run when Stephen Piscotty hit a go-ahead RBI sac fly off reliever Luis Avilan in the bottom of the eighth. It was Piscotty’s first major league RBI.
St. Louis will try to sweep Atlanta on Sunday afternoon behind 24-year-old righty Michael Wacha.
That rough series in Pittsburgh just before the All-Star break already seems like a distant memory. The Cardinals dropped three of four and their once-massive lead in the National League Central standings had shrunk to 2 1/2 games. As it stands currently, that lead is back up to seven games.
Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …
Tigers 5, Red Sox 1
Phillies 5, Cubs 0
Athletics 1, Giants 2
Blue Jays 8, Mariners 6
Orioles 5, Rays 1
Nationals 9, Pirates 3
White Sox 10, Indians 3
Astros 1, Royals 2 (10 innings)
Yankees 8, Twins 5
Dodgers 2, Mets 15
Braves 0, Cardinals 1
Reds 5, Rockies 2
Brewers 0, Diamondbacks 2
Marlins 1, Padres 3
Rangers 7, Angels 6
All-Star managers Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost have chosen their starting pitchers, with right-hander Zack Greinke of the Dodgers getting the assignment for the National League and left-hander Dallas Keuchel of the Astros being the pick for the American League.
Greinke’s excellence is well known. He’s a three-time All-Star and former Cy Young winner who currently has a 35.2-inning scoreless streak and an MLB-best 1.39 ERA that’s the lowest by any starting pitcher at the All-Star break since 1968.
The other starting pitchers on the NL roster are Madison Bumgarner, A.J. Burnett, Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Martinez, Clayton Kershaw, Shelby Miller, Max Scherzer, and Michael Wacha.
Keuchel is a great story. He was never considered a top prospect, had a losing record with a 3.74 ERA in the minors, and went 9-18 with a 5.20 ERA for the Astros in 2012 and 2013. Then last season he took a huge step forward, throwing 200 innings with a 2.93 ERA, and Keuchel has been even better this season with an 11-4 record and 2.23 ERA in a league-high 137 innings.
The other starting pitchers on the AL roster are Chris Archer, Sonny Gray, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Chris Sale, and Hector Santiago.
Last year’s All-Star starters were Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals for the National League and Felix Hernandez of the Mariners for the American League.
When we last checked in this morning, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez were in the lead for the Final Vote for the 2015 All-Star Game. Both have held on and won the spots for their respective leagues, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports.
Boy, do people in the midwest show up to vote.
Moustakas, 26, is on the All-Star team for the first time in his five-year career. He enters play Friday batting .301/.357/.436 with seven home runs and 31 RBI in 321 plate appearances. He joins teammates Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and the injured Alex Gordon on the American League All-Star roster.
Martinez, 23, is also a first-time All-Star. He’s 10-3 with a 2.52 ERA and a 113/43 K/BB ratio in 107 1/3 innings over 17 starts and one relief appearance. He joins teammates Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta, and Matt Holliday on the National League All-Star roster.