Giving Thanks: The National League Central

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We’re getting dangerously low on liquor in the Calcaterra house. And my family won’t even be over here for several hours yet.  This could be a problem.

More of what each team has to be thankful for:

Cincinnati Reds: Whatever spirits came to Dusty Baker in the middle of the night last Christmas Eve and convinced him to change his ways. Which must have happened, because neither Mike Leake, Travis Wood nor Aroldis Chapman were abused by Baker. Then, the next morning, he sprung to his window and called for an Intelligent Fine Lad to go straight to the Poulterer’s on the corner and buy the prize turkey hanging in the window.

St. Louis Cardinals: That the star power — Pujols, Holliday, Carpenter, Wainwright — and the youngins’ — Garcia and Rasmus — form the basis of a team that should have no problem contending in 2011. And that whatever freakish stuff caused them to lose tons of games to really bad teams in August and September — while performing admirably against good teams — is likely a rare occurrence. Like Halley’s comment or something.

Milwaukee Brewers: That Doug Melvin admitted during his introductory press conference for new manager Ron Roenicke that the pitching is the problem. You can’t cure yourself until you know what ails you.

Houston Astros: Brad Mills. I don’t know how much credit to give him — maybe he truly has unlocked mysterious secrets and has become the Brett Myers Whisperer — but there certainly is a sense that he’s running a tighter ship.  I still think there are bleak days ahead, but Mills seems better equipped to deal with them than, say, Cecil Cooper was.

Chicago Cubs: The utter shamelessness of their owners. It has already gotten them a new spring training facility. It will likely end up getting them taxpayer-funded renovations to Wrigley Field too. Hey, you never get anything you want unless you ask.

Pittsburgh Pirates: That there is a practical limit to how many games a team can lose. Sure, it’s possible that a club could go 39-123, but the competitive ebb and flow of Major League Baseball caps it, roughly speaking, at 120 losses.

Watch: Cavan Biggio delivers his first MLB hit

Cavan Biggio
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Blue Jays top prospect Cavan Biggio made his MLB debut on Friday; by Sunday, he had his first pair of big-league hits, too. His first big moment arrived in the third inning of the team’s series finale against the Padres, when he chopped a Robbie Erlin fastball into right field for a single.

Biggio’s hit proved instrumental in getting the Blue Jays on the board. He advanced Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to third base and, in the next at-bat, Brandon Drury grounded into a force out to drive in the club’s first run of the afternoon.

In the fourth, Biggio went… well, bigger (sorry). He worked a 1-2 count against right-handed reliever Matt Wisler, then unloaded a towering 404-foot solo shot for his first MLB home run:

The 24-year-old second baseman is poised to make a big impact for the Blue Jays in 2019. The son of Hall of Fame infielder/outfielder Craig Biggio, Cavan ranked no. 9 among the organization’s prospects at the start of the season and slashed a promising .307/.445/.504 with six home runs, five stolen bases (in six attempts), and a .949 OPS through 173 PA at Triple-A Buffalo before getting the call to the Show this weekend. If Sunday’s performance is anything to go off of, it looks like the Blue Jays will be able to count on similar production levels from the rookie at the major-league level as well.

The Blue Jays currently lead the Padres 3-1 in the fifth.