Rafael Furcal to miss the last two Cardinals games

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Rafael Furcal had to leave last night’s Cards-Astros game due to a tight left hamstring. It seems now that he’s going to need a coupe of days to recover.  Since there are only a couple of days in the season that means that the Cardinals will have to win or lose the wild card without him.

In his place: likely Nick Punto, according to Matt Leach of MLB.com. No word on whether Ryan Theriot will play a part. Which is strange because, after all, the Cardinals were in first place back when he was the starting shortstop.

Oh well. It is what it is.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.