Don’t read the Cardinals last rites just yet

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I know the Cardinals are crumbling like a cookie right now, but there is hope in store. The upcoming schedule:

Four games against the equally crumbling Dodgers;

  • Three games against the Houston LoLStros;
  • Three games against the Chicago Cubs; and
  • Three more games against the LoLStros again.

Yes, they end against the Nationals and the Reds,* but both of those teams will have long since clinched by then and should be resting starters.

The Phillies and Brewers can charge all they want, but I think the Cardinals still have a great shot.

*I originally omitted the Reds from the Cardinals schedule. I’m sure they would like to do that too, but alas, they have to play the games.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.