Curt Schilling and Alex Cora pick Ryan Howard for NL MVP

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I’m not lying.

Thankfully, the rest made reasonable picks in Joey Votto (17 votes), Buster Posey and Bryce Harper (six), Ryan Braun and Justin Upton (three), Andrew McCutchen (two), and Matt Kemp, Jason Heyward and Giancarlo Stanton (one).

Ryan Howard is 33 years old and is still visibly limping from an Achilles injury that caused him to miss half of last season. He’s been average or better by Wins Above Replacement (2 or more WAR) in one of the last four seasons, according to Baseball Reference. He plays average defense if you’re being generous with your evaluation, and he’s one of baseball’s worst base runners. He would have to put up numbers reminiscent of his 2006 for him to even come close to sniffing votes for NL MVP.

Perhaps Schilling and Cora have been swayed by his .336 average, seven home runs, and 16 RBI in spring training, but if you bank that much on spring training stats, you would have had some serious egg on your face in 2011 with Jake Fox.

Though stranger things have happened.

Joe Musgrove shut down with ab discomfort

Joe Musgrove
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Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.

Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.

While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.