The NL Central continues to provide drama as September rages on, with the Cardinals and Pirates waging battle for first place in the division this weekend. Adam Wainwright brought his A-game with his team entering the night 0.5 games out of first place, as he shut the Pirates out over seven innings of work. He allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out eight, lowering his ERA to 3.03 in the process.
The Cardinal offense got to Pirates starter Jeff Locke in the fourth, scoring twice on a David Freese sacrifice fly and a Pete Kozma RBI single. They would tack on a run in each of the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings as well, more than enough support for their ace. Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness, and Randy Choate teamed up for the final six outs of the game to lock up the 5-0 victory, pushing the Cardinals 0.5 games ahead of the Pirates at the top of the NL Central.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.