MLBits: NL Central Notes, Senzel's Hot Start, Pitchers Push Back on Juiced Baseballs, More

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MLBits: NL Central Notes, Senzel’s Hot Start, Pitchers Push Back on Juiced Baseballs, More

Chicago Cubs

Now that the Cubs are back on top … let’s talk about the NL Central.

The Cubs, as you know, have won seven games in a row and now have a 0.5 game lead over the Cardinals (and the rest of the divisioN), who’ve lost four straight. The Brewers, meanwhile, had cooled off a bit, but managed a three-game sweep of the Mets to keep within 1.5 games of first. Both teams have one more win than the Cubs, but the Brewers have four more losses. The Pirates, meanwhile, are a game above .500 and the Reds are five games under, after their win earlier today.

And they each have a bit of recent news to share, as well:

  • Working backwards, the Reds called up their top prospect, Nick Senzel, over the weekend and he’s already got three home runs, including two today in their win against the Giants. Senzel was one of baseball’s top prospects for a while, so while I don’t expect him to be this good all season, he may well be a game-changing player for them the rest of the way. And, indeed, they seem to think so, because yesterday, they released outfielder Matt Kemp, who had been nursing a broken rib while on the 10-Day IL.
  • Moving up the standings, the Pirates made a couple of roster moves today:

  • But while the temporary loss of Jameson Taillon might hurt, the Cubs don’t actually play the Pirates for quite some time (first week in July).
  • The Brewers may have to play without Lorenzo Cain for a short while, as he took a relative beating over the weekend. In the top of the sixth inning on Sunday, Cain was visited by the trainers after crashing into the outfield wall on a running catch and was then promptly hit in the hand with a pitch in the bottom half of the inning. The x-rays were negative and Cain says he wants to play today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he got some time off, especially as they eye a big matchup against the Cubs at Wrigley Field this weekend. UPDATE: He’s not in tonight’s lineup.
  • The Cardinals were swept by the Cubs this weekend and are now 10-10 against the Division including a 5-8 against the Brewers and Cubs. “The thing about this series,” said Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt, “it doesn’t taste real good right now.”
  • You’ve already read plenty about how the ball is juiced or not (it is), but I’ll encourage you to go check out this article at USA Today, which includes some pretty serious and quotes from angry big-league pitchers, who just want the truth from a league that’s been cryptic on the matter. For example: “I hate to dive too deep into conspiracy theories,” says New York Yankees veteran pitcher JA Happ, “but it’s pretty wild what’s happening.” Also: “Come on, just tell us,” Boston Red Sox veteran starter David Price says. “We all see it. Just come clean and say it.”
  • Ah, finally … my stupid draft pick is going to, you know, start playing:

  • The Miami Marlins have taken a beating – in terms of public relations – since the Derek Jeter-group took over the team, but if you ever thought Jeter was bad, wait until you read about Gary Denbo. Denbo is the Marlins’ VP of player development and scouting … and the man that demanded the Marlins’ Low-A affiliate remove the bat-dogs who famously fetch bats, carry buckets of balls, and run the bases after every game: “Denbo, making an unannounced visit to the Marlins’ Low-A affiliate in June 2018,” writes Ken Rosenthal, “was not interested in upholding tradition. He took one look at the two dog kennels in the clubhouse and demanded that they be removed, berating a clubhouse attendant, a longtime employee of the team who is in his 50s.” Cool.
  • Lol … YIKES: The Washington Nationals were stuck on an airplane on the tarmac from 6:30 pm to about 4:00am last night. Somehow, it’s comforting to know that even MLB superstars can get screwed over when it comes to air-travel.
  • Hunter Renfroe hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run off Kenley Jansen:

  • With a 5-4 deficit, that blast might not have been as momentous as David Bote’s walk-off grand slam, but oh baby that must’ve felt good – especially against a division rival and a pitcher like Jansen.
  • Red Sox Manager Alex Cora will not join his team in their visit to the White House, in part, because of the president’s response to Hurricane Maria: “The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go. That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.”
  • This was a pretty heart-warming moment, if you’re looking for something to cheer you up ona rainy Monday:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is the butler to a wealthy werewolf off the coast of Wales and a writer at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami