The Cubs perfect second half came to a crashing halt Friday in the series opener with the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, an 11-4 drubbing low-lighted by a never-ending eighth inning in which the Cards torched the Cubs bullpen for nine runs. It was a screaming reminder that the second half, even with its 6-0 start, wont be all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for the defending champs. One nasty result after a six-game stretch of hot bats and hot pitching shouldnt send Cubs fans panicking about a falling sky even though the heavens opened up and poured a gigantic, watery metaphor down on the Friendly Confines after Fridays bullpen implosion.
DENVER (AP) — In the midst of a dominating outing, German Marquez had one wayward pitch that fueled a near brawl. Marquez matched a career best with nine strikeouts in seven solid innings and also became the latest Rockies pitcher to hit a Pirates batter with a pitch as Colorado beat Pittsburgh 7-3 on Saturday night. Marquez (8-4) plunked Andrew McCutchen in the sixth inning, and the Pirates outfielder strode toward the mound before being headed off by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild and slowly taking his base. Going into the game, the Pirates had a major league-high 55 batters hit by pitches, including four by Rockies pitchers on Friday night. "It never was on purpose," Marquez said through
The Milwaukee Brewers entered the weekend with a 52-47 record, a game ahead of the Chicago Cubs and two up on the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Brewers have been fading lately, losing six in a row. Yet that isn't stopping Milwaukee's front office from pursuing potential upgrades. Take Buster Olney's report on Saturday morning that the Brewers were looking into the possibility of trading for Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler: Kinsler isn't having his typical season. Thus far, he's hit .244/.324/.397 -- good for a 94 OPS+ that would mark the worst of his career. He's still a quality defender, however, and his contract includes a reasonable $12 million option for next season. Of course, even a