August 7, 2018



Early in the season, when trade rumors connected the Chicago Cubs to veteran Cole Hamels, more than a few were skeptical. Hamels is 34 years old and struggled with the Texas Rangers this season. His 11.12 ERA in July hardly sparked interest in the left-hander.

However, the Cubs front office was willing to take a chance on Hamels for a fairly low price. They knew what he had achieved in the past: four All-Star selections, a no-hitter and a World Series MVP award in 2008 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

And after all, the Cubs knew they did not necessarily need Hamels to be an ace for them. They needed someone better than Tyler Chatwood, which set a fairly low bar. Continue reading by  Janey Murray


I think general manager David Stearns was rather upfront that he will try to add in August, when players can still be traded provided they clear waivers first. A couple of colleagues have taken stabs at predicting which starting pitchers could clear the wire, and there are some common names: Matt Harvey of the Reds, Ervin Santana of the Twins and James Shields of the White Sox.

The question you have to ask yourself is whether any of those options would represent an upgrade over what the Brewers have in-house. Their rotation consists of Jhoulys ChacinChase AndersonJunior GuerraWade Miley and Freddy Peralta, with Zach Davies gaining steam in his return from the disabled list — he starts Monday night for the Triple-A SkySox, with one more rehab outing likely after that — and Brandon Woodruff as depth. Continue reading by  Adam McCalvy

Mike Shildt has the Cardinals playing better than Mike Matheny. Jeff Roberson AP

I’m still not sure that interim St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt is the right person for the permanent job leading the most-storied team in the history of the National League.

But, after watching Shildt’s first two weeks at the helm, it’s pretty obvious that former skipper Mike Matheny was the wrong guy.

While I’m not convinced that this club is going to go on a wild winning streak to elbow its way into the playoff picture, it’s amazing how much more capable this flawed roster seems when the players are put in a position where they have a chance to succeed. Matheny was nothing if not predictable. All the other team had to do was wait for the Matheny Era Redbirds, who did little but play station-to-station baseball, to hit into a double play or strikeout trying every single at-bat to hit a home run and the rally was over.

Shildt’s teams play a more familiar brand of baseball for long-time St. Louis baseball fans. Hit and run plays, straight steals, moving runners up and putting the ball in play more often. Continue reading by SCOTT WUERZ

Jul 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the 2018 season, if you had told me the Pittsburgh Pirates would “win” The MLB Trade Deadline, I would have assumed they’d be getting some great prospects for their veteran players. However, as we all know, the Pirates added a couple heavy-hitters in Keone Kela and Chris Archer. 

The Pirates also played some moderately below-average baseball in the days since the trade deadline and that’s disappointing. The Pirates are proving that simply adding players doesn’t guarantee wins on the field. The moves were both great and help in the long term, as well as the short. I expect the Pirates will bounce back and get some wins again, but right now, it is definitely tough to watch. 

Despite the relatively poor play, it’s still an exciting time to follow the Pittsburgh Pirates. They’ve added some pieces that will vastly improve their chances for next season and they still have time to respond to recent adversity and get right back into the playoff chase. Continue reading by 


Homer Bailey prefers to be aggressive in the strike zone, and it served the Reds starting pitcher well in Detroit his last time out, as he got early contact and a complete game in a loss. Bailey wasn’t expecting the Mets to follow a similar blueprint on Monday.

Buried under an avalanche of singles, Bailey was not able to extend his strong return from the disabled list. In a 6-4 Reds loss to the Mets at Citi Field, Bailey gave up five earned runs and 11 hits over 3 1/3 innings without a walk and with two strikeouts. Of the 21 Mets hitters he faced, only two got to a three-ball count. Continue reading by Mark Sheldon

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