>>Santana, Arcia Lead Brewers Past Cardinals
Domingo Santana and Orlando Arcia hit back-to-back homers as the Milwaukee Brewers continued their recent road dominance routing the St. Louis Cardinals 12-5 on Thursday night.
Hernan Perez had four hits and three RBIs for the Brewers, who won their season-high fifth straight on the road and have won seven of their last eight games.
The bottom three hitters in the Brewers lineup reached eight times and scored six runs.
Brewers right-hander Junior Guerra (8-3) needed 74 pitches to get through five innings in his second start back from the disabled list. It was his first career win against St. Louis in three tries.
Jaime Garcia (10-12) struggled for the fourth time in his last five starts, losing a career-high fourth straight decision. He gave up five earned runs in 3 2/3 innings - his third shortest outing of the season.
Jimmy Nelson (7-13, 4.36 ERA) has made 12 quality starts this season. He is 0-6 with a 7.57 ERA in eight career games against St. Louis.
Carlos Martinez (13-7, 3.07 ERA) leads all National League pitchers with 30 double plays induced. He is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts this season against Milwaukee.
>>Cubs Head To Houston To Take On Struggling Astros
With their top two starters sidelined and the clock on the regular season winding down, the Houston Astros are in the precarious position of opening an interleague set against the Chicago Cubs with a busted rotation and an overworked bullpen.
Without reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, the Astros (74-66) have plugged holes in their rotation with the likes of right-hander Brad Peacock, an organizational arm who spent most of this season with Triple-A Fresno, and rookies Joe Musgrove and Paulino.
Musgrove (2-3, 5.06 ERA) will open the three-game series with his first appearance against the National League Central-leading Cubs (89-50).
The Cubs, 13-4 in interleague play, will start left-hander Jon Lester (15-4, 2.61 ERA) in the opener. Lester is 6-0 with a 1.85 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break. He has faced the Astros (10-7 in interleague play) once in his career, allowing six runs on nine hits over five innings for Boston on June 28, 2008, at Minute Maid Park.
Manager Joe Maddon flipped his weekend rotation behind Lester, opting to bump right-hander Jake Arrieta to Sunday night while keeping right-hander John Lackey on regular rest. Lackey will start the middle game of the series on Saturday.
>>White Sox In Kansas City
he Kansas City Royals will try to preserve their slim hopes for the postseason when they open a three-game series against the host Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
The defending World Series champion Royals (72-67) have lost five of their past eight contests and trail the Baltimore Orioles by four games for the American League's second wild-card spot.
A matchup against the underwhelming White Sox (67-72) could help Kansas City gain ground in the standings. The Royals are 9-3 against Chicago this season after winning 12 of 19 games against the South Siders in 2015.
Right-hander Yordano Ventura (10-9, 4.22 ERA) will start the series opener for the Royals.
Opposing Ventura will be White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon (6-8, 3.90 ERA), who also has been on a hot streak. The 23-year-old is 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his past six outings. He has walked eight and struck out 31 in that span.
For the White Sox, first baseman Jose Abreu will look to continue his torrid hitting. The Cuban slugger is hitting .447 (17-for-38) with five home runs and 15 RBIs during his past eight games. He has boosted his season totals to a .298 average with 23 home runs and 88 RBIs in 136 games.
>>Mets Sign Former Heisman Winner Tim Tebow
Former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow made his intentions to play baseball known several weeks ago, and now he has an organization. And wouldn't you know it, he's signed with another orange and blue team, much like the Florida Gators and Denver Broncos.
The AP reports that Tebow and the New York Mets agreed to a $100,000 signing bonus. As James Wagner notes on Twitter, $100,000 is the highest bonus a team can give to a post-draft signee without incurring penalties. To put that figure in context, signing bonus slots for 10th-round picks in 2016 ranged from $161,300 to $156,000.
Tebow will continue his work as a college football analyst for the SEC Network, which will require him to be absent from instructs for at least a couple of days a week. The Mets were reportedly the only team willing to make such allowances for Tebow.
As for anyone misguidedly wondering about the impact on the Mets in 2016, there is zero. Instructional leagues are where teams start the earliest stages of development on players either needing experience or long-injured players go to get back some game speed during their rehab process. Generally speaking, a player like Tebow in instructionals is far, far away from hitting the majors.
As for the notion that Tebow might somehow be "taking someone else's spot," he's not. Spots in instructionals aren't limited and most of the game action isn't even limited to regular game-type situations. The at-bats aren't really limited, nor is the time spent on any given individual.
Basically, there's no real risk from a baseball standpoint for the Mets here. They are simply seeing what they can get out of a 29-year-old athlete who has flashed some upside despite being very raw.