The most competitive divisional race remains the NL Central, but it could soon become a two-team battle as opposed to three. The Cardinals and Brewers are two of the three teams in the mix, and they’re playing a series this week in Milwaukee. St. Louis won 12-2 on Monday for their fifth-straight win. The Brewers now sit 5.5 back of the Cards in the division with the Cubs 2.5 games ahead of the Crew. Milwaukee is also third in the race for the second wild card spot, with two NL East teams ahead of them. 

To add insult to injury, Mike Moustakas was removed early in Monday’s game after taking a hot grounder off his palm. The X-Rays were negative, so hopefully Moose will avoid the IL, but he’s going to sit out Tuesday at least.

Pitching Performance of the Day

Monday didn’t feature any top line starting pitchers, and the consensus might have been that Sonny Gray was the best starter going. Ultimately, the best performance came from Joe Musgrove who allowed two runs and five baserunners over six innings with six strikeouts. Musgrove had a respectable 12 swinging-strikes generated, but the most impressive part was that he needed only 82 pitches to generate those 12. 

Musgrove is a hit-or-miss option, but he’s a viable streamer and DFS option as he has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his last 13 starts. He has typical splits for a right-hander, so he’d be someone to target when facing a lineup with few lefties. There is a chance he could be on pace to start the final game of a series against the Marlins in early September, and Miami has the fewest plate appearances by left-handers against right-handed pitching. If he doesn’t get a start in that series, he’ll get one in the next series against the Cardinals who have the seventh-fewest LHH vs. RHP plate appearances.

The Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game was one of the more entertaining games of the day as each team blew a save. Richard Rodriguez blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth allowing three runs on two homers. Hector Neris returned the favor by surrendering the one-run lead in the top of the ninth allowing a home run to Josh Bell. Here’s how the game ended.



Hitting Performance of the Day

Unless someone who already had one home run added another at the tail end of one of the West Coast games, Yankee rookie Mike Ford was the only hitter to double dong on Monday. Here’s his second dong, which was more impressive than the first.



Since his recall on August 4, Ford now has seven home runs in 70 PA. For the season, his wRC+ is up to 113, and his walk rate is in the double-digits while his strikeout rate is well under 20-percent. The plate discipline is the most impressive thing about the 26-year-old who is seeing his first big league action this season. Ford posted solid plate discipline numbers throughout the minors, so his discipline shown in his debut is no fluke.

What to Watch for Today

We’re back to a full slate on Tuesday, and the slate is highlighted by a gem of a pitching matchup with Charlie Morton facing his former team the Astros with Justin Verlander on the mound for Houston. Both Morton and Verlander joined the Astros in 2017, although Verlander joined later in the season. Since that year, both guys rank top-15 among qualified starters in most statistical categories. The Astros are in a battle with the Yankees for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Advantage Yankees on Tuesday with Houston having to face Morton and New York getting to face Yusei Kikuchi.

The most playoff relevant games involve those NL Central teams with the Cards and Brewers playing the second game of their set and the Cubs taking on the Mets, who are one of the two NL East teams ahead of Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot (which the Cubs currently hold).