ST. LOUIS _ Good to be back. In the last four days, I missed both the beginning and the end of the Micah Hoffpauir era. But I will get to say hello to Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo and Marcos Mateo. Lou and D-Lee also will be back. I’ll come back later with the lineups and pregame Lou.
UPDATE: The Cubs lineup just came up to the press box:
Here’s a little something to mull over: Can Starlin Castro win the batting title, and if so, would that win him Rookie of the Year honors? The Cubs shortstop is 17 plate appearances shy of qualifying for the leader board. His .320 batting average would put him behind league leader Carlos Gonzalez (.322) and Placido Polanco (.321) and ahead of Joey Voto (.319), Martin Prado (.315), Marlon Byrd (.310) and Albert Pujols (.310).
Castro is batting .408 since July 10, going 49-for-120. He’s got 17 multihit games in that time, as well.
His overall line is .320/.366/.450. The BABIP is .362, and the ISO is .129. Castro’s WAR is 2.4.
Castro’s walk rate is 6.2 percent, and the strikeout rate is 14.2 percent, lower than most regulars on the club.
SECOND UPDATE: Lou says Jeff Baker was going to play third base tonight but he hurt his back during some early infield work, so he moved DeWitt from second to third and put Darwin Barney in at second. Aramis Ramirez took batting practice today, and Lou said he should be ready to play tomorrow afternoon.
Micah Hoffpauir heads back to Iowa, which opens a series at Fresno. That just means he didn’t have to go too far from San Francisco.
Tennessee (AA) had its eight-game winning streak snapped, losing 5-3 to Chattanooga last night. Chris Carpenter (8-6, 3.20) ERA worked 5.2 innings, giving up 6 hits and 5 runs, 4 earned. Brandon Guyer hit 2 homers, giving him 11 for the season and extending his hitting streak to 16 games. He’s 28-for-59 (.475) with 4 homers, 8 doubles, 17 runs and 22 RBI in the streak. Tony Campana had his 43rd multihit game, going 2-for-4 with his team-leading 41st stolen base.
Daytona (A) rallied past Tampa 6-3. Trey McNutt lasted only 3 innings, giving up 7 hits and 6 runs. DJ LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to 14 games, going 2-for-4. He’s 26-for-59 (.441) in the streak. Rebel Ridling hit his 12th homer. Michael Brenly had 3 hits, and Alex Maestri picked up his third win by pitching 3 innings of relief. Evan Crawford, who came from the Giants this week in the Mike Fontenot trade, was 0-for-5 with an error.
Peoria got a good pitching performance from Brett Wallach, who came over in the Ted Lilly trade. Wallach got a no-decision as Peoria fell 2-0. In 6 innnings, Wallach gave up 2 hits and no runs while walking two and striking out six. Matt Cerda upped his hitting streak to five games. He’s 6-for-17 (.353) in the streak.
"I was able to throw my fastball for a strike, and that made a difference," Wallach told the Peoria Journal Star. "I could get ahead of guys."
Boise (A) beat Tri-City 6-3. Right fielder Alvarao Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 15 games, going 2-for-4. Pierre LePage had his 18th multihit game.