After losing five of their first seven games, the Cardinals went 14-5 to finish April with a two-game lead in the NL Central. As the Cards attempt to extend their current winning streak to five games this afternoon behind Jaime Garcia, here's a roundup of today's NL Central-related links:
- The ninth inning carousel in St. Louis has been the team's achilles heel so far, says Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ryan Franklin is out as the closer and is in the final year of his contract, but GM John Mozeliak doesn't know who the Cardinals' closer of the future is yet. "This season will dictate if [Mitchell] Boggs or [Jason] Motte or [Eduardo] Sanchez is the answer," he said. "It's a little early to render that verdict."
- Farm director John Vuch tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the Cardinals have placed an emphasis on acquiring power arms in recent years.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports digs into the specifics of Ryan Braun's long-term contract extension with the Brewers.
- Carlos Pena isn't the first big free agent bat to get off to a slow start for the Cubs, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Despite a poor April, Pena still believes he can be a "huge contributor" in Chicago.
- The promotion of former fourth overall pick Danny Moskos gives the Pirates two left-handed relievers, something that manager Clint Hurdle was hoping for heading into the season, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.