Clinch today?

It’s pretty simple. If the Cardinals lose and the Reds win today, the NL Central is clinched.

Sunday lineup vs. SD

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Phillips 4
Heisey 9
Hanigan 2
Bailey 1

*Jay Bruce is getting the break today because of his right side being sore again. It’s more of a precaution than anything however.

“We just want to make sure he doesn’t hurt it again,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Plus, we want to win this thing and get guys some work in to keep everybody sharp for when we go to the playoffs.I told you he probably wouldn’t heal 100 percent until the winter time. It was just a little tight esterday. I didn’t want to take a chance of him re-injuring it with this lefty and we got a day off tomorrow. That gives him two days off. I told him not to hit today.”

“It’s sore here and there, but it’s all about management of it,” Bruce said.  “It’s not getting any worse, and Dusty and I have a pretty good line of communication and he talked to me about it.  I’ll have today off – not starting, so maybe I’ll have to go in there at some point.  [Sunday] and [Monday] off, and we’ll get back at them on Tuesday.”

*Yesterday I asked Baker about the decision to bunt Cabrera in the ninth inning before Votto was intentionally walked. The answer he gave was good but he followed up this morning. He knew that the bunt would take the bat out of Votto’s hands and defended it.

“That’s playoff stuff. That’s what you’re going to have to do,” Baker said. “We’re a team. You can’t just depend on one guy. You depend on one guy, you’re going to lose. There’s fundamental baseball. There are times when you do certain things. That was fundamental baseball.”

“I’d rather take my two chances with a runner in scoring position than a possible run at first base.”

“Now you understand why I took Bronson out. That’s playoff baseball. When you get the chance to get some runs, you go get some runs.”

Baker also pointed out that Heath Bell is quick to home plate, which reduced the chances for Drew Stubbs to steal from first base.

“He’s one of the best,” Baker said. “I don’t have these notes for nothing. He’s 1.23 to the plate. That’s pretty quick. There aren’t many closers around that quick. Coco is 1.7 -something.”

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