Little League World Series Star Mo’ne Davis Gives Autograph to Yasiel Puig

Mo'ne Davis exploded into the national spotlight after she showed she could not only hang with the boys in the Little League World Series but also that she could dominate.

How bright does her star shine? Here she is giving an autograph tonot receiving one fromLos Angeles Dodgers All-Star Yasiel Puig.

[Dodgers]

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Starlin Castro Injury: Updates on Cubs Star’s Ankle and Return

Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 3

Bruce Levine of WSCR-AM passes along the latest on Starlin Castro's injury:

The Cubs' official Twitter feed previously provided an update on Castro:

Original Text

Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro exited Tuesday's game against the National League Central division rival Milwaukee Brewers with an ankle injury.

CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney provided the details on Castro's condition:

A slide into home was to blame for Castro's injury, and now the Cubs are without one of their premier young players for the foreseeable future. At least there is hardly any incentive to press Castro back into action, because the Cubs are nowhere near playoff contention.

Holding out Castro to ensure a full recovery is important not only for Chicago, but for the trade partners it may attract this winter. Amid speculation that has swirled about a possible move to the New York Mets, Castro asserts that he's content in the Windy City, per the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron:

Whatever happens, happens. I can't control this. I know myself. I know I can be a good player and I know a lot of teams can want me. But I’m here and I don’t want to leave here. I feel comfortable here and I want to be a part of this team when we compete, when we win playoffs and stuff like that.

Rotoworld's D.J. Short highlighted a couple of qualities that makes Castro attractive to multiple other clubs:

For the Cubs to part ways with such a promising prodigy would go against their long-awaited rebuilding plan under President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.

Castro has the attitude and production to warrant keeping him in a Cubs uniform for years to come; to contribute to the team's eventual turnaround. Whether the front office views Castro that way remains to be seen.

Whatever the case may be regarding his long-term future, Chicago will be cautious with Castro for the remainder of the 2014 MLB season in light of the injury he suffered Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

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Justin Upton Injury: Updates on Braves Star’s Triceps and Return

Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 3

David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution updated Justin Upton's status for Wednesday's game:

 

Original Text

As the Atlanta Braves try to claw their way into a playoff position, they'll be without Justin Upton for the time being.

MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported the 27-year-old outfielder has suffered a bruised triceps. The team listed Upton as day-to-day:

Upton is one of the position players the Braves can least afford to lose at the moment. Going into Tuesday night's game, he was second on the team in batting average (.286), second in on-base percentage (.358) and first in slugging (.516). His 26 home runs and 91 runs batted in also lead the team.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Upton also has Atlanta's second-highest WAR (4.2).

As Ace of MLB Stats illustrated, Upton has really started to turn it on over the last few months:

As a team, Atlanta ranks 29th in runs scored, 23rd in batting average and 25th in slugging percentage. The Braves don't have a lot to lean on offensively in Upton's absence.

Before taking on the Philadelphia Phillies, the Braves sat seven games back in the National League East and 1.5 games back in the wild-card race. Closing either of those gaps will be nearly impossible as long as Upton is out.

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Justin Upton Injury: Updates on Braves Star’s Triceps and Return

As the Atlanta Braves try to claw their way into a playoff position, they'll be without Justin Upton for the time being.

MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported the 27-year-old outfielder has suffered a bruised triceps. The team listed Upton as day-to-day:

Upton is one of the position players the Braves can least afford to lose at the moment. Going into Tuesday night's game, he was second on the team in batting average (.286), second in on-base percentage (.358) and first in slugging (.516). His 26 home runs and 91 runs batted in also lead the team.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Upton also has Atlanta's second-highest WAR (4.2).

As Ace of MLB Stats illustrated, Upton has really started to turn it on over the last few months:

As a team, Atlanta ranks 29th in runs scored, 23rd in batting average and 25th in slugging percentage. The Braves don't have a lot to lean on offensively in Upton's absence.

Before taking on the Philadelphia Phillies, the Braves sat seven games back in the National League East and 1.5 games back in the wild-card race. Closing either of those gaps will be nearly impossible as long as Upton is out.

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Buying or Selling the Hype Around MLB’s 10 Biggest September Call-Ups

Anyone who has ever paid attention to a prospect’s rise and/or fall knows the ordeal is always dicey at best. Promise can evaporate in a matter of a month or be fulfilled and earn even higher expectations next spring.

Either way, the hype machine is pumping every September when major league teams expand rosters and invite their prospects for casting calls. A strong audition leads to bigger hopes, while a poor one leads to more uncertainty.

Some teams couldn’t wait until September to test their prospects, like the Chicago Cubs with Jorge Soler. Others have pushed back the arrival date of their guy as long as they could, like the Los Angeles Dodgers with Joc Pederson. 

Either way, these prospects will be watched closely for 30 days in September as the baseball world decides if it is going to believe the hype or move on to the next hope-inspiring name.

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Pittsburgh Pirates’ Vance Worley Making His Case to Remain in Rotation in 2015

The road to the majors is often a long and difficult travel.    

However, getting there may be a bit easier than remaining there, as has been the case for Pittsburgh Pirates' starting pitcher Vance Worley.  

In 2011, Worley started 21 games for the Philadelphia Phillies, going 11-3 and helping his team cruise to the top of the National League East.  

The 2012 season was a completely different story for Worley and the Phillies, however, as he went 6-9 and posted a 4.20 ERA in 23 starts with the team.  

That offseason, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Ben Revere, where he did not fare well at all, posting a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts before being sent down to Triple-A.  

This past March, Worley's contract was purchased by Pittsburgh, and he pitched for Triple-A Indianapolis until June.  

When Worley was called up to start a game against the Miami Marlins on June 15 this year, it looked as if he had never left the majors. The veteran allowed no runs on just five hits in 7.0 innings pitched en route to a no-decision.  

Worley would go on to make three more consecutive starts in the rotation, going 2-1 while allowing seven earned runs in 20.2 innings pitched during that span.  

While he is accustomed to being sent down to the minors and then called back up again, it looks as if Worley may now be here to stay.  

After spending almost three weeks in the bullpen in July, Worley returned to the rotation on July 22, when he shut down the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing just one earned run in 6.0 innings pitched.  

Just five days later, Worley pitched one of the best games of his career, throwing a four-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants.  

Very quietly, Worley has actually been one of the best pitchers this season for Pittsburgh, leading all Pirates starting pitchers with an ERA of just 3.01 in 86.2 innings pitched.  

The 26-year-old righty has remained in the Pirates' starting rotation since July 22, but if he continues to pitch well, he may remain in the Pirates' future plans.

The Pirates may lose two of their starting pitchers after this season, as both Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez will become free agents. Both veterans are over 30 years old, which probably won't fit general manager Neal Huntington's organizational plans.  

Of course, it is too early to start thinking about next season, as the Pirates are right in the thick of another playoff race.  

Still, if Worley can continue to pitch well deep into September and possibly even October, there is no reason to believe he won't be in consideration for a permanent rotation spot at the beginning of the 2015 regular season.   

*Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference

 

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Toronto Blue Jays: Full Scouting Report on Each September Call-Up

The Toronto Blue Jays took full advantage of MLB’s September roster expansion, calling up nine players from the minors to the big league club, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Some of these call-ups will be making their major league debuts, while others have already seen time with the Blue Jays earlier this season.

With Toronto just 5.5 games out of the second wild-card spot in the American League entering play on Tuesday, these September call-ups could end up providing the Blue Jays with the depth required in order to make a run late in the season.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these new call-ups and predict their roles on the team for the duration of the 2014 season.

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Seattle Mariners: Full Scouting Reports on Each September Call-Up

The Seattle Mariners called up seven players from Triple-A Tacoma to boost a push toward the postseason, according to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times and other media reports.  

Interestingly enough, six of those seven call-ups have experience in the major leagues. A couple of prospects, particularly Ty Kelly, could have filled holes on the roster, but the Mariners decided to go with known veterans instead of unknown younger players.

Seattle’s starting lineup appears set, especially if Michael Saunders is able to return. Still, five of the additions appeared in Monday’s loss to the Oakland Athletics, and manager Lloyd McClendon said they could continue to get opportunities, via Greg Johns of MLB.com.

"I think all of them bring something to the table. And hopefully they'll get opportunities to help us win games.”

While the Mariners have some idea of what to expect from most of the new additions, their roles on the team may change from previous stints in Seattle.

 

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Carlos Gomez Injury: Updates on Brewers Star’s Wrist and Return

The Milwaukee Brewers received some bad news on Sunday when star outfielder Carlos Gomez left the team's contest against the San Francisco Giants with an apparent wrist injury, according to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Unfortunately, the situation worsened on Tuesday.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweeted the discouraging update:

Rosiak spoke to Gomez after the game, and the outfielder described how he's feeling:

When I do my follow-through normal, I always let go with one hand. And I got stuck and I felt a pop. When I felt it pop, it was a shooting pain. I had x-rays, which were negative, so it might be a nerve kind of twisted.

Today, we don't think it's something bad. Right now, it's sore, but it's been sore the last couple days. I've been worse than that in the past. It's just on that swing, I hear the pop. I froze from the pop.

We now know that pop he heard was that of a sprained wrist and nothing more serious.

With Gomez missing at least a week going forward, the Brewers' race with the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals becomes increasingly difficult. As of Tuesday, Milwaukee is just one game behind the Cardinals; however, the team is in the midst of a six-game losing streak, while St. Louis is trending in the opposite direction on the heels of three consecutive wins.

Breaking that trend without Gomez's .282 batting average in the fold won't be easy, and with a four-game series against St. Louis beginning on Thursday, this injury could have serious implications for the Brewers as the season winds down.

Milwaukee will need Gerardo Parra to step up in a big way during Gomez's absence. Parra is batting .265 with 13 hits, two doubles, one triple, two home runs and eight RBI in 24 appearances with the Brewers since they acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the July 31 trade deadline.

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What Are the 2 Closest Playoff Races in the MLB?

With the final month of baseball under way, some playoff races have yet to be determined.

There are two divisions that have been fights all year long.

Cal Ripken Jr. and Brian Anderson break down which two divisions have the closest races and are full of talent.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Giants’ Madison Bumgarner Strikes out 55 in Historically Effective August

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner was historically effective in August, joining Curt Schilling as one of two pitchers in the modern era to strike out 55 or more batters while walking three or fewer in a calendar month, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The lefty had a 1.57 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 4-1 record during his incredible August, which included a pair of complete-game shutouts and a 56-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio a for the month. He had a trio of double-digit strikeout performances among his six outings while recording a quality start each time out.

The 56 strikeouts were easily Bumgarner's personal best for a calendar month, surpassing the 48 he had in May of this year. With 199 for the season, he's already matched his career high set last year after consecutive seasons (2011 and 2012) with 191 punchouts.

Having narrowly missed 200 strikeouts in each of the last three years, Bumgarner is set to hit the mark this Saturday, when he'll face major league strikeout leader David Price and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Schilling posted an insane 62-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the Arizona Diamondbacks in May of 2002 on his way to finishing the year with 316 strikeouts. No pitcher has reached 300 strikeouts in a season since both Schilling and teammate Randy Johnson (334) did so that year.

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Giants’ Madison Bumgarner Strikes out 55 in Historically Effective August

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner was historically effective in August, joining Curt Schilling as one of two pitchers in the modern era to strike out 55 or more batters while walking three or fewer in a calendar month, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The lefty had a 1.57 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 4-1 record during his incredible August, which included a pair of complete-game shutouts and a 56-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio a for the month. He had a trio of double-digit strikeout performances among his six outings while recording a quality start each time out.

The 56 strikeouts were easily Bumgarner's personal best for a calendar month, surpassing the 48 he had in May of this year. With 199 for the season, he's already matched his career high set last year after consecutive seasons (2011 and 2012) with 191 punchouts.

Having narrowly missed 200 strikeouts in each of the last three years, Bumgarner is set to hit the mark this Saturday, when he'll face major league strikeout leader David Price and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Schilling posted an insane 62-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the Arizona Diamondbacks in May of 2002 on his way to finishing the year with 316 strikeouts. No pitcher has reached 300 strikeouts in a season since both Schilling and teammate Randy Johnson (334) did so that year.

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Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera Moves into 5th Place on All-Time Franchise Home Runs List

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera hit a pair of home runs in Monday's 12-1 win over the Cleveland Indians to move into sole possession of fifth place in franchise history, per Lee Sinins of Complete Baseball Encyclopedia.

Cabrera, who previously hadn't homered since Aug. 2, hit a two-run shot in the first inning to match Cecil Fielder's 245 home runs with the Tigers, before passing Fielder with an opposite-field solo blast in the eighth. Both home runs barely cleared the fence, with the first a line drive to left field, while the second was a towering fly ball to right.

The two-time reigning AL MVP gingerly made his way around the bases throughout the game, as he's been dealing with an ankle injury for the last two weeks. After sitting out Sunday's series finale versus the Chicago White Sox, Cabrera finished the Labor Day victory with four hits, four runs and three RBI in five-at bats.

The first long ball ended a 27-game home run drought, the longest of Cabrera's career, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The second—No. 384 for his career—not only moved Cabrera past Fielder on the franchise list, but also moved the slugging Venezuelan past Larry Walker for 61st place on the all-time major-league list as per MLB's official website.

Though his 19 home runs this season fall far short of expectations, the 31-year-old Cabrera still looks like a near-lock to eventually join the 500-homer club, which currently has 26 members.

He hit 44 home runs in both 2012 and 2013, capping off a streak of seven consecutive 30-homer seasons that will likely end this year. Needing just 116 more to join the 500-homer club, Cabrera has hit 35 long balls per 162 games in his career, and has still never been placed on the disabled list.

He needs 154 more homers—which would give him 538 for his career—to pass Al Kaline (399) for first place on the Tigers' all-time list.

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Deal Of The Day: Last Chance For The 95% Off On Award-Winning Maclovin’ Bundle

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There’s 11 hours left for you to own the heavily discounted Maclovin Bundle pictured above. Here’s how we described it the last time we featured this deal:

A MacLovin Bundle? What’s not to like? For $39 you can get your virtual hands on $861 worth of stuff for the Mac. That’s 8 applications, including Cinemagraph Pro ($100 value) and djay (a $20 value), as well as access to the OS X App Masterclass, a $500 value. With that eCourse, you’ll get 22 hours of instruction to learn how to code for the Mac.

[ Get The Award-Winning Maclovin' Bundle! ]

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When A 6-Pack Of Beer Isn’t Enough, There’s A 99-Pack

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We’re not sure why you wouldn’t just buy a darn keg of beer, but if you absolutely must get your malted beverages in a cardboard box, you should know that an Austin brewery has you covered. Austin Beerworks is selling a 99-pack of beer called the Peacemaker, and it’s going for $99. Our math skills put that at $1 a beer, which isn’t too shabby a price. The monstrosity weighs 82 lbs., is 7 feet long and presents logistical nightmares that are of little significance to people who are just looking to get hammered, we suppose. It won’t fit in your fridge for instance. And you won’t be able to carry it alone, for another instance. But hey, it’s a 99-pack of beer, and how often do you come across that? Check out their website, instagram and other social media to find out how to get your own.

Austin Beerworks – Peacemaker Anytime Ale from Beef and Pie Productions on Vimeo.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Geekologie ]

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Bygen’s Hank Direct Bike Collapses, Uses Direct Drive System

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The final size limitation that folding bikes often encounter is the chain; you can fold the bike, sure, but you can’t do the same to the chain. Bygen’s Hank Direct Bike simply ditches the chain and switches it for a direct-drive system. This means the pedals are directly powering the rear wheel, much like a Penny-farthing’s pedals power the front wheel directly. But unlike a Penny-farthing, the Hank isn’t a fixie: it has a hub transmission with three available gear ratios. The pedals extend forward and are placed at a natural angle beneath the rider, while the entire bike doesn’t actually fold but rather telescope back into itself. The top post is completely adjustable, so even when you take it out of the retracted position, you don’t have to slide it all the way forward, allowing you to lock it in place at the most comfortable distance.

The lack of chain makes this bike ideal for the business commuter since you won’t be getting any grease on your pants, and its small retracted size lets you keep it somewhere in the office without too much trouble. Price and availability haven’t been announced, however.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

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Soba Cable Organizer Cleans Up That Mess Behind Your Monitor

Bluelounge_Soba_Cable_Organizer

Most of us choose to entirely ignore the area behind our monitors, just because we’re too lazy to deal with the spaghetti clutter of cables. If the putting-your-head-in-the-sand technique is running thin, you could try to give the Soba cable organizer from Bluelounge. Just slip them all into the “Vortex tube”and place them where you want it. The kit comes with 3 mounting caps, which can be affixed to any surface and help route the tube in your desired path. There’s even a Y-split, in case some of your cables have completely different destinations. For $25, it’s a cheap and efficient way to today up your living space.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

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6 MLB Teams Designed for Deep Playoff Runs

October is about pitching. 

It's about front-line starters like Jon Lester and Clayton Kershaw and airtight bullpens like those of the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners. Since teams are consistently facing off against the best pitching in baseball, October is also the time of year when lineups have to scratch out runs by any means necessary. Clubs have to be capable of scoring in a variety of ways, from clutch home runs to perfectly executed small ball. 

What follows is a rundown of the six MLB teams who check all those boxes and are designed for deep playoff runs. The list includes three squads from the American League and three from the National League. The teams are ranked in order of how likely they are to actually pull off just such a run during the 2014 postseason.

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Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista Looking to Homer in Franchise-Record 6th Straight Game

After hitting a home run in each of the last five games, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista enters Tuesday's contest against the Tampa Bay Rays looking to match Jose Cruz Jr.'s franchise record of six consecutive games with a home run, per Complete Baseball Encyclopedia (via GammonsDaily.com).

Already just the second player in Jays history with a streak of five games or more, Bautista only has one non-homer hit—a single from last Tuesday's game against the Boston Red Sox—during his historic run. Having gone hitless in his four games prior to the streak, the slugging outfielder's hit total over the last nine contests consists of five home runs and just the one single.

Cruz Jr.'s streak came toward the end of the 2001 campaign when he homered in six consecutive games from Sep. 29 to Oct. 5. Unlike Bautista, Cruz Jr. added plenty of other hits during his streak, recording three doubles and three singles during the six-game stretch.

A talented player who never quite lived up to his top-prospect billing, Cruz Jr. set personal bests in home runs (34), RBI (88), runs (92), stolen bases (32), batting average (.272) and OPS (.856) that year.

Should Bautista extend his streak Tuesday night to match Cruz's, he'll sit just two games away from the all-time MLB record of eight straight games with a homer, set by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993), per Baseball-Almanac.com.

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Previewing the Milwaukee Brewers’ Road to the Playoffs

With only four weeks left until the much-anticipated month of October arrives, the Milwaukee Brewers have set themselves up for a chance at a run for the World Series, but it won't be easy getting there.

The Brewers have seemingly been on a mission to not just make the playoffs in 2014 but do so as the champions of the NL Central division. They've held atop the division for most of the 2014 season and until lately looked to be in firm control heading into the final stretch. 

While the division begins to take shape for the final time this season, the Brewers find themselves one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals and two games ahead of the surging (6-4 in their last 10 games) Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, the Brewers have stumbled down the stretch and have lost six straight and eight of their last 10 games.

Historically, when the Brewers are in contention late in the season, general manager Doug Melvin has selling teams on speed dial and is looking to make a splash with All-Star additions like C.C. Sabathia and Zack Greinke. However, the Brewers' front office seemed content with the team's roster this year as the trade deadline came and went without any blockbuster deals (unlike some of the league-altering transactions by Oakland, Detroit, and division-foe St. Louis).

Following this year's deadline, Brewers fans seemingly couldn't argue with Melvin's decision to pass on the trade market's available starting pitchers. The Brewers won 11 of their next 17 games following the deadline and did so against some of the game's best in Adam Wainwright, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw

A potentially devastating injury to starting pitcher Matt Garza put a strain on the pitching staff and created a more dire need for productive plate appearances by the Brewers' hot-and-cold offense. One bright spot to the injury bug plaguing the Brewers' starting pitchers was the stellar step-in performance by Mike Fiers (4-2) and the flashes of potential displayed by Jimmy Nelson.

Fiers is already drawing praise from his teammates.

"It has been incredibly impressive," outfielder Ryan Braun told The Associated Press (via USA Today) regarding Fiers performance this year. "I don't think anybody foresaw him coming up and being the best pitcher in baseball the last four starts."

In an attempt to supplement the bullpen, the Brewers added Jonathan Broxton in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, according to Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com.

It's likely that Broxton's role will be to set up for Francisco Rodriguez initially, though it's feasible Broxton will take over at closer at some point. K-Rod has allowed runs in three of his last four outings and sports a 4.86 ERA in his last 18 outings. Of course, Broxton's ERA in August is 5.23, so it's not like either one is hot right now.

With the return of Matt Garza this Wednesday, a talented and reinforced bullpen, consistent offense, and a little luck, the Brewers are definitely worth the price of admission this month as they look to win their second division title in the last four years.

So as September begins, the Brewers will look to hold off the veteran Cardinals and surging Pirates to ensure their place in the hunt for the NL title. With 10 of the Brewers' final 26 games against the Cardinals and Pirates (a key matchup begins Thursday with a four-game series against St. Louis), their fate lies within their own hands.

Win those divisional games, win the division. Win the division, all bets are off.

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