Friday, July 19, 2019

MLB Game Preview: Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves - 7/19/2019 - 7:20 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves - Date: 7/19/2019 Nationals hope pitching continues to thrive against BravesFLMThe Washington Nationals hope to see their streak of excellent efforts from their starting pitchers continue when they take on the Atlanta Braves in the second game on their four-game series on Friday at Atlanta's SunTrust Park.The pitching matchup features Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.71) against Washington southpaw Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.39).The Nationals won the series opener 13-4 on Thursday, behind the pitching and hitting of Stephen Strasburg, who won his 12th game, homered and drove in five runs.Washington pitchers have allowed one or fewer earned runs in 12 of 18 games dating to June 25. Over their last 13 games, Washington starters have combined to pitch to a 1.97 ERA (18 earned runs in 82 innings) with 96 strikeouts and 17 walks. Number #1 Sports Handicapping Service. The starting rotation has not absorbed a loss since June 15 against Arizona. In the 25 games since that contest, the rotation is 15-0.Corbin will make his first start against the Braves as a member of the Nationals. He is 5-1 with a 1.66 ERA in nine previous appearances (seven starts) against Atlanta. He beat the Braves on Sept. 7, 2018, when he allowed one run over six innings and struck out nine as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.Corbin does not have a decision in his three starts during July, even though the Nationals have won each of those games. He has a 1.80 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 20 innings over his last three starts. Corbin pitched six innings and allowed three runs, striking out 10, in his last start against Philadelphia.Teheran was originally scheduled to start on Thursday, but the Braves bumped him back a day in order to start Triple-A callup Kyle Wright. Soccer Tipsters. The move gives Teheran and Saturday starter Mike Soroka both an extra day of rest.Teheran pitched well in his first post-All-Star Game start. He gave up three runs, two earned, in six innings against the San Diego Padres. He received no decision for the third straight start. In two July stars, Teheran has a 1.50 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.Teheran will be making his 22nd career start against Washington. He is 6-6 with a 4.13 ERA against the Nationals, but has not faced them this season. Best Sports Picks Today. Teheran was 0-2 against Washington in 2018. He has allowed more home runs to the Nationals (19) than any other club in his career.The Nationals had no news on whether Max Scherzer would be able to return to the mound from his lower back strain and pitch Sunday. He played catch, but did not throw off the mound as the team had hoped."The biggest thing with me is t o make sure that he's 100 percent," manager Dave Martinez said. "That's something we talked about (Thursday). He's got to feel 100 percent before he goes back out there. He feels good and says he's close, but we'll see how he feels (Friday)." The Braves are expected to activate right-hander Kevin Gausman from the injured list to take the start on Sunday. Gausman has been sidelined since June 11 with plantar fasciitis."He threw a side session (Thursday) and had a really good rehab start last time," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "Talking to him, he feels really good where he's at right now." Gausman struck out 10 batters in a six-inning start for Triple-A Gwinnett.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays - 7/19/2019 - 7:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays - Date: 7/19/2019 White Sox look for first win post ASG against RaysFLMChicago White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez pledged to make the second half of his season better than his first.After limiting the Oakland Athletics to one unearned run in six innings in a no-decision on Sunday, Lopez is on his way to accomplishing that objective. freepick. To make the resurgence stand, however, he'll need to maintain a newfound mental command, continuing with Friday's visit to the Tampa Bay Rays."I kept my focus, no matter the situation, during (Sunday's) game," Lopez said through a translator. "In the first half, there was always something that made me lose focus. Winning Sports Handicappers. That was the key: I didn't let anything both er me." Collectively, Chicago has sputtered out of the second-half gate, losing its first seven games after the All-Star break.The White Sox hope Lopez (4-8, 5.97 ERA) can produce another solid start as the club looks to reverse course at the end of a 10-game road trip."The All-Star break gives everybody a chance to take a step back," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "A lot of it has more to do with conviction and a mindset. He's got the stuff. (Sunday) was a tremendously positive outing for him. He was challenged, and he responded." While the Rays enter the series at 13 games above .500, their run differential is minus-45 in going 5-12 against the New York Yankees and plus-135 in compiling a 51-31 record against the rest of major league baseball.The Yankees swept the Rays in a doubleheader on Thursday to take three games in a four-game set.Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash acknowledged his club's uneven performance against the Yankees, but i s hopeful the Rays still can draw positives from playing in the Bronx -- the result notwithstanding."It can help us," Cash said. "It should help us. When there's a lot of fans in the seats ... that's what you see in postseason baseball, so hopefully this will help us. ... If we've got to take some tough-luck losses, get hit in the face a little bit here and there to make us better for a September-October run, that'd be nice." The Rays' bullpen struggled in New York, namely on Tuesday, when the relief corps was unable to protect leads of 3-1 in the sixth and 3-2 in the eighth en route to an 8-3 defeat. Cash discussed the importance of not only better performance from pitchers, but of inflating their cushion whenever possible."I would say it's more or less us not scoring enough runs," Cash said. "We've got to score more runs and make that gap a little bit bigger. You're not going to do it every night, but ... i f we can get something going offensively early, it would be nice." Cash told reporters after Thursday's doubleheader that rookie left-hander Brendan McKay would "most likely" start against the White Sox. McKay is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts this season but has not faced Chicago in his brief career.Lopez is 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA in two career starts against the Rays, with four home runs allowed in 10 1/3 innings. He yielded three of those round-trippers in an April 10 home loss to Tampa Bay, scattering eight runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: San Diego Padres vs. Chicago Cubs - 7/19/2019 - 2:20 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: San Diego Padres vs. Chicago Cubs - Date: 7/19/2019 Slumping Padres to face surging Cubs at WrigleyFLMTwo teams distancing themselves from their rivals meet over the next three afternoons at Wrigley Field in Chicago.But they are headed in opposite directions.The Chicago Cubs are 5-1 since the All-Star break to open up a three-game lead in the National League Central.Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres are 1-5 coming out of the break and are 4-10 over their last 14 games to fall further and further out of the second Wild Card spot.While the Cubs appear to be at a threshold, the Padres are definitely at a crossroads, having just lost two of three games to the Miami Marlins after losing seven straight home games at Petco Park.In a match of left-handers, the Padres will open with Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.04 ERA) Friday afternoon while the Cubs counter with veteran Jon Lester (9-6, 3.74 ERA). An added factor will be the weather . Fox Sports Picks. Triple-digit temperatures are expected for the first two games of the series.This will be Lauer's first start since July 5. He had been away from the Padres on bereavement leave following the death of his father just before the All-Star break."He's a big part of our family," said Padres manager Andy Green of Lauer's absence from the team. "He's been through a lot with his family. I can't imagine what he's had to walk through over the last couple of weeks. We're here to support him. Handicapper Return on Investment. To have him here. Him getting back on the mound at Wrigley Field will be as cathartic an anything can possibly be for him. I know he really wants to pitch right now." The 24-year-old Lauer has been, with one exception, the Padres' most consistent starter over the past two m onths. Over his last nine starts, Lauer is 3-3 (and the Padres are 6-3) with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.224 WHIP in 50 2/3 innings. He allowed exactly one earned run in seven of those nine starts.Lauer's ERA has fallen from 5.75 to 4.04 over the last nine games.He made one start against the Cubs during his 2018 rookie season. It did not go well. He gave up five runs on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts in two innings to suffer the loss (0-1 vs. Cubs, 22.50 ERA). Cubs hitters went 5-for-11.Lauer had celebrated his 11th birthday just a week before the 35-year-old Lester made his Major League debut on June 10, 2006.Lester will be making his 19th start of the season on Friday. It will also be the 14-season veteran's 400th career appearance and 399th start. Now in his fifth season with the Cubs, Lester has a 70-37 record and is a two-time National League All-Star who finish second and ninth in two NL Cy Young Award races."Jon is the ultimate professional," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said earlier this season while discussing Lester. "He is going to be there every fifth day and he'll give you everything he has. You can set your clock by Lester. Football Handicappers. That's a sign of being the ultimate pro. Pitchers like him are rare and getting rarer." Lester will be making his eighth career start against the Padres. He is 3-1 with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.279 WHIP in 40 2/3 innings against the Padres, allowing 18 runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 36 strikeouts.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants - 7/19/2019 - 10:15 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants - Date: 7/19/2019 Beede, deGrom ready for Round 2 of Mets-Giants battleFLMRight-handers Jacob deGrom and Tyler Beede have tough acts to follow when they take the ball Friday on the second night of a four-game series between the visiting New York Mets and San Francisco Giants.Former All-Stars Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner both pitched brilliantly in the series opener Thursday, a game the Giants won 3-2 by outscoring the Mets 2-1 in the 16th inning.Syndergaard pitched seven innings and Bumgarner nine, each allowing just one run.It'll be up to deGrom and Beede to rest weary bullpens after the Mets used seven relievers and Giants six in each team's second-longest game of the season.The Mets have seen similar brilliance from deGrom (5-7, 3.21 ERA) in his past 10 starts, during which he's never allowed more than three runs in any game. He's 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA over that stretch.The 31-year-old hasn't pitched in San Francisco since 2017. He's 4-2 in his career against the Giants with a 2.91 ERA in seven starts, and 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts in San Francisco.Beede (3-3, 5.44 ERA) pitched a 7-0 loss at New York in June, roughed up for six runs (five earned) and five hits in five innings. Michael Conforto and Amed Rosario homered off him in the game.It was the 26-year-old's only career start against the Mets (0-1, 9.00 ERA).Interestingly, Beede will be making his second appearance of the series, having been called upon to pinch hit in the 14th inning Thursday after the Giants ran out of position players. He struck out.While there were no surprises in the pitching assignments for the first two games of the series, both managers took time before Thursday's opener to reshape their staffs for a series that matches two teams making a belated run at wild card spots in the National League.Mets manager Mickey Ca llaway announced that right-hander Walker Lockett would be promoted from Triple-A to start Saturday in place of injured Zack Wheeler.Wheeler, who complained of shoulder fatigue after his last start on July 7, threw off flat ground before Thursday's game as a first step toward what the Mets hope will be a speedy recovery."Obviously playing catch and continuing to play catch dictates a lot of what goes on next," Callaway said. "So we'll just feel him out day to day and see where we're at." Meanwhile, the Giants gave Bruce Bochy another left-hander at his disposal in the bullpen when they called up Williams Jerez from Triple-A Sacramento. And the veteran skipper wasted no time getting the 27-year-old on the hill, summoning him to begin the 15th inning in the series opener."So we can lighten the load on the rest of the guys," Bochy explained before the game about the addition of Jerez, noting the Giants began the week with four games in three days at Colorado. "We have been using (the bullpen) a lot, and that's a good thing. We've been winning." Jerez wound up picking up his first big-league win despite allowing a tiebreaking home run to Mets slugger Pete Alonso in the top of the 16th.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros - 7/19/2019 - 8:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros - Date: 7/19/2019 Slumping Rangers look to regain momentum vs. AstrosFLMThe Houston Astros survived an eight-game road trip through Arlington, Texas, and Anaheim, Calif., and somehow earned a split despite serious concerns regarding the depth of their starting pitching.By late Thursday evening, their attention had turned to a more immediate problem: managing some rest during the short turnaround between the series finale against the Los Angeles Angels and the start of their three-game series against the visiting Texas Rangers on Friday.With an inexplicably late scheduled start in Orange County, the Astros were scheduled to arrive in Houston at 5:15 a.m. on Friday morning. Instead of having the benefit of an afternoon start to cap their series, which Houston split with a 6-2 victory Thursday, the Astros faced a late departure from California and a home landing approximately 14 hour s before first pitch against Texas."I'm going to try," Astros outfielder George Springer said of squeezing in some sleep on the flight home. "I'm going to force myself to." Right-hander Justin Verlander (11-4, 2.98 ERA) will start the series opener for the Astros. He was victorious in his last outing, allowing two runs on four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over six innings in a 12-4 victory over the Rangers on Sunday in Arlington. It marked the first time in six starts that Verlander did not allow a home run.He is 16-8 with a 2.79 ERA over 29 career starts against Texas, including a 3-0 mark and 2.63 ERA over four starts this season.Left-hander Mike Minor (8-4, 2.73 ERA) gets the start for the Rangers opposite Verlander. Expert Sports Picks. Texas is 0-2 in his two starts this month, with Minor posting a 6.75 ERA in those outings including a 7-6 loss to the Astros on Saturday w hen he allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings.Minor was 3-0 with a 1.70 ERA in June as the Rangers won all five of his starts that month. He is 3-3 with a 4.48 ERA over 14 career appearances (11 starts) against the Astros, including a 1-1 record and 3.71 ERA over three starts this season.What was a promising start to the second half quickly fizzled for the Rangers. Money Cappers. Texas has lost four consecutive games and has been outscored 40-10 over its past three contests. Friday in Houston marks the start of a 10-game road trip that includes three games in Seattle and four in Oakland.The Rangers find themselves in need of positive momentum."We've got to play better, obviously," Texas manager Chris Woodward said, "overall in pretty much every way. We've got to hit better, we've got to pitch better -- I mean, it's pretty clear cut we're not doing what i t takes to win ballgames right now. We've got to look in the mirror and say we've got some pretty tough opponents coming up."We played really well against the Astros the first three games, and we've got a tough pitcher coming up with Houston. I don't think our guys are going to back down at all. I think we've been pretty resilient all year. Our guys have just got to step it up and play better." --Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins - 7/19/2019 - 8:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins - Date: 7/19/2019 Odorizzi, Twins go for two in a row over A'sFLMThe Minnesota Twins snapped their longest losing streak of the season in dramatic fashion in Thursday night's series opener with the Oakland A's in Minneapolis.Eddie Rosario hit a three-run, pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning to put Minnesota in front 4-3 and Mitch Garver and C. J. Cron added solo home runs an inning later in a 6-3 victory that ended a modest three-game losing stretch by the American League Central leaders.Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (11-4, 3.06 ERA) will try to make it two in a row for the Twins on Friday night against Oakland, which will counter with right-hander Chris Bassitt (6-4, 3.98).Odorizzi, who missed the All-Star Game because of a blister on his throwing hand, won his first start after the break, 6-2 at Cleveland on Saturday. He allowed one run on three hits and two w alks over 5 1/3 innings and left after throwing 89 pitches.Odorizzi is just 1-4 with a 3.86 ERA in seven career starts against the A's including an 8-6 loss on July 2 at Oakland. He allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits and three walks in just three-plus innings before departing with the blister problem.Bassitt is 0-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four games (one start) against Minnesota in his career. He has won two of his last three starts and comes in off a 13-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday during which he tossed six shutout innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out six.Oakland, which had a six-game winning streak snapped with the Thursday night loss, is 36-17 since May 16 and 12-3 over its last 15 games. Second baseman Jurickson Profar hit a two-run homer in the series opener, his third in two games. Free Winning Sports Picks. That extended Oakland's streak with a ho me run to 18 games."He's been hitting some homers, period, but it seems like he's getting better at-bats right now," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Profar. "I think he's more comfortable at second base. He's making some good plays and turning some double plays. ... He's playing well right now." Profar looked as if he was going to be the hero on Thursday night when his long blast into the second deck in the sixth inning off Kyle Gibson gave Oakland a 3-1 lead. But Rosario put the Twins ahead to stay in the seventh with his three-run shot off the facing of the second deck in right on the first pitch by reliever Yusmeiro Petit.Rosario's 21st home run of the season was the first pinch-hit homer of the season for Minnesota, which leads the majors with 177 home runs."It was an awesome feeling," said Rosario, who was serenaded with chants of "Eddie! Eddie!""He loves being in those situations," Twins manag er Rocco Baldelli said. "I think he fully expected to hit a home run because that's what he does. He's come through in so many situations, big spots. His confidence is not lacking, and that's a huge asset for him. Sports Handicapping Service Units Gained. That's a trait that's going to carry him a long way. He's just a really talented guy that can do some really interesting things out there." --Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Miami Marlins vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - 7/19/2019 - 10:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Miami Marlins vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - Date: 7/19/2019 Dodgers return to L. A. to face MarlinsFLMDone with the rigors of the road, for now anyway, the Los Angeles Dodgers will return home Friday night to face both the Miami Marlins and a familiar concern: a bullpen that has been the weak link in an impressive season.The Dodgers left Philadelphia where they split a four-game series, losing the two games when the bullpen coughed up late leads. Money Cappers. The most recent came Thursday when the Dodgers had a 5-3 lead in the seventh inning, only to lose when the Phillies scored four times in the frame.Caleb Ferguson, Dylan Floro and Joe Kelly all pitched in the deciding seventh as Ferguson was charged with two runs, Floro took the loss and Kelly was saddled with a blown save. Top Rated Sports Services. That loss came two days after Kenley Jansen allowed three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in another defeat.On top of that, Jansen is nursing a sore right ankle after he was hit by a comebacker in Tuesday night's meltdown.By the time the Dodgers are done with the upcoming five-game homestand, they will be a week away from the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and deep into a period when they are expected to go shopping for relief help. Dodgers relievers have a 4.00 ERA this season, while the starters have a 3.03 mark.The team is just glad to be home, where they have not played since July 7. Todays Free Sports Picks. The entire coaching staff and six players, counting Home Run Derby participant Joc Pederson, went to Cleveland for All-Star festivities. Then there was a series in Boston where the final game approached six hours. Wednesday night's victory at Philadelphia ended just before 2 a.m. ET in advance of a day game."For the guys that were part of the All-Star festivities, I mean, shoot, the coaches and players, this makes a long trip exponentially longer," manager Dave Roberts said. "So, yeah, this is as crazy as it's been for me, personally. I guess I can speak for the coaches as well. And the players that took part in the All-Star Game." The Marlins might have the worst record in the National League at 36-58, but they will enter off a series victory at home against the San Diego Padres. The Marlins won Thursday's finale on Brian Anderson's RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning.It was a much-needed series victory for the Marlins, who lost 8 of 10 games before the Padres came to town."When you talk about a season and a young club that's building, you just want to see them get better all the time," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after Thursday's victory. "I'm not sure what our records are i n April, May, June, but I feel like we are just getting a little better all the time." All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2, 1.78 ERA) will pitch in the series opener for the Dodgers. He is 2-1 lifetime against the Marlins with a 2.79 ERA in three starts. The left-hander is coming off an outing Sunday at Boston when he gave up two runs on eight hits over seven innings in a no-decision.The Marlins will counter with right-hander Zac Gallen (0-1, 4.24), who will be making his fifth career start. The rookie has never faced the Dodgers and is coming off an outing Saturday against the New York Mets when he gave up two runs on four hits over five innings in a no-decision.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - 7/19/2019 - 7:05 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - Date: 7/19/2019 Pirates look to bust out of slump against PhilliesFLMThe Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates, who open a weekend series Friday at PNC Park, did not get off to great starts coming out of the All-Star break.Philadelphia might be breaking out of it. With a 7-6 comeback win Thursday against the Los Angeles, the Phillies picked up their 50th win and have won two of their past three games after going 1-3 to open a post-break, seven-game homestand against the Dodgers and Washington Nationals."It's big for the confidence of the guys in (the locker) room," Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins told MLB Network. "We knew this was going to be a big week for us. ... Confidence is still sky-high here. We're not panicking. But it feels good to get a win going on the road." Pittsburgh is 1-5 since the All-Star break after piling up 12 wins in the 17 games before the respite. So even though it's only been six games back -- granted, all on the road -- the Pirates were looking forward to Thursday's idle day going into a seven-game homestand that begins Friday."The off-day couldn't come at a better time. Obviously, these first two series haven't been great," said Pittsburgh's Chris Archer, who started the latest loss, Wednesday at St. Louis. "Plenty of season left. I like our team. I like our guys. We're much better than what we've shown." In the series opener, Philadelphia right-hander Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.54 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh righty Jordan Lyles (5-6, 5.16).Arrieta, pitching with a painful bone spur in his right elbow, allowed one run and four hits in five innings Sunday against Washington."The more pitches I throw, the more difficult it becomes. It doesn't feel good, I'll tell you that," Arrieta said.At less than 100 p ercent, affecting his pitch repertoire, he can still be effective."What did 85 percent of Jake look like for us? That's it, right?" Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "It's a guy who can fight through some discomfort. It's a guy who can fight through not being at his best but can still give us a chance to win." Arrieta is 12-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 22 career starts against Pittsburgh.Lyles, who won five of his first six decisions, now has lost five straight decisions, has a 10.13 ERA over his past seven starts, and has allowed at least one homer in six consecutive starts.Last Saturday, Pittsburgh's second game after the break, he gave up seven runs in two-thirds of an inning in a 10-4 loss against the Cubs. Sports Picks. There apparently is no physical issue to blame."I'm in a serious funk right now," Lyles said. "I can't put my hat on one particular thing. I started out the season really well. ... I need to figure a way to get back there, but right now it's the low of lows for me personally. I'm not doing my team any favors, obviously, trying to get back in this race. I have to do a lot better on my end, for sure." This will be his 16th start, his most since he made 22 with Colorado in 2014.Against the Phillies, Lyles is 1-1 plus one save with a 3.22 ERA in 10 career appearances. He last faced them May 23, 2017 while with the Rockies, pitching a scoreless inning of relief.--Field Level Media

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