MLB Game Recap: Washington Nationals (3) vs. San Francisco Giants (1) - Date: 5/31/2017 Jun 1, 2017 SAN FRANCISCO Max Scherzer struck out 11 in a five-hitter and the Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep. Ryan Zimmerman hit his 15th homer, a three-run shot off Matt Cain (3-4) in the first inning that stood up as Scherzer (6-3) went the distance for the first time this season. Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner added two hits apiece to help Dusty Baker move within one win of becoming the 16th major league manager to reach 1,800 career victories. Washington played without slugger Bryce Harper, who began serving a three-game suspension for his role in Monday's bench-clearing brawl between the teams. Harper initially was suspended four games but had the penalty reduced and agreed to drop his appeal.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
MLB Game Recap: Colorado Rockies (0) vs. Seattle Mariners (5) - Date: 5/31/2017 Jun 1, 2017 SEATTLE James Paxton and three relievers combined on a four-hitter to help the Seattle Mariners beat the Colorado Rockies 5-0 on Wednesday night. Paxton (4-0), activated off the disabled list earlier in the day, retired 16 of the first 17 hitters he faced, allowing only a two-out infield single in the third inning. Paxton, making his first start since May 2, struck out Pat Valaika to open the sixth, but then allowed consecutive singles to Tony Wolters and Charlie Blackmon, ending his 74-pitch outing. Handicappers Watchdog. The pitcher had been sidelined with a left forearm strain. He struck out six and walked one. Steve Cishek retired all five hitters he faced and James Pazos pitched the eighth. Nick Vincent allowed a single in the ninth, to finish the four-hit shutout. Rock ies rookie Antonio Senzatela (7-2) allowed four runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in five innings, losing for just the second time in 11 starts. Point Shaving. The Mariners took a 3-0 lead in the second. Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager opened with consecutive singles, each advanced on a wild pitch, and Danny Valencia followed with a two-run double to the gap in right-center. Mike Zunino doubled in Valencia. Seattle extended it to 4-0 in the fifth when Jarrod Dyson walked to open, advanced on a balk, took third on a wild pitch and came home on Ben Gamel's single down the left-field line. Leading Handicappers. The Mariners added a run in the seventh on singles by Zunino and Segura, a wild pitch, and Gamel's sacrifice fly. TRAINER'S ROOM:Mariners: Nelson Cruz, who left Tuesday's game at Colorado in the second inning with r ight calf tightness while playing right field in the interleague game, was back in the lineup as DH. . RHP Felix Hernandez (right shoulder inflammation) and RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (right shoulder inflammation), each on the 10-day DL, each looked good in recent bullpen sessions. Manager Scott Servais said Hernandez is expected to throw a couple innings in a simulated game Friday or Saturday and then go out on a rehab assignment after that. UP NEXT:Rockies: Left-hander Kyle Freeland (5-3, 3.43) makes his first career start against the Mariners in the Thursday afternoon finale of the two-game series at Safeco Field. He has pitched at least 5 2/3 innings in each of his last seven starts. Mariners: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo (2-5, 5.76) has never beaten the Rockies. He is 0-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 11 career games against Colorado, including 10 starts. Gallardo has won only once in his last six starts.
MLB Game Recap: Atlanta Braves (1) vs. Los Angeles Angels (2) - Date: 5/31/2017 Jun 1, 2017 ANAHEIM, Calif. Eric Young Jr. made his first home run of the season timely, the solo shot in the eighth inning providing the Los Angeles Angels with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night and a three-game series sweep of the Atlanta Braves. Winning Sports Handicappers. The Angels' Albert Pujols remained at 599 career home runs, collecting one single in four at-bats. Sports Handicappers. The Braves opened the scoring in the second inning when Matt Kemp drilled a solo home run. For Kemp it was No. 10 on the season and No. 250 for his career. It was also his 40th hit in May. It remained a 1-0 game into the bottom of the seventh, the Angels tying the game with an odd offensive inning. After two infield singles, the Angels had runners on first and second when Shane Robinson hit a chopper to third baseman Rio Ruiz. Ruiz stepped on the bag for the force just ahead of hard slide by Martin Maldonado, who clipped the feet of Ruiz. Sports Predictions. That delayed his throw to first enough that he had to hurry it, throwing it past first baseman Jace Peterson for an error that allowed Danny Espinosa to score from first to tie it. Both starting pitchers performed well but were not involved in the decision. Jaime Garcia went seven innings for the Braves, allowing one unearned run, five hits and three walks. He has allowed only one earned run in the 21 2/3 innings of his last three starts. Jesse Chavez went seven innings for the Angels, giving up the one run, five hits and a walk, striking out four. Young, only called up Monday to take the place of the injured Mike Trout, hit his home run off reliever Arodys Vizcaino (1-1). Vizcaino had made 12 consecutive scoreless appearances until giving up the homer to Young. Blake Parker (1-2) picked up the victory with one inning of work, while Bud Norris got the final two outs for his 10th save. TRAINER'S ROOMBraves: 1B Matt Adams was out of Wednesday's lineup a sore left knee. Manager Brian Snitker said it happened sometime during Tuesday's game and Adams woke Wednesday with the knee soreness. He is only expected to miss one game. . 2B Brandon Phillips returned to the lineup after missing two games with a bruised right knee. Angels: Trout was deemed to have had successful left thumb surgery to repair his ulnar collateral ligament and dorsal capsule. Still estimating he'll be out 6-to-8 weeks. . OF Cameron Maybin was out of the lineup for a second consecutive night with tightness in his side. UP NEXTBraves: After a day off, RHP Mike Foltynewicz is scheduled to start Friday in Cincinnati. Foltynewicz has had an uneven season for the Braves, going 3-2 in his last five starts despite a 6.12 ERA. Angels: RHP Alex Meyer is expected to be activated off the 10-day DL to start the opener of a four-game series against the Twins. Meyer is 2-2 with a 5.79 ERA in five starts. He has been on the DL since May 21 with back spasms.---https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
MLB Game Recap: Tampa Bay Rays (7) vs. Texas Rangers (5) - Date: 5/31/2017 Jun 1, 2017 ARLINGTON, Texas Logan Morrison and Derek Norris homered in a three-run 10th inning to cap a late Tampa Bay comeback as the Rays beat the Texas Rangers 7-5 on Wednesday night. Kevin Kiermeier tied the score with two outs in the ninth inning with a first-pitch home run off Texas closer Matt Bush. What is Sports Handicapping. The 10th-inning homers came off Sam Dyson (1-6), who began the season as Texas' closer. Austin Pruitt (4-1), recalled from Triple-A Durham earlier in the day, earned the win with two hitless innings. Alex Colome gave up one run in getting his 15th save. Elvis Andrus had three hits and two RBIs, including Texas' go-ahead run in the seventh inning. Andrus drove in Shin-Soo Choo, who reached on a fielder's choice on a putout at the plate and then s tole second base. Pete Kozma was thrown out, pinch-running for Mike Napoli, who led off the seventh with a double when the ball popped out of the glove of Kiermeier near the top of the wall in center field. Rays starter Chris Archer allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings, matching his season high with 114 pitches. Stephen Souza Jr. hit a two-run home run in the second inning, his fifth in eight games and 10th of the season. Point Shaving. The homer came off Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who made his first major league start at age 32 following 12 seasons in the minors. Bibens-Dirkx, who previously made four relief appearances after joining Texas on May 7, allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. Texas tied the score 3-3 in the fifth helped by a wild pitch on a strikeout of Napoli. He scored on a fielder's choice on which the Rays asked for a review of Shin-Soo Choo's slide into second baseman Daniel Robertson, judged not in violation of the slide rule. TRAINER'S ROOMRays: RHP Matt Andriese (right groin strain) was placed on the 10-day DL after leaving Tuesday's start after 1 2/3 innings. Rangers: The next rehab start for RHP Tyson Ross (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) will be Saturday for Triple-A Round Rock. UP NEXTRays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-2), who allowed season highs with seven hits and four walks last Saturday in a no-decision at Minnesota, will begin the three-game series at Seattle. Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish (5-3) will open a three-game home series against the Astros having gone winless in his last seven starts against Houston.---More baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
MLB Game Recap: Detroit Tigers (6) vs. Kansas City Royals (5) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Mo. J. D. Martinez and Justin Upton hit two-run doubles with two outs in the third inning as the Detroit Tigers held off the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Wednesday night. Royals starter Ian Kennedy (0-5) walked the bases loaded before giving up the doubles on consecutive pitches. Victor Martinez and Alex Avila homered for the Tigers, who completed a 4-7 three-city trip. Kennedy was pulled after three innings, allowing five runs, four hits and three walks. Kennedy is 0-7 in 13 starts since he last won on Sept. 11. He threw 41 pitches in the third. Kennedy went 0-3 with an 11.30 ERA in May, allowing 18 earned runs, 16 hits, including six home runs, and nine walks in 14 1/3 innings. Best Sports Handicappers in the World. The Royals took a 3-0 lead on four hits in the first. Salvador Perez singled home Lorenzo Cain with the first run. Cheslor Cuthbert's two-out single scored Eric Hosmer and Perez. Cuthbert doubled and scored on Alcides Escobar's two-out single in the fourth. freepick. The Royals cut the lead to one run in the eighth when Jorge Bonifacio and Whit Merrifield singled. Bonifacio scored on Alex Wilson's wild pitch. Merrifield extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games, the longest by a Royal this season. Justin Wilson worked the ninth to collect his fifth save in six opportunities. Number #1 Sports Handicapping Service. Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd did not make it out of the fourth, permitting four runs and seven hits. Warwick Saupold (1-0) allowed one hit in three scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Hosmer led off the fifth with a single for his 1,000th hit. PEREZ TOPS C ATCHERS VOTINGPerez, a four-time All-Star selection, is leading American League catchers on the first release of the All-Star ballot. ''I love it a lot,'' Perez said of the mid-summer classic. ''Thank you for the fans. I hope they keep voting for me. It's a lot of fun. The first one was Mariano Rivera's last All-Star game. The second one was Derek Jeter's. Guys you know are going to be in the Hall of Fame. You relish those moments.''TRAINER'S ROOMTigers: Upton left with a mild strain of his right quadriceps while running the bases in the third inning. . 2B Ian Kinsler, who is on the DL with a left hamstring strain, is eligible to come off it on Tuesday. ''I'd be shocked if he doesn't,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. UP NEXTTigers: RHP Michael Fulmer will start Friday as the Tigers open a homestand against the White Sox. The Tigers play 12 of their next 15 in Detroit. Royals: LHP Jaso n Vargas will start Friday in the opener of a weekend series with Cleveland.
MLB Game Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers (1) vs. St Louis Cardinals (2) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 ST. LOUIS Dexter Fowler hit tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning to back Carlos Martinez and give the St. Louis Cardinals a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday night. Martinez (4-4) allowed one run on four hits while striking out nine as he pitched into the eighth inning for his third consecutive start to help St. Louis snap a three-game losing streak. Ross Stripling (0-3) lost for the first time since April 26 as he surrendered Fowler's seventh home run of the season, a 429-foot shot to right-center field. Free Picks for Today. The Dodgers saw their six-game winning streak end. Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in 14 opportunities this season. Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to the rotation in place of Alex Wood after earning the save last Wednesday, May 24 versus St. Louis in his first career relief appearance. Ryu allowed one run on three hits in six innings in his first start since May 11 at Colorado.
MLB Game Recap: Boston Red Sox (4) vs. Chicago White Sox (1) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 CHICAGO Pablo Sandoval hit a tiebreaking single in Boston's four-run sixth inning and Drew Pomeranz struck out eight in his second straight win, helping the Red Sox beat the Chicago White Sox 4-1 on Wednesday night. Sandoval went 3 for 4 in his first game since he was activated from the disabled list Tuesday after being sidelined by a sprained right knee. It was an encouraging sign for the Red Sox, who are in need of some help at the plate with Dustin Pedroia sidelined by a sprained left wrist. Chicago wasted a great start by Mike Pelfrey in its second consecutive loss after winning four of five. Football Tipsters. The big right-hander struck out five while pitching five scoreless innings of two-hit ball, leaving him with a 1.13 ERA over his last three games.
NHL Game Recap: Nashville Predators (1) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (4) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Penguins kept Pekka Rinne plenty busy this time. Track Handicappers. Too busy for Rinne and the rest of the Nashville Predators to keep up with the surging defending Stanley Cup champions. Jake Guentzel, Scott Wilson and Evgeni Malkin scored 3:18 apart early in the third period as the Penguins chased Rinne and pulled away for a 4-1 victory in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night. Fox Sports Picks. The Penguins lead the best-of-seven series 2-0. Game 3 is Saturday night in Nashville in what amounts to a last stand for the Predators and their suddenly very average-looking goalie. Good Return on Investmen t. The 22-year-old Guentzel finished with two goals to give him an NHL-high 12 during the playoffs, the second-most by a rookie in postseason history. His 19 playoff points are the most by an American-born first-year player and he'll have at least two more cracks at adding to that total. If the Predators don't get it together back home in ''Smashville,'' it might only be two. Matt Murray played spectacularly at times through the first two periods, buying his teammates enough time to find their footing and get to Rinne. Murray finished with 37 saves in all as he helped move the Penguins to within two victories of becoming the first team to go back-to-back since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998. Pontus Aberg scored the lone goal for the Predators, who were once again undone by a sudden barrage from the NHL's highest-scoring team. In Game 1, the Penguins pushed three goals by Rinne in a span of 4:11 in the first period to build a 3-0 lea d. The Predators rallied to tie before Guentzel's go-ahead goal with 3:17 remaining put the Penguins ahead to stay. This time, Pittsburgh's flurry came a little bit later. And it was once again led by the baby-faced son of a coach who has no problem shouldering the responsibility of playing alongside star Sidney Crosby. The game was tied at 1 at the start of the third period when Guentzel jumped on a rebound 10 seconds into the period to put Pittsburgh ahead. Wilson was credited with his third of the playoffs just over 3 minutes later when a centering pass caromed off Nashville's Vernon Fiddler and by Rinne. Malkin added his ninth of the playoffs and second of the series just 15 seconds later and Rinne was skating to the bench in favor of backup Juuse Saros after stopping 21 of 25 shots. Rinne fell to 0-5-0 in five career starts in Pittsburgh and he has never beaten the Penguins anywhere as a starter. The Penguins vowed to put more pressure on Rinne than they managed in their 5-3 victory in Game 1, a win they managed despite going 37 minutes without throwing a single puck Rinne's way and none in the second period, the first time that's happened since the NHL started tracking shots in 1957. The Penguins matched their entire shot total from the opener (12) by the end of the first period but still found themselves trying to keep up with the Predators. The Stanley Cup newbies were disappointed but not dismayed by their Game 1 loss, pointing to the way they carried play for long stretches as tangible proof they weren't just happy to be here. The result was the kind of up-and-down play that showcased the speed on both sides and included more than a dash of antagonism, particularly early. Nashville's Matt Irwin drilled Pittsburgh's Matt Cullen from behind into the boards in the first period, a hit that left the 40-year-old Cullen headed down the runway for a quick check but didn't result in a penalty. Minut es later, Penguins forward Chris Kunitz became tangled up with P. K. Subban and ended up cross-checking Subban in the head, part of a sequence that saw Malkin go off for hooking. Malkin and Subban even ended up fighting in the third period when things got out of hand. It was a scene hard to imagine through the first two taut and chippy periods. The 23-year-old Aberg beat Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta to a puck in the Penguins zone, passed it through Maatta to himself and then patiently drew Murray out of the net before flipping it by the sprawled goaltender. The Penguins, as they've done when pressed throughout the postseason, responded almost immediately. Guentzel, who snapped an eight-game goalless drought when he pumped the winner by Rinne with 3:17 left in the series opener, tied it later in the period. The 5-foot-11 rookie planted himself at the post and jabbed a backhand rebound to tie it. Pittsburgh stayed in it thanks to Murray and when Pittsburgh returned t o the ice for the start of the third they, as coach Mike Sullivan is fond of saying, ''got to their game.''A style that now has the Penguins two victories away from history.---For more NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
MLB Game Recap: New York Yankees (4) vs. Baltimore Orioles (10) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 BALTIMORE Adam Jones homered and drove in five runs, Chris Davis added a two-run shot and the Baltimore Orioles beat Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees 10-4 on Wednesday night. Baltimore took two of three from the AL East leaders after coming in with a seven-game losing streak. Soccer Tipsters. The Yankees have lost 11 straight series in Baltimore - the second-longest road skid in franchise history behind a 12-series drought at Oakland from 1985-91. Back in the lineup after missing four straight games with a sore hip, Jones contributed an RBI double to a four-run third inning, hit a three-run homer in the fourth and drove in a run with an infield hit in the eighth. Sports Picks Free. Tanaka (5-5) lost his fourth straight start, extending the longest streak of his career. Sports Handicappers Rankings. The right-hander gave up seven runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Yankees had 11 hits but stranded 11 and went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Kevin Gausman (3-4) allowed two earned runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings, walking five and striking out four. He twice escaped bases-loaded, two-out jams to earn his second win since April 13 and provide hope for a starting rotation that was 1-9 since May 8. The Orioles took charge in the third. After Jones' run-scoring hit, Mark Trumbo hit a two-run double and Davis added an RBI single. Jones' fourth-inning homer made it 7-1. It was the 14th long ball allowed by Tanaka in 11 starts, including eight in his last four outings. Davis hit his 11th home run with a man on in the seventh to cap his first multi-hit game since May 16. MILESTONETanaka's four strikeouts gave him 501, making him the eighth Japanese pitcher to reach 500. Only four other pitchers have reached 500 Ks with the Yankees in their first four major league seasons: Andy Pettitte, Lefty Gomez, Orlando Hernandez and Mel Stottlemyre. ROSTER MOVESYankees: Recalled RHP Giovanny Gallegos from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... RHP Bryan Mitchell was optioned to the same minor league club after Tuesday's game. Orioles: Recalled RHP Mike Wright from Triple-A Norfolk. ... Optioned RHP Logan Verrett to Norfolk. TRAINER'S ROOMYankees: SS Didi Gregorius was held out after being hit in the right hand by a pitch Tuesday night. X-rays were negative, but there was some swelling. Gregorius was available off the bench. . CF Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice Wednesday and is edging closer to coming off the seven-day concussion DL, manager Joe Girardi said. ... 1B Greg Bird (ankle bruise) will begin his rehab assignment Thursday night with Class-A Tampa. O rioles: C Welington Castillo was placed on the 10-day DL with a testicular injury that occurred when the baseball that hit Gregorius ricocheted downward and struck Castillo in the groin. UP NEXTYankees: CC Sabathia (5-2, 4.42 ERA) seeks his 16th career win against the Blue Jays when New York launches a four-game series in Toronto on Thursday night. Orioles: The Boston Red Sox come to town for a four-game series. The contentious rivalry between AL East foes ramped up this season when an aggressive slide into second base by Orioles 3B Manny Machado in late April led to dangerously inside pitches, harsh words and a warning from MLB officials to stop the feuding.---More baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
MLB Game Recap: Milwaukee Brewers (7) vs. New York Mets (1) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 NEW YORK Eric Thames hit his first home run in three weeks, Keon Broxton also went deep against an ineffective Jacob deGrom, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the New York Mets 7-1 Wednesday night for just their third win in 10 games. Released by the Mets following a 50-game minor league drug suspension in 2009, Junior Guerra (1-0) defeated New York for the first time. He allowed four hits in six scoreless innings, struck out four and walked three, baffling batters with his splitter. A 32-year-old right-hander who went 9-3 last year in his first season with the Brewers, Guerra hurt his right calf while running to first on a bunt during his opening day start and did not return until Friday. He had stints in Mexico, Italy and Venezuela, and with Wichita of the independent American Association before making his big league debut with the Ch icago White Sox in 2015. Eric Sogard walked on full counts in his first three plate appearances, then singled and flied out. Winning Sports Handicappers. The Brewers, surprise leaders in the NL Central, are 5-0 when he bats leadoff. In his previous outing, deGrom (4-2) threw 118 pitches and became the first Mets starter this year to reach the ninth inning. Against the Brewers, he allowed seven runs, eight hits and five walks in four innings, raising his ERA from 3.23 to 3.97. Fox Sports Picks. The right-hander has given up multiple homers in four starts, double his 2016 total. New York had been trying to stretch a winning streak to four for the first time early April. Profitable Handicappers. The Mets went 10-14 in April and 13-14 in May, the first time since 2013 they had losing records in both m onths. Thames hit his 13th homer on May 9, then was slowed by a hamstring injury and strep throat. He was in an 0-for-19 skid entering Tuesday, when he singled, tripled and walked twice. He reached four times for the second straight night, homering on a changeup in the first for a 2-0 lead, doubling and walking twice. Broxton homered leading off the second for a 3-0 lead, and the Brewers broke open the game in a four-run fourth. Jesus Aguilar had an RBI double on a drive that center fielder Curtis Granderson nearly caught with a dive - the ball hit the heel of his glove and popped out. Hernan Perez hit a two-run single, and Manny Pina had an RBI groundout. Before the inning, Milwaukee had been 2 for 27 with runners in scoring position in the series. Rob Scahill allowed an RBI double to Michael Conforto in the ninth. WEB GEMSMets SS Asdrubal Cabrera made a diving stop of Perez's third-inning grounder and a glove flip to 2B Neil Walker, who caught the ball with his bare h and to force Travis Shaw. Perez just beat Walker's one-hop throw to first, avoiding a double play. In the sixth, Conforto made a diving catch on Perez's liner to left. OUCHMets C Rene Rivera, plunked by a pitch on the right wrist Monday, was hit in the mask by foul balls in the first, second and fourth. ... Conforto was hit on the right leg by a pitch in the seventh. WHOOPSDomingo Santana said he lost track of the outs, which is why he didn't run hard from first base on Jett Bandy's bases-loaded popup with two outs in the seventh inning Tuesday night. Cabrera dropped the ball and two runs came across as Milwaukee tied the score 4-all, but Santana made it only to third and was stranded. The Brewers lost 5-4 in 12 innings. Santana said he was prepared to accept a fine from the players' internal kangaroo court. ''I don't fine anybody,'' manager Craig Counsell said. ''The players do. You certainly discuss it. It's something that can't happen, for sure.''OUT OF CONTROLMets pitchers walked eight for the second straight night. TRAINER'S ROOMMets LF Yoenis Cespedes, on the DL since April 28 with a strained left hamstring, did not play for the fifth straight day for Class A St. Lucie because of a sore right quadriceps. ... Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez is scheduled for partial knee replacement surgery Thursday. UP NEXTRHP Chase Anderson (3-1) starts Thursday's series finale for the Brewers, and RHP Zack Wheeler (3-2) goes for the Mets. Anderson had a no-hit bid last Saturday until Nick Ahmed's leadoff single in the eighth at Arizona, setting career highs with 11 strikeouts and 114 pitches in seven-plus innings during a 6-1 win.---More baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
MLB Game Recap: Oakland Athletics (3) vs. Cleveland Indians (1) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 CLEVELAND Sean Manaea allowed three hits in seven innings, Chad Pinder homered twice and drove in all three Oakland runs, and the Athletics defeated the Cleveland Indians 3-1 on Wednesday night. Manaea (4-3) retired the first 10 hitters before Francisco Lindor homered with one out in the fourth. He gave up singles to Daniel Robertson and Edwin Encarnacion, along with a walk to Jose Ramirez. Todays Free Sports Picks. The left-hander struck out nine and won his third straight start as Oakland snapped a four-game losing streak. Pinder, the Athletics' No. 9 hitter, hit a solo homer in the third and broke a 1-all tie with a two-run shot in the fifth. Mike Clevinger (2-2) gave up both home runs.
MLB Game Recap: Arizona Diamondbacks (6) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (5) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 PITTSBURGH Chris Owings singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks outlasted the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 on Wednesday in a game that took more than 4 1/2 hours to play - plus a 93-minute rain delay. Paul Goldschmidt and Nick Ahmed homered for the Diamondbacks, who led in the ninth and 11th before finally putting away the Pirates. Money Cappers. T. J. McFarland (3-0) pitched three hitless innings for the win. Ahmed hit a solo shot in the 11th but Jordy Mercer tied the score in the bottom half with a home run of his own as steady showers began to fall. NFL Handicappers. The game was delayed by rain after the 11th inning for 1 hour, 33 minutes. David Peralta singled off Jhan Ma rinez (0-3) to start the 14th and advanced to second on Goldschmidt's groundout. Jake Lamb was intentionally walked, and Owings singled to right field.
MLB Game Recap: Philadelphia Phillies (2) vs. Miami Marlins (10) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 MIAMI The Miami Marlins keep winning, and there's plenty of room on the bandwagon. Justin Bour hit two home runs , increasing his season total to 15, and the Marlins completed their first series sweep of the season by beating woeful Philadelphia 10-2 before a sparse crowd Wednesday. Marcell Ozuna hit his 14th homer for the Marlins (21-30), who have won four games in a row, their longest winning streak since last July. Dan Straily (4-3) struck out 10 , allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings, and won his third start in a row. What is Sports Handicapping. There were few witnesses. Announced attendance was 15,197, lowest of the season in Miami, and a head count put the actual crowd at 1,590, perhaps the smallest in the five-year history of Marlins Park. Straily, for on e, didn't care.''I can't tell you how many people were there or weren't there,'' Straily said. ''I will say it was really cool when I was walking off the field in the seventh. It sounded like there were a lot of people there, so that was really cool.''With the franchise for sale, the Marlins are on pace to finish last in the NL in attendance for the 12th time in the past 13 years. But lately they're giving fans more to cheer about. Miami swept three games against division rival Philadelphia for the first time since 2012.''Two teams that were both struggling, pretty much even,'' Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. ''They came out on top; we came out on the bottom. We need a series like they just had against somebody.''The Phillies (17-34), off to their worst start since 1961, went 6-22 in May. Fox Sports Picks. That& #039;s their fewest wins in a month since June 1997. Best Sports Picks Today. The Marlins, by contrast, finished the month strong after a stretch when they went 4-19.''We're playing better,'' manager Don Mattingly said. ''Hopefully our best baseball is ahead of us.''The Marlins are winning with offense, scoring 73 runs in the past 10 games, and the latest victory came without slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who rested while recovering from hamstring cramps. He's expected to return to the lineup Thursday. Bour hit a solo homer in the fifth and a two-run homer in the sixth to finish with 11 homers in May.''We have a dangerous lineup one through nine,'' Bour said. ''We're realizing just how good this lineup can be, and the runs we can put up, and guys aren't trying to do too much.''Ozuna borrowed teammate Ichiro Suzuki' s bat to homer Tuesday, stuck with it to hit a two-run homer in the first inning Wednesday and then said he was retiring it. Ozuna went on to collect two more hits with his own bat. Aaron Nola (2-3) lost his third start in a row. He gave up four runs and needed 73 pitches to get through three innings - his shortest outing of the year.''Too many pitches for me,'' Mackanin said. ''I didn't want him to get hurt and throw 100 pitches in four innings.''The Phillies were held to less than three runs for the ninth time in the past 11 games. They were outscored 21-5 in the series. LOWLIGHT REEL1B Bour nearly fell into the first row when he chased down a wild throw by the railing and turned to throw.''I slipped a little bit on the cement,'' a sheepish Bour said. ''I think I fell gracefully. A big tree falls hard. I said hi to the fans.''ROSTER MOVEBefore the game, the Phillies recalled RHP Ricardo Pi nto from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He made his major league debut in the fourth and gave up four runs in two innings. Pinto took the roster spot of RHP Vince Velasquez (elbow), who went on the 10-day DL. TRAINER'S ROOMMarlins 3B Martin Prado (right hamstring) and SS Adeiny Hechavarria (abdominal muscle) are on target to begin rehab assignments in a couple of weeks, Mattingly said. UP NEXTMarlins: Miami LHP Jeff Locke is scheduled to make his season debut Thursday against Arizona and RHP Zack Greinke (6-3, 3.24). Locke has been on the DL with left biceps tendinitis. Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (0-5, 4.74) is scheduled to start Friday when the Phils begin a three-game homestand against San Francisco and LHP Ty Blach (3-2, 3.83).---More baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
MLB Game Recap: Chicago Cubs (1) vs. San Diego Padres (2) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 SAN DIEGO Rookie Franchy Cordero tripled in the eighth and scored on Yangervis Solarte's fielder's choice and the San Diego Padres beat Chicago 2-1 Wednesday, the Cubs' season-high sixth straight loss. Luis Perdomo and two relievers combined to hold the struggling Cubs to three hits. Sports Monitor. The rebuilding Padres won their season-high fourth straight game and swept the Cubs for the first time since Aug. 6-8, 2012. Sports Handicapping Software. The defending World Series champion Cubs, who were swept at the Dodgers during the weekend, finished their first winless trip of at least six games since Aug. 3-8, 2012, when they also lost three at Los Angeles and three at San Diego. Overall the Cubs have lost seven in a row on the road. Cordero, who made his big league debut on Saturday, tripled to right-center off Koji Uehara (1-3) leading off the eighth. Solarte hit a grounder to second baseman Ian Happ, whose throw home wasn't in time to get Cordero. Brad Hand (1-3) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Brandon Maurer pitched the ninth for his eighth save. NBC Sports Picks. The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second. Anthony Rizzo was hit with a pitch for the second time in three games and didn't look happy about it. He tossed his bat aside and slowly walked to first. He stole second, advanced on Happ's fly to center field and scored on Willson Contreras' two-out infield single. Ryan Schimpf tied it with a leadoff homer off Jake Arrieta in the second. Shimpf came in hitting .166. Of his 25 hits, 14 are homers. Arrieta went six innings, holding San Diego to one run and five hits while striking out seven and walking two. Perdomo allowed one run and three hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked two. UP NEXTCubs: Return home for an off day Thursday before RHP John Lackey (4-5, 5.18) is scheduled to oppose RHP Lance Lynn (4-3, 2.93) in the opener of a three-game series against St. Louis. Padres: After a day off, LHP Clayton Richard (3-6, 4.33) is scheduled to open a three-game series against Colorado, which will counter with RHP German Marquez (4-2,3.76)
MLB Game Recap: Cincinnati Reds (4) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (5) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 TORONTO After a hot month of May returned the Blue Jays to respectability, the start of June will bring a stiff test: a visit from the first-place New York Yankees. Devon Travis hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the seventh inning, Luke Maile also hit a two-run shot, and Toronto beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep. Jason Grilli (2-4) pitched one inning for the victory as the Blue Jays won for the eighth time in nine games and finished May at 18-10. After winning eight of their final nine games in May, the Blue Jays welcome the AL East-leading Yankees for a four-game series starting Thursday.''It would be nice to continue playing well right now,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''The timing would be perfect. We'll see.''Toronto was 8-17 in April, but b ounced back to finish May at 26-27 thanks to a barrage of home runs, 49 in total.''In the American League, especially in our division, you've got to hit home runs,'' Gibbons said. ''That's the key.''The Blue Jays hit nine homers in sweeping the Reds. Winning Sports Handicappers. Toronto won 6-4 Tuesday when Kendrys Morales hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth.''We had a hard time keeping them in the ballpark,'' Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. ''When they needed that big homer in this series, they got it.''Joe Smith worked the eighth and Roberto Osuna survived a shaky ninth for his 11th save. Scott Schebler homered on Osuna's first pitch, his NL-leading 16th. A single, Ryan Goins' fielding error, and a stolen base gave the Reds runners at second and third with one out, but Osuna preserved the win by striking out Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart.''The tendency is to get on the defensive and he didn't do that,'' catcher Maile said of Osuna. ''He really made good pitches when he had to.''Travis, whose 13-game hitting streak ended Tuesday, snapped an 0-for-6 slump by connecting off Wandy Peralta (2-1).''I was doing my best to just battle him,'' Travis said. ''I was just trying to put the ball in play and he was making pitch after pitch.''Joey Votto hit a two-run homer for the Reds, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Votto homered for the second straight game when he connected off Mike Bolsinger in the first, his 14th. Sports Handicappers. Toronto halved the deficit in the bottom half on Morales' sacrifice fly, but Cincinnati's Jose Peraza made it 3-1 with an RBI double in the second. Football Picks Today. The Blue Jays tied it on Maile's drive off Tim Adelman in the fifth. Travis homered on a two-out, full-count pitch in the seventh inning, his fifth. Home plate umpire Carlos Torres went down in pain after taking Chris Coghlan's foul tip off his left knee in the fourth. Torres received attention from the Blue Jays training staff and was able to continue. FIRST THINGS FIRSTThe Reds have scored in the first inning of six straight games, the first time they've done that since August 25-30, 1999. MILLIONAIRESThanks to a crowd of 44,058, Toronto became the first AL team to draw at least one million fans this season (1,014,651). The Blue Jays rank fourth in total attendance, trailing San Francisco, St. Louis, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. IN THE MAILETwo of Maile's four hits this season have been home runs. His blast Wednesday snapped an 0-for-13 skid. TRAINER'S ROOMReds: LHP Amir Garrett (right hip) is expect ed to throw a bullpen session on Thursday's off day and could return next week, manager Bryan Price said. Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson and SS Troy Tulowitzki were held out of the starting lineup for the matinee series finale. Both returned from the DL last Friday. UP NEXTReds: After an off day Thursday, RHP Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 6.62) gets the start Friday as Cincinnati returns home to begin a three-game series against Atlanta. Arroyo is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his past four starts. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (3-5, 4.44) will start for the Braves. Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (4-2, 3.15) starts the opener of a four-game series against the first-place Yankees. Estrada is 3-0 with a 3.16 ERA in his past four outings. LHP CC Sabathia (5-2, 4.42) starts for New York.---More baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
MLB Game Recap: Houston Astros (17) vs. Minnesota Twins (6) - Date: 5/31/2017 May 31, 2017 MINNEOLIS Carlos Correa stood slack-jawed in the dugout as George Springer rounded the bases a second time Wednesday. Correa was unable to comprehend the force Springer must have needed to send the second-longest homer in the majors this season into the concourse above the second deck at spacious Target Field. Professional Handicappers. The Minnesota Twins were just as stunned by the power the Astros unleashed throughout the series. Springer reached base in all six plate appearances and hit two of Houston's season-high six home runs to lead the Astros to their seventh straight victory, 17-6 over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.''I was in shock,'' Correa said of Springer's second homer, a 473-foot moon shot that trails only a 481- footer from Arizona's Jake Lamb this season. ''I've never seen a ball hit that hard before live in my life. It was not really where it landed, it was just the way it sounded the way it came off the bat. It just skyrocketed off the bat. ''Correa, Alex Bregman, Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez also went deep for the Astros, who scored 40 runs in the three-game sweep to set a franchise record. Fixed Games. They had 19 hits on Wednesday and 37 in the series. Brian Dozier, Eddie Rosario and Jason Castro homered for the Twins, who have lost four straight. Hector Santiago (4-5) gave up six runs on eight hits and walked three in six innings, three days after he was an emergency fill-in during the 15th inning of a loss to Tampa Bay.''We got embarrassed in a few ways this series,'' Dozier said. Springer hit a solo shot in the fifth and his blast in the seventh started a six-ru n eruption that put the game out of reach.''That's all I got. Sports Handicapping Service Units Gained. That's about all I can hit it,'' said Springer, who has 13 homers this season after his fifth career multihomer game. ''I'm just happy to help us there. They had just scored three, so I'll take it.''Gattis had four hits and three RBIs and Correa had three hits and three RBIs for the Astros (38-22). The Twins put three runs on the board in the sixth on homers by Rosario and Castro to pull within 6-5, but the bullpen fallen faltered badly once again.''I think we're in a good position right now, but I'm not going to get comfortable,'' Correa said. ''We're going have to try for more. We're going to try to be 30 games over .500 if we can.''PAULINO'S DEBUTHighly touted Astros prospect David Pauli no gave up two hits on five runs and struck out eight in four innings of a wild major league debut. The 23-year-old was electric in his first three innings, striking out the side in the second. He had three wild pitches in the fourth, but was able to strike out Castro with two on base to keep the inning from getting away from him. Michael Feliz (2-0) got the win and left-hander Reymin Guduan also made his big league debut, allowing one run on two hits in two innings. BULLPEN BLUESMinnesota's bullpen allowed 27 earned runs in nine innings. Ryan Pressly lasted two batters and the normally reliable Tyler Duffey gave up four runs on four hits without getting an out in the seventh. Position player Chris Gimenez made his third appearance of the season as a reliever in the ninth inning. After the game Pressly was sent to Triple-A Rochester and Jason Wheeler was designated for assignment and manager Paul Molitor met with top executive Derek Falvey for about 30 minutes discussin g their dwindling options.''We'll add a couple fresh guys tomorrow that will be on the periphery of giving us some, hopefully, protection,'' Molitor said. ''It's constantly evolving for how these guys are going to pitch and when. Just trying to figure out how to finish games off when we have a chance to win.''TRAINER'S ROOMAstros: No updates. Twins: Miguel Sano missed his second straight game because of an illness. UP NEXTAstros: Houston gets a day off Thursday before starting a series against the Rangers in Arlington on Friday. LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-0, 1.81) will start for the Rangers against RHP Yu Darvish (5-3, 2.97). Twins: Minnesota heads west to open a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. LHP Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.64) will start the opener for the Twins.
MLB Game Preview: Colorado Rockies vs. Seattle Mariners - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 10:10 PM EDT Venue: Safeco Field, Seattle, WA, 98134 Left-hander James Paxton will return to the Seattle Mariners' beleaguered rotation Wednesday when the series with the Colorado Rockies shifts to Safeco Field in Seattle after two games at Coors Field. Paxton, who was on the disabled list since May 3 with a left forearm strain, will be the first of Seattle's four injured starters to be reinstated. Before going on the DL, Paxton (3-0, 1.43 ERA) made six starts and had a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings from April 5-20. He threw 55 pitches over four innings in a rehab start Friday for Double-A Arkansas. Mariners manager Scott Servais said Paxton, who is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in one career start against Colorado, might pitch five or six innings Wednesday, depending on where his pitch count is." I think we need to be realistic on what the expectations are for Paxton," Servais said. "He hasn't been out there in a while. Certainly was off to a great start. Kind of been our horse in the rotation, his ability to get deep in games and kind of taking the next step in his career because he can dominate games. We've seen that at times from him." It means a lot to us to get him back in there. It has been a struggle; we used our 12th starter the other day, which is unheard of at this time of the season." Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela (7-1, 3.19 ERA) will face the Mariners for the first time. His ERA is the lowest in Colorado history through 10 starts. He pitched a career-high eight scoreless innings in his last start Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals in Colorado's 10-0 win. While Paxton looks to knock off the rust and get his season started again, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is looking for improvement. After flying out four times in Colorado's 10-4 lo ss to Seattle on Tuesday, Arenado is hitting .283 with 17 doubles, 12 homers, 34 RBIs and a .551 slugging percentage." I haven't felt like I'm doing the damage I know I can do," said Arenado, who led the National League in home runs and RBIs each of the past two seasons. "I haven't felt anywhere near (as good as) I know I can. I think that's a good sign." Obviously, it's a frustrating sign because I want to get going like I know I can and I want to start doing the damage and driving in runs that I know I can do. ... I know (my stats) could be way better if I felt like the way I know I can feel." Arenado said he has been pitched much differently this season, seeing lots of sweeping breaking pitches and fastballs away on the corner." They're OK with walking me," Arenado said. "I got to be OK with taking my base. But the thing with me right now is I'm missing mistakes. When they make mistakes over the pl ate, I'm missing them, and that's the problem." There has been some solace, though, for Arenado. Sports Illustrated Picks. The winner of four consecutive Gold Gloves, Arenado is playing his typically stellar defense that often includes one eye-opening play per game, and the Rockies are playing well." I am beating myself up too much," Arenado said. "I know I can play better, but the team right now is winning and I believe my defense is helping this team win games -- more than my offense, really."
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MLB Game Preview: Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 10:15 PM EDT Venue: AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA, 94107 SAN FRANCISCO -- Bryce Harper will get a chance to hit against one of his least favorite pitchers when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants complete a three-game series Wednesday night. Free Guaranteed Sports Picks. The Nationals won the first two games 3-0 and 6-3 to move within one victory of their third road series sweep of the season. Washington went 9-1 during a three-city trip in April, sweeping three straight from Atlanta and the New York Mets before taking three of four at Colorado. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. The Nationals pounded out 14 hits in the Tuesday win over the Giants despite getting nothing out of Harper's five at-bats. He struck out three times. Harper learned earlier in the day that he was suspended by Major League Baseball for four games for charging the mound and participating in a brawl during the eighth inning of the Monday win. Harper believed he was justified in taking action because he felt Giants reliever Hunter Strickland intentionally hit him with a pitch. MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre seemed to agree with Harper, handing Strickland the stiffer of the penalties, a six-gamer. Both players appealed their suspensions. Handicapper Directory. They are eligible to play until their appeals are heard. Harper clearly wasn't totally focused on the Tuesday game, having been badgered with more questions beforehand. Nationals manager Dusty Baker tried to deflect some of the attention, insisting to a large group of reporters that he felt Harper's suspension was unfair." I just don't think that the j udges, whoever the judges were, have ever been in the situation," he said. "Probably only Martin Luther King (Jr.) or Gandhi would have turned the other cheek and not done something reactionary." On Wednesday, Harper must face Giants starter Matt Cain (3-3, 4.45 ERA). Harper has only one career hit -- a three-run home run -- against Cain in 10 at-bats. The veteran Giants right-hander has struck him out the last four times they have dueled. Cain has handled most Nationals recently, not allowing a run in either of his last two starts against them. He is 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA against Washington in his career. Cain will be opposed by a familiar opponent -- Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer (5-3, 2.77 ERA). The two went head-to-head in Game 4 of the 2012 World Series, with Cain and the Giants prevailing 4-3 to complete a four-game sweep of Scherzer's Detroit Tigers. In an effort to improve upon a 2-4 record and 5.52 ERA in six career starts against the Giants, Scherzer will have to deal with someone he has never faced -- Giants outfielder Orlando Calixte. Called up from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day and immediately plugged into the leadoff spot, Calixte got his first two major league hits Tuesday, including a double that drove in two of the Giants' three runs." I thought he had good at-bats," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's nice to get a hit your first time up leading off the game." With the Giants searching for a regular left fielder, and with right fielder Hunter Pence on the disabled list and with center fielder Denard Span siting out the start because Washington was throwing a left-handed pitcher, Bochy wound up playing Calixte at all three outfield positions over the course of the Tuesday contest. He became the first Giant in eight years to accomplish the feat.
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MLB Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 7:05 PM EDT Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md., 21201 BALTIMORE -- The New York Yankees are playing as well as any team in the majors, and they can take a key three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday at Camden Yards. After dropping the opener 3-2, New York rebounded with a dominant 8-3 win Tuesday night. While Yankees manager Joe Girardi is pleased with his team's performance this season, he knows there still room for improvement." I just think at times we've been a little inconsistent with that we've done," Girardi said. "Teams go through that. Other times, we've pitched really, really well and have not scored runs. Other times, we scored runs and not pitched really, really well. Best Sports Handicappers. Through the course of the season, you're going to go through that, or you're going to end up with 120 wins and that has not happened." I still like the way we're playing. We have a chance every game." The Yankees are displaying power this season, led by rookie right fielder Aaron Judge, who has 17 home runs and a team-high 37 RBIs. On Tuesday, Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday each hit a pair of solo homers, which took the pressure off starter Luis Severino. Girardi appreciates that type of production from his hitters, especially against Baltimore, which has a high-powered offense of its own." It's never an easy game when we play them," Girardi said. "They're a very good team and they're very explosive. You never really feel it's safe." Baltimore manager Buck Showalter has also been impressed with the Yankees this season. Sports Picks Today. The Orioles' pitch ers will need to do a much better job containing New York's lineup to avoid losing a home series for just the second time this season." They're a really good club," Showalter said. "They're going to be really hard to beat." The Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka (5-4, 5.86 ERA) appears to be getting back on track. Winning Sports Picks Who You Should Follow. The right-hander allowed just one run and had a career-high 13 strikeouts in his last outing against the Oakland A's, but he still endured his third consecutive loss. In his previous two starts, Tanaka allowed a total of 14 runs on 16 hits over just 4 2/3 innings, which put added pressure on the bullpen. Tanaka is 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA in six career starts against Baltimore. He got a no-decision at Camden Yards on April 8, when he pitched five innings of three-run ball. The Orioles will counter with right-hander Kevin Gausman, wh o has also pitched better after some early struggles. He has thrown consecutive quality starts and has shown better command recently. In his last outing, Friday against the Houston Astros, Gausman (2-4, 6.17 ERA) allowed two runs on a pair of solo homers over 6 2/3 innings. The Orioles, however, could not muster any offense in a 2-0 loss. Gausman has enjoyed some success against the Yankees over his career, going 6-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 19 appearances (13 starts)." I know my stuff's really good when I'm getting a lot of foul balls," Gausman said. "That's one thing that throughout my whole career, when I'm on, guys are fouling it off. Unfortunately, it kind of gets me into deep counts."
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MLB Game Preview: Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 3:40 PM EDT Venue: Petco Park, San Diego, CA, 92101 SAN DIEGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon's get-up for Wednesday's getaway day is all set. After Chicago caps its three-game series in San Diego against the Padres, Maddon will head home in style. Basketball Predictions. The Cubs had an "Anchorman" theme on their six-game, West Coast road trip and Maddon's acquisition on Tuesday is perfect." I finally got a leisure suit," Maddon said, "Right off the rack and it fits." The Cubs were fitted for their World Series rings, but they've hardly played like champions. Chicago faces the Padres for the last time this season hoping to break a season-high, five-game losing streak, including defeats in the first two games at Petco Park. Just don 39;t count Padres manager Andy Green among those concerned about the Cubs." Do I respect them? Yes," Green said. "Are they one of the best teams in baseball? Without question. Can any team go through a 50-game stretch and play .500 and still be a really competitive team at the end of the season? Absolutely. I don't look at a 50-game stretch and write them off, as good a team as they are." Maddon scratches his head over what ails the Cubs. For example, they are among the league leaders in getting guys on base and among the worst at getting them home." It's the same hitters getting out there," Maddon said. "But when we get out there with runners on base, we are doing something differently. Maybe we're unlucky, but that's got to come together soon." Still, Maddon is declining to punch the panic button." If there was an abject lack of any offensive prowess, maybe," he said. "But there's not. All we h ave to do is continue. We're not playing bad, we're just not hitting with runners in scoring position, and that has been our primary problem right now offensively." On the pitching side, we just have to keep the ball in the ballpark a little bit better." The Cubs will turn to Jake Arrieta to make Wednesday's flight a happy one. Arrieta (5-4, 4.92 ERA) has lost three of his last four outings, and that includes a Friday setback in Los Angeles. He surrendered four runs on five hits, two of them being Dodgers long balls." Home runs have hurt him a little bit, that's about it," Maddon said. "Overall he has thrown the ball well. Sports Handicapper Tracker. The velocity is coming back up, the location of the fastball has gotten better and the curveball has been outstanding." If only Arrieta, who is 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three career starts against the Padres, can keep San Diego from flexing its muscles. Arrieta did that the last time he faced the Padres when throwing eight innings of scoreless ball in August." He got beat by the home run in St. Louis with two two-run homers and another one back at home," Maddon said. "Then the Dodgers got him with homers." It's kind of been like that team-wise, and we normally don't do that. We have been giving up more home runs, which has been very unusual. Football Handicappers. That is not what we have done the last few years." San Diego's Wednesday starter, Luis Perdomo (0-2, 5.61 ERA), has lost his last two decisions after not earning one in a franchise-record six straight games to open the season. Perdomo, whose eight outings have produced five quality starts, has faced the Cubs just once. In three innings, he allowed two runs, two hits and two walks while striking out three. His work between starts is ab out making his fastball more effective against left-handed hitters." There has been a lot of work done to combat lefties and attack them in a different manner," Green said, "and we're going to continue to see if that work comes to fruition. We've seen some progress, but there are still more steps out in front of him on facing lefties."
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MLB Game Preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 8:05 PM EDT Venue: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Tex., 76011 ARLINGTON, Texas -- The feel-good story of Texas right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx takes another step Wednesday when the journeyman makes his first major league start against the Tampa Bay Rays in the rubber match of a three-game series. And while Bibens-Dirkx (0-0, 3.97 ERA) has had his work cut out for him throughout his pro career, the fact that he will face off against Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer (4-3, 3.61) adds to the pressure. Despite what appears to be a one-sided pitching matchup, the 32-year old Rangers rookie is eager to take the ball." I'm pretty excited about it," said Bibens-Dirkx, who has pitched in four games for the Rangers since making his major league debut May 17. "It's something I've worked for 11-plus years, and hopefully I can go out there and continue to make pitches. I'm just trying to settle the emotions a little bit as best I can." The first start adds to a career in which Bibens-Dirkx has pitched in the Toronto, Washington, Colorado, Chicago Cubs and Seattle organizations as well as stops in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the independent Atlantic League. Bibens-Dirkx got the word Tuesday that he was going to make the start." Knowing (in advance) I'm getting the start ... I'll be able to relax a little bit and take things a little bit differently, but I'll definitely keep an eye on the hitters and I'll be in the dugout and I'll focus and hopefully see something most people might not," said Bibens-Dirkx, who has yet to oppose Tampa Bay. What he will face Wednesday is one of the most consistent pitchers in the majors in Archer. Sports Handicapper King. The lanky right-hander, who is 1-2 with a 5.34 career ERA in five starts against the Rangers, comes into the game on a roll. He struck out 11 in his last start, Friday at Minnesota, and picked up his fourth win with 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball. Archer set a club record for strikeouts in May with 51 and can add to that against the Rangers. He needs four strikeouts Wednesday to break the club record for any month, a mark set by David Price in June 2014. One thing that is likely is Archer will pitch deep enough in the game to have a chance to pile up strikeouts. He already has made five starts of at least seven innings this season and has thrown at least 100 pitches in 20 straight starts dating back to 2016." I take pride having that ball in my hand as long as I possibly can," Archer said. "You mentioned the work I was doing out there. I don't do it for nothing. I take my job very seriously. I appreciate that they trust in me and that I've shown them enough to this point that I can hav e that ball deep into the game." The Rays will have two off days in the next week and should be able to give Archer some extra time between starts." I hope that they lean on me (Wednesday) definitely equally if not more than they have in the past," Archer said. "If I get extended, 120 or 130 pitches, I've got two days extra to heal. I'm conditioned for it. And if the game dictates that I need to do it, I'm ready and willing."
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MLB Game Preview: Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Angels - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 10:07 PM EDT Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif, 92806 ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels will face the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, their third game in a row without Mike Trout in the lineup or manning center field because of a torn ligament in his left thumb that will keep him out six to eight weeks. Sports Picks for Today. The first two games saw Albert Pujols hit in Trout's usual No. 3 spot in the batting order while Cameron Maybin and Eric Young Jr. each made a start in center field. Maybin will get most of the starts in center, but he strained a muscle in his side on Monday and was out of the lineup on Tuesday. Angels manager Mike Scioscia likes to mix and match his lineups, so picking up the slack for Trout will require help from all over the roster." I think you'll feel that impact," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Monday. "The team will require multiple people stepping up in his absence. Best Sports Picks of the Day. The team will continue to fight, as it always does, but you know you're losing the heart of your order and the heart of your defense and a leader in the dugout and on the bench. It's something to absorb, there's no doubt. But I know the guys in the clubhouse will do their darnedest to absorb it." Left-hander Jaime Garcia (2-3, 3.58 ERA) will start for Atlanta, only his second career appearance against the Angels. In the other one, on May 11, 2016, he limited the Angels to two unearned runs in seven innings and earned the victory. Garcia has pitched better than his record would indicate this year, and he is coming off his best start of the season. Last Friday at San Francisco, Garcia threw 6 2/3 scoreles s innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out five." No. 1 is being able to keep the ball down, keep the ball on the ground," Garcia told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That's my game, that's what I try to do every time I take the mound. And then use my off-speed the right way, keep them off-balance and execute pitches on both sides of the plate." Garcia also will try to avoid being on the wrong side of history, as Pujols is one home run away from becoming the ninth player in major league history to hit 600. Pujols is 1-for-3 with a single and a strikeout against Garcia in his career. Jesse Chavez will start for the Angels, but which Chavez will show up Wednesday is anybody's guess. Chavez (4-6, 5.09 ERA) has made four starts in which he gave up two runs or fewer, but three starts in which he allowed at least five runs. Chavez is coming off his worst outing of the season, when he lasted a season-low 3 2/3 innings and ga ve up five runs and eight hits in a loss at Miami on Friday. According to Chavez, his success, or lack thereof, all comes down to his execution, regardless of the opponent." At the end of the day, it's just a battle between myself ... between me and my mechanics," Chavez told the Orange County Register. "I'm trying to find that drive to each side of the plate."
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MLB Game Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 12:35 PM EDT Venue: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15212 PITTSBURGH -- Their All-Star center fielder was suspended half a season for flunking a drug test. A top pitcher underwent testicular cancer surgery. Other key players have occupied the disabled list, and the former National League Most Valuable Player has carried last season's struggles over to this one. All that helps explain why the Pittsburgh Pirates occupy last place in the National League Central. And yet, said Andrew McCutchen, the ex-MVP, "Even though our record isn't where we want it to be, we're still in it." The Pirates have had issues, but the club is still hanging around in the National League Central. Even though they were shut out by Arizona's Robbie Ray on Tuesday at PNC Park, the Pirates find themselves just four games behind first-place the Mi lwaukee Brewers. Pittsburgh will try to close the gap in the rubber match of their three-game set with the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Arizona right-hander Zack Godley will oppose the Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl. Godley has been a pleasant surprise replacing the injured Shelby Miller in the rotation, posting a 1-1 record and 1.99 ERA in five starts. Last season he went 5-4 with a 6.39 ERA, starting nine games and relieving in 18 others." The fastball command, the down fastball movement, has given him the ability to work deeper into games," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "The secondary stuff has been very sharp. Best Sports Handicappers. The curveball has been sharp, and late and the changeup has been located. He's just locked in." McCutchen, who is hitting just .217, a far cry from when he was league MVP in 2013, stirred some memories with a game-ending home run on Monday. He hopes to build on the effort." Baseball is a crazy game," McCutchen said. "I mean, last year if we're in this situation, at this moment, right now we'd be, what, 15 games out or so." Referencing the absences of outfielder Starling Marte, who is expected to rejoin the club after the All-Star break when he completes his suspension for using a performance-enhancing drug; and right-hander Jameson Taillon, who had cancer surgery May 8 but already has made one rehab start, Kuhl said, "We're right in the thick of it, and there are pieces we don't even have." He added, "We've definitely battled some things, but it comes with it in this game. Guys go down and we've had some challenges, but we've been through it before. We're not playing our best baseball yet. Hopefully we'll get heated up." McCutchen, the subject of trade talks during the offseason, is by far the most prominent underachiever but not the only one. Kuhl was expected to improve on a decent rookie season (5-4, 4.20) but is 1-5 with a 6.29 ERA. Kuhl said he is working on his arm angle and learning to reduce his velocity, problems that flattened out his sinker." Guys can hit 97-plus (mph)," he said. "It's been proven. So, I'm just getting back to what I do best. Creating angle of the ball, moving the ball around." Kuhl will be facing Arizona for the first time in his career. Godley made one previous appearance against Pittsburgh, allowing a run in two innings as a reliever in 2015.
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MLB Game Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St Louis Cardinals - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 8:15 PM EDT Venue: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Mo., 63102 ST. LOUIS -- Here is a pro tip for teams trying to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers: Try not to fall behind by the fifth or sixth inning, because their bullpen is proving to be mighty tough to solve. Sports Handicapper Leads. That has been the Cardinals' problem the past two games, and St. Louis was unable to figure it out. Free Sports Picks Daily. The Cardinals will take another stab at keeping Los Angeles' relievers out of the equation Wednesday night in the third contest of a four-game series at Busch Stadium. After firing four scoreless innings Monday in a 5-1 victory, the Dodgers' bullpen soaked up the last 15 outs Tuesday night in a 9-4 win. While their scoreless streak ended at 24 2/3 innings on Yadier Molina's leadoff homer in the eighth, that was all they allowed." That's one of the better bullpens in the game right now," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Los Angeles. "We know if we get deep and they've got a lead, we've got work to do." The Dodgers' relief corps leads the National League with a 2.65 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, a 3.37 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 209 strikeouts. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts' lone concern at this point is the heavy usage of the bullpen over the past three games. Handicapper Return on Investment. Thanks to a rare short start Sunday by ace Clayton Kershaw, who lasted 4 1/3 innings, the relievers have picked up a total of 41 outs in that span." It's not a recipe or formula you want to use all year, but that's baseball sometimes," Roberts said postgame Tuesday. &qu ot;Again, tonight, our bullpen was huge." Roberts might have to pick up the phone to call the bullpen early again Wednesday night with Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-5, 4.28) making the start in place of Alex Wood, who was 6-0 with a 1.69 ERA before going on the 10-day disabled list Monday with SC joint inflammation. Ryu does have a successful, albeit brief, track record against the Cardinals: 1-1 in three career outings with a 1.50 ERA. He picked up a save against St. Louis last Thursday when he pitched the last four innings out of the bullpen to wrap up a 7-3 victory. That was one of 10 victories in the past 12 games for Los Angeles (33-20), which has won six straight to take over first place in the NL West by a half-game over the Colorado Rockies. Meanwhile, the Cardinals (24-25) turn to ace Carlos Martinez (3-4, 3.32) in an attempt to stem a skid that has seen them drop 10 of their past 13 games and fall under .500 for the first time since May 4. Martinez absorbed the loss Friday night in a 10-0 setback at Colorado, although he logged a quality start, working 7 1/3 innings and giving up three runs. He is 2-2 with a 3.55 ERA in seven career outings against the Dodgers, fanning 34 over 33 innings. After his team used five relievers to cover 18 outs Tuesday night, Matheny hinted that the Cardinals could add a fresh arm from the minors before the Wednesday night contest.
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MLB Game Preview: Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 8:15 PM EDT Venue: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo., 64129 KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- May has not been a kind month for Kansas City Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy, who starts Wednesday in the series finale against the Detroit Tigers. Kennedy is 0-4 with a 4.43 ERA for the season, but in three May starts, he is 0-2 with a 10.32 ERA while allowing five home runs in 11 1/3 innings. Game Fixing. The Tigers will counter with left-hander Matt Boyd, who is 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA this season. Kennedy will be making his third start since coming off the disabled list after recovering from a right hamstring strain." I feel better and better every time, just (more) comfortable," Kennedy said. In his first start back on May 21 at Minnesota, manager Ned Yost pulled him after two innings." The first time after taking 15 days off not facing hitters was a little more difficult than I thought it was going to be," Kennedy said. "I felt a little better as the outing went on the other day." In a Friday start at Cleveland, Kennedy yielded a solo home run in the second inning and three runs in the third before retiring the final seven batters he faced in a five-inning no-decision." My legs rebounded a lot better than I anticipated," Kennedy said. "Every time I feel more and more confident with it. My last two innings of my start, I went 1-2-3 both innings." Health-wise, that's all I care about. Everything else will take care of itself after health." Kennedy said his delivery was off in his initial two starts." I had to figure that out," Kennedy said. "It's not quite right yet, but I feel like in between starts it's been a lot better." He said rehabbing from an injury can create bad habits." Yo ur delivery gets a little off whack," he said. "It takes time as you get out of reps." Yost expects Kennedy will go deeper into the game against the Tigers." He's gotten a little better each start," Yost said. "The first start he was off mechanically. He was a little off mechanically the first three innings (the second start) and found it in the fourth and fifth inning. He should be ready to go (Wednesday)." Kennedy is 1-3 with a 3.79 in six career outings against the Tigers. He went 1-1 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts against them last year. Miguel Cabrera is 5-for-13 with two doubles, a triple and three walks against Kennedy. Alex Avila is 2-for-11 with six strikeouts and three walks, but both hits were home runs. Boyd will face the Royals for the seventh time in his career. He is 1-3 with a 9.00 ERA in 23 career innings against the Royals, 0-2 with a 14.40 ERA in three starts at Kansas City. Last season in two starts against the Roy als, Boyd went 0-2 with a 27.00 ERA, yielding 11 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. Boyd is 0-4 with a 6.92 ERA in five May starts, allowing 21 runs (20 earned) on 42 hits and 10 walks in 26 innings." I'm in a good place, just waiting for the next time to get out there," Boyd said. "You know, work off of the adjustments I've made over the last few starts and go out there and compete for a chance to win for the squad." Expect Yost to load the lineup with right-handed hitters. Left-handers are hitting .231 off Boyd, but right-handers are hitting .328 with seven home runs and 21 walks. Boyd needs a quality changeup to be effective against right-handed hitters." The last three outings, it could have been better," Boyd said. "Everything could have been a little better, but, you know, I trust the pitch. Best Sports Handicapping Services. There's constantly work to get it bette r and better and better, every single day." Whit Merrifield is 3-for-4 with four RBIs against Boyd. Lorenzo Cain is 4-for-12 with a home run and five RBIs." My goal out there isn't to get a win for myself," Boyd said. "My goal is to get a win for the team. If we score four, they can't score more than three. If we score one, they can't score at all. So, the goal is to go out there and put your team in a position to win. Win the game for the team, not for the individual statistic."
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MLB Game Preview: Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago White Sox - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 8:10 PM EDT Venue: U. S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Ill., 60616 CHICAGO -- Despite the absence of Dustin Pedroia, the Boston Red Sox swung the bat with authority against the Chicago White Sox in a 16-hit, 13-7 win on Tuesday night. Red Sox manager John Farrell hopes the offense continues to roll on Wednesday night when No. 5 starter Drew Pomeranz (4-3, 4.70 ERA) takes the mound against Chicago's Mike Pelfrey (2-4, 4.41 ERA). After putting Pedroia on the 10-day disabled list with a left wrist sprain, the Red Sox went deep six times on a breezy, 68-degree night in Chicago that caused Guaranteed Rate Field to "play extremely small," according Farrell. An MRI exam revealed no structural damage, but Pedroia is dealing with soreness and swelling, and his hand and forearm were bandaged in a splint as he talked to media before Tuesday's g ame." It could have been a lot worse," Pedroia said. "I'm definitely relieved that it's not broke or anything like that." Leading Boston's free-swinging response were light-hitting No. 9 batter Deven Marrero, who had two homers and five RBIs, and No. 8 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr., who had a three-run shot and drove in a run with a double." To see what (Marrero) and Jackie did at the bottom of the order was outstanding tonight," Ferrell said. "I don't know if it's an inspiration when you lose one of your better players and leader on your team, but we put together quality at-bats against a starter as quality as (Chicago's) Jose (Quintana) is." We were able to capitalize on some pitches in the strike zone, and that was up and down the lineup tonight." Wednesday's forecast is for a sunny 71 degrees." I think we've played two games over 60 degrees at home," Farrell said. "I'm no t going to pin it all on the weather, but I would hope as we get into some more consistent warmer weather, we're going to see more impact on the baseball." Hopefully tonight was an example of it." And Ferrell isn't worried about temporarily plugging the defensive hole at second base with Pedroia out. Pablo Sandoval was activated to take Pedroia's place on the 25-man roster ahead of the Tuesday game. Josh Rutledge started at second base on Tuesday, but Sandoval might be slotted there, too." We've got have the ability to mix and match a little bit left-handed and right-handed in that case," Farrell said. "We're certainly covered." Before missing 31 games with a right knee sprain, Sandoval was hitting .213 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 17 games. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he hoped the 30-year-old Sandoval, a two-time All Star with San Francisco, would improve after a rehab stint at Trip le-A Pawtucket." You're looking for more than what he showed from an offensive perspective," Dombrowski said. Pomeranz will make his 10th start this season and is coming off a solid outing at home last Thursday against the Texas Rangers, when he scattered four hits and allowed two runs over six innings in a 6-2 win. Sports Handicapping Service Leads. The 6-foot-6 lefty wasn't as sharp in his previous three starts, all Boston losses, as his ERA rose as high as 5.29. Pomeranz has made two career appearances, including one start, against the White Sox, and he is 1-0 and has yet to give up a run to Chicago in seven innings. Pelfrey was signed as a free agent by the White Sox in April and assigned to Triple-A Charlotte. He was recalled in late April after James Shields when on the disabled list with a strained right lat. Pelfrey will make his eighth start and has won his last two, allowing three runs ( two earned) on eight hits over 11 innings. In a victory over the Detroit Tigers last Friday, the 33-year-old, 6-foot-7 righty allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out seven in five innings. He is 2-5 with a 5.43 ERA in 11 career appearances, all starts, against the Red Sox. Last year, Pelfrey was 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA against Boston. Hockey Predictions. The White Sox have won four of their past six games, even with the Tuesday loss to the Red Sox. Chicago needs a strong outing from Pelfrey after Jose Quintana was hit hard for the second straight outing on Tuesday and lost his third straight decision. Profitable Sports Handicappers. The left-hander allowed seven runs on 10 hits and was yanked with two outs in the third." We're just going to have to keep grinding it out," manager Rick Renteria said of Quintana. "It's not the stuff. It's the command and the execution. If we can get that back on track, I think Q's going to be who he is, which is a very effective major league pitcher." The White Sox collected 14 hits on Tuesday, the second time in the last three games they had a double-digit hits total. Melky Cabrera and Leury Garcia had three hits apiece Tuesday.
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MLB Game Preview: Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 7:10 PM EDT Venue: Citi Field, Flushing, NY, 11368 NEW YORK -- A pair of teams looking to continue their recent run of strong starting pitching will face off Wednesday night when the New York Mets host the Milwaukee Brewers in the third game of a four-game series at Citi Field. Best Sports Handicapping Services. The Mets ensured themselves at least a split of the series Tuesday night when Jay Bruce delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning to cap a 5-4 victory. New York (23-27) has won three straight overall while the Brewers (27-25) have lost seven of nine. Sports Handicapper Reviews. The Mets' Jacob deGrom (4-1, 3.23 ERA) will oppose the Brewers' Junior Guerra (0-0, 3.12 ERA) in a battle of right-handers on Wednesday. Both deGrom and Guerra will be looking to follow in the footsteps of their rotation mates. Picks and Parlays. The Mets rank 28th in the majors with a 4.76 ERA, but New York starters -- including Tyler Pill, who allowed one run over 5 1/3 innings in his first major league start Tuesday night -- have compiled a 1.93 ERA in the past five games." We're starting to get our guys back to where they belong," Mets manager Terry Collins said Tuesday. "I think all the guys are comfortable with the fact that, hey, we've ironed out all the kinks. And now it's just keep charging and not worry about what happened yesterday or last week or last month." For the Brewers, Zach Davies allowed two runs over five innings Tuesday to complete a turn through the rotation in which the starters produced a 2.37 ERA in five games. The recent strong effort by Milwaukee starters has allowed manage r Craig Counsell to lessen the load on his relievers, who are averaging 3.7 innings per game." I think we're sitting in a pretty good place with all these guys," Counsell said of the bullpen on Monday afternoon. "It's really the quality of their innings (from the starters). That is more important, that you get quality innings from them as much as the length in the game." DeGrom earned the victory last Friday when he allowed one run and struck out 10 over a season-high 8 1/3 innings as the Mets beat the host Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1. It was the longest start of the year for a New York pitcher. DeGrom is 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA in six career starts against the Brewers. Guerra didn't factor into the decision last Friday, when he allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings in the Brewers' 4-2, 10-inning loss to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the first major league appearance since April 3 for Guerra, who sustained a right calf injury during hi s Opening Day start. Guerra has made one start against the Mets and didn't factor into the decision last June 10, when he gave up one run over 6 2/3 innings in the Brewers' 2-1, 11-inning loss at Miller Park. Milwaukee's Orlando Arcia will look to extend a career-high, 10-game hitting streak after going 3-for-6 on Tuesday. On the flip side, Brewers first baseman Marcus Thames ended an 0-for-19 skid when he went 2-for-4 in the extra-inning loss.
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MLB Game Preview: Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 1:10 PM EDT Venue: Target Field, Minneapolis, MN, 55403 MINNEAPOLIS -- With an offense led by the likes of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, the Houston Astros lead the American League in runs scored this season. Profitable Handicappers. Their shutdown bullpen shortens games, and they have two top-line starters in Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. Houston just needs consistency from its other three spots in the rotation and for the starters to stay healthy. Joe Musgrove was scheduled to start the Wednesday game in Minnesota, but he was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday due to shoulder discomfort. Sports Cappers. The Astros recalled right-hander David Paulino to start the series finale against the Twins." I've throw n through a lot of pain in my career and stuff, and I feel like I've been able to manage it pretty well," Musgrove told MLB.com. "But I feel like this is something where a couple days of rest could really do a lot for it. I feel like I could do more harm to myself and the team to go out (Wednesday) and try to gut through it. If I go out and only get an inning in or being in too much pain to go on, that leaves a lot of work for the bullpen and kind of puts us in a tougher spot." Paulino will be making his first appearance for Houston this season. Free Soccer Picks. The right-hander, considered one of the organization's top pitching prospects, was 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in three major league appearances last season, making one start. He has never faced Minnesota. The Twins will have left-hander Hector Santiago (4-4, 4.31 ERA) on the mound. Santiago is 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 caree r appearances (nine starts) against the Astros. He took a loss in his last outing against Houston, allowing five runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings on Aug. 9, 2016. Minnesota will be looking to Santiago to stem the slide at home. The Twins have lost four of the five games on their homestand and are 12-17 at Target Field. They also are looking for some momentum after a tough 15-inning loss Sunday, which was followed by losses in the first two games of the series against the Astros. Houston used an 11-run eighth inning to win Monday's game, then rolled to a 7-2 win Tuesday." It's one of those things where you play that many games in our sport and you're going to be tested, there's no question about that," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the guys here have a pretty good idea that this is one of those early tests that we've had." We've had pretty good flow so far. It's been disrupted the last couple days. We 039;re facing a good team, which makes the task a little more difficult." The Astros hope their starters stay healthy now. Keuchel recently returned from the DL, but Charlie Morton went on the DL last weekend because of a right lat strain." I even think under different circumstances you try to push through this," Houston manager A. J. Hinch told MLB.com. "There's some cautiousness that's important for us to take care of (Musgrove) as a young pitcher and where we are in the season. The state of our rotation, we need to make sure we don't push him deeper into more soreness or potential injuries. When he reported more soreness, it became a very easy decision, quite frankly." Musgrove is expected to miss only one start. Meanwhile, the Astros' offense keeps clicking along. A day after the big inning spurred an epic comeback, Houston put up 10 hits Tuesday. Jose Altuve had four hits Tuesday, giving him seven in the series. Alex Bregman, hitting ninth, homered Tuesday for the second consecutive game." Everybody knows he's not a ninth hitter, but we have to give credit to the back of the lineup because everybody seems like is getting hits, scoring runs, and that makes A. J. put Alex in the ninth spot," Altuve said. "It was perfect. Everybody's putting really nice at-bats together, and that's why we're scoring runs."
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MLB Game Preview: Oakland Athletics vs. Cleveland Indians - Date: 5/31/2017 Time: 6:10 PM EDT Venue: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio, 44115 CLEVELAND -- There will be a new, and unexpected, relief pitcher available in the Cleveland bullpen Wednesday night when the Indians host the Oakland A's in the third game of a four-game series. Right-hander Danny Salazar will be on call for relief work for the first time since being pulled out of the Indians' rotation. Salazar, who struggled badly in 10 starts this season, has been moved to the bullpen in hopes of getting him straightened out and back pitching as he did last year, when he was selected to the American League All-Star team. Handicapper Directory. The move was made after Salazar went 3-5 with a 5.50 ERA while averaging almost five walks per nine innings in his 10 starts." This is not our goal, to h ave him in the 'pen, but it wasn't getting done," manager Terry Francona said. "You can banish a guy to the 'pen, send him to the penalty box. We're not going to do that. Point Shaving. This is temporary. But right now he doesn't have a ton of confidence." The Indians used the same tactic a couple of years ago with Carlos Carrasco, who went to the bullpen as a struggling starter, was able to reboot, and eventually returned to the rotation as a dependable, productive starter. Winning Sports Handicappers. Team officials hope the same thing happens with Salazar. Oakland, meanwhile, is trying to get its season turned around. The A's have a run differential of minus-51, and Bob Melvin has used a different lineup in each of the team's past 45 games, but to little effect. The A's continue to be plagued by st rikeouts. In the first two games of the Cleveland series, Oakland hitters struck out 29 times, including 19 K's in their 9-4 loss Tuesday. At one point in the Tuesday game, Cleveland's Trevor Bauer struck out 10 of 12 batters." They've got strikeout guys and we do strike out some," Melvin said. "But recently, we've been striking out too much. When we don't put the ball in play, we don't give ourselves a chance." The pitching matchup Wednesday will be Oakland's Sean Manaea (3-3, 4.35 ERA) against Cleveland's Mike Clevinger (2-1, 2.82). Manaea has a streak of 14 consecutive games in which he has allowed five hits or fewer while pitching two or more innings. That is the longest such streak by an American League pitcher since at least 1913. Manaea is coming off a strong start in his last outing, a 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday in which he pitched seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball. He struck out eight and walked one. In his only career appearance against the Indians on Aug. 23, 2016, Manaea was the winning pitcher in a 9-1 A's victory. In that game, Manaea pitched seven innings, allowing one run on three hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. Clevinger was recalled from Triple-A Columbus on May 7 when Corey Kluber was placed on the disabled list. Clevinger's last start was the worst of his five starts replacing Kluber. In a 6-4 loss to Kansas City on Friday, he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits, two of them home runs. In his first four starts replacing Kluber, Clevinger was 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA and held opposing batters to a .111 batting average. Clevinger will be starting against Oakland for the first time in his career. He pitched an inning of relief in the game Manaea started against Cleveland last summer, and he gave up three runs on four hits.
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