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MLB • Friday Service Plays • 4/29/16

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  • #42238
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Braves at Cubs

    GAME: Atlanta Braves (5-17) at Chicago Cubs (16-5)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 2:20 PM EST
    WHERE: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Chicago Cubs are off to their best start since 1907 – a year before their last World Series title – and now they get a chance to beat up on the worst team in the majors. Chicago looks for its fourth straight victory when it opens a three-game series against the struggling Atlanta Braves on Friday at Wrigley Field.

    The Cubs will be a tough matchup for rookie right-hander Aaron Blair in his second big-league start. Chicago averages 6.19 runs per game – second-most in the majors – and has scored at least six runs in 11 of its 21 games, including a 7-2 win over Milwaukee on Thursday. The Braves, meanwhile, have scored three or fewer in 12 of their 22 contests, though they snapped an eight-game skid with a 5-2 win at Boston on Thursday. Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis has been among the few bright spots for the Braves offensively, as he raised his average to .305 by going 4-for-5 with three RBIs in the finale against the Red Sox.

    TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), CSN Chicago

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Aaron Blair (0-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (2-1, 1.98)

    Blair made his major-league debut against the Mets on Sunday, allowing three runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old gave up a run in the first before settling in for four scoreless frames, but New York was able to chase him in the sixth. A first-round pick in 2013 by Arizona, Blair was acquired in the Shelby Miller deal last offseason and was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett before being called up.

    Lester has started a season with four straight quality starts for only the second time in his career, and he’s allowed more than one run only once. The 32-year-old beat Cincinnati on Friday, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. Lester is 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA in five career starts against the Braves and threw 7 1/3 scoreless frames to win the only meeting last season.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Cubs 3B/LF Kris Bryant left Thursday’s game with a sprained right ankle and will have a precautionary MRI exam.

    2. Markakis collected his NL-best 11th double Thursday, matching Hank Aaron (1969) and Marcus Giles (2003) for the most by the end of April in franchise history.

    3. Chicago CF Dexter Fowler has collected at least one RBI in a career-best five consecutive games.

    PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Braves 2

    #42239
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Reds at Pirates

    GAME: Cincinnati Reds (9-13) at Pittsburgh Pirates (13-9)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Even though their road trip was cut short by inclement weather in Colorado, where they have won eight in a row, the Pittsburgh Pirates return home on a high note as they prepare to open a three-game series versus the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. The Pirates have won four in a row and six of seven after taking three games against the Rockies.

    Pittsburgh’s offense came alive on the road, scoring 36 runs during the winning streak and putting up at least six runs in each of the past six victories. “We are just trying to continually add to and leverage innings by getting guys on base,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters after Wednesday’s 12-inning marathon. The Reds are trending in the opposite direction as their National League Central rivals, dropped four straight and six of seven after getting swept by the New York Mets. The pitching has been a disaster during the 1-6 slide, allowing a total of 52 runs.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), ROOT (Pittsburgh)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Dan Straily (0-0, 3.50 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Juan Nicasio (2-2, 4.50)

    After making his first three appearances out of the bullpen, Straily turned in a solid start by going five innings and limiting Colorado to one run on two hits while not factoring in the decision. The 27-year-old Straily regressed a bit in his next outing, giving up three runs and four hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday in another no-decision. He was impressive against Pittsburgh on April 10, tossing three scoreless innings in relief.

    Nicasio is trying to find success again as a starter after pitching out of the bullpen for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. The 29-year-old Dominican, who was scheduled to face his former team Thursday, has alternated wins and losses in his four starts for Pittsburgh after giving up two runs on three hits and four walks over five innings of a 7-1 setback at Arizona. Control has been a problem for Nicasio, who has walked 11 in 14 innings over his last three runs.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen went 5-for-10 in the final two games in Colorado, including a three-homer eruption on Tuesday.

    2. Cincinnati won two of three versus Pittsburgh earlier this month but is 4-12 since that series.

    3. 2. Pirates RF Gregory Polanco is 12-for-31 with six RBIs and eight runs scored during a seven-game hitting streak.

    PREDICTION: Pirates 5, Reds 3

    #42240
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Indians at Phillies

    GAME: Cleveland Indians (10-9) at Philadelphia Phillies (12-10)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Coming off a tremendous road trip, the Philadelphia Phillies return home Friday to take on the Cleveland Indians in the opening game of their weekend set. The Phillies went 5-1 on their recent trek and have won six of their last seven overall, capped by a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals this week.

    Philadelphia did not allow a run in its last two contests versus Washington, posting 3-0 triumphs on Wednesday and Thursday to move two games above .500 for the first time this season. Cleveland is in the midst of a solid road trip, posting a 4-2 record over its first two stops at Detroit and Minnesota. Former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who gets the ball for the Indians on Friday, is coming off his best start of the season and has been dominant in National League ballparks throughout his career. Charlie Morton tore his hamstring last week, leaving Friday’s starting pitcher somewhat in doubt for the surging Phillies.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), CSN (Philadelphia)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Corey Kluber (1-3, 4.67 ERA) vs. TBD

    Kluber is 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA with 34 strikeouts and only three walks in his career at NL ballparks. He allowed one run and two hits over eight innings his last time out, snapping a three-start losing streak with a 10-1 victory against Detroit. He has walked one batter and struck out 18 over his last two starts and has one walk versus 16 strikeouts against right-handed batters this season.

    The Phillies are expected to start Adam Morgan, who was scratched from his start at Triple-A earlier this week to take the place of Morton. Morgan appeared in 15 games as a rookie for Philadelphia last season, going 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 3-to-1. The 26-year-old has never faced Cleveland but did allow a home run to Indians veteran Juan Uribe – then with the Braves – last summer.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Phillies OF Odubel Herrera is batting .355 during a nine-game hitting streak.

    2. The only Philadelphia player who has faced Kluber more than three times is OF David Lough (2-for-8 with a triple).

    3. Indians DH Carlos Santana has notched four multi-hit games in his last six contests.

    PREDICTION: Indians 7, Phillies 1

    #42241
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: White Sox at Orioles

    GAME: Chicago White Sox (16-7) at Baltimore Orioles (13-8)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Pitching carried the Chicago White Sox to the top of the American League Central, but they were unable to contain the big bats of the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a four-game series. The visiting White Sox, who had their six-game winning streak halted in the 10-2 drubbing, send left-hander Carlos Rodon to the mound Friday night.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, hitless in his previous four games, broke out of his rut with a grand slam and run-scoring double for a career-high five RBIs. Slugging first baseman Chris Davis ended a 1-for-16 slump with a two-run blast for Baltimore, which had scored a total of five runs in its previous four games. Chicago, which entered the series having allowed an American League-low 53 runs, lost for only the fourth time in 14 games away from home. White Sox closer David Robertson was placed on the bereavement list and will not be available until the series finale.

    TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, MASN (Washington)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox LH Carlos Rodon (1-2, 4.05 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Mike Wright (1-2, 6.23)

    Rodon has only one victory despite turning in a quality start in three of his four trips to the mound, settling for a no-decision last time out after striking out seven and permitting two runs over 6 2/3 innings. It was a big bounce-back effort for Rodon, who was shelled for five runs in a career-low one-third of an inning by the Los Angeles Angels in his previous turn. Rodon lost his only start versus Baltimore, giving up four runs over five innings.

    Wright was en route to his best outing before unraveling late and wound up charged with five runs on eight hits, including a pair of homers, in a 8-1 setback at Kansas City on Sunday. The former East Carolina product also took the loss despite a quality start in his previous turn, giving up three runs over six innings in a 4-3 defeat to Toronto. Wright earned the victory against Chicago his his third career start last year with five innings of three-run ball.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Orioles rookie RF Joey Rickard is batting .472 (17-for-36) at home.

    2. White Sox 3B Todd Frazier has two homers and seven RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.

    3. Orioles DH Mark Trumbo has hit safely in 18 of 21 games.

    PREDICTION: White Sox 5, Orioles 3

    #42242
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Yankees at Red Sox

    GAME: New York Yankees (8-12) at Boston Red Sox (12-10)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Boston Red Sox look to begin a new winning streak against an old rival when they host the New York Yankees on Friday in the opener of a three-game series. Boston had won four straight before falling 5-3 to Atlanta on Thursday, ruining its bid for a sweep of the four-game, home-and-home series.

    Hanley Ramirez has been swinging a hot bat for the Red Sox, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the loss to extend his hitting and RBI streaks to four games. New York is hoping to avoid a third consecutive defeat as it continues its nine-game road trip that began with a 1-2 trek to Texas. The Yankees still are waiting to break out offensively, as they have scored three runs or fewer in five straight contests and 13 of their last 15, going 5-10 in that span. Alex Rodriguez showed no ill effects from the oblique issue that sidelined him for two games, going 3-for-3 with a walk and a home run in Wednesday’s loss.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, YES (New York), NESN (Boston)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.92 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Henry Owens (0-0, 8.10)

    Tanaka has been strong over his first four starts of the season, allowing two earned runs in each outing while recording at least six strikeouts on three occasions. The 27-year-old native of Japan settled for a no-decision against Tampa Bay on Saturday after yielding five hits and fanning seven in seven innings. Tanaka is 4-2 in seven career turns versus Boston but has a lofty 5.13 ERA.

    Owens will be making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace the injured Joe Kelly. The 23-year-old Californian lasted only 3 1/3 innings at Houston in his season debut on Sunday, surrendering three runs on five hits and four walks. Owens, who made his major-league debut against New York on Aug. 4, has yielded 10 runs and 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings in two career outings versus the Yankees – both losses.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Yankees 2B Starlin Castro has recorded three two-hit performances in his last four contests.

    2. Boston DH David Ortiz is hitting .306 with 47 homers and 158 RBIs in his career against the Yankees.

    3. New York will be facing a left-handed starter for the eighth time in its last 10 games.

    PREDICTION: Yankees 8, Red Sox 4

    #42243
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Blue Jays at Rays

    GAME: Toronto Blue Jays (10-13) at Tampa Bay Rays (10-11)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The sputtering Toronto Blue Jays look to begin turning things around when they visit the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday for the opener of a three-game series between American League East rivals. The Blue Jays come in after being swept in three by the Chicago White Sox and have dropped six of eight contests, falling within one-half game of last place.

    Toronto’s lineup has totaled 217 strikeouts, second-most in the league behind Houston through Wednesday, and has a .225 batting average with runners in scoring position after leading the majors at .286 last season. The Blue Jays will send right-hander Aaron Sanchez to the mound against Tampa Bay lefty Drew Smyly, who has been outstanding since losing to the Blue Jays on April 4. The Rays could not complete a three-game sweep of Baltimore Wednesday despite allowing just three hits, dropping a 3-1 decision. Tampa Bay, which split a four-game set at home against Toronto to open the season, is 7-4 over its last 11 games and leadoff hitter Logan Forsythe is batting .395 in that stretch.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet-1 (Toronto), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Aaron Sanchez (1-1, 3.33 ERA) vs. Rays LH Drew Smyly (1-2, 2.51)

    Sanchez was roughed up by Oakland last time out, giving up six runs and 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings, after opening the season with three straight quality starts. One of those outings was against the Rays when the 23-year-old allowed one run and five hits over seven innings in a no-decision. Corey Dickerson homered for Tampa Bay’s only run in that one against Sanchez, who has 23 strikeouts and eight walks in 24 1/3 frames overall.

    Smyly has stepped up with three straight strong outings, permitting just four runs (three earned) and 10 hits across 22 innings combined while going 1-1. The Arkansas native struck out 28 and walked four over those three starts and owns a 0.73 WHIP overall. Josh Donaldson is 6-for-11 with two homers versus Smyly, who is 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA in six career games against Toronto after surrendering five runs in 6 2/3 innings of his season debut.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Tampa Bay RF Steven Souza Jr. went 6-for-15 with three homers in the opening series against the Blue Jays.

    2. Toronto CF Kevin Pillar is 8-for-18 during a five-game hitting streak, but is 0-for-5 in his career versus Smyly.

    3. Rays 1B Logan Morrison has hit safely in four consecutive games to raise his average to .107.

    PREDICTION: Rays 3, Blue Jays 2

    #42244
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Giants at Mets

    GAME: San Francisco Giants (12-11) at New York Mets (13-7)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Citi Field, New York City, New York
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The New York Mets and the visiting San Francisco Giants look to continue their red-hot play and put heat on their respective division leaders on Friday when they open a three-game series at Citi Field. New York has won six in a row and nine of 10 to nip at the heels of National League East-leading Washington while San Francisco has erupted for 38 runs en route to emerging victorious in five of its last six contests.

    “We’re playing good baseball,” Mets second baseman Neil Walker, who belted three homers in his last five games and six in his last nine, told reporters. “Two sweeps in a row, we’re doing pretty well. We’re swinging the bats pretty well.” Curtis Granderson is also included in that discussion as he has hit safely in seven straight starts and 12 of his last 13. Granderson, however, has struggled mightily against Friday starter Jake Peavy, going 2-for-24 versus the veteran hurler. San Francisco’s Hunter Pence is swinging a hot bat, going 10-for-21 with seven runs scored and five RBIs during his six-game hitting streak.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN Bay Area (San Francisco), SNY (New York)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Jake Peavy (1-1, 6.86 ERA) vs. Mets LH Steven Matz (2-1. 5.40)

    Peavy pieced together his best start of the season on Saturday, allowing two runs on seven hits in as many innings during a 7-2 victory over Miami. The 34-year-old kept the ball in the park for the first time in three starts and issued only his second walk of the season in that contest. Peavy owns a 6-4 career mark versus the Mets, with his last visit to the Citi Field being a memorable one as he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before losing.

    Matz recorded his second straight strong start following a porous outing in the season opener. After scattering three hits and striking out nine in seven scoreless innings in Cleveland on April 17, the 24-year-old Matz allowed two runs and fanned eight in 6 1/3 innings of an 8-2 rout of Atlanta on Saturday. Matz, who will be making his 10th career start, has yet to face San Francisco in his young career.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. San Francisco CF Denard Span recorded one hit in each game of the sweep versus San Diego and is 50-for-161 (.311) in his career against Mets pitching.

    2. New York OF Yoenis Cespedes sat out Wednesday’s tilt with Cincinnati with a leg bruise, but is expected to be in the starting lineup on Friday.

    3. The Giants have belted only five homers in their last 13 games, but own a 6-7 mark in that stretch.

    PREDICTION: Mets 3, Giants 2

    #42245
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Angels at Rangers

    GAME: Los Angeles Angels (11-11) at Texas Rangers (12-10)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Hector Santiago may have born in Newark, N.J., but the 28-year-old has made himself at home at Globe Life Park. The Los Angeles Angels left-hander carries a 5-0 career mark and a 2.13 ERA when he visits the Texas Rangers into Friday’s opener of a three-game series between the American League West rivals.

    Santiago settled for a no-decision despite pitching six strong innings versus the Rangers on April 7, with the clubs splitting the four-game series. Los Angeles completed its six-game homestand with a sweep of Kansas City and opens a six-game trek versus Texas, at which it won seven of the 10 meetings last year. Mike Trout extended his hitting streak to eight games by homering twice and driving in five runs in the series versus the Royals, and is 12-for-30 (.400) with four blasts and 11 RBIs against Friday starter Colby Lewis. Texas’ Elvis Andrus is 4-for-7 with two RBIs in his last two contests, but is just 5-for-29 against Santiago.

    TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN Southwest (Texas)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH Hector Santiago (2-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Colby Lewis (1-0, 3.38)

    Santiago has come on during his last two starts, scattering two hits and striking out 10 over seven sterling innings in a 7-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on April 18 before allowing two runs in six frames of a 4-2 win versus Seattle five nights later. Santiago has struck out 27 batters in 26 2/3 innings, but has served up four homers in that stretch. Rougned Odor is 9-for-19 with a homer and three doubles in his career against Santiago.

    Talk about your consistency: Lewis has worked exactly six innings in each of his four starts this season, permitting just one run versus the White Sox on Saturday. The 36-year-old did encounter some trouble as he yielded four walks in that contest and allowed his sixth homer of the season. Lewis has struggled mightily against the Angels, losing 10 of his last 13 decisions since 2010.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Texas 3B Adrian Beltre went 5-for-13 with one homer, three doubles and two RBIs in his final three games versus Los Angeles (April 8-10).

    2. Angels 3B Yunel Escobar followed up a 2-for-19 stretch by going 6-for-16 with two homers and three scored in his last four contests.

    3. Rangers RHP Yu Darvish (Tommy John surgery) is slated to make his first minor-league rehabilitation start on Sunday.

    PREDICTION: Angels 4, Rangers 1

    #42246
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Marlins at Brewers

    GAME: Miami Marlins (10-11) at Milwaukee Brewers (8-13)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 8:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The streaking Miami Marlins are looking for their sixth consecutive victory when they open a three-game series against the host Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, but they received some disturbing news after Thursday night’s victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Second baseman Dee Gordon, who led the National League in batting last season, has been suspended for 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

    Gordon, a two-time All-Star who batted .333 with 58 steals last season, tested positive for exogenous testosterone and clostebol, Major League Baseball announced after the 5-3 win in Los Angeles. “I love him and we’re going to move forward,” manager Don Mattingly told reporters. “We’re definitely shocked and surprised, but you love your kids and that’s Dee for me. I’ll help him through this process any way I can.” The suspension took some of the sparkle off a four-game sweep of the Dodgers — Mattingly’s former team — and Miami will attempt to keep its winning ways going against the Brewers, who have lost five of their last six games. Milwaukee placed second baseman Scooter Gennett (oblique) on the disabled list Thursday and manager Craig Counsell said he expects Gennett to be sidelined for approximately three weeks.

    TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins LH Adam Conley (0-1, 5.12 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Zach Davies (0-2, 9.72)

    Conley has allowed four runs in each of his past two starts, including a 5 2/3-inning stint against San Francisco in his last turn. The 25-year-old has struck out 21 batters in 19 1/3 innings and has fanned eight or more in two of his four outings. Conley has a 6.75 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers, allowing a whopping 17 hits in eight innings with left fielder Ryan Braun going 4-for-5.

    Davies has given up 17 hits in 8 1/3 while losing his first two starts of the campaign. He gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings while losing to Philadelphia in his last turn after lasting just 2 1/3 innings in his season debut. The 23-year-old Davies picked up his first career victory against the Marlins on Sept. 7 when he allowed one run and four hits in seven innings in his second big-league start.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. The Marlins are 5-2 during a 10-game road excursion that began with consecutive losses in San Francisco.

    2. Miami 3B Martin Prado had three hits Thursday and is 6-for-12 over his past three games.

    3. Milwaukee SS Jonathan Villar had three hits and three steals — tying his career best in both categories — in Thursday’s 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

    PREDICTION: Brewers 6, Marlins 5

    #42247
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Tigers at Twins

    GAME: Detroit Tigers (11-10) at Minnesota Twins (7-15)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 8:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Two days after the Minnesota Twins debuted their top pitching prospect, the Detroit Tigers will do the same when the teams commence a three-game series in Minneapolis on Friday. Michael Fulmer, who was acquired in the trade last summer that sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets, will take the spot – for now – of the injured Shane Greene in Detroit’s rotation.

    The Tigers feel that the 23-year-old has all the tools to make a big impact down the road. “He’s got stuff for sure,” manager Brad Ausmus told reporters Wednesday. “He throws 95, he’s got a wipeout slider, but the big leagues is a little different. Guys have seen stuff like that before. You do have to locate your pitches, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have that type of stuff in your arsenal.” Fulmer’s squad enters on a good note after defeating Oakland 7-3 in a Thursday matinee, its third win in four games following a four-game slide. The Twins sent their prospect, Jose Berrios, to the mound Wednesday against Cleveland but the highly regarded righty hit a wall in the fifth inning and was on the losing end of a 6-5 decision.

    TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN North (Minnesota)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Michael Fulmer (NR) vs. Twins RH Phil Hughes (1-3, 3.91 ERA)

    Fulmer was 10-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 21 starts at the Double-A level last season and saw his first taste of Triple-A action at Toledo in 2016. He opened by allowing one earned run in 11 innings over his first two starts but was roughed up at Columbus last Friday, giving up six runs and seven hits – including three home runs – in 4 1/3 frames. The former first-round pick has 53 strikeouts in 47 innings since joining the Tigers organization.

    Hughes led the American League with 29 home runs allowed in 2015 but has done well to keep the ball in the yard so far this year, serving up two homers in 25 1/3 innings. He has given up exactly three earned runs and lasted at least six innings in each of his three starts, the last two of which have come at home. The California native, who is 19-10 all-time at Target Field, has been hammered by Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera (17-for-38, five homers, five doubles, 13 RBIs).

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Minnesota OF Danny Santana is 7-for-13 with two doubles and a stolen base in three games since returning from the DL.

    2. Cabrera is a career .346 hitter in 50 games at Target Field.

    3. The Twins are hitting .375 with runners in scoring position over their last six games.

    PREDICTION: Twins 5, Tigers 4

    #42248
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Nationals at Cardinals

    GAME: Washington Nationals (14-7) at St. Louis Cardinals (12-10)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 8:15 PM EST
    WHERE: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Former San Diego travel ball teammates Stephen Strasburg and Mike Leake square off as major leaguers for the second time when Strasburg’s Washington Nationals visit Leake’s St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. Neither pitcher was involved in the decision on May 19, 2014 in a contest Cincinnati – Leake’s team at the time – won 4-3 in 15 innings.

    Strasburg and Leake were teammates as 11-year-olds, and the former went on to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft while the latter was taken seven selections later. Both hurlers were solid in the 2014 contest as Strasburg allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings and Leake gave up one unearned run and seven hits in 6 2/3 frames. Strasburg will be looking to help the Nationals end a three-game losing streak as they were swept by Philadelphia and shut out in each of the last two defeats. The Cardinals also were blanked on Thursday, recording only three hits in falling 3-0 to Arizona after scoring 19 runs while winning the first two games of the series.

    TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Stephen Strasburg (3-0, 2.17 ERA) vs. Reds RH Mike Leake (0-2, 5.64)

    Strasburg has registered 31 strikeouts in 29 innings this season, including 10 in each of his last two outings. He had his worst showing of the season in his last turn, when he gave up four runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings against Minnesota. Strasburg is 0-2 in four career starts versus the Cardinals despite posting an impressive 2.81 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.

    Leake hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any of his starts, but opposing batters are hitting .304 against him. He received a no-decision in his last start, when he allowed five runs (three earned) and seven hits in five innings in a no-decision against San Diego. Leake is 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA in nine career starts against the Nationals and has struggled with Jayson Werth (7-for-19, one homer).

    WALK-OFFS

    1. The Nationals haven’t scored in their last 22 innings.

    2. St. Louis C Yadier Molina is batting .364 during his 10-game hitting streak.

    3. Werth was 1-for-11 with five strikeouts in the series against Philadelphia.

    PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Nationals 1

    #42249
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Rockies at Diamondbacks

    GAME: Colorado Rockies (9-12) at Arizona Diamondbacks (12-12)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 9:40 PM EST
    WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Colorado Rockies are escaping Coors Field for 10 games, and the timing couldn’t be much better. The Rockies went 1-5 on a six-game homestand during which the team’s starting pitchers posting a cumulative 9.72 ERA, and the staff looks to improve beginning with Friday’s opener of a three-game series with the host Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Colorado’s pitching staff was so beleaguered that manager Walt Weiss admitted he wasn’t all that upset about Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh being postponed due to inclement weather. The Rockies – who have lost five straight games and six of seven – have allowed 36 runs over their last four contests. Arizona rectified its own pitching issues on Thursday as Rubby De La Rosa struck out a career-best 10 in seven innings of a 3-0 victory over St. Louis. The Diamondbacks allowed 19 runs while losing the first two games of the series and gave up 38 over their previous four contests.

    TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, ROOT (Colorado), FSN Arizona

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies RH Tyler Chatwood (2-2, 3.47 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks LH Robbie Ray (1-0, 3.80)

    Chatwood has put together two terrific starts and two porous ones so far this season. He yielded two hits over seven scoreless innings to defeat the Chicago Cubs on April 17 but lasted just four frames – allowing three runs and six hits – in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last turn. Chatwood defeated the Diamondbacks in his first start of the season, when he allowed two runs (one earned) and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, and is 3-0 with a 3.42 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against Arizona.

    Ray allowed a total of four runs over his first three starts before being pounded for five and eight hits in three innings of a no-decision against Pittsburgh in his last turn. Control has been an issue as he walked nine over his first two starts before reducing the number to two in each of his last two outings. Ray is 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies and has enjoyed splendid success against Nolan Arenado (0-for-7).

    WALK-OFFS

    1. The teams opened the season against one another in Arizona, with the Rockies taking two of the three games.

    2. Arizona LF Brandon Drury has homered in each of his last two games and is 12-for-29 over the last seven contests.

    3. Colorado CF Charlie Blackmon (turf toe), who is 5-for-8 against Ray, could be activated from the disabled list prior to Friday’s game.

    PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 14, Rockies 8

    #42250
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    Keymaster

    Preview: Astros at Athletics

    GAME: Houston Astros (7-15) at Oakland Athletics (11-12)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 10:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Houston Astros are 7-15 – hardly a record becoming of a team expected by many to contend for the American League pennant – as they continue their six-game road trip Friday with the first of three contests against the Oakland Athletics. Houston has yet to win consecutive games in 2016 and among its issues is an AL-worst 4.97 ERA and a starting rotation which owns a league-high 5.31 mark.

    “Naturally we all are searching for answers,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters. “I think the hardest thing to do at this level, it’s an accumulative mental grind. Our guys have to be tough enough to handle it. … Easier said than done sometimes, but I’m sure all of our guys are collectively frustrated but need to find the resolve to get back on track.” Oakland completed a 5-5 road trip with a 7-3 loss to Detroit on Thursday – its fifth setback in six games after a 4-0 start to the trek – and one player who doesn’t want to come home is Jed Lowrie. The second baseman was 16-for-36 on the trip, raising his average to a team-best .325 and prompting manager Bob Melvin to tell reporters: “I would say he’s our most consistent (hitter), up to this point. …” The Athletics on Friday hope to get a boost from Sean Manaea, the 34th overall pick in the 2013 draft who makes his major-league debut and opposes Mike Fiers, who has won his last two starts.

    TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston), CSN California (Oakland)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Mike Fiers (2-1, 5.73 ERA) vs. Athletics LH Sean Manaea (NR)

    Fiers allowed two runs and five hits while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-3 victory over Boston on Saturday after defeating Detroit in his previous turn April 17. The 30-year-old Floridian, who recorded 17 strikeouts and three walks in four starts covering 22 frames this season, has limited opponents to a .235 batting average with runners in scoring position. Fiers is 0-1 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts versus Oakland and has held the active roster to a .145 average in 55 at-bats.

    Manaea earned his promotion after going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 18 innings with Triple-A Nashville. The 24-year-old Indiana native takes the spot in the rotation previously held by Eric Surkamp (0-2, 5.59 ERA) , who was shipped to Nashville after allowing six runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-3 loss in Toronto on Sunday. Manaea, the No. 2 prospect in the organization behind shortstop Franklin Barreto, was acquired last season from Kansas City in the Ben Zobrist trade.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Houston CF Carlos Gomez (.197) said he is optimistic he’ll play Friday after leaving Wednesday’s game with a right hand contusion from being hit by a pitch.

    2. Athletics 1B Yonder Alonso went 5-for-26 on the road to raise his average to .154.

    3. Astros 2B Jose Altuve (team-best .330), who belted a career-high 15 home runs in 2015, hit his sixth of the season Wednesday.

    PREDICTION: Athletics 3, Astros 2

    #42251
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Royals at Mariners

    GAME: Kansas City Royals (12-9) at Seattle Mariners (11-10)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 10:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Kansas City Royals are coming off a three-game sweep by the Los Angeles Angels and the road doesn’t get any easier for the reigning World Series champions as they head to Seattle for the start of a three-game series. Ace right-hander Felix Hernandez will be on the mound for the Mariners for Friday night’s series opener.

    Hernandez has allowed only five earned runs in his four starts and will provide a daunting challenge for Kansas City’s slumping offense, which scored only seven times in the three-game set versus Los Angeles. Eric Hosmer’s two-run homer, which extended his hitting streak to 17 games, provided the only runs for the Royals in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss. “You look at it, we’re not swinging the bats right now,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s just one of those things you have to kind of wait out until guys get hot.” Seattle had won three straight and six of seven before dropping a 7-4 decision to visiting Houston on Wednesday.

    TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, ROOT (Seattle)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Kris Medlen (1-1, 6.00 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Felix Hernandez (1-2, 1.80)

    After opening the season with a pair of impressive efforts, Medlen was roughed up in an 8-3 loss to Baltimore on Saturday, lasting only 3 2/3 innings while getting tagged for seven runs and nine hits. The 30-year-old Californian went 6 1/3 innings in his previous outing in Oakland, permitting one earned run on two hits. Control issues continue to be a problem for Medlen, who has allowed 11 walks versus 13 strikeouts in only 15 innings.

    Hernandez was done in by a pair of mistakes last time out as his hard-luck young season continued with a 4-2 loss to the Angels despite giving up three runs on five hits over seven innings. Hernandez, who has received only eight runs of support in his four starts, won his previous turn at the New York Yankees with five innings of one-run ball. Shortstop Alcides Escobar is 6-for-16 against Hernandez, who is 4-5 with a 3.01 ERA against Kansas City.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Hosmer has reached base safely in all 21 games.

    2. Mariners SS Ketel Marte has consecutive three-hit games and is 13-for-30 during a seven-game hitting streak.

    3. Escobar, batting .220, is 1-for-17 in his last four games.

    PREDICTION: Mariners 4, Royals 3

    #42252
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Padres at Dodgers

    GAME: San Diego Padres (7-15) at Los Angeles Dodgers (12-11)
    DATE/TIME: Friday, April 29 – 10:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The San Diego Padres head north Friday on Interstate 5 to begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with both teams eager to get untracked. The Padres are 7-15 and riding a five-game losing streak while the Dodgers’ offense went silent during a four-game sweep by Miami and former manager Don Mattingly.

    Second baseman Howie Kendrick is hitless in his last 13 at-bats and batting .135 for Los Angeles, which scored a total of eight runs while hitting .181 during the four-game series against the Marlins. Kendrick, who was limited by injuries in spring training and began the season on the disabled list, owns a .151 on-base percentage but has shown his versatility in the field by playing second base, left field and third base. The Padres have several regulars struggling at the plate, but first baseman Wil Myers is off to a solid start and brings a career-high 12-game hitting streak into the series opener. “I just feel that I have my approach at the plate,” Myers told MLB.com. “I’m seeing the ball well. I’m zoning them up. I’m not really chasing out of the zone, and that’s the biggest thing.”

    TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Cesar Vargas (0-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Alex Wood (1-2, 6.00)

    Vargas impressed in his major league debut Saturday by holding St. Louis to one run and five hits over five-plus innings. “I thought he was really good. As he went deeper into the game he kind of settled in better and better for the fourth and fifth innings,” manager Andy Green told reporters. “Couldn’t ask for more from him, coming up and doing that.” The 24-year-old, who began the year at Double-A San Antonio, spent the previous seven seasons in the New York Yankees minor league system.

    Wood turned in another rough start Sunday as Colorado scored five runs in five innings against him before the Dodgers eventually won 12-10. The 25-year-old has allowed 26 hits and 11 walks over 21 innings while failing to get past the fifth inning in three of his first four outings. Matt Kemp is 4-for-6 with a home run against Wood, who is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against San Diego, including seven strong innings at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 2, 2015.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Los Angeles 2B Chase Utley is batting .311 (23-for-74) as a leadoff hitter this season.

    2. The Padres have won 99 consecutive games when leading after eight innings, including six this season.

    3. The Dodgers have scored a total of 21 first-inning runs in their first 23 games, which ranks third in the majors.

    PREDICTION: Padres 6, Dodgers 4

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