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MLB • Saturday Service Plays • 4/30/16

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    Preview: Tigers at Twins

    GAME: Detroit Tigers (12-10) at Minnesota Twins (7-16)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 2:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Miguel Cabrera receives the bulk of the attention, but Victor Martinez’s bat has been nearly as important for the Detroit Tigers over the past several years. Martinez looks to stay hot when the Tigers continue a three-game series at Minnesota on Saturday.

    Detroit’s designated hitter, who was 4-for-5 with a home run in Friday’s 9-2 win in the series opener, hit .330, .301 and .335 in three full seasons in which the Tigers won more than 90 games but missed all of 2012 when the team dipped under the 90-win mark and managed a .245 average while dealing with injuries during last year’s losing season. Keeping with that trend, Martinez is 9-for-19 with three homers and seven RBIs during the club’s current 4-1 surge. Not to be outdone, Cabrera has recovered from a brief slump to go 10-for-22 in the same stretch and his solo shot in five at-bats Friday left him with a .342 career average at Target Field. Detroit may not need much run support for starter Jordan Zimmermann, who has let up one earned run in four starts and will oppose Minnesota righty Tyler Duffey.

    TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN North (Minnesota)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Jordan Zimmermann (4-0, 0.35 ERA) vs. Twins RH Tyler Duffey (0-0, 2.25)

    After blanking opponents in 19 1/3 innings over his first three starts, Zimmerman kept his record perfect with 6 2/3 solid frames against Oakland on Monday. He limited the Athletics to three runs (one earned) while striking out just one batter. The 29-year-old tossed seven scoreless in his lone start against Minnesota in 2013.

    Duffey was called up from the minors last weekend when Ervin Santana was placed on the disabled list and allowed a run in four innings at Washington on Sunday, leaving after taking a line drive off his right arm. The 25-year-old boasts a 5-1 record with a 3.05 ERA in his first 11 major-league starts while allowing only five home runs in 62 innings. Duffey limited the Tigers to three runs in 12 1/3 innings in a pair of wins last September.


    1. Minnesota 1B Joe Mauer had a base hit Friday and has reached base in each of his 23 games, tied for the third-longest streak to start a season in Twins history.

    2. Tigers 3B Nick Castellanos is 6-for-10 with four extra-base hits in his last three games.

    3. LHP Justin Wilson and RHP Alex Wilson have combined for 22 strikeouts in 16 1/3 scoreless innings out of Detroit’s bullpen.

    PREDICTION: Tigers 5, Twins 3


    Preview: Nationals at Cardinals

    GAME: Washington Nationals (15-7) at St. Louis Cardinals (12-11)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 2:15 PM EST
    WHERE: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

    A blister on his right middle finger temporarily halted Joe Ross’ hot start, but the Washington right-hander hopes to pick up where he left off when the Nationals visit the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. Ross allowed just one run and eight hits over 14 2/3 innings in his first two turns of the season before the blister knocked him out of his April 20 start against Miami.

    Ross left after two scoreless innings and was scratched when his scheduled turn came around on Tuesday. Team trainers shaved down the callus and Ross has been able to throw on the side without issue. Washington halted its three-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory in Friday’s series opener, and the game-opening homer by Michael Taylor ended the team’s 22-inning scoreless drought. The Cardinals have lost two straight games after winning four of their previous five.

    TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, MLB Network, MASN (Washington), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Joe Ross (2-0, 0.54 ERA) vs. Cardinals LH Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.24)

    Ross has limited opposing batters to a .161 average and possesses an impressive 0.84 WHIP. The 22-year-old experienced major control issues in his lone career start against the Cardinals as he walked a career-high six while giving up three runs – and only one hit – in 2 2/3 innings of a no-decision on Sept. 1. Ross’ control has been fine this season as he issued just two walks in both of the starts that lasted at least seven frames.

    Garcia lasted just five innings in each of his last two starts after striking out 13 while tossing a one-hit shutout against Milwaukee on April 14. He has fared well against the Nationals in his career, compiling a 4-1 record and 2.88 ERA in six career outings. Garcia has struggled against Danny Espinosa (6-for-13) while holding Bryce Harper to one hit – a home run – in six at-bats.


    1. Harper has drawn six walks while going 2-for-11 over his last four games.

    2. St. Louis LF Matt Holliday recorded three hits in the opener and is 7-for-15 during his five-game hitting streak.

    3. Washington RHP Jonathan Papelbon hurled a hitless ninth inning in the opener to post his eighth save – the second-highest total in the National League.

    PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Cardinals 4


    Preview: Braves at Cubs

    GAME: Atlanta Braves (5-18) at Chicago Cubs (17-5)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 2:20 PM EST
    WHERE: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

    The opening month of the season has done nothing to quell the rampant optimism surrounding the Chicago Cubs, who aim for their fifth straight victory Saturday in the second of a three-game series against the visiting Atlanta Braves. The Cubs continued their best start since 1907 with a 6-1 victory in Friday’s series opener, improving to 17-5 – the best record in the majors.

    The Cubs already have matched the franchise record for wins in the opening month of the season, while the Braves (5-18) have set a club record for losses in April. Cubs pitchers lead the National League with 17 quality starts in 22 games, and two of them belong to veteran right-hander John Lackey. Lackey will be expected to add to that total against an Atlanta lineup that hasn’t shown much pop. Freddie Freeman is 10-for-19 during a five-game hitting streak and has three of the Braves’ major league-low five home runs, but there aren’t many others in the lineup who can hurt opposing pitcher.

    TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), ABC 7 (Chicago)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Julio Teheran (0-3, 4.60 ERA) vs. Cubs RH John Lackey (3-1, 4.97)

    Teheran had a couple of rough outings earlier this month but has been solid his last two starts. He was excellent Monday against Boston, holding the Red Sox to one run and six hits over seven innings while striking out eight, but ended up on the wrong end of a 1-0 defeat. The Braves have totaled just 10 runs in the five games he has started.

    Lackey has been inconsistent in his first four outings in a Cubs uniform, recording two strong starts and a pair of clunkers. He allowed six runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings last time out, losing at Cincinnati. The 37-year-old is 1-1 with a 2.76 ERA in three starts against the Braves.


    1. Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo has 24 RBIs in April, his most in any month in his career.

    2. Braves RF Nick Markakis has reached base in 27 consecutive road games, the second-longest active streak in the majors.

    3. The Cubs lead the majors with 121 walks and have drawn at least six free passes 10 times this season.

    PREDICTION: Braves 3, Cubs 2


    Preview: Giants at Mets

    GAME: San Francisco Giants (12-12) at New York Mets (14-7)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 4:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Citi Field, New York City, New York

    Yoenis Cespedes isn’t letting a bruised right thigh slow him down. After Cespedes’ grand slam highlighted a franchise-best 12-run third inning in the series opener, New York vies for its eighth straight victory and 11th in 12 outings on Saturday when it continues its three-game series versus the visiting San Francisco Giants.

    Returning to the starting lineup for the first time in a week, Cespedes had a two-run RBI single to extend his hitting streak to nine games before clearing the bases with his seventh home run to cap the explosive inning. The 30-year-old Cuban has 14 RBIs in his last five contests, but is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts versus Saturday starter Matt Cain. Former Met Angel Pagan launched a solo homer in the 13-1 series-opening shellacking, but is 18-for-86 (.209) with four homers in his career and has yet to face Saturday starter Jacob deGrom. Hunter Pence saw his six-game hitting streak end for San Francisco, which fell for just the second time in seven outings.

    TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FS1, CSN Bay Area (San Francisco), SNY (New York)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Matt Cain (0-2, 6.43) vs. Mets RH Jacob deGrom (2-0, 1.54)

    Cain hasn’t been very able to begin the season, as the veteran failed in his bid to record his first victory of the season on Sunday. The 31-year-old was taken deep by slugger Giancarlo Stanton for one of his campaign-high 10 hits and four runs scored in a no-decision versus Miami. Opponents are teeing off on Cain to the tune of a gaudy .321 batting average to go along with a 1.67 WHIP and ERA.

    A family emergency did nothing to alter the fortunes of deGrom, who allowed one run and did not walk a batter for the second straight outing in a 3-2 win over Atlanta on Sunday. San Francisco also has been quite the treat for the 27-year-old, who has posted a 2-0 career mark with a 1.17 ERA and 17 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings of work. The Giants are batting a paltry .115 against deGrom, with Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik each going 0-for-6 versus the right-hander.


    1. New York OF Curtis Granderson has hit safely in eight straight and 13 of his last 14 contests.

    2. San Francisco CF Denard Span has eight hits in his last seven games.

    3. Mets LF Michael Conforto has seven RBIs during his seven-game hitting streak.

    PREDICTION: Mets 3, Giants 2


    Preview: Astros at Athletics

    GAME: Houston Astros (7-16) at Oakland Athletics (12-12)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 4:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California

    The Oakland Athletics attempt to extend their home winning streak to four games when they take on the Houston Astros in the middle contest of their three-game set Saturday afternoon. Oakland appeared on the verge of a third straight loss as it returned from a 5-5 road trip, but Yonder Alonso capped a late five-run rally with a walk-off, three-run homer to give the club a 7-4 triumph in the series opener.

    The blast concluded a 2-for-4 performance for the 29-year-old Cuban, who matched his RBI total from his first 21 games of the season. Houston suffered its eighth loss in 10 overall contests to fall to 1-3 on its six-game road trip. Evan Gattis went deep for the first time this season Friday after eclipsing the 20-homer plateau for the third straight campaign last year with a career-high 27. Jose Altuve has gone hitless in two of his last three games but has posted four multi-hit performances — including two three-hit efforts — in four of his last six contests.

    TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston), CSN California (Oakland)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Chris Devenski (0-0, 0.66 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Jesse Hahn (2015: 6-6, 3.35)

    Devenski will be making his first career start in place of Scott Feldman, who is being moved to the bullpen after going 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA in four turns in the rotation. The 25-year-old Devenski has made six relief appearances in his rookie season, allowing one run and 11 hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. Devenski worked a season-high 3 1/3 scoreless innings against Boston in his last outing Sunday.

    Hahn will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville to make his season debut in place of Chris Bassitt, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained elbow. The 26-year-old Hahn made four starts for the Sounds this year, posting a 2.04 ERA despite going 0-1 with 1.42 WHIP. Hahn lost his only career start against the Astros, allowing three runs and five hits over six frames at Houston on May 20, 2015.


    1. Athletics OF Billy Burns has hit safely in four straight games and 10 of his last 11 contests.

    2. Houston RHP Lance McCullers will continue his rehab from a shoulder injury by throwing between 60-75 pitches at extended spring training Monday.

    3. Oakland OF Coco Crisp, who failed to homer in 44 games last season, has gone deep three times in his first 19 contests this year.

    PREDICTION: Astros 7, Athletics 3


    Preview: Blue Jays at Rays

    GAME: Toronto Blue Jays (11-13) at Tampa Bay Rays (10-12)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 6:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

    The Toronto Blue Jays look to continue their power surge when they visit the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday for the second of a three-game series between American League East rivals. The Blue Jays, who led the majors in homers in 2015, belted four solo blasts in the 6-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday to snap a three-game losing streak.

    Michael Saunders hit his second and third homers against the Rays this season Friday while reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson also went deep for the eighth time in 2016 in Toronto’s win. The Blue Jays will send consistent left-hander J.A. Happ to the mound Saturday against 2015 All-Star Chris Archer, who won his first game since August 31 last time out. Tampa Bay has lost two in a row after winning three straight and must get more from third baseman Evan Longoria, who is slumping at 3-for-24 with nine strikeouts in the last six contests. Brad Miller is beginning to heat up for the Rays, going 6-for-17 with four extra-base hits the last five games.

    TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet (Toronto), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH J.A. Happ (3-0, 2.42 ERA) vs. Rays RH Chris Archer (1-4, 5.47)

    Happ has gone at least six innings in each of his four starts and won the last three, including last Saturday when he allowed three runs over seven frames against Oakland. The Northwestern product gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings at Tampa Bay on April 6 without being involved in the decision and is 2-2 with a 4.32 ERA lifetime versus the Rays. Steve Pearce has homered three times against Happ.

    Archer struck out 10 with no walks over 6 2/3 scoreless innings last time out against Baltimore while permitting five hits. The 27-year-old, who boasts 39 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings, limited the Blue Jays to two earned runs in five innings on April 3 and is 5-4 with a 3.28 ERA in his career against them. Archer has kept Jose Bautista (5-for-34, one homer), Edwin Encarnacion (6-for-39, three homers) and Donaldson (3-for-20) under control.


    1. Tampa Bay 2B and leadoff batter Logan Forsythe is 8-for-18 over his last five outings.

    2. Saunders is 14-for-39 with three homers in his the past nine games to raise his season average to .324.

    3. The Rays are 2-for-26 with runners in scoring position during the first four games of their current homestand.

    PREDICTION: Rays 4, Blue Jays 2


    Preview: Indians at Phillies

    GAME: Cleveland Indians (10-10) at Philadelphia Phillies (13-10)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    After a slow start to the season, the surprising Philadelphia Phillies are surging up the standings. The Phillies aim for their eighth win in nine games Saturday when they square off with the visiting Cleveland Indians.

    Philadelphia took the series opener 4-3 on Friday as Ryan Howard hit a walk-off homer in the 11th inning to clinch the team’s fourth straight triumph. The bullpen delivered six scoreless innings for the Phillies, who have won 13 of 19 since starting 0-4. Jason Kipnis hit a two-run homer for Cleveland, which struck out 18 times in losing for the third time in four games. The Indians will aim to rebound behind Trevor Bauer, who starts in place of the injured Carlos Carrasco, while the Phillies counter with young right-hander Jerad Eickhoff.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Trevor Bauer (1-0, 4.76 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Jerad Eickhoff (1-3, 4.07)

    Bauer has made six relief appearances this season, giving up at least two hits in five of those outings. He yielded two runs over 3 1/3 frames in his last appearance on Sunday, striking out four in a win over Detroit. The 25-year-old has allowed only one home run in 11 1/3 innings this year.

    Eickhoff hopes to bounce back from his worst outing of 2016, as he allowed season highs of seven runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-5 defeat to Milwaukee on Sunday. On the bright side, the 25-year-old struck out seven without issuing a walk, bumping his strikeout-to-walk ratio over the last three games to a sparkling 25-to-3. Right-handed hitters are batting .208 this season against Eickhoff, who will be facing Cleveland for the first time in his career.


    1. Cleveland C Yan Gomes is 0-for-12 in his last three games and struck out three times in the series opener.

    2. All 13 of the Phillies’ victories have come by four runs or fewer.

    3. Philadelphia OF Odubel Herrera went 2-for-4 on Friday to push his hitting streak to 10 games.

    PREDICTION: Phillies 4, Indians 2


    Preview: White Sox at Orioles

    GAME: Chicago White Sox (16-8) at Baltimore Orioles (14-8)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

    The early leader in the clubhouse for the best bargain of the offseason is Chicago White Sox right-hander Mat Latos, who looks to continue his sensational start when he takes the mound for the third game of a four-game series versus the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday. Latos has allowed a total of two runs in winning his first four starts.

    A former 14-game winner with both San Diego and Cincinnati, Latos was signed to a one-year, $3 million deal following a pair of injury-plagued campaigns. He will need to be sharp to cool off the Orioles, who have amassed 16 runs in taking the first two games of the series. Nolan Reimold’s tiebreaking three-run homer was the decisive blow in Friday’s 6-3 victory after Baltimore went deep three times in the series opener to snap Chicago’s six-game winning streak. Kevin Gausman will make his second start of the season as the Orioles attempt to hand the White Sox their second three-game losing streak of the season.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), MASN2 (Baltimore)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox RH Mat Latos (4-0, 0.74 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (0-1, 1.80)

    Latos pitched at least six innings for the fourth time in as many starts last time out, remaining perfect by limiting the Texas Rangers to one run and seven hits. That represented the worst outing by far for Latos, who surrendered a combined six hits in his first three turns and is holding the opposition to a collective .151 batting average. Baltimore’s Pedro Alvarez saw plenty of Latos in the National League, going 8-for-29 with two homers off him.

    After landing on the disabled due to a bout with tendinitis in his right shoulder, Gausman finally made his season debut at Tampa Bay on Monday. The former No. 4 overall draft pick acquitted himself well in the five-inning stint, striking out seven while permitting one run and three hits in the 2-0 loss. Gausman, who has made two relief appearances against Chicago, has fared well at Camden Yards with a 9-7 record and 3.24 ERA in 29 appearances (21 starts).


    1. The White Sox can match a franchise record for wins in April (17) with a victory Saturday.

    2. Baltimore owns a major league-best 9-1 home record.

    3. White Sox DH Avisail Garcia is 8-for-18 during a five-game hitting streak while 1B Jose Abreu is 7-for-17 during a four-game string.

    PREDICTION: Orioles 5, White Sox 3


    Preview: Reds at Pirates

    GAME: Cincinnati Reds (9-14) at Pittsburgh Pirates (14-9)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    The Pittsburgh Pirates are on a roll and hoping to get more consistent performances from their starting pitchers, especially with a three-game set looming against the National League Central Division-leading Chicago Cubs. Pittsburgh left-hander Francisco Liriano hopes to follow the lead of Juan Nicasio on Saturday when he makes his second home start of the season in the second of a three-game series versus the Cincinnati Reds.

    The Pirates ran their winning streak to five games as Nicasio tossed seven scoreless innings in a 4-1 victory in the series opener. Liriano’s lone start at PNC Park was a dominant 10-strikeout performance on Opening Day, but he has labored in three consecutive road outings. The skidding Reds have dropped five in a row and have allowed 56 runs during their 1-7 slide. They will send Alfredo Simon, owner of an unsightly ERA of 16.39, to the mound to oppose Liriano.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Alfredo Simon (0-2, 16.39 ERA) vs. Pirates LH Francisco Liriano (1-1, 4.64)

    Simon won his first four starts in 2015 but he has been a shell of that pitcher since a decent season debut, getting pounded early and often in his last three appearances (two starts). He was pummeled by the Cubs for the time in a 12-day span, giving up a pair of homers and eight runs on 10 hits over 2 2/3 innings. Simon did have success against the Pirates on April 8, striking out seven and yielding two runs (one earned) over five innings.

    A lack of control and the inability to keep the ball in the park continues to plague Liriano, who served up a pair of homers and was charged with four runs over six innings in a no-decision at Arizona last time out. Liriano has made three straight road starts and been touched for five homers and 12 walks in 15 1/3 innings during that span. He has one win in 13 career starts against Cincinnati, was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts versus the Reds in 2015.


    1. Pirates 2B Josh Harrison belted a two-run homer Friday, his first in 380 at-bats.

    2. Cincinnati has scored a total of nine runs during the five-game skid.

    3. Pirates C Jordy Mercer is 11-for-27 during a six-game hitting streak.

    PREDICTION: Pirates 6, Reds 4


    Preview: Marlins at Brewers

    GAME: Miami Marlins (11-11) at Milwaukee Brewers (8-14)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    The streaking Miami Marlins have reached the .500 mark and search for their seventh consecutive victory when they visit the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday. Adam Conley pitched 7 2/3 hitless innings Friday before being removed by manager Don Mattingly after 116 pitches and the Marlins held on for a 6-3 victory in the series opener.

    Miami’s Dee Gordon began an 80-game suspension after testing positive for two performance-enhancing substances – exogenous testosterone and clostebol, according to Major League Baseball. “The hardest part about this is feeling that I have let down my teammates, the organization, and the fans,” Gordon, the 2015 National League batting champion, said in a statement. “I have been careful to avoid products that could contain something banned by MLB, and the 20-plus tests that I have taken and passed throughout my career prove this. I made a mistake and I accept the consequences.” Jonathan Lucroy hit a bloop single with one out in the ninth for his club’s first hit and Milwaukee went on to score three times in the inning. The Brewers have dropped six of their last seven games and reside in last place in the NL Central with an 8-14 record.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins LH Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 4.32 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Chase Anderson (1-2, 4.50)

    Chen picked up his first victory as a member of the Marlins when he allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. He has given up three or fewer runs in each of his last three starts, allowing a total of 16 hits during that stretch. Chen was touched up for five runs and seven hits – including three homers over five innings – in his lone career start against the Brewers on May 27, 2014.

    Anderson has lost consecutive starts while being torched for 10 earned runs and 19 hits in nine innings. He lasted just four frames against Philadelphia last Saturday, when he gave up six runs and eight hits. Anderson is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career outings against the Marlins and has struggled with Marcell Ozuna (4-for-10) while easily handling Christian Yelich (1-for-8).


    1. Marlins OF Ichiro Suzuki’s stolen base on Friday made him the eighth player in major-league history to record 500 steals and at least 2,900 hits.

    2. Milwaukee optioned the struggling Taylor Jungmann – its No. 3 starter – to Triple-A Colorado Springs and recalled fellow RHP David Goforth from the same club.

    3. Miami 1B Justin Bour went deep twice in the series opener for his second career multi-homer performance and drove in a personal-best five runs.

    PREDICTION: Marlins 5, Brewers 1


    Preview: Yankees at Red Sox

    GAME: New York Yankees (8-13) at Boston Red Sox (13-10)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

    The New York Yankees attempt to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat when they visit the Boston Red Sox on Saturday for the middle contest of their three-game series. New York has crossed the plate a total of five times during its three-game slide after suffering a 4-2 loss in Friday’s opener, which marked the sixth straight game and 14th in the last 16 it scored three runs or fewer.

    Alex Rodriguez has homered in two straight contests since missing two with an oblique injury to double his season total and carries a three-game RBI streak into Saturday. Boston has won five of its last six overall contests but has split its last 10 at home. Hanley Ramirez saw his run of consecutive games with an RBI end at four games Friday but is riding a five-game hitting streak during which he has gone 8-for-23 (.348). David Ortiz continues to produce against Boston’s bitter rival, going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the series opener to raise his career average versus New York to .307 (256-for-834) with 48 home runs and 160 RBIs in 225 games.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, WPIX (New York)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Michael Pineda (1-2, 6.95 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (4-0, 3.51)

    Pineda is coming off his worst outing of the young season, a loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday in which he surrendered seven runs and 10 hits – four homers – over five innings. The 27-year-old Dominican lost his only road start of the year, falling at Toronto on April 13 despite allowing only two earned runs in six frames. Pineda is 4-3 with a 4.86 ERA in seven career starts against Boston and has won each of his last three outings at Fenway Park.

    Porcello won each of his first four starts this season, including a turn at Atlanta on Monday in which he scattered four hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. The 27-year-old native of Morristown, N.J. has worked at least six frames in 12 straight starts dating to last season – the second-longest active streak behind Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta’s 24-game run. Porcello has made 11 career starts against New York, going 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA.


    1. Yankees 2B Starlin Castro has recorded four multi-hit performances in his last five games.

    2. New York OF Aaron Hicks (shoulder) likely will start on Sunday against Boston’s David Price.

    3. Boston RHP Joe Kelly (shoulder) threw off a mound Friday and is expected to have another bullpen session on Tuesday before possibly beginning a rehab assignment.

    PREDICTION: Red Sox 5, Yankees 3


    Preview: Angels at Rangers

    GAME: Los Angeles Angels (11-12) at Texas Rangers (13-10)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas

    The Texas Rangers are doing most of their damage with two outs during their three-game winning streak. The resilient Rangers vie for a series victory on Saturday when they continue their three-game set versus the visiting Los Angeles Angels.

    Texas scored all its runs with two outs during Friday’s 4-2 triumph, raising its total to 15 of its last 17 runs when down to its last out of the inning. Ian Desmond ripped an RBI double to highlight a three-run sixth inning and is 13-for-33 (.394) in his last 10 games, but is just 6-for-38 (.158) in his career versus the Angels. Mike Trout collected two hits in the series opener and is 14-for-32 (.438) with four homers and nine RBIs in his last nine games. The 24-year-old phenom also turns it up a notch against Texas, going 6-for-16 in the first five meetings this season while batting 11-for-35 (.314) in his career versus Saturday starter Derek Holland.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Matt Shoemaker (1-3, 6.87 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Derek Holland (2-1, 3.13)

    Shoemaker has pitched significantly better on the road this season, allowing just two runs in 12 1/3 innings as opposed to 13 in six frames at home. The 29-year-old’s troubles continued at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Sunday, as he yielded a season-high seven runs – including two homers – and walked three for the third time in 2016 in a 9-4 setback to Seattle. Shoemaker suffered his first loss in five career decisions versus Texas after getting rocked for six runs on seven hits in three innings of a 7-3 loss on April 8.

    Holland yielded three runs in five innings of a no-decision versus Los Angeles on April 7. The 29-year-old owns a 9-6 mark in 24 career appearances against the Angels, but his 5.52 ERA leaves a bit to be desired. Holland suffered his first loss of the season on Sunday as he allowed three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings, but he did issue a campaign-high three walks in the setback.


    1. Texas manager Jeff Banister told the Dallas Morning News that he is considering the possibility of a six-man rotation when RHP Yu Darvish (Tommy John elbow surgery) returns from the disabled list.

    2. The Angels have won 16 of their last 21 road contests against the Rangers.

    3. Texas OF Josh Hamilton (left knee) will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Frisco on Saturday.

    PREDICTION: Angels 4, Rangers 2


    Preview: Rockies at Diamondbacks

    GAME: Colorado Rockies (10-12) at Arizona Diamondbacks (12-13)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 8:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona

    Zack Greinke has won his last two starts but still is trying to regain the consistent dominance that led to his career-best production last season. Greinke looks to rebound from allowing seven runs in his last start when the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.

    Greinke went 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and parlayed it into a six-year, $206.5 million deal with Arizona. He has allowed seven runs in two of his five starts, including an Opening Day outing against the Rockies in which three of the nine hits he allowed were homers. Colorado exploded for four shots in a 9-0 victory in Friday’s series opener to halt a five-game losing streak. Trevor Story hit a two-run blast for his 10th homer in April, tying the rookie record for the month set by Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox in 2014, and joining Boston’s George Scott (1966) as the fastest players (21 games) to reach 10 homers in major-league history.

    TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Colorado), FSN Arizona

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies LH Chris Rusin (1-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Zack Greinke (2-2, 6.16)

    Rusin is making his first start of the season as he was moved into the rotation when Jordan Lyles was demoted to Triple-A Albuquerque earlier this week. He has been superb in his last three relief appearances, allowing just three hits and two walks over 9 2/3 scoreless innings. Rusin is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts against the Diamondbacks, with the loss coming last season.

    Greinke already has allowed 21 earned runs – he gave up 41 all last season – and opposing hitters are batting a collective .305 against him. Both times Greinke yielded seven runs came at his new home ballpark, where he is 1-2 with a 9.72 ERA in three starts. Greinke is 7-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 18 career appearances (17 starts) against Colorado and has struggled with Carlos Gonzalez (10-for-28, four homers) while shutting down Nolan Arenado (5-for-27).


    1. Arenado, who is tied with Story for the most homers in the majors, and Rockies teammates LF Ryan Raburn and C Nick Hundley also went deep on Friday.

    2. Arizona claimed LHP Edwin Escobar off waivers from the Boston Red Sox and assigned him to Triple-A Reno.

    3. Colorado CF Charlie Blackmon (turf toe) was activated from the disabled list on Friday and went 2-for-4 with a walk, while OF Brandon Barnes was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to clear a roster spot.

    PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 11, Rockies 4


    Preview: Padres at Dodgers

    GAME: San Diego Padres (8-15) at Los Angeles Dodgers (12-12)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 9:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

    Los Angeles first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is hitless in his last 13 at-bats with seven strikeouts, but there’s plenty of blame to go around for the Dodgers’ five-game losing streak. Gonzalez and the Dodgers will look to get untracked Saturday as they continue a three-game series against the visiting San Diego Padres, who snapped their own five-game skid with a 5-1 victory Friday.

    Outfielder Yasiel Puig is mired in a 5-for-39 slump for the Dodgers, who have scored a total of nine runs in the past five games while going 2-for-33 with runners in scoring position. Manager Dave Roberts was hoping left fielder Carl Crawford and second baseman Howie Kendrick would provide a boost after both battled injuries earlier this month, but Crawford has one hit in his last 11 at-bats and Kendrick is batting .151. San Diego snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Dodgers on Friday behind the pitching of rookie Cesar Vargas and the power of right fielder Matt Kemp, who is batting .320 in 20 games against his former team after belting a three-run homer in the series opener. Kemp, who played the first nine seasons of his career with Los Angeles, has hit .287 with 105 home runs in 574 career games at Dodger Stadium.

    TV: 9:10 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Colin Rea (1-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Dodgers RH Ross Stripling (0-1, 3.22)

    Rea has pitched five innings in each of his last two starts, including Sunday when he received a no-decision after yielding three runs (two earned) against St. Louis. The 25-year-old Iowa native owns a 4.50 ERA in two career appearances (one start) against the Dodgers, including one inning of relief on Opening Day this season. Rea posted a 1.95 ERA in the minors last season and added about 20 pounds to his slender frame during the offseason.

    Stripling suffered his first career loss Monday after yielding three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings against Miami. After posting a 2.03 ERA through his first two starts, the 26-year-old rookie has allowed a total of six runs (five earned) on 14 hits over his last two outings covering nine innings. Stripling was named the Dodgers’ fifth starter near the end of spring training and took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his major league debut against San Francisco on April 8.


    1. Padres CF Jon Jay has recorded a hit in 10 of his last 11 games.

    2. Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen has converted 21 straight save opportunities.

    3. San Diego is 0-12 when trailing after six innings.

    PREDICTION: Padres 7, Dodgers 5


    Preview: Royals at Mariners

    GAME: Kansas City Royals (12-10) at Seattle Mariners (12-10)
    DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 30 – 10:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington

    The Kansas City Royals’ offense has gone silent during their four-game losing streak, but at least they won’t have to face Felix Hernandez again this weekend. The Royals continue their three-game series against host Seattle on Saturday after Hernandez pitched into the eighth inning Friday to lead the Mariners to a 1-0 victory.

    While Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is batting .366 during his career-best 18-game hitting streak, teammates such as left fielder Alex Gordon and shortstop Alcides Escobar continue to struggle. Gordon is batting .213 with five RBI and 29 strikeouts through 22 games, while Escobar is batting .223 and failing to spark the offense from the leadoff spot. Kansas City and Seattle have identical 12-10 records but the Mariners have won 10 of their last 14 while receiving contributions throughout the lineup, including from right fielder Seth Smith, who belted his 100th career homer Friday. “It’s been fun. We show up and get ready to play and go out there and seem to be doing the big things and little things we need to do to win baseball games,” Smith told reporters.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Yordano Ventura (2-0, 2.35 ERA) vs. Mariners LH Wade Miley (1-2, 7.04)

    Ventura allowed one run on three hits over seven innings Sunday against Baltimore while recording his second consecutive victory. “I have a lot of confidence right now,” Ventura told reporters. “I’m executing pitches. I’m concentrating hard on working hard on and off the field.” The 24-year-old is 11-1 with a 3.03 ERA over his last 18 outings and owns a 3.24 ERA in four career starts against Seattle.

    Miley struggled in the first inning Sunday against the Angels but recovered to earn his first win for the Mariners after holding the Angels to four runs in 7 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old needed the strong outing after opening the season by allowing a total of 14 runs on 26 hits in 15 2/3 innings over his first three starts. Escobar is 2-for-11 against Miley, who is 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in four career starts against Kansas City.


    1. Kansas City has dropped seven of its first 11 road games.

    2. The Mariners have homered at least once in eight straight games.

    3. Royals closer Wade Davis has not appeared in a game since April 22 because of a lack of save opportunities.

    PREDICTION: Royals 5, Mariners 3

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