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MLB • Sunday Service Plays • 4/24/16

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    Preview: Rays at Yankees

    GAME: Tampa Bay Rays (7-10) at New York Yankees (7-9)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 1:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York

    The New York Yankees were mired in an ugly slump but have managed to turn things around at the expense of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees rebounded from a 1-7 slide by winning the first two games against visiting Tampa Bay and will go for a series sweep against their American League East rival on Sunday afternoon.

    New York squeezed out a 3-2 victory in dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon as Brett Gardner delivered a two-out, walk-off homer in the ninth inning. Gardner also plated the tying run with an infield single as part of a three-hit day to improve to 11-for-25 in his last seven games. Corey Dickerson is 6-for-14 with three doubles and four RBIs over the past four games for the Rays, who are 2-3 on their six-game trek. Left-hander Drew Smyly, still seeking his first win despite striking out 22 in his last two starts, opposes Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda in the series finale.

    TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), YES (New York)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays LH Drew Smyly (0-2, 2.91 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Michael Pineda (1-1, 5.29)

    Smyly turned in one of the more dominant performances of the season and still couldn’t come away with the victory despite striking out 11 and permitting one hit in eight scoreless innings at Boston on Tuesday. The 26-year-old Arkansas native also fanned 11 in his previous turn, a 4-1 loss versus Cleveland in which he gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits over seven innings. He is 1-0 with a 1.82 ERA in six appearances (three starts) versus New York.

    Although not as overpowering as Smyly, Pineda also deserved a better fate after turning in consecutive quality starts in which he permitted two earned runs over six innings. Ironically, the 27-year-old’s lone victory came in a rocky season debut when he surrendered three homers and six runs over five innings. Pineda has a strong record against Tampa Bay, going 2-1 rwith a 2.70 ERA in seven starts, while holding Evan Longoria to two hits in 20 at-bats.


    1. Yankees OF Aaron Hicks received a cortisone shot in his left shoulder and will be shut down for four or five days.

    2. Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier is riding a five-game hitting streak after going hitless in his previous eight contests.

    3. Yankees RHP Branden Pinder has a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and must decide between rehab and Tommy John surgery.

    PREDICTION: Rays 4, Yankees 3


    Preview: Athletics at Blue Jays

    GAME: Oakland Athletics (10-8) at Toronto Blue Jays (9-10)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 1:07 PM EST
    WHERE: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

    The Toronto Blue Jays have been waiting for Troy Tulowitzki to break out of a slump and join the trio of sluggers in front of him in a fearsome lineup. Tulowitzki did just that on Saturday and will try to lead the Blue Jays to a series win when they host the Oakland Athletics in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday.

    Tulowitzki was batting .150 and managed one extra-base hit in seven games prior to taking the series opener off on Friday to rest a sore hip. The former All-Star looked refreshed in his return on Saturday, when he went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs in the 9-3 victory. Josh Donaldson added a three-run blast against his former team as the Blue Jays snapped a three-game slide and ended Oakland’s six-game winning streak. The Athletics had allowed an average of 2.4 runs during the first five games of the winning streak but have surrendered 14 runs in two games against the Blue Jays.

    TV: 1:07 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), Sportsnet (Toronto)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Eric Surkamp (0-1, 3.68 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Drew Hutchison (2015: 13-5, 5.57)

    Surkamp is getting his first chance to stick as a major league starter and has yet to complete six innings in any of his first three turns. The 28-year-old is pitching for his fourth organization in the majors and went a season-high 5 2/3 innings at New York on Tuesday, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks without factoring in the decision. Surkamp has made six career appearances against Toronto – all in relief – and yielded a total of one run and two hits in 4 1/3 innings.

    The Blue Jays are attempting to manage the workloads of young starters Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman and will call up Hutchison to make a spot start on Sunday in order to give the two each an extra day of rest. Hutchison was Toronto’s opening day starter in 2015 but eventually lost his place in the rotation and failed to win it back in spring training. The 25-year-old is 0-1 with a 4.11 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 15 1/3 total innings for Triple-A Buffalo this season.


    1. Blue Jays OF Michael Saunders (hamstring) sat out the first two games of the series and is day-to-day.

    2. Oakland 1B Mark Canha homered in each of his last two games and drove in a run in three straight.

    3. Toronto LHP Chad Girodo, who took the roster spot of suspended 1B Chris Colabello, will be sent back to Triple-A to clear a spot for Hutchison.

    PREDICTION: Athletics 6, Blue Jays 5


    Preview: Indians at Tigers

    GAME: Cleveland Indians (8-7) at Detroit Tigers (8-8)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 1:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan

    Slugger Carlos Santana looked comfortable in the leadoff spot the last two contests and may get another shot Sunday when his Cleveland Indians go for a three-game sweep of the host Detroit Tigers. Santana is 4-for-9 in the series, including a homer to open the game Friday and a run-scoring double to support Yan Gomes’ five-RBI outburst during Saturday’s 10-1 rout.

    “I don’t think (Santana) is going to be a leadoff hitter the rest of his career,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona told reporters of his designated hitter, who has worked seven walks this year. “But, I also think that he can do some things that are pretty special as a leadoff hitter that can change a game.” Jarrod Saltalamacchia had nine homers all of last season but belted his sixth in the first month of 2016 to provide the only run Saturday for the Tigers, who have scored just twice while losing three straight. Former MVP Miguel Cabrera continues to struggle for Detroit, going 2-for-24 the last six games, and big-ticket free agent acquisition Justin Upton is 3-for-28 the last seven contests with 30 strikeouts on the season. “It’s clearly something with my timing or mechanical,” Upton told reporters. “It’s just not clicking right now.”

    TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), FSN Detroit

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (2-0, 2.79 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Shane Greene (1-1, 7.15)

    Carrasco has been outstanding his last two starts, allowing two runs and eight hits combined over 14 1/3 innings to gain a pair of victories. The 29-year-old Venezuelan boasts 18 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings overall, but has given up four homers. Cabrera is 9-for-24 with a homer and J.D. Martinez 6-for-18 with a pair of blasts versus Carrasco, who is 4-6 with a 6.29 ERA in 15 games (10 starts) against the Tigers.

    Greene struggled last time out while surrendering seven runs on six hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings to lose at Kansas City. The 27-year-old Floridian, who makes his home debut, won at Pittsburgh with six strong innings and gained a save in his first appearance of the campaign. Mike Napoli is 2-for-3 with a homer and a double versus Greene, who is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two games against Cleveland.


    1. Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler went 0-for-3 Saturday, going hitless for just the second time in 16 games this season.

    2. Cleveland OF Rajai Davis has hit safely in his last eight games with an at-bat and boasts five RBIs in his past two outings.

    3. The Tigers, who are expected to recall LHP Matt Boyd for bullpen depth Sunday, are 2-4 in six home games and gave up at least seven runs in three of the losses.

    PREDICTION: Indians 5, Tigers 1


    Preview: Cubs at Reds

    GAME: Chicago Cubs (13-5) at Cincinnati Reds (9-9)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 1:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio

    The Cincinnati Reds finally broke out the bats against the Cubs, and they’ll try to keep the offense rolling as they aim to salvage a split of a four-game series against visiting Chicago on Sunday. The Reds snapped an eight-game skid against the Cubs with a 13-5 victory Saturday, smacking four home runs.

    Chicago had outscored Cincinnati 46-7 while winning the first five meetings of the season, including a combined 24-1 margin in the first two games of the series. Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel will try to get Chicago’s pitching staff back on track after allowing a season-high run total in Saturday’s defeat. Hammel looks to continue his strong performance in the first month of the season – his 18 wins in April over the past six seasons are the most in the majors during that stretch. Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who led the way with four RBIs and a homer among his three hits Saturday, is 4-for-11 against Hammel.

    TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Ohio (Cincinnati)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Jason Hammel (2-0, 1.00 ERA) vs. Reds RH Alfredo Simon (0-1, 12.15)

    Hammel did it all in his last outing, holding St. Louis to one run over six innings and delivering a two-run single in a 2-1 win. The 33-year-old has more RBIs (3) than runs allowed (2) through his first three starts, which included a win over the Reds on April 14 in which he threw six shutout innings. Hammel is 2-1 with a 3.90 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) against Cincinnati.

    Simon didn’t get out of the first inning when he started against the Cubs on April 13, allowing five runs on four hits with three walks in two-thirds of an inning. The 34-year-old was then shelled for four runs (three earned) in one inning of relief at St. Louis two days later before being shelved for more than a week due to biceps tendinitis. HIs rough outing against the Cubs was an anomaly, as he’s now 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 16 games (six starts) against Chicago.


    1. Cubs 3B/LF Kris Bryant has hit all four of his home runs this season against the Reds and has 11 RBIs against Cincinnati.

    2. Reds SS Zack Cozart recorded his fifth multi-hit game in 13 appearances this season Saturday and has hit safely in 12 of those 13 games.

    3. Chicago CF Dexter Fowler has reached base via hit or walk at least three times in four of the past five games.

    PREDICTION: Cubs 7, Reds 4


    Preview: Twins at Nationals

    GAME: Minnesota Twins (5-13) at Washington Nationals (13-4)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 1:35 PM EST
    WHERE: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia

    Behind their stable of quality starting pitchers, the Washington Nationals are not giving teams much of an opportunity, especially at home. The Nationals have a great chance to keep alive their home winning streak when they send Stephen Strasburg to the mound in the finale of a three-game interleague set with Minnesota on Sunday.

    Washington has claimed the first two contests in the series, including a 2-0 triumph behind starter Tanner Roark’s career-high 15 strikeouts on Saturday that stands as the club’s seventh consecutive triumph at Nationals Park. Opponents have been held to two runs or fewer five times in the winning streak and the Nationals’ staff owns a 2.12 ERA at home. Right fielder Bryce Harper doubled twice and scored one of Washington’s two runs Saturday, pushing his league-leading slugging percentage to .803. Minnesota was expected to start Ervin Santana opposite Strasburg, but the veteran was scratched due to a lower back injury, opening the door for Tyler Duffey to get the call from the minors for a fill-in start.

    TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), MASN (Washington)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Tyler Duffey (2015: 5-1, 3.10 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Stephen Strasburg (3-0, 1.25)

    Duffey was in line to earn a spot in the rotation to begin the season but struggled in Grapefruit League action by giving up 10 runs in 12 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old was 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA in his final five starts last season and began this year with a 1.72 mark in three starts for Triple-A Rockester. The Texas native has let up only five homers in 211 2/3 innings across three levels since the start of the 2015 campaign.

    Strasburg has won six straight decisions and 11 of his last 13 dating to last season after dominating the Miami Marlins his last time out with eight scoreless frames. Opponents are hitting .183 in 2016 against the San Diego State product and he has not allowed a home run in five consecutive outings overall. Strasburg, who owns a stellar 2.64 ERA in 71 career starts at home, has never faced the Twins.


    1. Washington’s 13-4 start matches the franchise’s best through 17 games (also accomplished in 2012 and by the 1981 Montreal Expos).

    2. Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy has hit safely in 14 of his first 16 games.

    3. Twins 1B Joe Mauer is batting .340 in 12 career games against Washington.

    PREDICTION: Nationals 4, Twins 2


    Preview: Mets at Braves

    GAME: New York Mets (9-7) at Atlanta Braves (4-13)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 1:35 PM EST
    WHERE: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

    The opening weeks of the 2016 season have been unsettling for Jacob deGrom, who looks to find a normal routine starting Sunday when the Mets aim for a series-sweep at Atlanta. deGrom was activated from the bereavement list Saturday after missing two weeks following complications with the birth of his newborn son, and the former Rookie of the Year says he is healthy after leaving his only start of the season with right lat tightness.

    Mets second baseman Neil Walker and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back homers in Saturday’s 8-2 victory, giving New York 23 homers through eight games of its nine-game road trip. The Braves look to avoid a series sweep and snap a four-game losing streak by sending top prospect Aaron Blair to the mound for his major league debut. Infielder Daniel Castro extended his hitting streak to five games with a 2-for-4 performance, raising his average to .300. Atlanta failed to hit a home run for the 12th consecutive game Saturday; the Braves have just three homers on the season – two of those were hit on opening day – and are in their longest homerless streak since a 13-game stretch in May 1983.

    TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, WPIX (New York), FSN South (Atlanta)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Jacob deGrom (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Braves RH Aaron Blair (Triple-A: 3-0, 1.42)

    deGrom beat the Phillies on April 8, allowing one run on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts, but left the game after six innings and told reporters he believes a stiff landing leg aggravated the lat muscle. deGrom, who went 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four postseason starts last fall, spent time throwing in Florida while being with his family and reported no issues. The 27-year-old is 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA in five career starts against the Braves, going 0-1 with a 1.88 ERA in two outings in 2015.

    Acquired in the blockbuster deal last offseason that sent Shelby Miller to Arizona for three players – including last year’s top overall draft pick, Dansby Swanson – Blair dominated in three starts for Triple-A Gwinnett, walking five and striking out 22 in 19 innings. He no-hit Durham for seven innings Monday with 10 strikeouts, and held opposing hitters in Triple-A to a .156 average. The 23-year-old is 26-13 in 67 minor-league appearances across four seasons with a 3.13 ERA.


    1. Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman recorded just his second multi-hit game of the season Saturday, going 2-for-4 to raise his average to .190.

    2. New York CF Yoenis Cespedes did not play Saturday after aggravating an existing a bruised right leg on a slide in the seventh inning Friday.

    3. Atlanta RF Nick Markakis went 1-for-4 on Saturday with an RBI and a run scored and was hit by a pitch; Markakis has reached base in all 16 games he has played this season.

    PREDICTION: Mets 6, Braves 4


    Preview: Rangers at White Sox

    GAME: Texas Rangers (10-8) at Chicago White Sox (12-6)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 2:10 PM EST
    WHERE: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois

    The Chicago White Sox are winning with pitching and defense but are starting to get some power production from their biggest hitters. Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier will try to lead the White Sox to a three-game sweep Sunday when they host the Texas Rangers in the finale of a three-game series.

    Frazier hit one home run and was robbed of another on Saturday before Abreu singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th to give Chicago a 4-3 victory. Abreu went 1-for-6 to snap a three-game hitless streak while Frazier’s home run was the third in five games and lifted his batting average to .200. The Rangers were shut out 5-0 in Friday’s series opener and have totaled three runs in the series after averaging six during a four-game winning streak. Texas thought its own slugger was breaking out of a slump with a five-game hitting streak, but Prince Fielder went 0-for-5 on Saturday to drop his average back to .188.

    TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), CSN Chicago

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Derek Holland (2-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Mat Latos (3-0, 0.49)

    Holland is coming off back-to-back wins after holding the Houston Astros to two runs and five hits in as many innings on Tuesday. The 29-year-old sandwiched a pair of five-inning stints around a gem at Seattle on April 12, when he scattered four hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Holland is looking for his first career win against Chicago and is 0-2 with a 7.98 ERA in five career games – three starts – against the White Sox.

    Latos is adjusting quite well to his first extended stint in the American League, allowing a total of one run and six hits in 18 1/3 innings over his first three starts. The 28-year-old made his home debut on Tuesday and limited the Los Angeles Angels to two hits over 6 1/3 scoreless frames while striking out five. Latos does not have much of a track record against Texas but limited Fielder to 1-for-8 and held Ian Desmond to 5-for-20 in his career.


    1. White Sox C Alex Avila left Saturday’s game with tightness in his right hamstring and is day-to-day.

    2. Desmond homered in two of the last three contests and has four RBIs in that span.

    3. Chicago LF Melky Cabrera is 6-for-11 with two home runs and five runs scored in the last three games.

    PREDICTION: Rangers 5, White Sox 4


    Preview: Phillies at Brewers

    GAME: Philadelphia Phillies (9-9) at Milwaukee Brewers (7-11)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 2:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    The Philadelphia Phillies and the host Milwaukee Brewers have a chance to be on different sides of their first sweeps of 2016 when the teams collide Sunday. The Phillies can clinch their first sweep of the season behind promising pitcher Jerad Eickhoff, while Wily Peralta will aim to help the Brewers avoid their first series sweep of the campaign.

    Philadelphia posted a 5-2 triumph on Friday before notching a 10-6 victory on Saturday, recording a season high for runs scored in the process. Maikel Franco went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs on Saturday, and is 6-for-9 with three home runs and seven RBIs in the series. Odubel Herrera homered and scored four times on Saturday for the Phillies (9-9), who are hoping to move above .500 for the first time this season. The Brewers lost six of their last eight and have gone 12 straight games without allowing fewer than four runs.

    TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, CSN (Philadelphia), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Jerad Eickhoff (1-2, 1.89 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Wily Peralta (0-3, 8.35)

    Opponents are batting just .197 this season against Eickhoff, who has 18 strikeouts and three walks in his last two outings. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is the only active Milwaukee player who has faced Eickhoff, going 2-for-3 with two doubles as a member of the New York Mets last year. When Eickhoff gets ahead 0-2 this season, he has struck out nine of the 10 batters he has faced.

    Peralta has followed up the worst season of his career with a brutal start to the current campaign, as he has not logged more than five innings in any of his first four starts. He gave up two runs in five frames Tuesday in Minnesota in what was by far his best start of 2016, yet he still gave up five hits and four walks in the eventual no-decision. Lefties and righties are each hitting at least .340 against Peralta, who has limited Philadelphia infielders Freddy Galvis and Ryan Howard to a combined 2-for-17 in his career.


    1. No current Phillies player has ever homered against Peralta.

    2. Philadelphia had lost seven straight meetings with Milwaukee entering this series.

    3. Brewers OF Ryan Braun has hit safely in six straight games, during which he is 11-for-21 with five walks.

    PREDICTION: Brewers 5, Phillies 1


    Preview: Orioles at Royals

    GAME: Baltimore Orioles (11-5) at Kansas City Royals (11-6)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 2:15 PM EST
    WHERE: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

    Manny Machado continues adding to a remarkable first month of the season and his first-place Baltimore Orioles are riding the wave. Machado has at least one RBI in six consecutive contests and can extend his career-best hitting streak to 17 when the Orioles visit the Kansas City Royals on Sunday for the rubber match of their three-game set.

    Machado had two hits, including a double, in Saturday’s 8-3 victory to raise his batting average to .397 and boasts six homers to go along with 11 RBIs overall. Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis combined to post six RBIs in the second game of the series for Baltimore, which sends Mike Wright to the mound against hard-throwing Yordano Ventura in the finale. The Royals gave up seven runs in the first four innings of Saturday’s loss – only their third defeat in 10 home games. Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer owns a 13-game hitting streak after going 1-for-4 Saturday and has reached base safely in 25 contests in a row, dating back to last season.

    TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Baltimore), FSN Kansas City

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Mike Wright (1-1, 5.73 ERA) vs. Royals RH Yordano Ventura (1-0, 2.81)

    Wright gave his team a chance to win in both his starts, but lost to Toronto last time out while allowing three runs and six hits over six innings. The 26-year-old East Carolina product went 3-5 in 12 appearances (nine starts) with a 6.04 ERA last year in his rookie season. Lorenzo Cain went deep twice on Wright, who permitted four runs and four hits over five innings in a no-decision against the Royals in 2015.

    Ventura has been able to escape jams most of the season, yielding five total runs despite giving up 12 walks and 12 hits in 16 innings of work. The 24-year-old Domincan Republic native has struck out 17, but has been allowing too many fly balls (13 versus Detroit last time out). J.J. Hardy is 4-for-8 and Machado 3-for-7 versus Ventura, who is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles.


    1. Kansas City C Salvador Perez homered Saturday and has three blasts to go along with eight RBIs in the last five games.

    2. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter owns 1,351 career victories and needs one to tie Chuck Tanner for 30th in major league history.

    3. Royals RHP Wade Davis has allowed one hit in eight outings this season with seven saves, a win and eight strikeouts.

    PREDICTION: Royals 4, Orioles 3


    Preview: Mariners at Angels

    GAME: Seattle Mariners (8-9) at Los Angeles Angels (8-10)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 3:35 PM EST
    WHERE: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California

    One day after having their three-game winning streak snapped, the Seattle Mariners look to end their road trip on a high note as they visit the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday for the rubber match of their three-game series. Seattle fell to 5-3 on its nine-game trek after squandering a lead and dropping a 4-2 decision on Saturday.

    Nelson Cruz has homered in back-to-back games and driven in six runs in his last three while notching at least one hit in seven of his last eight contests. Mike Trout has been heating up for the Angels, recording two home runs and four RBIs over his last three contests while posting three multi-hit performances during his four-game hitting streak. Los Angeles would like for Albert Pujols to follow suit, as the veteran slugger is mired in a career-worst 0-for-26 slump. The 36-year-old has notched just one hit in his last seven games – a home run – as his batting average has dropped to .132 on the season.

    TV: 3:35 p.m. ET, ROOT (Seattle), FSN West (Los Angeles)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners LH Wade Miley (0-2, 8.04 ERA) vs. Angels RH Matt Shoemaker (1-2, 4.70)

    Miley has struggled in his first season with Seattle, surrendering 14 runs and 26 hits over 15 2/3 innings in three outings. The 29-year-old native of Louisiana allowed only three runs at Cleveland on Tuesday but lasted only 3 2/3 frames as he yielded nine hits and issued his first four walks of the campaign. Miley pitched well in his two career turns against the Angels, going 1-0 while giving up just one run and five hits over 15 innings (0.60 ERA).

    Shoemaker made his second straight strong start Tuesday but suffered a hard-luck loss at Chicago after allowing only two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings against the White Sox. The 29-year-old Michigan native was battered for six runs on seven hits and three walks over three frames of a loss to Texas is his first outing of the year at home. Shoemaker has enjoyed success against Seattle, going 3-2 with a 2.88 ERA in eight career meetings (six starts).


    1. Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez surpassed Randy Johnson as the franchise leader in strikeouts with 2,166 and needs one victory to tie Jamie Moyer (145) for first in club history.

    2. Angels OF Daniel Nava (knee) is “moving in the right direction” but is at least a week away from returning from the disabled list.

    3. Seattle OF Seth Smith is 3-for-8 with a pair of solo homers against Shoemaker.

    PREDICTION: Angels 6, Mariners 3


    Preview: Marlins at Giants

    GAME: Miami Marlins (5-11) at San Francisco Giants (9-10)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 4:05 PM EST
    WHERE: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California

    The San Francisco Giants attempt to complete their first sweep of the season when they host the Miami Marlins on Sunday for the finale of their three-game series. After dropping four meetings with Arizona to begin its 10-game homestand, San Francisco breezed past Miami in their first two meetings, outscoring the Marlins 15-3 in the triumphs.

    Starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jake Peavy were key contributors, with the former tossing 7 2/3 strong innings while going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and the latter working seven solid frames and driving in two runs. Counterparts Jarred Cosart and Jose Fernandez also performed well at the plate, combining for three of the Marlins’ 16 hits in the series, but allowed 10 runs on 15 hits and nine walks in 10 1/3 innings. Justin Bour and Christian Yelich have been the only Marlins swinging the bat consistently against the Giants, recording five and four hits respectively in the series. Miami has dropped four of its last five contests, scoring a total of four runs in the defeats.

    TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), CSN Bay Area (San Francisco)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins LH Adam Conley (0-1, 4.61 ERA) vs. Giants RH Matt Cain (0-2, 6.46)

    Conley tossed six scoreless innings against Washington in his 2016 home debut on Tuesday but fell apart in the seventh, surrendering four runs before departing with two out. The 25-year-old native of Washington has recorded 17 strikeouts and issued only two walks in 12 2/3 frames over his last two outings. Conley, who never has faced San Francisco, scattered four hits over six scoreless innings at the New York Mets on April 13 after yielding three runs at Washington in a season debut that was limited to one frame due to a lengthy rain delay.

    Cain failed to last five innings in each of his last two starts, surrendering six runs in 4 2/3 frames at Colorado on April 14 and yielding three on five hits and four walks before exiting with two out in the fourth against Arizona five days later. The 31-year-old Alabama native was limited to 26 starts over the previous two years due to injuries and has posted only 12 victories since the start of 2013 after registering at least a dozen in each of his previous four campaigns. Cain, who hasn’t thrown a complete game since 2012, is 6-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 15 career turns against Miami.


    1. Marlins 3B Martin Prado was placed on the paternity list prior to Saturday’s game and is eligible to return Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    2. Three of San Francisco OF Gregor Blanco’s six hits this season have been triples as he became the third player in team history to hit two in a game at AT&T Park on Saturday.

    3. Miami LHP Cody Ege had his contract purchased from Triple-A New Orleans on Saturday and made his major-league debut that night, allowing one run and one hit in one inning of relief.

    PREDICTION: Giants 5, Marlins 3


    Preview: Dodgers at Rockies

    GAME: Los Angeles Dodgers (11-7) at Colorado Rockies (9-8)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 4:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado

    The continued brilliance of Kenta Maeda led to a rare low-scoring game at Coors Field in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ victory on Saturday. A repeat effort seems unlikely as Alex Wood attempts to overcome his road struggles and Jordan Lyles tries to avoid another disappointing performance at home when the Dodgers and host Colorado Rockies meet Sunday in the rubber match of their three-game series.

    Games at Coors Field averaged 14.4 runs and 3.6 homers entering Saturday’s contest, but A.J. Ellis provided the only blast and Maeda tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Los Angeles’ 4-1 victory over Colorado. The win broke the Dodgers’ five-game losing streak in Denver and allowed the 28-year-old from Japan to become the first pitcher in major-league history to allow a total of fewer than two runs over his first four career starts (minimum 20 innings). The Rockies have dropped three of four following a stretch in which they won five of six, during which time they managed series victories over San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs. The same rotation that served Colorado so well during the final four games of that stretch (3-1, 0.72 ERA) has fallen on hard times recently, going 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA over its last four.

    TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles), ROOT (Colorado)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Alex Wood (1-2, 5.06 ERA) vs. Rockies RH Jordan Lyles (1-1, 6.00)

    Wood returned to Atlanta on Tuesday for the first time since he was acquired from the Braves last July and was tagged for six runs – three earned – in four frames en route to an 8-1 setback. The North Carolina native is 0-2 with an 8.00 ERA in his two turns away from home in 2016 and has been even worse in three career outings at Coors Field, going 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA. Over two starts in Colorado last season, Wood was pounded for 15 runs on 21 hits in 11 innings.

    Lyles bounced back from a pair of poor outings to begin the season with a dominant effort at Cincinnati on Monday, yielding one unearned run and four hits across seven frames in a 5-1 victory over the Reds. In his previous two turns – both at home – the 25-year-old surrendered five runs while failing to complete five innings each time. Lyles hasn’t experienced any degree of success over four career starts against the Dodgers, posting an 0-3 record and 6.85 ERA.


    1. Colorado was held to one run at home Saturday for the first time since Aug. 23.

    2. Dodgers 3B Justin Turner missed Saturday’s contest after he had his big toe stepped on by Rockies C Tony Wolters in the opener.

    3. Colorado C Nick Hundley could be activated from the disabled list as early as Monday “if all goes well”, according to manager Walt Weiss.

    PREDICTION: Rockies 9, Dodgers 6


    Preview: Pirates at Diamondbacks

    GAME: Pittsburgh Pirates (9-9) at Arizona Diamondbacks (10-9)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 4:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona

    The Arizona Diamondbacks used a three-run eighth inning to nearly steal their series opener with the Pittsburgh Pirates, then took advantage of a five-run frame late in a win on Saturday to even things up. The Diamondbacks look to continue their offensive resurgence Sunday, when they host the Pirates in the rubber match of their three-game set.

    The second of Welington Castillo’s two homers in Friday’s 8-7 loss sparked a rally that fell just short and resulted in the end of Arizona’s five-game winning streak, but the team made things right one night later as they broke open a 2-1 game with an explosive eighth inning, which was capped by Chris Herrmann’s three-run blast. Arizona has outscored the opposition 41-21 while winning five of its last six games, scoring at least six runs four times over that stretch. The Pirates ended a home-run drought with three in the opener and got another one from Sean Rodriguez on Saturday after going deep only seven times in their first 16 games but are only 5-9 since beginning the season with four straight wins. Pittsburgh went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position in its most recent loss and is 4-for-27 in its three setbacks halfway through its 10-game road trip against National League West foes, as opposed to 11-for-20 in its victories.

    TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Arizona

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates LH Francisco Liriano (1-1, 4.11 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks LH Robbie Ray (1-0, 1.96)

    Liriano has struggled in two road starts since fanning 10 over six scoreless innings against St. Louis on April 3 and has walked at least four in each of his three turns. The 32-year-old Dominican was charged with his first loss at San Diego on Tuesday, giving up four runs on six hits and five walks over 4 1/3 frames. Liriano, who has yet to lose to the Diamondbacks in four career starts, is 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three visits to Chase Field.

    Ray turned in his finest effort of the season in Tuesday’s 3-0 win at San Francisco, holding the Giants to five hits and a pair of walks while striking out eight in six frames. The Tennessee native has produced a quality start in each of his three 2016 outings, although his last turn marked the first time he issued fewer than four walks. Ray has dropped both of his previous starts against the Pirates, although Sunday will mark the first time he has faced them at home.


    1. Pittsburgh has recorded at least one double in all 18 of its games, while Arizona has tallied at least one extra-base hit in each of its 19 contests.

    2. Diamondbacks LF David Peralta, who has homered in back-to-back games, has reached base safely in 14 consecutive starts and 18 of his 19 games this season.

    3. Pirates 1B John Jaso is batting .413 during his NL-best 12-game hitting streak.

    PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 5, Pirates 3


    Preview: Cardinals at Padres

    GAME: St. Louis Cardinals (9-8) at San Diego Padres (7-11)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 4:40 PM EST
    WHERE: Petco Park, San Diego, California

    No team has received such impressive production from its bench than the St. Louis Cardinals, who look to climb above .500 on the road in Sunday’s finale of its three-game series at the San Diego Padres. Jeremy Hazelbaker’s tiebreaking three-run blast propelled the Cardinals to an 11-2 romp on Saturday and was their major league-leading seventh pinch-hit homer.

    Hazelbacker wasn’t the only rookie to shine for St. Louis in Saturday’s rout. Aledmys Diaz went 5-for-5 with a pair of RBIs to boost his batting average to a lofty .467. Jedd Gyorko, acquired in a trade with San Diego in the offseason, also tormented his former team with a three-run blast of his own as St. Louis scored in double digits for the fifth time in 13 games. The Padres, who fell to 4-4 on their nine-game homestand, send Colin Rea to the mound to oppose Cardinals right-hander Mike Leake in the series finale.

    TV: 4:40 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN San Diego

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Mike Leake (0-2, 5.71 ERA) vs. Padres RH Colin Rea (1-1, 5.51)

    Leake remains winless despite showing improvement in each of his three starts, taking the loss versus the Chicago Cubs last time out after giving up three of his four runs in the seventh inning. In his first season with St. Louis after signing as a free agent in the offseason, Leake also surrendered four runs in his previous two starts. Leake, who was born in San Diego, has made six starts against the Padres, posting a 1-2 record and 3.31 ERA.

    Rea was not particularly sharp but managed to notch his first victory of the season by going five innings and giving up three runs and seven hits versus Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He was a hard-luck loser in his previous turn at Philadelphia, permitting two runs (one earned) and five hits over seven frames. Rea made his third major-league start and suffered his first loss against St. Louis in 2015, allowing five runs (four earned) in four innings.


    1. Padres 1B Wil Myers has his safely in eight straight games.

    2. Cardinals RHP Seung Hwan Oh fanned the side Saturday, giving him 16 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.

    3. The Padres placed INF/OF Alexi Amarista on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Wednesday, with a right hamstring strain.

    PREDICTION: Cardinals 6, Padres 3


    Preview: Red Sox at Astros

    GAME: Boston Red Sox (8-9) at Houston Astros (6-12)
    DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 24 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

    The Houston Astros no longer share the worst record in the American League, due to a rare outburst of offensive firepower. The Astros matched their season high for runs in an 8-3 rout of Boston and can register only their second series win of the season when they host the Red Sox on Sunday night in the rubber match of the three-game set.

    Houston halted a four-game losing streak thanks to Colby Rasmus, who clubbed a grand slam and an RBI double for the team’s third win in 11 games. Jose Altuve and Luis Valbuena each collected two doubles apiece as the Astros smacked six two-baggers in the contest, including four in one inning against Boston’s beleaguered bullpen. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia had his third straight multi-hit game overall to boost his career batting average to .421 in 23 games against Houston. Boston sends left-hander Henry Owens to the mound in his season debut while the Astros counter with veteran righty Scott Feldman.

    TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Henry Owens (2015: 4-4, 4.57 ERA) vs. Astros RH Scott Feldman (0-2, 4.11)

    One of Boston’s top young prospects, the 23-year-old Owens will get the call from Triple-A Pawtucket to start in place of Joe Kelly, who injured his shoulder in his last start. Owens struggled with his consistency and control following his promotion to the majors in August 2015, failing to put together back-to-back quality starts. He was off to a good start at Pawtucket, logging a 1-1 record and 1.00 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks in 18 innings.

    Feldman has sandwiched a pair of mediocre outings around one solid effort, taking the loss at Texas last time out after giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits over five innings. He turned in a strong performance versus Kansas City in his previous turn, giving up a pair of unearned runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 frames for a no-decision. Feldman is 1-4 with a 7.24 ERA lifetime against Boston and has been roughed up by Pedroia (10-for-23).


    1. Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts (wrist) sat out Saturday after taking a pitch off the wrist Friday night but is hopeful to return for the finale.

    2. Astros OF George Springer has multiple hits in five of the last seven games.

    3. Red Sox CF Mookie Betts is 9-for-19 with nine runs scored during a four-game hitting streak.

    PREDICTION: Astros 6, Red Sox 5

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