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MLB • Tuesday Service Plays • 4/26/16

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    Preview: Phillies at Nationals

    GAME: Philadelphia Phillies (9-10) at Washington Nationals (14-4)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia

    The Washington Nationals are rolling along with five wins in their last six games – and the best record in baseball – under first-year manager Dusty Baker. Coming off a sweep of the Minnesota Twins, the Nationals aim to continue their hot start in the series opener Tuesday against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

    Washington earned one of its most exciting victories in recent memory last time out, as Bryce Harper’s pinch-hit homer forged a ninth-inning tie before Chris Heisey’s blast won it in the 16th. “We’ve seen thousands of games. They always say, ‘Go to the ballpark, and you may see something you haven’t seen before,'” Baker told reporters after Sunday’s win. “Well this, I certainly haven’t seen anything like this. This was crazy.” Max Scherzer aims to ride the momentum into Tuesday’s start against the Phillies, against whom he is 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA in seven lifetime starts. Philadelphia counters with Vince Velasquez, who has gotten off to a terrific start with his new team.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, CSN (Philadelphia), MASN (Washington)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Vince Velasquez (2-1, 0.93 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.32)

    Velasquez is coming off his worst start since joining Philadelphia, although he set the bar extremely high in his first two outings (zero earned runs in 15 innings). He gave up five runs – two earned – in 4 1/3 innings against the New York Mets in his last start – an 11-1 defeat. For the season, the 23-year-old has 29 strikeouts and three walks and is holding opponents to a .157 batting average.

    Scherzer also is aiming to rebound from an uncharacteristically poor outing, when he gave up five runs in five innings of a loss at Miami. His prior start was a seven-inning gem in an 8-1 triumph against Philadelphia. Ryan Howard (1-for-16, 10 strikeouts versus Scherzer) could be a candidate for an off-day against the former American League Cy Young Award winner.


    1. Entering Monday’s action, Harper led the major leagues in home runs (nine) and RBIs (23).

    2. Nationals RHP Jonathan Papelbon has saved seven of eight opportunities this season with his lone squandered chance coming against his former team, the Phillies, on April 17.

    3. Howard, who is hitting .183, does not have a multi-hit game since April 7.

    PREDICTION: Nationals 2, Phillies 1


    Preview: White Sox at Blue Jays

    GAME: Chicago White Sox (14-6) at Toronto Blue Jays (10-11)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 7:07 PM EST
    WHERE: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

    The Chicago White Sox entered the series relying on a pitching staff that leads the American League in runs allowed but is learning that the offense can pick up the team if necessary as well. The White Sox will try to clinch a series win when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays in the second of a three-game series on Tuesday.

    Chicago made a big move in the offseason to bolster the offense by trading for former Cincinnati Reds All-Star Todd Frazier, and he is beginning to settle in against American League pitching. Frazier hit his team-leading fifth homer in a win over Texas on Saturday but was still batting just .205 before going 2-for-3 on Monday with a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning and a sacrifice fly to provide some insurance in the ninth. The Blue Jays tend to lean on the offense and could not make a 5-1 lead stand up on Monday. Edwin Encarnacion took his turn leading the lineup with three RBIs in the opener but the pitching staff could not stop the bleeding in a five-run seventh as Toronto fell for the fourth time in six games.

    TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, WPWR (Chicago), Sportsnet One (Toronto)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox LH Chris Sale (4-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH R.A. Dickey (1-2, 6.10)

    Chicago worked an extra day of rest into the schedule for Sale by calling up Miguel Gonzalez for the start on Monday. Sale dominated in his last two starts, striking out nine in a two-hit shutout at Tampa Bay on April 15 and giving up an unearned run on two hits over seven innings in a win over the Angels on Wednesday. The Florida native, who did not issue a walk in either of those last two starts, is 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA in six career games – three starts – against Toronto.

    Dickey logged his first quality start of the season at Baltimore on Wednesday, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings without factoring in the decision. The veteran knuckleballer has issued 10 walks in 20 2/3 total innings but has recorded 19 strikeouts while yielding one home run. Dickey started twice against Chicago last season and was knocked around for seven runs in 12 total innings while going 0-1.


    1. Blue Jays C Russell Martin (neck) missed the last two games and is unlikely to play Tuesday with Dickey on the mound.

    2. Chicago SS Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-10 in the last two games.

    3. Toronto LF Michael Saunders (hamstring) returned to the lineup Monday after missing the previous three games and went 3-for-5 with a home run.

    PREDICTION: White Sox 6, Blue Jays 1


    Preview: Orioles at Rays

    GAME: Baltimore Orioles (11-7) at Tampa Bay Rays (9-10)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

    The Tampa Bay Rays look to produce another big pitching effort when they host the Baltimore Orioles for the middle contest of a three-game series on Tuesday night. The Rays used five pitchers to limit the Orioles to five hits during a 2-0 victory on Monday and can reach the .500 mark for the first time in almost three weeks with a victory as Jake Odorizzi takes the mound.

    Catcher Curt Casali had both RBIs on Monday for Tampa Bay, which has won six of its last nine contests after stumbling out of the gate at 3-7. Baltimore gives the ball to right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez after managing one run in the last two games and losing for the seventh time in 11 outings since a franchise-record 7-0 start. Manny Machado is 0-for-7 in the last two outings after starting the season with a 16-game hitting streak and slugger Chris Davis went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts the past two contests for the Orioles. Mark Trumbo has hit in 10 straight games and 16-of-18 on the season for Baltimore.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Baltimore), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 3.71 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 3.97)

    Jimenez has struggled with control his last two starts after a solid debut when he limited Minnesota to two runs (one earned) over seven innings. The 32-year-old Dominican Republic native walked four batters in each of the last two outings, but has struck out 20 in 17 innings overall. Logan Morrison is 3-for-3 against Jimenez, who is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in five career games versus Tampa Bay.

    Odorizzi comes in off the worst of four starts when he permitted five runs and eight hits over four innings at Boston before the Rays rallied for a 12-8 win. The 26-year-old has allowed 25 hits while striking out 23 in 22 2/3 innings overall. Adam Jones is 8-for-20 with a homer and Machado is 7-for-19 with a pair of blasts versus Odorizzi, who is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) against Baltimore.


    1. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter has 1,351 wins, one away from tying Chuck Tanner for 30th on the all-time major league list.

    2. Tampa Bay RF Steven Souza Jr. is 7-for-19 with two homers, five RBIs, four runs scored and three walks during a five-game hitting streak.

    3. The Orioles optioned INF Ryan Flaherty to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Monday starter RHP Kevin Gausman.

    PREDICTION: Rays 5, Orioles 3


    Preview: Red Sox at Braves

    GAME: Boston Red Sox (10-9) at Atlanta Braves (4-15)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

    Matt Wisler is considered a key to the starting rotation Atlanta hopes will return it to postseason competition at some point in the future, and the 23-year-old is getting his chance to face some of top hurlers in baseball early this season. Wisler takes the mound Tuesday against David Price when the Braves host the Red Sox, five days after matching Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in a game Atlanta lost in extra innings.

    Boston captured Monday’s series opener 1-0, and one night after having to cover 8 2/3 innings in an extra-inning triumph at Houston, the Red Sox bullpen fired 2 2/3 hitless innings. Jackie Bradley Jr. homered for the game’s only run, giving the Boston center fielder 10 homers in his last 63 hits dating back to last season. Atlanta lost its sixth in a row and has scored 11 runs during the skid, dropping its fifth one-run game of the season. The Braves failed to hit a home run for the 14th consecutive game, matching the 2007 Angels for the longest such powerless stretch since the wild card was introduced in 1997.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, NESN (Boston), FSN South (Atlanta)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH David Price (2-0, 7.06 ERA) vs. Braves RH Matt Wisler (0-1, 3.10)

    Price looks to rebound after a brutal outing in his fourth start with Boston, a 3 2/3-inning stint Thursday against Tampa Bay in which he gave up eight runs on eight hits in a no-decision. Signed to a seven-year, $217-million deal in the offseason, the 30-year-old has surrendered 13 runs in 8 2/3 innings in two no-decisions, bailed out by a Red Sox offense scoring 21 runs in those two games. Price is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts lifetime against Atlanta.

    Wisler seeks his first victory of the season but has been as solid as any Atlanta starter to this point, holding the Dodgers to one unearned run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings Thursday in his matchup with Kershaw. He gave up three runs on four hits in six innings to lose at Washington on April 13, and opened his season with a no-decision against the Cardinals, giving up four runs in 6 2/3 innings. Wisler earned his first career save April 17 at Miami, pitching a perfect 10th inning.


    1. Boston 1B Travis Shaw was thrown out trying to steal in the first inning Monday; the Red Sox are 16-for-18 on stolen-base attempts this season.

    2. Atlanta 3B Adonis Garcia made his seventh error in 18 games Monday, hours after manager Fredi Gonzalez said Garcia would start playing left field against right-handed starters.

    3. Red Sox RF Mookie Betts’ streak of reaching base in the first inning ended at five games with a leadoff groundout.

    PREDICTION: Red Sox 5, Braves 1


    Preview: Athletics at Tigers

    GAME: Oakland Athletics (10-10) at Detroit Tigers (9-9)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan

    The Detroit Tigers have been waiting for Miguel Cabrera to break out of his slump and finally received some production from the star on Monday. Cabrera will try to follow up his two-homer effort when the Tigers host the Oakland Athletics in the second of a four-game series on Tuesday.

    Cabrera had his batting average slip to .206 after failing in a pinch-hitting appearance in Sunday and had not homered since bashing his first of the season against New York on April 8. The former MVP looked like a different hitter in Monday’s series opener, going 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double and four RBIs. The setback was the third straight for the Athletics, who have allowed a total of 22 runs in those three contests after surrendering 17 during a six-game winning streak. The offense could not keep up with the Tigers in the opener and went 2-of-10 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight men on base.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), FSN Detroit

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Rich Hill (2-2, 3.32 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Mike Pelfrey (0-3, 3.68)

    Hill is having some trouble working deep into games but has won the two starts in which he lasted six innings. The former reliever struck out 10 in each of those outings and surrendered two runs – one earned – on three hits and four walks in six frames at the New York Yankees on Thursday. Hill has never made a start against Detroit and has allowed a total of seven runs and 11 hits in 10 1/3 innings against the Tigers spread out over 13 appearances.

    Pelfrey is looking for his first win with Detroit and is struggling to keep the ball in the zone of late. The 32-year-old issued six walks in as many innings at Houston on April 15 and five in five frames at Kansas City on Wednesday to go along with eight hits and three earned runs. Pelfrey is looking for his first career win against Oakland and was ripped for a total of 13 runs on 17 hits and five walks in eight innings in his two previous chances.


    1. Tigers INF Mike Aviles went 2-for-4 on Monday after entering the series 1-for-14 on the season.

    2. Detroit DH Victor Martinez is 4-for-8 with a home run and two RBIs in the last two games.

    3. Oakland RHP Andrew Triggs struck out one in a perfect inning in his major league debut on Monday.

    PREDICTION: Athletics 6, Tigers 3


    Preview: Reds at Mets

    GAME: Cincinnati Reds (9-11) at New York Mets (11-7)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Citi Field, New York City, New York

    Michael Conforto has grown accustomed to batting third in the lineup, and the New York Mets have benefited as a result. Conforto looks to continue his stellar run at the plate as the Mets vie for their 10th consecutive win over the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday when the clubs play the middle contest of their three-game series.

    The 23-year-old homered in New York’s 5-3 victory in the series opener on Monday to improve to 14-for-37 with three blasts and eight RBIs in his last 10 games. Conforto also scored on two-run homers by both Lucas Duda and Neil Walker as New York recorded its fourth win in a row and ninth in 11 outings while handing Cincinnati its sixth setback in seven road contests. Adding injury to the Reds’ insult was the loss of Brandon Phillips, who was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Noah Syndergaard and exited in the fifth inning. X-rays were negative for the three-time All-Star second baseman, although his availability is unknown heading into Tuesday’s contest.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), SNY (New York)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds LH Brandon Finnegan (1-1, 3.74 ERA) vs. Mets RH Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.89)

    Finnegan suffered his first loss on Thursday after he allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings against the Chicago Cubs in a game that is best remembered for counterpart Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter. The 23-year-old was taken deep on two occasions last time out, matching the total of his previous three outings. Finnegan, who has yet to face the Mets in his young career, limited his walks as he permitted just a pair against the Cubs after issuing nine free passes in his previous two outings.

    Colon will make his second attempt to record win No. 220, which would move him past Pedro Martinez for second-most among Dominican-born pitchers. The 42-year-old Colon was denied in his initial bid on Wednesday after allowing three runs on four hits in six innings en route to a no-decision against Philadelphia. Colon has enjoyed success versus the Reds in his career, posting a 4-1 mark – although his 3.77 ERA and .273 batting average against provide cause for concern.


    1. Cincinnati SS Zack Cozart, who has hit safely in 13 of 14 contests, had an RBI single and a sacrifice fly on Monday and has three RBIs and four runs scored in his last three games.

    2. New York OF Yoenis Cespedes had fluid drained from his right knee on Monday, but is listed as “day-to-day” by the team.

    3. Reds OF Jay Bruce was placed on paternity list Monday and later welcomed son Carter, who was born at 9:08 p.m.

    PREDICTION: Mets 5, Reds 4


    Preview: Brewers at Cubs

    GAME: Milwaukee Brewers (8-11) at Chicago Cubs (14-5)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

    The Chicago Cubs have beaten up on division opponents so far this season, and they hope to continue that trend when they host the Milwaukee Brewers for a three-game series that starts Tuesday. The Cubs are 8-2 against National League Central rivals and won 12 of their last 13 games against the Brewers last season.

    Chicago stayed hot last weekend, outscoring Cincinnati 38-14 while taking three of four from the Reds. The Brewers haven’t gotten much out of their starting pitchers, but the lone exception has been right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who takes the mound in the opener. He will have to contend with the highest-scoring team in the majors, as the Cubs average 6.3 runs and have scored eight or more seven times. Nelson might not get much support, either, as Milwaukee’s active roster is a combined 7-for-50 with no extra-base hits and 14 strikeouts against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks.

    TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), CSN Chicago

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Jimmy Nelson (3-1, 3.46 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (1-2, 4.00)

    Nelson has gone at least six innings in all four of his starts this season, allowing two earned runs in three of them. He had a bit of a rough time last time out against Minnesota, allowing four runs and 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings while giving up two long balls – his fifth and sixth of the season. Nelson has made five starts and two relief appearances against the Cubs, going 0-3 with a 3.60 ERA.

    Hendricks was tagged for four early runs in his last start at St. Louis and suffered his second straight loss. The 26-year-old settled down after allowing four runs in the first two innings but failed to record a quality start for the first time in three outings this season. Hendricks is 4-1 with a 1.45 ERA in six career starts against the Brewers.


    1. Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo, who has five homers in his past five games, is 4-for-13 with a double, a triple and a homer against Nelson.

    2. Brewers C Jonathan Lucroy is batting .323 during an eight-game hitting streak, but he’s 1-for-7 versus Hendricks.

    3. Chicago RF Jason Heyward is 10-for-20 over his past five games, raising his average 90 points to .260.

    PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Brewers 3


    Preview: Yankees at Rangers

    GAME: New York Yankees (8-10) at Texas Rangers (10-10)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas

    Jacoby Ellsbury is enjoying a strong surge at the plate, even if the New York Yankees collectively aren’t having as much success this season. Ellsbury looks to continue his good fortune on Tuesday when the visiting Yankees attempt to secure a series victory against the Texas Rangers.

    The 32-year-old belted a solo homer among his two hits in Monday’s 3-1 triumph over Texas to improve to 8-for-21 (.381) with three RBIs and two runs scored in his last five games. Ellsbury hasn’t had as much fun against Tuesday starter A.J. Griffin, going just 1-for-10 versus the right-hander. While the Yankees won the opener of their nine-game road trip for their third win in four outings following a disastrous 1-7 stretch, Texas has been outscored 16-5 en route to losing four in a row. Prince Fielder had one of his team’s three hits on Monday to improve to 11-for-31 (.355) in his last eight encounters with New York and 33-for-102 (.324) in his career against the club.

    TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, YES (New York), FSN Southwest (Texas)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Luis Severino (0-2, 4.86 ERA) vs. Rangers RH A.J. Griffin (2-0, 3.18)

    Severino is still searching for his first win despite allowing just two runs in six innings of a no-decision versus Oakland on Thursday. The 22-year-old Dominican permitted seven hits against the Athletics and 25 in 16 2/3 frames while being taken deep in back-to-back outings. Severino, who has only walked one batter this season, has yet to face the Rangers in his young career.

    Griffin has made a triumphant return to the majors after spending two years working through elbow and shoulder injuries. The 28-year-old has allowed just six earned runs on 13 hits in 17 innings this season, with two runs on four hits in six frames coming in a 7-4 win over Houston on Thursday. Griffin scattered six hits over seven scoreless innings in his last meeting with New York, although he was pitching with Oakland at the time.


    1. New York 1B Mark Teixeira had two hits on Monday and is 7-for-16 in his last four games after going 1-for-18 in his previous six.

    2. Texas rookie RF Nomar Mazara, who has five hits in his last four games, had a single to end RHP Nathan Eovaldi’s no-hit bid in the seventh inning on Monday.

    3. The Yankees acquired LHP Phil Coke from the Atlantic League on Monday and will send him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

    PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Yankees 2


    Preview: Indians at Twins

    GAME: Cleveland Indians (9-8) at Minnesota Twins (6-14)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 8:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Michael Brantley will make his long-awaited return to the starting lineup on Tuesday as the Cleveland Indians look to even their series against the Minnesota Twins at one victory apiece. Brantley endured five-plus months of rehabilitation following surgery on his right shoulder in November and made a pinch-hit appearance on Monday night after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the day.

    “Of course, I wanted to get back earlier,” the 28-year-old Brantley told “But, we took the smart approach, and I’m healthy and excited to be back with this team.” The Indians began their nine-game road trip in scintillating fashion, outscoring Detroit by an 18-5 margin before Oswaldo Arcia’s solo homer in the ninth gave Minnesota a 4-3 triumph on Monday. The win was the Twins’ fifth in their last six outings at Target Field and second in seven outings overall. Brian Dozier, who had a two-run double on Monday to increase his RBI total to five in the last two games, is 3-for-8 in his career versus Tuesday starter Cody Anderson.

    TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), FSN North (Minnesota)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Cody Anderson (0-1, 7.53 ERA) vs. Twins RH Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 2.66)

    Anderson has limped out of the blocks this season, yielding five homers among his 24 hits and 12 runs allowed in his three starts (14 1/3 innings). Perhaps a date with Minnesota is the best medicine to get on track as the 25-year-old won both of his decisions in three outings versus the Twins last year. Anderson overcame four walks and scattered two hits over seven scoreless innings in his last meeting with Minnesota.

    Nolasco recorded his first decision of the season on Thursday after permitting one run on five hits and striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings in a win versus Milwaukee. The 33-year-old looks to keep the momentum going versus Cleveland, against which he is just 0-2 with a bloated 5.61 ERA while allowing the club to bat .282 versus him. Nolasco has been taken deep five times in as many appearances (25 2/3 innings) against the Indians, but has done considerably better at keeping the ball in the park this season with just one homer allowed (20 1/3 innings).


    1. Cleveland LF Jose Ramirez had two hits on Monday and is 6-for-19 with four RBIs and three runs scored in his last four games.

    2. Minnesota 1B Joe Mauer has hit safely in six straight and 15 of his last 16 contests.

    3. Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a right hamstring strain.

    PREDICTION: Indians 4, Twins 1


    Preview: Pirates at Rockies

    GAME: Pittsburgh Pirates (11-9) at Colorado Rockies (9-10)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 8:40 PM EST
    WHERE: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado

    The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to thrive in Colorado and look to maintain their dominance in Coors Field when they visit the Rockies again Tuesday night. With a 6-1 win in the opener of the four-game series on Monday, the Pirates have claimed six straight in Denver, a streak that dates back to July 27, 2014.

    Despite resting star center fielder Andrew McCutchen for the first time this season, they had nine hits against three Colorado pitchers and own a .355 average during the six-game run. Perhaps more important to Pittsburgh’s long-term prognosis was the six scoreless innings by starter Jeff Locke, whose effort helped the squad make a smooth transition from the wild 12-10 victory in 13 innings at Arizona on Sunday. The Rockies also had a 12-10 decision that day but it was a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and they have dropped five of six overall. They hope to get back in the win column behind struggling veteran Jorge De La Rosa, who opposes Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole.

    TV: 8:40 p.m. ET, ROOT Sports Pittsburgh, ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain (Colorado)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Gerrit Cole (1-2, 2.70 ERA) vs. Rockies LH Jorge De La Rosa (1-2, 9.87)

    Cole earned his first win with six scoreless innings at San Diego on Thursday, limiting the Padres to four hits and striking out seven. He has 12 punchouts and one walk over his last two outings and has yet to allow a home run in 16 2/3 frames on the season. The UCLA product has never pitched in Coors Field and lost his only encounter with the Rockies at home in 2013, giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

    De La Rosa has struggled from the get-go and lasted just two innings in his previous start last Tuesday in Cincinnati, allowing four runs and six hits. He was originally scheduled to face the Pirates in the series opener but had the outing pushed back a day in order to recover from a stomach bug. The 35-year-old is 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 15 games (11 starts) versus Pittsburgh and 3-1, 3.04 in four starts against the Pirates at Coors Field.


    1. The Rockies reinstated C Nick Hundley (concussion) from the 7-day disabled list and sent RHP Jordan Lyles to Triple-A Albuquerque.

    2. McCutchen is 2-for-19 with nine strikeouts over his last five games.

    3. Colorado OF Gerardo Parra is 6-for-10 with five RBIs and two steals in his last two games.

    PREDICTION: Pirates 6, Rockies 4


    Preview: Cardinals at Diamondbacks

    GAME: St. Louis Cardinals (10-9) at Arizona Diamondbacks (11-10)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 9:40 PM EST
    WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona

    The Arizona Diamondbacks bolstered their starting rotation this offseason with the high-profile additions of Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, but so far the results have not been there. After Greinke struggled and was bailed out by the offense, Miller looks to get into the groove when the Diamondbacks continue a four-game series with visiting St. Louis on Tuesday.

    Greinke saw his ERA rise to 6.16 after giving up seven runs for the second time this season in Monday’s 12-7 win in the series opener, while Miller carries an ugly 8.59 mark into this one. “I feel like I’m just mechanically off,” Miller told reporters after walking five in two-plus innings his last time out. A less-heralded addition during the offeseason was shortstop Jean Segura, who had a home run among four hits in the opener and is hitting .352 for Arizona, which used a season-high 18 hits to snap an eight-game losing streak against St. Louis. Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday tripled in a run early in Monday’s loss but later left with a leg cramp and is considered day-to-day.

    TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (3-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Shelby Miller (0-1, 8.59)

    Martinez has lasted seven innings in each of his last two starts and limited the Chicago Cubs to one run and three hits his last time out. Opponents are batting just .178 against the 24-year-old, who is 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA in five games (two starts) against Arizona. Current Diamondbacks are a combined 10-for-52 with no extra-base hits against Martinez.

    Miller has managed to go just 3 2/3 innings over his last two starts, one of which was cut short by an injury and the other by a complete lack of control. He walked the final four batters he faced against San Francisco on Thursday and has issued eight free passes with only two strikeouts in the back-to-back poor outings. The ex-Cardinal allowed one run and five hits in 15 1/3 innings against his former team last season while with Atlanta.


    1. Diamondbacks C Welington Castillo has four homers and nine RBIs in his last four games.

    2. Cardinals SS Aledmys Diaz is 11-for-15 in the first four contests of the club’s seven-game road trip.

    3. Four St. Louis relievers combined to give up eight runs (seven earned) in three innings on Monday.

    PREDICTION: Cardinals 5, Diamondbacks 4


    Preview: Royals at Angels

    GAME: Kansas City Royals (12-7) at Los Angeles Angels (9-11)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 10:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California

    Albert Pujols moved further away from a dreadful slump and elevated himself on the all-time home run list in the opener of the Los Angeles Angels’ three-game series with the visiting Kansas City Royals. Pujols snapped a tie with Reggie Jackson (563) with the first of his two blasts to gain possession of 13th place on the career list and looks to continue his sudden hot streak when the Angels and Royals meet again on Tuesday.

    Pujols endured a hitless streak of 26 at-bats to drop his average to .132 before going 2-for-4 with a homer on Sunday and following up with two solo shots in Monday’s 6-1 victory. “(Owner Arte Moreno) didn’t bring me here to try and pass all those guys,” Pujols told reporters afterward. “He brought me here to try and help this team win.” The defending world champion Royals recorded just four hits in the opener while losing for only the second time in their last 12 games against the Angels, a stretch that includes a three-game sweep in the 2014 American League Division Series. Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer owns a 15-game hitting streak but has collected just six RBIs on the season.

    TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, FSN West (Los Angeles)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Edinson Volquez (3-0, 1.46 ERA) vs. Angels RH Jered Weaver (2-0, 3.12)

    Volquez has been outstanding through four starts, including Thursday’s victory over Detroit in which he tossed seven scoreless innings. He allowed just five hits against the Tigers and has limited opponents to a .209 average while recording a 1.09 WHIP. Volquez is 1-3 with a 9.42 ERA in five career appearances (three starts) versus the Angels and has struggled against Pujols (4-for-10, two homers).

    Weaver is off to a strong start despite the spring-training velocity drop that alarmed both him and the team. He has registered only seven strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings and has attributed the dip in fastball speed to neck issues associated with degenerative changes in his cervical spine. Weaver is 7-6 with a 2.77 ERA in 14 career starts against Kansas City and has struggled versus former teammate Kendrys Morales (8-for-14, one homer) while enjoying success against Alex Gordon (4-for-22, one homer).


    1. Los Angeles CF Mike Trout has homered in three of the last five games.

    2. Kansas City CF Lorenzo Cain is just 4-for-29 over his last eight contests.

    3. Los Angeles SS Andrelton Simmons went 2-for-4 with one RBI on Monday after going 1-for-17 over his previous five games.

    PREDICTION: Royals 4, Angels 2


    Preview: Marlins at Dodgers

    GAME: Miami Marlins (7-11) at Los Angeles Dodgers (12-8)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 10:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

    The Miami Marlins vie for their first three-game winning streak of the season when they continue their four-game series against the host Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. Miami began its 10-game road trip with a pair of losses at San Francisco but posted a one-run victory in the series finale and did the same Monday in manager Don Mattingly’s return to Los Angeles.

    Giancarlo Stanton is beginning to heat up after a 3-for-22 stretch over six games, recording five hits — two home runs — in seven at-bats in the two victories. Los Angeles fell to 4-3 at Dodger Stadium this season as it kicked off a seven-game homestand but lost for just the second time in six overall contests. Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley and Corey Seager likely will return to the lineup Tuesday after sitting out the opener against Miami southpaw Wei-Yin Chen. The trio of left-handed hitters came on later in the contest and went a combined 0-for-4 with three strikeouts after going 15-for-40 with two homers and 12 RBIs in a three-game series at Colorado over the weekend.

    TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Tom Koehler (1-2, 4.80 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 1.50)

    Koehler is coming off his first win of the season, a triumph over Washington on Thursday in which he allowed just one run over five innings. The 29-year-old native New Yorker yielded only two hits and issued just one walk after surrendering 17 hits and six free passes in 10 frames over his first two outings. Koehler has made five career starts against Los Angeles, going 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA.

    Kershaw settled for a no-decision at Atlanta on Thursday despite giving up just one run and striking out 10 in eight innings. However, the 28-year-old three-time NL Cy Young Award winner did yield 10 hits — his total in 22 frames over his first three starts of the year. Kershaw is 5-2 with one shutout, a 1.91 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in eight career turns against Miami, limiting the club to a .181 batting average in the process.


    1. The Dodgers optioned LHP Luis Avilan to Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to Monday’s game and activated RHP Louis Coleman, who struck out two in one inning of relief in his return from the bereavement list.

    2. Miami 3B Martin Prado, whose wife gave birth to a girl Friday, is expected to return from the paternity list Tuesday.

    3. Los Angeles OF Carl Crawford (back), who went 4-for-11 on his rehab assignment, likely will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday.

    PREDICTION: Dodgers 7, Marlins 2


    Preview: Astros at Mariners

    GAME: Houston Astros (6-14) at Seattle Mariners (10-9)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 10:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington

    Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel attempts to rebound from a miserable outing when the Houston Astros visit the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. Keuchel was touched for six runs and 13 hits in six innings while losing to Texas on Thursday.

    Keuchel gave up nine runs in one game last season while going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA as the league’s best pitcher. He will look to help Houston end its road woes as the 3-2 loss in Monday’s series opener dropped the club to 2-8 away from home. Seattle has scored just 14 runs at home and is only 2-5 at Safeco Field, but its 10-9 overall mark is good enough for first place in the well-balanced American League West. Robinson Cano is just 2-for-15 over the Mariners’ last four games, but one of the hits was a run-scoring single in Monday’s victory.

    TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston, Seattle)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (2-2, 3.71 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Nathan Karns (1-1, 5.28)

    Keuchel gave up just five runs and 14 hits over his first three starts before the rough outing against the Rangers. He is 4-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in nine career appearances (eight starts) versus the Mariners. Keuchel has struggled with Nelson Cruz (7-for-14, two homers) and Seth Smith (4-for-12, two homers) but has shut down Cano (3-for-19).

    Karns is coming off his second shaky outing in three starts, as he gave up four runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings of a no-decision against Cleveland on Thursday. It was the longest of the three turns this season for the 28-year-old, who has issued four walks in each of his last two outings. Karns struck out eight over six innings in his lone career start against Houston, allowing one run and six hits in a no-decision on August 19.


    1. Mariners 3B Kyle Seager has homered in back-to-back games, with Monday’s blast being the 100th of his career.

    2. Houston LF Colby Rasmus went hitless in four at-bats in the opener after recording four homers and 10 RBIs over his previous four games, part of a streak that earned him American League Player of the Week honors.

    3. Seattle placed RHP Joaquin Benoit (shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled RHP Mayckol Guaipe from Triple-A Tacoma.

    PREDICTION: Astros 4, Mariners 3


    Preview: Padres at Giants

    GAME: San Diego Padres (7-13) at San Francisco Giants (10-11)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 26 – 10:15 PM EST
    WHERE: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California

    The San Francisco Giants attempt to clinch their second straight series win when they host the San Diego Padres on Tuesday for the middle contest of their three-game set. San Francisco, which took two of three from Miami over the weekend, improved to 3-5 on its 10-game homestand with Monday’s 5-4 triumph.

    Joe Panik has posted three straight multi-hit performances and has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games while Hunter Pence has registered six hits — two home runs — over 15 at-bats in his last four contests. San Diego will be trying to end one streak Tuesday but hopes another continues. The Padres look to avoid their second four-game slide of the young season while Wil Myers attempts to extend his hitting streak to 11 games after going 1-for-5 in the series opener. Matt Kemp has been on fire of late, collecting seven hits — including all five of his doubles on the season — in his last three contests.

    TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, CSN Bay Area (San Francisco)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH James Shields (0-3, 4.15 ERA) vs. Giants RH Johnny Cueto (3-1, 3.49)

    Shields remains in search of his first win of the season after taking his third loss Thursday against Pittsburgh. The 34-year-old Californian has suffered from a lack of offensive support, as San Diego has scored a total of six runs in his four outings. Shields has pitched well in four career outings versus San Francisco, going 2-1 with a shutout and a 2.88 ERA.

    Cueto takes his second shot at career victory No. 100 after being tagged with the loss against Arizona on Thursday, when he yielded three runs and eight hits over seven innings. The 30-year-old Dominican has produced three quality starts and worked at least seven frames in each of his four outings. Cueto is 4-3 with one shutout and a 3.91 ERA in eight career turns against San Diego.


    1. Giants LF Angel Pagan is 5-for-9 over his last two games and has driven in at least one run in four straight contests.

    2. San Diego LHP Robbie Erlin (elbow) is traveling with the team and hopes to return to action early next month.

    3. San Francisco RHP Sergio Romo (elbow) is expected to throw on flat ground Friday.

    PREDICTION: Giants 5, Padres 2

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