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MLB • Wednesday Service Plays • 4/20/16

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  • #41111
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday, April 20, 2016, Opening Line Report
    by Alan Matthews

    The Baltimore Orioles have been a nice early-season surprise, but I don’t believe they have the starting pitching to stay atop the AL East, no matter how much they mash. Thus it seems like a wise gamble to sign free-agent right-hander Kyle Lohse, who is likely to agree to terms soon with the Birds. Lohse was pretty bad last year in Milwaukee with a 5.58 ERA but he was a very good pitcher from 2011-14 and is definitely worth a shot. At worst he’s Baltimore’s No. 5 guy who eats six innings per start. Only one current Orioles starter has an ERA under 5.06, and that’s the unpredictable Ubaldo Jimenez, so they need to do something. Note: again no MLB trends available as of this writing.

    Rockies at Reds (-137, 8)

    This is a getaway day game at 12:35 p.m. ET so I can all but guarantee you that a few regulars on each side don’t start. It’s Chad Bettis (2-0, 2.95) for Colorado and he has been very good his past two starts. The Rockies might actually be dangerous if guys like Bettis keep pitching well because they are going to hit. Last time out, Bettis shut out the high-scoring Cubs on three hits over six innings at Wrigley Field. Bettis has never faced the Reds. Cincinnati goes with Opening Day starter Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 3.24), which tells you all you need to about that rotation. Iglesias was tagged for three runs over five innings last time out at the Cubs. He has never faced the Rockies.

    Early lean:
    Reds and under.

    Cubs at Cardinals (-125, 8)

    You also are likely to see some regulars get this game off on both sides with a 1:45 p.m. ET start after a night game. Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 2.84) gets the ball for Chicago. He has allowed exactly two runs in each of his first two starts but has yet to make it past 6.2 innings. Hendricks made one start against St. Louis last season and took a no-decision after allowing four runs and six hits in five innings. He has a 4.91 career ERA at Busch Stadium. Matt Holliday, who hasn’t done much yet this season, is 6-for-12 with two homers and four RBIs off Hendricks. Matt Carpenter is 6-for-10 with a homer. So I’m guessing those two stay in the lineup. The Cards’ Carlos Martinez (2-0, 3.46) has gotten the best run support in the majors thus far. St. Louis has scored 14 and 12 runs in his two starts. Martinez was 2-0 with a 5.24 ERA in five appearances (four starts) last year vs. the Cubs. Red-hot Dexter Fowler is 4-for-12 off him. Struggling Anthony Rizzo is 3-for-12 with a homer and five RBIs.

    Early lean:
    Cardinals and under.

    Tigers at Royals (-115, 7.5)

    ESPN national TV game and should have live betting at sportsbooks. Detroit’s big free-agent deal with Jordan Zimmermann (2-0, 0.00) has certainly paid off so far. He hasn’t allowed a run over 13 innings with just eight hits allowed. He has pitched on two very cold days, it should be noted. That benefits pitchers. Zimmermann had spent his entire career with Washington so he hasn’t faced a ton of Royals. Kendrys Morales is 2-for-3 with an RBI off him. Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar are each 1-for-3. The Royals also lured Ian Kennedy (2-0, 0.66) from the National League on a fat free-agent deal this offseason and that has worked out well thus far too. He has allowed one run and seven hits over 13.2 innings. Kennedy looks more like the 2014 version of himself with San Diego than last year’s. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera is 3-for-7 off him with two RBIs. Ian Kinsler is 5-for-7 with three doubles. Justin Upton has three hits, including a homer, in eight at-bats off him.

    Early lean:
    Tigers and over.

    Twins at Brewers (-132, 8.5)

    Keep in mind that the Twins lose the DH here. Minnesota has placed third baseman Trevor Plouffe on the disabled list to join closer Glen Perkins. Plouffe was diagnosed with a right intercostal strain shortly after being removed from Sunday’s game against the Angels. Not many Twins are hitting yet but Plouffe was batting .302 with two homers and a team-leading six RBIs. Eduardo Nunez will generally take over at third. Minnesota goes with lefty Tommy Milone (0-1, 5.06) here. He has allowed four runs in each of his two starts spanning 10.2 innings. He also has allowed two homers in each game. Only a few Brewers have seen him. Ryan Braun is 0-for-4. Chris Carter is 2-for-13 with a homer. Jonathan Villar is 3-for-6. Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson (2-1, 2.79) has opened the season with three quality starts and has allowed only 12 hits over 19.1 innings. Nelson has never faced the Twins.

    Early lean:
    Brewers and under.

    Diamondbacks at Giants (-130, 6.5)

    Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 4.50) had to face Dodgers three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw in his past two starts. And Bumgarner’s Giants lost both. Now Bumgarner has to face another former Cy Young winner and a guy who was even better on the Dodgers than Kershaw last year, new Diamondback Zack Greinke. Bumgarner was 2-2 with a 2.06 ERA in five starts vs. Arizona in 2015. Paul Goldschmidt is a career .316 hitter off him with two homers and six RBIs in 38 at-bats. As for Greinke (0-2, 6.75), he has gotten progressively better if not dominant yet in his three starts. He held the weak-hitting Padres to two runs and six hits over 7.1 innings last time out. Greinke was 2-0 last year with a 2.66 ERA in three starts with the Dodgers against the Giants. Hunter Pence has two homers off him in 24 at-bats. Denard Span hits .303 against him with four RBIs.

    Early lean:
    Giants and under.

    #41122
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Rockies at Reds

    GAME: Colorado Rockies (8-6) at Cincinnati Reds (7-7)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 12:35 PM EST
    WHERE: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Zack Cozart has made himself at home atop the Cincinnati Reds’ lineup and carries a 10-game hitting streak into Wednesday afternoon’s rubber match with the visiting Colorado Rockies. The 30-year-old Cozart, who is 16-for-37 (.432) on the season, capped a 10-pitch at-bat with an RBI single to highlight a four-run second inning in the Reds’ 4-3 victory on Tuesday.

    Brandon Phillips fell a homer shy of the cycle and had four of the nine hits for Cincinnati, which posted just its second win in eight outings and reached four runs for just the second time in its last nine. Colorado’s Ben Paulsen continued his solid series as he followed up a three-run homer in Monday’s 5-1 win with an RBI single to open the scoring on Tuesday. Paulsen, who has driven in seven runs in his last six games, added a double as the Rockies fell for just the second time in seven outings. Colorado is wrapping up a six-game road trip before beginning a seven-game homestand versus the National League West-rival Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

    TV: 12:35 p.m. ET, ROOT (Colorado), FSN Ohio (Cincinnati)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies RH Chad Bettis (2-0, 2.95 ERA) vs. Reds RH Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 3.24)

    Bettis has righted the ship after a disastrous season-opening performance, allowing just one earned run on nine hits and striking out 10 in his last two outings (13 innings). The 26-year-old permitted just three singles over six scoreless innings in a 6-1 triumph over the Chicago Cubs on Friday. The lone blemish was his control, as he walked three batters for the second time in three outings this season.

    Iglesias yielded three runs and struck out 12 in 11 2/3 innings during his first two home starts before stumbling a bit in his trip to Wrigley Field on Thursday. The 26-year-old Cuban allowed three runs on six hits in five innings in an 8-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Iglesias, who was Cincinnati’s Opening Day starter, has yet to face the Rockies in his young career.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Cincinnati RH Caleb Cotham retired the side in order in one inning of work on Tuesday and has yet to allow an earned run in eight frames this season.

    2. Colorado 1B Mark Reynolds, who belted a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning on Tuesday, has struck out 12 times in 31 at-bats.

    3. Reds 1B Joey Votto is 0-for-10 following a five-game hitting streak.

    PREDICTION: Rockies 4, Reds 2

    #41123
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Cubs at Cardinals

    GAME: Chicago Cubs (11-3) at St. Louis Cardinals (7-7)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 1:45 PM EST
    WHERE: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The road to the National League Central title has gone through St. Louis in recent years, and the Chicago Cubs are proving they can win in the shadow of the Gateway Arch. The Cubs will try for their first three-game sweep of the Cardinals in St. Louis since Sept. 13-15, 2010, when the division rivals wrap up their first series of the season Tuesday.

    St. Louis entered the series leading the majors in scoring but has been shut down by Chicago’s pitching, scoring just one run in the first two contests. Cubs starters have gone at least six innings in each of the club’s first 14 games, a streak Kyle Hendricks will look to extend in the series finale. The Cardinals need to jump-start their offense and will look to a pair of players who have hit Hendricks hard in Matt Carpenter (6-for-10, home run) and Matt Holliday (6-for-12, two homers) to do so. The Cardinals are 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the series.

    TV: 1:45 p.m. ET, MLB Network, CSN Chicago, FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (2-0, 3.46)

    Hendricks has turned in two solid outings to begin the season after winning a spot in the rotation during the spring. The 26-year-old has posted two quality starts, though his defense didn’t help last time out as he allowed four runs (two earned) over six innings in a loss to Colorado. Hendricks is 0-1 in four starts against the Cardinals and has posted a 4.91 ERA in two outings at Busch Stadium.

    Martinez has benefited from tremendous run support – the Cardinals have scored 12 and 14 runs in his two starts – but hasn’t really needed it. The 24-year-old has recorded two quality starts and limited Cincinnati to three runs over seven innings last time out. Martinez is 2-0 with a 4.55 ERA in 14 games (four starts) against the Cubs, with both wins coming in starts last season.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Carpenter has reached base in a team-high 11 straight games, including all eight at home this season.

    2. Cubs CF Dexter Fowler has been on base a league-best 31 times this season after recording a hit and two walks on Tuesday.

    3. Chicago 1B Anthony Rizzo has reached base via hit, walk or hit by pitch in 15 straight games against the Cardinals and is 3-for-12 with a double and a homer versus Martinez.

    PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Cubs 2

    #41124
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Angels at White Sox

    GAME: Los Angeles Angels (6-8) at Chicago White Sox (9-5)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 2:10 PM EST
    WHERE: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Chicago White Sox mustered just five runs in their previous four contests before matching that total on Tuesday to even their four-game series with the visiting Los Angeles Angels at one victory apiece. The White Sox hope to have more offense in the tank on Wednesday afternoon, when they send ace Chris Sale to the mound to face the sputtering Angels, who have dropped four of their last five.

    Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier showed signs of breaking out of their respective slumps with solo homers on Tuesday as Chicago snapped a three-game skid with a 5-0 victory. Abreu, who entered the contest mired in a 3-for-25 slump, is 4-for-6 with one blast and four RBIs against Wednesday starter Garrett Richards. Los Angeles’ Andrelton Simmons recorded a double to extend his career-high hitting streak to 12 games but has yet to face Sale. Struggling slugger Albert Pujols has gone 1-for-16 following a five-game hitting streak and is just 2-for-15 (.133) lifetime versus Chicago’s stud hurler.

    TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), WGN (Chicago)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Garrett Richards (0-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. White Sox LH Chris Sale (3-0, 2.35)

    After losing his first two starts, Richards was in line for his first win of the season on Friday before the bullpen squandered a lead en route to a 5-4 setback against Minnesota. The 27-year-old allowed just two runs and four hits in six innings versus the Twins and struck out six for the second straight outing. Richards looks to rebound versus Chicago, against which he permitted two earned runs in seven strong innings in his last start to improve to 2-0 versus the club.

    Sale continued his stellar season by going the distance on Friday, scattering two hits and striking out nine in a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay. Last season’s American League strikeout leader has picked up where he left off, fanning 23 in 25 innings in 2016. The 27-year-old Sale has handcuffed the Angels in his career, posting a 4-0 record and 1.64 ERA while limiting the club to a .158 batting average.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Chicago RHP Matt Albers has not allowed a run in his last 30 innings (27 games).

    2. Los Angeles 3B Yunel Escobar is 1-for-13 in his last three contests following a seven-game hitting streak.

    3. White Sox LF Melky Cabrera has recorded six multi-hit performances in his last eight starts.

    PREDICTION: White Sox 2, Angels 1

    #41125
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Mariners at Indians

    GAME: Seattle Mariners (5-8) at Cleveland Indians (6-5)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 6:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Cleveland Indians attempt to push themselves two games above .500 for the first time this season when they host the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday for the middle contest of their three-game series. Francisco Lindor looks to continue his strong start after going 3-for-3 with an RBI in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory for his fifth multi-hit performance of the young season.

    Carlos Carrasco conquered the Mariners in the series opener and Danny Salazar gets the start Wednesday for the Indians after beginning the season with two wins following a 7-2 effort at home last year. Taijuan Walker will oppose Salazar after dominating the Indians last season, going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two outings. Seattle has dropped two in a row after winning three straight and has five games remaining on its road trip. The good news for the Mariners is that Kyle Seager, who has struggled mightily in April, broke out Tuesday with his first two-hit effort of the season that included his second home run.

    TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Seattle), SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Taijuan Walker (0-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Indians RH Danny Salazar (2-0, 0.79)

    Walker has started the season with two solid performances but was not involved in the decisions against Texas and Oakland. The 23-year-old former first-round draft pick allowed three runs and 12 hits over 12 innings with eight strikeouts and two walks in those outings. Yan Gomes is 2-for-3 against Walker, who recorded seven of his 11 wins last season on the road and struck out 14 in as many innings versus Cleveland.

    Salazar has been dominant in his first two starts of the season, but a total of six walks against the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay limited him to just 11 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old Dominican has allowed five hits while striking out 16. Norichika Aoki is 3-for-12 with a pair of doubles against Salazar, who gave up three runs over 5 1/3 innings against Seattle in 2015.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Seattle 2B Robinson Cano, who played his 1,700th career game Tuesday, is 6-for-19 on his five-game hitting streak.

    2. Cleveland OF Rajai Davis has hit safely in six straight games, going 8-for-26 in that span.

    3. Mariners 1B Adam Lind has recorded just one RBI on the season but has gone 5-for-16 over his last five contests.

    PREDICTION: Indians 4, Mariners 1

    #41126
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Blue Jays at Orioles

    GAME: Toronto Blue Jays (8-7) at Baltimore Orioles (8-4)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Baltimore Orioles are cooling off with losses in four of their last five games and will try to avoid a third straight setback when they host the Toronto Blue Jays in the second of a three-game series on Wednesday. The Blue Jays are heating up with wins in three straight and are getting just enough from the offense to support strong pitching.

    Baltimore won its first seven games before falling off the pace and found itself in a 3-0 hole after the third inning on Tuesday before making things interesting late in a 4-3 loss. The Orioles got home runs from Manny Machado and Matt Wieters in the setback and have had no trouble getting big hits from the offense, but the starting rotation is beginning to show its limitations. Toronto has big bats in the middle of the lineup as well and got a two-run double from Troy Tulowitzki to open up the lead in the third inning on Tuesday before Jose Bautista’s RBI double provided the winning run in the seventh. The victory was the fifth in the last seven games for the Blue Jays, who moved above .500 at 8-7.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One (Toronto) MASN (Baltimore)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH R.A. Dickey (1-2, 6.75 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 3.75)

    Dickey is having trouble working deep into games and has yet to record an out in the sixth inning through three starts. The former Cy Young Award winner could not keep his knuckleball in the zone at Boston on Friday and issued four walks in 4 2/3 innings while allowing four runs – two earned – and six hits in a loss. Dickey scattered two hits and no walks over five scoreless innings in his lone start against Baltimore last season but did not factor in the decision.

    Jimenez struck out nine and did not walk a batter over seven innings to earn a win in his first start but had control problems crop up at Boston last Wednesday. The Dominican Republic native issued four walks in five innings and was charged with four runs to suffer the loss. Jimenez is 6-4 with a 3.89 ERA in 13 career games – 12 starts – against Toronto, including 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts last season.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Orioles CF Adam Jones left Tuesday’s game with a stomach virus and is day-to-day.

    2. Bautista has reached base safely in each of the first 15 games.

    3. Baltimore RHP Kevin Gausman (shoulder) is scheduled to throw 90 pitches in a rehab outing with Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday.

    PREDICTION: Orioles 6, Blue Jays 5

    #41127
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Athletics at Yankees

    GAME: Oakland Athletics (7-7) at New York Yankees (5-7)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Oakland Athletics have sandwiched a pair of three-game winning streaks around a season-high four-game losing skid. The Athletics look to continue their winning ways at the expense of the New York Yankees on Wednesday when the clubs play the second contest of their three-game series in the Bronx.

    Jed Lowrie matched a career high with four hits and scored the go-ahead run in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory in 11 innings, marking Oakland’s 19th win in the last 27 versus the Yankees. Lowrie and Marcus Semien each had an RBI single and the latter is 3-for-5 in his career versus Wednesday starter Nathan Eovaldi. A sputtering offense continues to plague the Yankees, who have mustered just 13 runs en route to dropping five of their last six games. Veteran Alex Rodriguez has answered an 0-for-16 stretch with three hits and three RBIs in his last two contests – including driving in a run on Tuesday.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), YES (New York)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Kendall Graveman (0-1, 2.38 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Nathan Eovaldi (0-1, 6.94)

    Graveman is in search of his first victory despite allowing just three runs on seven hits in 11 1/3 innings this season. The 25-year-old was left with a no-decision last Tuesday despite yielding just one run on four hits in six frames against the Los Angeles Angels. Graveman also walked away with a no-decision in his lone outing versus New York, permitting three runs on seven hits – including a homer – in 5 2/3 innings.

    Eovaldi has been victimized by the home-run ball this season, allowing two for the second straight outing on Thursday. The 26-year-old yielded a three-run shot to Josh Donaldson in the fifth and a solo blast to Troy Tulowitzki the following inning to mar an otherwise strong performance in a 4-2 setback to Toronto. Eovaldi has kept the ball in the park in all four career appearances versus Oakland, but owns a 5.09 ERA to go along with his 1-0 record while permitting the Athletics to bat .337 against him.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Oakland CF Coco Crisp is 0-for-15 in his last five contests and 6-for-38 (.158) this season.

    2. New York LF Brett Gardner is 8-for-16 with three runs scored during his four-game hitting streak.

    3. Athletics 3B Danny Valencia has hit safely in nine of his last 10 contests.

    PREDICTION: Yankees 3, Athletics 2

    #41128
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Mets at Phillies

    GAME: New York Mets (7-6) at Philadelphia Phillies (6-9)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The 2016 New York Mets are hardly the 1927 New York Yankees, but their recent success – particularly against the Philadelphia Phillies – certainly suggests otherwise. The Mets look to continue their mashing in Philadelphia on Wednesday when the teams conclude their three-game series.

    New York enters Wednesday’s action with 10 home runs in the series, compared to 16 total hits for Philadelphia, in winning the first two games by a combined 16-3 score. Neil Walker has three homers in the series, while David Wright and Lucas Duda have two apiece for the Mets, who have hit 28 home runs in their last 12 games at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has lost four of its last five games with those defeats coming by a combined margin of 33-5. The Phillies will aim to avoid a sweep behind Jeremy Hellickson, while the Mets turn to veteran Bartolo Colon, who will become the second-winningest Dominican pitcher if he can record his 220th victory Wednesday.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), TCN (Philadelphia)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.13 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 4.30)

    Colon made his first start of the season against Philadelphia on April 9 and took a hard-luck loss after allowing one run in six innings. He struck out seven without issuing a walk that day and has struck out 13 against only one walk this year in 12 2/3 innings. Ryan Howard has homered three times against Colon but is just 6-for-26 against him.

    Hellickson pitched well in his first two starts, including a 5 2/3-inning effort against the Mets on April 10 in which he yielded two runs and three hits. He is coming off his worst start of 2016 – a 9-1 defeat to Washington in which he gave up six runs over three frames. Curtis Granderson, who is 3-for-20 with seven strikeouts against Hellickson, could get the night off against the former American League Rookie of the Year.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. The Mets have hit 17 home runs over their last five games.

    2. The Phillies have gone nine straight games without scoring more than three runs.

    3. New York SS Asdrubal Cabrera had his six-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday when he was the only Mets starter without a hit.

    PREDICTION: Mets 6, Phillies 4

    #41129
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Dodgers at Braves

    GAME: Los Angeles Dodgers (8-6) at Atlanta Braves (4-9)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Through 13 games the Atlanta Braves have been really bad – as evidenced by nine consecutive losses to open 2016 – and really good, carrying a four-game winning streak into Wednesday’s home contest with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Atlanta, which a week ago looked historically horrible during a 0-9 start, extended its winning streak with an 8-1 victory over the Dodgers in Tuesday’s series opener, sparked by three RBIs and a career high-tying four hits from backup catcher Tyler Flowers.

    Los Angeles entered the series having won four of its past five and had allowed more than four runs just twice in its first 13 games before Tuesday. Right fielder Yasiel Puig collected a hit in four at-bats Tuesday, and is batting .347 on the season and .379 in 15 career games against the Braves. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez snapped a 4-for-23 skid with two hits in Tuesday’s defeat. The Braves became the final team in the majors to win a home game; Atlanta swept a three-game series at Miami over the weekend and has scored 26 runs during its winning streak after recording just 24 in its first nine games.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, SportsNet Los Angeles, FSN South (Atlanta)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Ross Stripling (0-0, 2.03 ERA) vs. Braves RH Julio Teheran (0-2, 6.35)

    Stripling’s major-league debut captured plenty of headlines – 7 1/3 no-hit innings with one run allowed in a no-decision April 8 against San Francisco – but his second start was solid as well. The 26-year-old gave up two runs on five hits in six innings with only one walk and five strikeouts last Thursday against Arizona. Stripling has held opponents to a .116 batting average, and has given up only two extra-base hits in 43 at-bats.

    Originally slated to start Tuesday’s series opener, Teheran was bumped back to Wednesday’s middle game due to an illness. He has struggled after allowing only two runs in six innings on opening day, surrendering 11 runs (10 earned) on 12 hits in 11 innings in losses to the Cardinals and Nationals. Teheran has thrown four wild pitches (tops in the National League) and is tied for third in homers allowed (four) in the NL.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Major League Baseball extended Atlanta OF Hector Olivera’s administrative leave by two weeks; Olivera has been out since his arrest for an alleged domestic violence incident April 13.

    2. Los Angeles OF Carl Crawford (lower back strain) will begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Oklahoma City; Crawford hit .273 in five games before hitting the disabled list April 9.

    3. Atlanta CF Ender Inciarte (hamstring) is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters early Tuesday he expects Inciarte to miss the rest of April.

    PREDICTION: Braves 3, Dodgers 2

    #41130
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Nationals at Marlins

    GAME: Washington Nationals (10-3) at Miami Marlins (4-8)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Marlins Park, Miami, Florida
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Bryce Harper is not resting on his laurels following his National League Most Valuable Player-winning campaign and is already making a loud statement that he is the front-runner for a second straight award. After snapped a modest two-game skid, the Nationals continue their four-game series at the host Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.

    Harper had his four-game home run streak snapped in a series-opening 6-1 loss at Miami, but he extended another torrid streak during Tuesday’s 7-0 romp. Harper clubbed a grand slam as part of a four-homer, seven-run seven inning to give him a staggering 15 RBIs during a six-game string. The Marlins have lost five of their last six overall and are 1-6 at home following their first shutout loss of the season. Miami sends left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the mound to oppose Joe Ross on Wednesday night.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSN Florida (Miami)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Joe Ross (2-0, 0.61 ERA) vs. Marlins LH Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 5.56)

    Ross appears well on his way to building on a promising rookie season with a pair of stellar performances in his first two starts of 2016. The 22-year-old was superb in his season debut against the Marlins, giving up one run on five hits over seven innings, and followed that up with 7 2/3 innings of scoreless three-hit ball at Philadelphia on Friday. Ross did struggle away from home in 2015, winning only once and four decisions to go with a 5.29 ERA.

    Chen was scheduled to face the Nationals in his second outing of the season, only to have to miss the start due to a bruised elbow on his throwing arm. The 30-year-old Taiwan native bounced back with a strong performance against Atlanta on Friday, limiting the Braves to two runs and four hits over 6 1/3 innings. Chen had his issues against the Nationals during his four seasons with Baltimore, logging a 1-3 record and 5.09 ERA in four turns.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Harper leads the majors with 20 RBIs in 13 games.

    2. Marlins 3B Martin Prado has hit safely in six straight games and 11 of 12.

    3. Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy, batting .422, is riding an 11-game hitting streak and eight of his 19 hits have gone for extra bases.

    PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Marlins 2

    #41131
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Rays at Red Sox

    GAME: Tampa Bay Rays (6-7) at Boston Red Sox (6-7)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Boston Red Sox are going to need length out of the starting pitcher after asking the bullpen to go 9 1/3 innings in Tuesday’s extra-inning loss. Rick Porcello will take on that challenge when the Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays in the second of a three-game series on Wednesday.

    Joe Kelly was forced to leave after facing four batters in the first inning on Tuesday due to an impingement in his right shoulder and watched as the bullpen turned in 8 1/3 scoreless innings before finally falling off. Heath Hembree worked the first 3 1/3 frames, Robbie Ross Jr. went three more and Junichi Tazawa and Craig Kimbrel each turned in a perfect frame before Matt Barnes and Tommy Layne combined to allow three runs in the 10th. The Rays got plenty out of their starter as Drew Smyly struck out 11 and yielded one hit in eight innings, and the staff has allowed a total of four runs during a three-game winning streak. Tampa Bay still has some questions about its offense and did not score Tuesday until Kevin Kiermaier sent a solo blast down the right-field line in the 10th in Tuesday’s 3-0 win.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), NESN (Boston)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Chris Archer (0-3, 5.87 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (2-0, 5.11)

    Archer has yet to make it through six innings in three starts while dealing with the expectations that come with leading a staff. The 27-year-old surrendered four home runs at Baltimore on April 8 and gave up another while walking three and allowing three runs – two earned – and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings against Cleveland on Thursday. Archer is just 1-6 with a 5.14 ERA in 11 career starts against Boston.

    Porcello has had some trouble keeping the ball in the yard as well but at least managed to make it through six innings in each of his first two starts. The New Jersey native yielded only two hits against Toronto on Friday over 6 1/3 innings but both of them left the park, and he ended up charged with three runs while striking out eight in the win. Porcello made four starts against Tampa Bay in his first season with the Red Sox last year and went 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Rays 1B/DH Logan Morrison is 2-for-37 in 11 games.

    2. Kelly will be placed on the 15-day DL and Boston is expected to add another pitcher before Wednesday’s contest.

    3. Red Sox CF Mookie Betts is 1-for-16 with five strikeouts in the last four games.

    PREDICTION: Rays 4, Red Sox 2

    #41132
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Tigers at Royals

    GAME: Detroit Tigers (7-5) at Kansas City Royals (9-4)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 7:15 PM EST
    WHERE: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The Royals had been searching for the big hit in back-to-back losses and found it from Salvador Perez in the series opener against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Perez will try to follow up a career-high five RBIs when they Royals host the Tigers in the second of a three-game series on Wednesday.

    Perez doubled and homered in the 8-6 win and was in his usual position behind the plate to watch the back of the bullpen do what it usually does. Kansas City built its pitching staff to be strong at the back end and Kelvin Herrera put out a fire and maintained his perfect 0.00 ERA by getting the final two outs of the eighth on Tuesday before handing it off to Wade Davis, who earned his sixth save and matched Herrera by keeping his ERA at a solid 0.00. The Tigers have dropped back-to-back games and three of four despite Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s hot streak. The slugging catcher homered in his third straight game in the series opener and has five home runs on the young season.

    TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Kansas City

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Jordan Zimmermann (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Royals RH Ian Kennedy (2-0, 0.66)

    Detroit signed Zimmermann to a five-year, $110 million contract as a free agent over the winter and he is so far proving to be well worth the investment. Zimmermann held the New York Yankees to two hits in seven innings on Apr. 8 and followed that up with a win at Pittsburgh on Thursday. The Wisconsin native scattered six hits over six scoreless innings against the Pirates and is making his second career start against Kansas City.

    The Royals made a more modest investment in Kennedy, bringing him in for five years and $70 million, but have been just as pleased with the results. Kennedy beat the Minnesota Twins with 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his team debut and held the Houston Astros to a solo home run in seven innings on Thursday. The California native came over from San Diego but began his career in the American League with the Yankees and is 0-2 with a 5.71 ERA in three starts against Detroit.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Royals 1B Eric Hosmer has hit safely in nine straight games and reached base in each of the first 13 contests.

    2. Kansas City RF Jarrod Dyson made his season debut on Tuesday and went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

    3. Detroit 1B Miguel Cabrera struck out four times on Tuesday and is 1-for-9 with five strikeouts in the last two games.

    PREDICTION: Tigers 4, Royals 3

    #41133
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Astros at Rangers

    GAME: Houston Astros (5-9) at Texas Rangers (8-6)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Cole Hamels looks to continue his success since joining Texas when the Rangers host the Houston Astros on Wednesday in the second contest of a three-game series. Hamels is 9-1 with a 3.53 ERA in 15 regular-season starts since joining the Rangers at last season’s trade deadline and has won his last nine decisions after losing his first upon joining the club.

    Hamels received a no-decision against the Astros last September, when he allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He will be aiming to pitch Texas to its second straight win in this series after Prince Fielder hit a two-run homer and Mitch Moreland belted a solo shot in Tuesday’s 7-5 victory. The Rangers are hoping Fielder is about to emerge from a season-long slump as he is batting just .173 with two homers and 15 strikeouts in 52 at-bats. Houston’s Jose Altuve continued his early-season power show with his fifth homer and George Springer followed with his fourth of the campaign, but the Astros dropped to 6-14 against the Rangers since the start of the 2015 season.

    TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston), FSN Southwest Plus (Texas)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Doug Fister (1-1, 7.59 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Cole Hamels (2-0, 2.95)

    Fister lost to Kansas City on Thursday, when he gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He is 4-4 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 career starts against the Rangers and has allowed Texas batters to hit a collective .297. Fister has struggled with Adrian Beltre (8-for-23) while easily handling Moreland (3-for-18).

    Hamels won his first two starts this season before taking a no-decision against Baltimore on Thursday, when he allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He has dealt with occasional command issues this season, walking eight in 18 1/3 frames. Hamels is 4-3 with a 4.79 ERA in 11 career starts against the Astros and has experienced difficulties with Altuve (4-for-8, one homer) and Evan Gattis (4-for-13, two homers).

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Rangers SS Elvis Andrus went 2-for-3 in the opener and is 10-for-20 during a six-game hitting streak.

    2. Houston SS Carlos Correa is just 2-for-17 over the last five games and hasn’t homered since the second game of the season.

    3. Texas LF Ian Desmond went 2-for-4 on Tuesday after opening the season in a 5-for-46 rut.

    PREDICTION: Rangers 5, Astros 3

    #41134
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Twins at Brewers

    GAME: Minnesota Twins (4-10) at Milwaukee Brewers (6-8)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 8:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    Having given up at least four runs in eight consecutive games, the Milwaukee Brewers will turn to their most reliable starter when they host the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night. Jimmy Nelson looks to make his fourth straight quality start as the four-game, home-and-home interleague series moves to Milwaukee.

    The Brewers earned a split in Minnesota and snapped a three-game losing streak by squeezing out a 6-5 victory on Tuesday afternoon. Aside from Nelson, one other constant on Milwaukee’s pitching staff is closer Jeremy Jeffress, who earned his fifth save in as many chances Tuesday. Conversely, the Twins are feeling the absence of injured closer Glen Perkins, with fill-in Kevin Jepsen already saddled with three losses. Rookie slugger Byung-ho Park has homered in back-to-back games and three times in the past four contests for Minnesota.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins LH Tommy Milone (0-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Jimmy Nelson (2-1, 2.79)

    Milone stayed out too long in his last start versus the Los Angeles Angels and unraveled in the seventh inning, giving up a homer, a walk and another homer to wind up with a no-decision after giving up four runs on eight hits. It was the second straight start in which Milone served up a pair of homers, taking the loss at Kansas City in his season debut. Milone had a stellar outing at Milwaukee last year with six scoreless innings of two-hit ball.

    Nelson has been a model of consistency on the young season, pitching at least six innings while permitting two earned runs in each of his three turns. The 26-year-old Oregon native has surrendered a total of 12 hits over 19 1/3 innings but he has struggled with his control, allowing four walks in each of his last two outings. Nelson, who has never faced the Twins, needs to work on keeping the ball in the park after giving up four homers in his three starts.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Brewers LF Ryan Braun is 4-for-6 in the series and has seven RBIs over his past four games.

    2. Twins DH Joe Mauer, who turned 33 Tuesday, had his nine-game hitting streak snapped.

    3. Brewers 2B Scooter Gennett is 4-for-8 with three doubles in the series, including the game-winning RBI in the ninth on Tuesday.

    PREDICTION: Brewers 4, Twins 2

    #41135
    Avataradmin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Pirates at Padres

    GAME: Pittsburgh Pirates (7-7) at San Diego Padres (5-9)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 20 – 10:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Petco Park, San Diego, California
    LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

    The San Diego Padres haven’t been hitting for much power this season so the series-opening onslaught against the Pittsburgh Pirates was a stunning occurrence. The Padres blasted three homers to account for all their runs in Tuesday’s 5-4 victory over the Pirates and will attempt to clear the fences some more when the teams meet Wednesday.

    First baseman Wil Myers and catcher Derek Norris smacked two-run homers and second baseman Adam Rosales hit a solo blast as the three-homer outing raised San Diego’s season count to 12. The hot-hitting Myers is 8-for-19 over the past four games to raise his average 70 points to .281 while Norris (.156) didn’t have a homer or an RBI this season until connecting off Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano in the fifth inning. Pirates standout center fielder Andrew McCutchen has just four RBIs this season — two coming on solo homers — and was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position in Tuesday’s defeat to drop to 1-for-14 in that situation for the season. McCutchen stranded six runners in those three at-bats with the most damaging one being when he grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second in the eighth and Pittsburgh down by one run.

    TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN San Diego

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates LH Jeff Locke (0-1, 2.53 ERA) vs. Padres LH Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 3.27)

    Locke has been roughed up in both his career outings against San Diego, going 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA and allowing 15 hits and six walks in just nine innings. He has struggled with left fielder Matt Kemp (4-for-7), first baseman Brett Wallace (3-for-5, one homer) and catcher Christian Bethancourt (3-for-6). Locke lost to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday when he walked seven and gave up three runs (two earned) and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.

    Pomeranz suffered the loss to Philadelphia on Thursday despite striking out eight and giving up just two runs and three hits in six innings. He has a 1.18 WHIP and limited opposing batters to a .189 batting average through two starts, giving up just seven hits in 11 innings. Pomeranz has held Pittsburgh third baseman David Freese to two hits in 11 at-bats, but both hits are doubles.

    WALK-OFFS

    1. Kemp was hitless in five at-bats in the opener and is 4-for-31 during his past eight games.

    2. Pittsburgh 2B Josh Harrison has two hits in each of the past three games and four of the last five.

    3. San Diego 2B Cory Spangenberg (quadriceps) left the opener and is questionable for Wednesday’s contest.

    PREDICTION: Pirates 4, Padres 3

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