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MLB • Wednesday Service Plays • 4/27/16

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    Preview: Padres at Giants

    GAME: San Diego Padres (7-14) at San Francisco Giants (11-11)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 3:45 PM EST
    WHERE: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California

    The San Francisco Giants try for a three-game sweep of San Diego on Wednesday afternoon while bidding for their seventh straight victory over the Padres at AT&T Park. San Francisco climbed back to .500 with Tuesday’s 1-0 victory – its fourth in the last five games – on the strength of Johnny Cueto’s seven-hitter.

    The Giants continue to struggle hitting with runners in scoring position as they are 18-for-89 in such situations over the last 10 games after going 1-for-6 on Tuesday, but the one was Denard Span’s two-out RBI double in the fifth inning. San Diego is 3-5 over its last eight games despite the starters posting a 2.74 ERA during that span after getting shut out for the sixth time in 21 games this season. The Padres, who have lost four straight, scored 29 of their 76 runs in back-to-back victories in Colorado on April 8 and 9. San Francisco’s Jeff Samardzija is coming off a sharp performance in his 2016 home debut – on the mound and at the plate – and opposes Andrew Cashner, who recorded his first victory of the season in his last turn.

    TV: 3:45 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, CSN Bay Area (San Francisco)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Andrew Cashner (1-1, 4.29) vs. Giants RH Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 3.00)

    Cashner allowed one run and three hits in six innings of a 4-1 victory over St. Louis on Friday in his second consecutive quality start. “This is what we want to see from Cash – really attack the strike zone with the fastball,” Padres manager Andy Green told reporters about the 29-year-old Texan. “He dropped probably more breaking balls in today than I’ve ever seen him use. I’m a big fan of his fastball, both sides of the dish.” Cashner is 2-5 with a 4.99 ERA in 14 games (eight starts) versus San Francisco – 0-2, 5.94 in three turns last season – and especially struggles against Buster Posey (11-for-25, two home runs, five RBIs).

    Samardzija permitted one run and six hits while striking out five in 7 2/3 innings, and went 2-for-4 with a double while matching his season high with three RBIs in an 8-1 victory over Miami on Friday. “It feels good,” the 31-year-old Indiana native told reporters about his first start in a San Francisco uniform at AT&T Park. “It’s a very educated fan base with high standards, so you want to live up to those standards. You come play in a park like this with the history they have here, as a new guy you want to prove your worth and prove that you belong on this team. And hopefully they saw some things that they liked.” Samardzija is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA in six games (four starts) versus San Diego, but has difficulty with Jon Jay (8-for-18).


    1. Padres RF Matt Kemp leads active players with 163 hits, 86 runs, 35 doubles and 76 RBIs in 571 at-bats versus the Giants.

    2. San Francisco is 2-10 when getting outhit this season after recording four to San Diego’s seven Tuesday.

    3. Padres SS Alexei Ramirez had two hits Tuesday and is 5-for-11 in his last three games.

    PREDICTION: Giants 3, Padres 2


    Preview: Phillies at Nationals

    GAME: Philadelphia Phillies (10-10) at Washington Nationals (14-5)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia

    The Philadelphia Phillies have recovered from a season-opening four-game losing streak and have a chance to climb above the .500 mark for the first time when they continue their three-game series against the host Washington Nationals on Wednesday night. Philadelphia has won four of five after squeezing out a 4-3 victory in the series opener.

    The Phillies were mauled by a combined 17-2 in their first two meetings with the Nationals earlier this month, the start of a 1-4 stretch in which they scored a total of eight runs. Philadelphia’s offense has come alive with 29 runs over the past five games, with Maikel Franco supplying three homers and nine RBIs during a four-game hitting streak. Bryce Harper walked three times and delivered his major league-leading 24th RBI in the series opener, although he was retired for the game’s final out with the tying run on base. Washington sends left-hander Gio Gonzalez to the mound to oppose Jeremy Hellickson on Wednesday.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 5.21 ERA) vs. Nationals LH Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.42)

    Hellickson turned in an impressive pair of road starts at Cincinnati and the New York Mets to open the season, but he has taken a downward turn beginning with his outing against the Nationals on April 15. Hellickson lasted only three innings and gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits before he was knocked around by the Mets for four runs and 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings last time out. He is 0-2 with a bloated 8.78 ERA in three starts versus Washington.

    Gonzalez actually had his worst start of the season but picked up his first victory after limiting Minnesota to three runs (two earned) on six hits over six innings last time out. The 30-year-old veteran was dominant in his first two outings, surrendering one earned run and only seven hits in a span of 13 innings. Corner infielders Ryan Howard and Franco are hitless in 19 at-bats combined against Gonzalez, who has logged an 8-5 mark and 2.91 ERA in 17 career starts against the Phillies.


    1. Nationals C Wilson Ramos was placed on the bereavement list Tuesday, prompting the promotion of C Pedro Severino from Triple-A Syracuse.

    2. Phillies CF Odubel Herrera is riding a seven-game hitting streak and has drawn 19 walks in 20 games.

    3. Nationals RHP Matt Belisle had to leave Tuesday’s game after throwing three pitches due to a mild calf strain.

    PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Phillies 2


    Preview: White Sox at Blue Jays

    GAME: Chicago White Sox (15-6) at Toronto Blue Jays (10-12)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 7:07 PM EST
    WHERE: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

    The Chicago White Sox are quietly establishing themselves as a contender in the American League behind a dominating pitching staff. The White Sox will send Jose Quintana to the mound in search of a three-game sweep when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays for the finale of the series on Wednesday.

    Chicago’s staff leads the American League with 53 runs allowed in 21 games and the offense is getting in gear in Toronto with 17 runs scored in the first two games of the series. Chris Sale turned in a gem on the mound in Tuesday’s 10-1 win while each of the bottom three hitters in the order drove in two runs and leadoff man Adam Eaton added another two RBIs. The Blue Jays have dropped five of their last seven and are searching for consistent efforts from the starting pitchers after watching Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey surrender a total of 10 earned runs in the first two games of the series. Toronto will turn to Marco Estrada for the start on Wednesday while the White Sox counter with Quintana.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (2-1, 1.82 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marco Estrada (1-1, 2.50)

    Quintana has yet to allow more than two earned runs and turned in his best outing of the young season against Texas on Friday, scattering four hits over seven scoreless innings in a win. The Colombia native has not surrendered a home run and recorded 22 strikeouts against five walks in 24 2/3 total innings. Quintana is 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA in seven career starts against Toronto.

    Estrada was a little shaky with his control at Baltimore on Thursday and lasted only five innings while allowing one run on six hits and four walks. The California native struck out nine in that outing and recorded a total of 20 k’s in 18 innings this season. Estrada made one start against Chicago in his first season with the Blue Jays last year, yielding three runs in seven innings on May 27 without factoring in the decision.


    1. The White Sox placed C Kevan Smith (back) on the 15-day DL and selected C Hector Sanchez from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday.

    2. Toronto C Russell Martin (neck) sat out the last three games but is expected to return Wednesday.

    3. Chicago DH Avisail Garcia is 4-for-7 in the last two games after going 1-for-23 in the previous seven contests.

    PREDICTION: White Sox 5, Blue Jays 2


    Preview: Orioles at Rays

    GAME: Baltimore Orioles (11-8) at Tampa Bay Rays (10-10)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

    The Tampa Bay Rays look to move over the .500 mark for the first time this season as they go for a three-game sweep of the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. Kevin Kiermaier has hit safely in seven of the last eight games with three homers, including a two-run blast that snapped a tie in a 3-1 victory Tuesday as the Rays won for the seventh time in 10 contests.

    Tampa Bay sends Matt Moore to the mound in the finale and Evan Longoria will try to continue his success (seven homers, 51 at-bats) against Baltimore’s scheduled starter Chris Tillman. The Orioles’ offense has cooled off during a three-game slide, managing just two runs combined to allow their lead in the American League East to be reduced to one-half game. Manny Machado is 0-for-11 the last three games after hitting safely in the first 16 contests of the season for Baltimore while slugger Chris Davis is 1-for-12 in the same span. Mark Trumbo is having the best season of any Oriole, working on an 11-game hitting streak and a team-best 17 RBIs.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Chris Tillman (1-1, 4.42 ERA) vs. Rays LH Matt Moore (1-1, 3.60)

    Tillman comes in off his longest of four outings when he allowed two runs on four hits over six innings in a no decision against division-rival Toronto. The 28-year-old Californian notched his only win by limiting Tampa Bay to one run over five innings on April 8, improving to 6-9 with a 4.19 ERA lifetime against the Rays. Logan Forsythe is 7-for-22 versus Tillman, who has 15 strikeouts over 18 1/3 frames.

    Moore has given the Rays a chance to win in all four outings, but lost for the first time last Friday after giving up four runs over 6 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old, who has struggled with control at times in the past, boasts 26 strikeouts and just five walks in 25 innings this season. Adam Jones is 11-for-24 with two homers versus Moore, who is 4-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) against Baltimore.


    1. Baltimore DH Pedro Alavrez is 4-for-6 the last two contests to raise his batting average to .186 and is two hits shy of 600 for his career.

    2. Tampa Bay RF Steven Souza Jr. is 8-for-22 during a six-game hitting streak with five RBIs.

    3. The Rays have allowed 15 stolen bases in 15 attempts and are the only team not to throw out a runner this season.

    PREDICTION: Rays 5, Orioles 2


    Preview: Braves at Red Sox

    GAME: Atlanta Braves (4-16) at Boston Red Sox (11-9)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

    The Boston Red Sox own the most prolific offense in the American League and are finally beginning to get enough from their starting pitchers to put together a string of victories. The Red Sox try to post their fourth straight win Wednesday and third in a row over the Atlanta Braves, who visit for the back half of a home-and-home series.

    Boston got 6 1/3 innings from Rick Porcello in Monday’s 1-0 victory and David Price struck out 14 over eight innings in an 11-4 thrashing Tuesday that gave the team a sweep of the Atlanta portion of the four-game series. Third baseman Travis Shaw was the last player to earn a starting job in spring training, beating out Pablo Sandoval, and continues to prove it was well deserved by bashing a home run and driving in five runs Tuesday while increasing his team-best batting average to .324. The Braves own the worst record in the majors at 4-16 and scored the fewest runs in baseball (65). Tuesday’s setback marked their seventh straight, and they have totaled 15 runs during the slide.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), NESN (Boston)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Bud Norris (1-3, 6.75 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Steven Wright (1-2, 1.40)

    Norris turned in a quality start in his season debut April 6 but has since surrendered 13 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings over his last three turns. The 31-year-old needed 88 pitches to get through four innings against the New York Mets on Friday and was reached for five runs – four earned – on five hits and a pair of walks in a loss. Norris is making his eighth career start against Boston and went 2-3 with a 3.07 ERA in the first seven chances.

    Wright was a tough-luck loser in his first two outings but finally got some support at Houston on Friday to come up with a win. The knuckleballer allowed only an unearned run on four hits and five walks while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings. Wright is making his first career appearance against Atlanta.


    1. Sandoval is set to have his injured shoulder examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday.

    2. The Braves have gone 15 straight games without a home run.

    3. Boston CF Jackie Bradley Jr. recorded an extra-base hit and at least one RBI in three straight games.

    PREDICTION: Red Sox 8, Braves 2


    Preview: Athletics at Tigers

    GAME: Oakland Athletics (11-10) at Detroit Tigers (9-10)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan

    Miguel Cabrera’s breakout did not last more than one game, and the Detroit Tigers could use his help on offense. The Tigers hope to get something out of the middle of the order and take the lead in the series when they host the Oakland Athletics in the third contest of their four-game series on Wednesday.

    Cabrera went 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs in Monday’s 7-3 victory but dipped back down to 1-for-4 with a single and three strikeouts in a 5-1 setback the following night. Detroit has dropped five of its last six games and the former MVP has gone a combined 1-for-15 in the losses. The Athletics snapped a three-game slide with Tuesday’s triumph and leaned on starter Rich Hill to pick up a staff that had surrendered 22 runs in the previous three contests. Oakland will turn to ace Sonny Gray in search of a second straight quality start while the Tigers counter with former MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.73 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Justin Verlander (1-2, 5.79)

    Gray recorded a quality start in each of his first four turns and struck out a season-high seven in as many innings while yielding three runs at Toronto on Friday. The Vanderbilt product owns 24 strikeouts in 26 1/3 frames but is trying to get his walk rate down after issuing 11 free passes. Gray is 1-0 with a total of four runs allowed over 14 innings in two career starts against Detroit.

    Verlander was ripped for seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings by Pittsburgh on April 11 but responded with back-to-back strong efforts. The 33-year-old could not get enough support from his offense to back a seven-inning stint against Cleveland on Friday in which he struck out 10 and allowed two runs on four hits. Verlander is 9-6 with a 2.51 ERA in 16 career starts against the Athletics but has not faced them since 2014.


    1. Athletics 3B/LF Chris Coghlan is 0-for-7 in the series, dropping his batting average to .169.

    2. Detroit OF Tyler Collins avoided a suspension after making an obscene gesture toward the home crowd during Monday’s game.

    3. Oakland minor league RHP Sean Murphy, 27, died on Monday. The cause of death was not announced.

    PREDICTION: Athletics 4, Tigers 3


    Preview: Reds at Mets

    GAME: Cincinnati Reds (9-12) at New York Mets (12-7)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Citi Field, New York City, New York

    Matt Harvey finally broke into the win column last week but he has hardly looked the part of an ace for the surging New York Mets, who look to continue their domination of the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night in the finale of a three-game series. Harvey will make his fifth start as the Mets go for their 11th consecutive victory over Cincinnati.

    One positive for Harvey is the expected return to the lineup of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer Tuesday to help New York improve to 10-2 in its last 12 games. Cespedes, who missed the series opener with a leg injury, has five homers and 14 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak while Michael Conforto is 9-for-18 during a five-game string. Reds shortstop Zack Cozart has his safely in 14 of 15 games to boost his batting average to .390. Jon Moscot makes his sixth career start in the series finale for Cincinnati, which has dropped three in a row and five of its last six.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Jon Moscot (0-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Mets RH Matt Harvey (1-3, 5.24)

    The Reds have scored a total of four runs in Moscot’s first two starts, but the rookie did little to help himself with an erratic performance versus the Chicago Cubs on Friday, walking four and giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits. Moscot was victimized by the long ball in his season debut at St. Louis, surrendering a pair of homers while allowing three runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He has been tough on left-handed hitters (4-for-19).

    Although he was staked to an early 4-0 lead in Atlanta on Friday night, Harvey needed 101 pitches to get through five innings and was charged with two runs on seven hits in snapping a three-start skid. Harvey permitted a total of 12 runs over his first three turns, including a season-high five at Cleveland on April 16. He is 2-0 with a 2.36 ERA in four career starts against the Reds, although Cozart is 4-for-8 with a pair of doubles against him.


    1. New York’s franchise-record streak of scoring first was snapped at 12 games Tuesday night.

    2. Reds 2B Brandon Phillips missed Tuesday’s game after he was hit by a pitch and fouled two balls off his left shin in the series opener.

    3. The Mets placed C Travis d’Arnaud on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday due to a right rotator cuff strain and called up C Rene Rivera.

    PREDICTION: Mets 6, Reds 3


    Preview: Brewers at Cubs

    GAME: Milwaukee Brewers (8-12) at Chicago Cubs (15-5)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

    Jake Arrieta has placed his name among the best pitchers in the game with his run over the past two seasons, but he has a chance to elevate himself to even more rarefied air Wednesday. Arrieta aims to join Johnny Van der Meer as the only players in major-league history to throw back-to-back no-hitters when he and the Chicago Cubs take on the visiting Milwaukee Brewers in the middle contest of their three-game series.

    Arrieta’s second no-hitter in eight months, which he tossed last week at Cincinnati, continued an historic stretch during which he has gone 20-1 with a 0.86 ERA over his last 24 outings – all quality starts. Squaring off against Arrieta is a daunting task for Milwaukee’s Taylor Jungmann, who still is in search of his first victory this season after an impressive rookie campaign in 2015. The Brewers have scored a total of two runs in the last three games Jungmann has started. Milwaukee managed only four hits in a 4-3 loss in the series opener, its seventh defeat in 10 contests.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Taylor Jungmann (0-3, 8.47 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (4-0, 0.87)

    Jungmann’s sophomore campaign is off to a rocky beginning, as he has yet to record a quality start through four outings. The 26-year-old’s command was lacking last time out, as he issued six walks over four innings while allowing three runs. Jungmann lost both of his starts against the Cubs last season, surrendering seven runs (four earned) over 8 1/3 frames.

    Arrieta’s 24 consecutive quality starts are just two shy of matching Bob Gibson’s major-league record (since 1914), set from 1967-78. He has blanked the opposition in three of his four starts this season and has not allowed a run at home in 48 2/3 innings spanning six outings. The 30-year-old shut out the Brewers in the last two meetings and is 4-3 with a 2.35 ERA in nine career starts against them.


    1. Cubs batters have drawn a major league-best 103 walks.

    2. Brewers OF Ryan Braun hit a two-run double as a pinch hitter on Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to eight games and is 14-for-26 during that span.

    3. Chicago has won 13 of its last 14 games against Milwaukee and is 9-2 versus National League Central rivals this season.

    PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Brewers 1


    Preview: Yankees at Rangers

    GAME: New York Yankees (8-11) at Texas Rangers (11-10)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas

    The Texas Rangers look to build off a big offensive performance when they host the last-place New York Yankees on Wednesday in the rubber match of their three-game series. The Rangers managed five runs during a four-game losing streak before pounding out 13 hits en route to a 10-1 triumph over the Yankees 10-1 on Tuesday to move back over .500 at 11-10.

    Free-agent signee Ian Desmond is adjusting to his new surroundings while batting .400 over his last eight games for Texas, belting his third homer in that span on Tuesday. New York is 4-9 in its last 13 games, scoring a total of 32 runs and allowing at least seven on five different occasions during that stretch. The Yankees, who have fallen to fifth in the American League East after their swoon, send veteran CC Sabathia to the mound against fellow left-hander Martin Perez on Wednesday. While a good portion of New York’s lineup is struggling, Mark Teixeira has gone 9-for-20 during his five-game hitting streak to raise his average to .254.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees LH CC Sabathia (1-1, 5.28 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Martin Perez (0-2, 4.50)

    Sabathia has limited opponents to three runs in each of his three starts but has not worked five innings in either of his last two outings. The 35-year-old Californian has issued eight walks in 15 1/3 frames while opponents are batting .308 against him overall. Elvis Andrus is 10-for-22 with four RBIs versus Sabathia, who is 11-4 with a 5.00 ERA in 20 career games against the Rangers.

    Perez is coming off the worst of his four starts as he permitted five runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox. The 25-year-old Venezuelan began the season with three quality starts but has recorded 11 strikeouts while issuing 13 walks on the season. Dustin Ackley is 3-for-10 with a homer against Perez, who gave up eight runs in one inning in his only career outing versus the Yankees.


    1. New York DH Alex Rodriguez (oblique) took some swings in the batting cage Tuesday and could start Wednesday after missing the first two games against his former team.

    2. Texas rookie RF Nomar Mazara, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is 7-for-19 with four runs scored during his five-game hitting streak.

    3. Yankees C Brian McCann is 0-for-8 with five strikeouts over his last two games and 4-for-32 in his past 10 contests.

    PREDICTION: Rangers 6, Yankees 4


    Preview: Indians at Twins

    GAME: Cleveland Indians (9-9) at Minnesota Twins (7-14)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 8:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    The Minnesota Twins are finding ways to create excitement following an 0-9 start, posting consecutive walk-off wins and dipping into the minors to call up their prized pitching prospect. Jose Berrios, the top-rated pitcher in the organization, will make his major-league debut as the Twins attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.

    Berrios showed his enormous promise while pitching for Minnesota’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates last year, leading all the minor leagues with 175 strikeouts over 166 1/3 innings while compiling a 14-5 record. “We wouldn’t have called him up if we didn’t think he was ready,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “A lot of people have been clamoring for him. Here he is.” The Indians dropped to 3-2 on their nine-game road trip Tuesday, wasting three home runs, including a tying blast by Mike Napoli in the top of the ninth. Josh Tomlin, who is 9-1 in his last 11 starts dating to last year, takes the mound for Cleveland on Wednesday.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Josh Tomlin (2-0, 1.54 ERA) vs. Twins RH Jose Berrios (NR)

    Tomlin was five innings through a strong season debut against the New York Mets, striking out six and giving up one run on four hits, before a cramp in his hamstring ended his day April 16. The 31-year-old Texan showed no adverse effects in his next start at Detroit, limiting the Tigers to one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. Tomlin has had his issues against the Twins, posting a 2-4 mark and 5.91 ERA, while struggling against Joe Mauer, who is 7-for-16 against him.

    Berrios, who is a month shy of his 22nd birthday, entered the season as the youngest player in the International League but quickly showed he was not over his head in his first three outings. Although he struggled with his control in his first two turns, the hard-throwing Puerto Rican permitted one earned run and three hits in each outing. He went seven scoreless innings last time out and has registered 20 strikeouts while permitting eight hits over 17 innings.


    1. Twins RHP Kevin Jepsen has blown three saves in his last five chances.

    2. Indians LF Michael Brantley went 0-for-4 Tuesday in his first start of the season.

    3. The Twins placed RHPs Kyle Gibson (shoulder) and Ervin Santana (back) on the 15-day disabled list.

    PREDICTION: Indians 5, Twins 3


    Preview: Pirates at Rockies

    GAME: Pittsburgh Pirates (12-9) at Colorado Rockies (9-11)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 8:40 PM EST
    WHERE: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado

    After a slight slump and his first night of rest this season, Andrew McCutchen has come to life for the Pittsburgh Pirates. McCutchen looks to follow up a three-homer performance when the Pirates continue a four-game road series against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

    Pittsburgh has won seven in a row at Coors Field after Tuesday’s 9-4 victory, and the thin air was just what McCutchen needed as the former MVP – who was 4-for-29 in his previous seven games before sitting out the series opener – slugged homers to left, center and right while driving in five runs. He grounded out in the eighth with a chance to become the 17th player in baseball history to hit four home runs in a game, but the damage was done for the Pirates, who have won five of six. The Rockies have dropped six of seven and four in a row, allowing 31 runs during the losing streak. They hope to reverse that trend Wednesday behind former first-round selection Jon Gray, who will be making his second start of the season.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates LH Jonathon Niese (3-0, 4.24 ERA) vs. Rockies RH Jon Gray (0-0, 9.00)

    Niese is 3-0 for the first time in his nine-year career but was fortunate to get into the win column his last time out after allowing four runs and a season-high 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings at Arizona. The 29-year-old has given up 20 runs and 36 hits – including five home runs – in 22 2/3 innings over four starts at Coors Field. The Rockies may want to make sure that first baseman Mark Reynolds gets a start as he is 8-for-15 with two home runs against Niese.

    Gray remains winless in 10 career starts after giving up five runs in five innings of a no-decision against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday in his 2016 debut. He struck out 10 versus Los Angeles and has 50 against 16 walks in 45 2/3 major-league frames. The Oklahoma native was reached for eight runs in nine innings over two starts versus Pittsburgh in 2015 – a loss and a no-decision.


    1. The Pirates are hitting .348 during their seven-game Coors Field winning streak.

    2. Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado has recorded 14 of his 19 RBIs at home after driving in two Tuesday.

    3. Pittsburgh has recorded a double in each of its first 21 games this season.

    PREDICTION: Pirates 7, Rockies 6


    Preview: Cardinals at Diamondbacks

    GAME: St. Louis Cardinals (11-9) at Arizona Diamondbacks (11-11)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 9:40 PM EST
    WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona

    The St. Louis Cardinals look to continue their home run barrage when they play the third of four straight games at Arizona on Wednesday. Brandon Moss and Stephen Piscotty went deep in the Cardinals’ 8-2 victory over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, their 14th win in the last 16 meetings between the teams.

    Those blasts were the 31st and 32nd of the season for St. Louis – tied with Arizona for the major-league lead – and gave the club nine home runs in its last four games, during which it is averaging 8.5 runs. Left fielder Matt Holliday (leg) was out of the Cardinals’ lineup Tuesday but Jeremy Hazelbaker – who homered in the series opener – stepped in and joined Moss and Piscotty in obtaining multiple hits. The Diamondbacks kept pace in the home run department but they were relatively meaningless solo shots in the ninth inning as they fell to 2-3 on their current homestand. Adam Wainwright of St. Louis and Patrick Corbin of Arizona will be tasked with keeping the ball in the park when they square off Wednesday.

    TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Arizona

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Adam Wainwright (0-3, 7.25 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks LH Patrick Corbin (1-2, 3.51)

    Following back-to-back rocky outings, Wainwright took a step forward with a quality start his last time out, allowing three runs in six innings at San Diego. He has walked just two batters over the last two outings after issuing eight in his first two, but still has more free passes (10) than strikeouts (nine) on the season. The three-time All-Star owns a 2.36 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) against Arizona but will be wary of leadoff man Jean Segura, who is 8-for-19 with a homer and a double versus Wainwright.

    While he has been solid on the road, Corbin has served up three home runs in each of his two home starts – including Friday in a loss to Pittsburgh – and is 0-2 with a 5.54 ERA at Chase Field. On the plus side, the 26-year-old has lasted at least six innings in all four outings and has walked only five in 25 2/3 innings. Corbin let up one run in six innings in his lone career start against the Cardinals last August.


    1. Diamondbacks LF Yasmany Tomas homered Tuesday and is batting .358 during an 11-game hitting streak.

    2. Arizona RHP Brad Ziegler has converted a team-record 32 straight saves.

    3. Cardinals SS Aledmys Diaz is 13-for-22 during a six-game hitting streak.

    PREDICTION: Cardinals 5, Diamondbacks 4


    Preview: Royals at Angels

    GAME: Kansas City Royals (12-8) at Los Angeles Angels (10-11)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 10:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California

    The Los Angeles Angels have at least temporarily ended their recent struggles against Kansas City and look to finish off a three-game sweep of the Royals in Wednesday’s home contest. Los Angeles had lost 10 of 11 games to Kansas City — including suffering a three-game sweep in the 2014 American League Division Series — before winning the first two games of this series by a cumulative 15-5.

    Second baseman Johnny Giovatella went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs and third baseman Yunel Escobar went 4-for-5 as the Angels racked up 14 hits in Tuesday’s 9-4 victory. Giovatella also doubled after entering the contest with a .136 average and zero extra-base hits. Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying for the longest of his career. Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain is 1-for-8 in the series and batting just .203 after finishing third in the AL MVP balloting after last season.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Chris Young (1-3, 6.41 ERA) vs. Angels RH Nick Tropeano (1-0, 1.69)

    Young lost his first three starts before rebounding in impressive fashion to defeat Baltimore on Friday. He struck out a season-best 10 in six innings and gave up two runs and four hits. Young is 4-3 with a 5.29 ERA in 11 career appearances (10 starts) against the Angels and has yet to retire right fielder Kole Calhoun (4-for-4, one homer) while doing well against center fielder Mike Trout (1-for-6, one homer).

    Tropeano has allowed just three runs in three starts but has yet to make it out of the sixth inning. He took a no-decision against Seattle on Friday when he allowed two runs, four hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. Tropeano is 2-2 with a 4.41 ERA in six career starts at Angel Stadium.


    1. Royals SS Alcides Escobar is hitless in eight at-bats in the series and is 0-for-12 during the last three games.

    2. Calhoun is hitless in eight at-bats in the series and is 3-for-28 over the past eight contests.

    3. Kansas City DH Kendrys Morales has just one RBI in the past 10 games and hasn’t homered since April 11.

    PREDICTION: Royals 8, Angels 7


    Preview: Marlins at Dodgers

    GAME: Miami Marlins (8-11) at Los Angeles Dodgers (12-9)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 10:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

    The Miami Marlins attempt to extend their season-high winning streak to four games when they continue their four-game series against the host Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. Miami posted a 6-3 victory Tuesday on the strength of a five-run sixth inning to improve to 3-2 on its 10-game road trip and 2-0 in Don Mattingly’s return to the city in which he managed from 2011-15.

    Giancarlo Stanton is on a bit of a tear, going 6-for-12 with six RBIs during the winning streak while homering in each contest. Los Angeles squandered a 3-0 lead Tuesday and fell to 4-4 at Dodger Stadium as it has dropped the first two contests of its seven-game homestand. The Dodgers would love to see Adrian Gonzalez break out of his slump at home, as he is 0-for-11 over his last four contests at Dodger Stadium while owning a 10-game hitting streak on the road. Los Angeles is hoping Scott Kazmir can overcome his health issues as he squares off Wednesday against Miami’s Justin Nicolino, who will be making his season debut.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins LH Justin Nicolino (2015: 5-4, 4.01 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Scott Kazmir (1-1, 6.63)

    Nicolino is scheduled to be recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Wednesday and take the rotation spot of Jarred Cosart, who was optioned to the Zephyrs. The 24-year-old Nicolino made his major-league debut last season, allowing 72 hits and 20 walks with 23 strikeouts in 74 innings over 12 starts. The native of Florida faced Los Angeles in his second career outing on June 26 and suffered the loss after surrendering five runs and six hits in four frames.

    Kazmir has struggled since allowing one hit over six scoreless innings in his season debut, yielding 14 runs and 20 hits over his next three starts while working five frames or fewer in each outing. The 32-year-old Texan has been experiencing discomfort in the area where his left thumb and wrist meet since spring training but is attempting to battle through it. Kazmir has made four career starts against Miami, going 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA.


    1. Dodgers OF Carl Crawford (back) went 1-for-3 with a walk on Tuesday after being activated from the 15-day disabled list while RHP Zach Lee was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

    2. Stanton is looking to equal the longest home-run streak of his career, which he set from Aug. 14-17, 2011.

    3. Miami LF Christian Yelich is riding a seven-game hitting streak that includes a pair of three-hit performances.

    PREDICTION: Dodgers 6, Marlins 2


    Preview: Astros at Mariners

    GAME: Houston Astros (6-15) at Seattle Mariners (11-9)
    DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 27 – 10:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington

    Robinson Cano broke out of a four-game slump, topped the 1,000-career RBI mark in style and aims to have another productive outing when the Seattle Mariners complete a three-game series against the visiting Houston Astros on Wednesday. Cano hit a grand slam and tied his career best of six RBIs in Tuesday’s 11-1 shellacking of the Astros after being just 2-for-15 over the previous four games.

    Cano went 2-for-4 in Tuesday’s victory and reached 1,000 with a two-run single in the fifth before adding four more to the tally with his 10th career grand slam to help the Mariners win for the sixth time in seven games. “Those are memories you can share with your kids,” Cano told reporters of the significance. “That’s something that you take. It was big to come through against (Astros starter Dallas) Kuechel. He’s hard to get a hit against.” Houston has lost seven of its last eight games and owns the worst record (6-15) in the American League and is a paltry 2-9 on the road. The Astros, who had just three hits Tuesday, are 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position in the series.

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

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Collin McHugh (1-3, 7.56 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2, 3.81)

    McHugh is off to a shaky start and has been touched up for 10 hits in each of his last two outings. He allowed nine total runs in the two starts, including five in four innings against Boston on Friday. McHugh is 5-3 with a 5.48 ERA in eight career starts against the Mariners and has struggled against outfielder Nelson Cruz (4-for-11, two homers) while shutting down outfielder Seth Smith (1-for-20, seven strikeouts).

    Iwakuma is winless in four outings despite giving up just two runs in two of the turns. He received a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday when he gave up two runs and six hits in eight innings. Iwakuma is 4-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 10 career starts against the Astros and struggles against infielder Marwin Gonzalez (8-for-14, one homer) and second baseman Jose Altuve (10-for-27) while easily handling left fielder Colby Rasmus (2-for-16).


    1. The Mariners scored just 14 runs in their first seven home games before breaking out with Tuesday’s 13-hit effort.

    2. Houston rookie 1B Tyler White is 1-for-7 in the series and 4-for-40 in his past 11 games.

    3. Seattle SS Ketel Marte was 3-for-4 with three runs scored Tuesday and is 10-for-24 during a six-game hitting streak.

    PREDICTION: Mariners 7, Astros 4

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