06/18 22:21 CDT LEADING OFF: Verlander backs rolling Astros, mending Dodgers
LEADING OFF: Verlander backs rolling Astros, mending Dodgers
By The Associated Press
A look at what's happening around the majors Tuesday:
Houston tries for its 13th straight win with AL ERA leader Justin Verlander on
the mound against Tampa Bay. The Astros' ace is 9-2 with a 1.61 ERA, though
he's posted a 3.79 ERA over his past three starts and matched a season high
with two homers allowed last time out in a 7-3 win over Oakland. Rays lefty
Blake Snell (8-4, 2.58) will try to slow down Houston after the Astros beat
Tampa Bay 5-4 on Alex Bregman's game-ending two-run double Monday.
ON THE MEND
The defending NL champions are beginning to get healthier. Rich Hill comes off
the DL to start for the Dodgers against the Cubs in a rematch of last year's NL
Championship Series. Hill (1-2, 6.20 ERA) went on the disabled list May 20 with
a blister on his left middle finger, a recurring problem for the veteran
left-hander. He will be opposed by fellow lefty Mike Montgomery (2-2, 3.31),
who is 2-1 with a 1.14 ERA in four starts since moving into the rotation after
Yu Darvish was sidelined by right triceps tendinitis.
Hill's return comes one day after Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw threw a
three-inning simulated game at Wrigley Field, taking another step forward in
his recovery from a strained lower back. The three-time Cy Young Award winner
said he felt really good and plans to pitch somewhere in four or five days,
either in a minor league rehab start or for the Dodgers. The team is leaning
toward a rehab start, likely with Triple-A Oklahoma City, manager Dave Roberts
said. Veteran second baseman Chase Utley, sidelined by sprained left thumb, is
expected to come off the DL with Hill. And rookie right-hander Walker Buehler,
one of baseball's top pitching prospects, is scheduled for a bullpen session
Saturday in New York, continuing his comeback from a right rib microfracture.
One of baseball's biggest surprises, the Seattle Mariners (46-26) embark on a
10-game road trip to the East Coast that should serve as a tough test. They
open with three games against the New York Yankees followed by three in Boston
--- the top two teams in the majors. Marco Gonzales (7-3, 3.42 ERA) attempts to
win his fifth straight decision when he pitches against Yankees rookie Domingo
German (1-4, 5.23), who is coming off his first major league win.
Juan Soto's feats are piling up. The latest from the 19-year-old rookie
sensation: homering in a game played before he made his major league debut.
Soto hit a tiebreaking, pinch-hit, two-run shot in the sixth inning of a game
that began and was suspended because of rain last month, five days before Soto
was called up from the minors for the first time. Soto's sixth homer in 24
games lifted the Nationals over the Yankees 5-3. Washington is set to open a
home series against Baltimore. The team will be joined this week by reliever
Kelvin Herrera, who was acquired from Kansas City for three minor leaguers
Javier Baez may return to the Cubs' starting lineup two days after being hit on
the left elbow by a pitch. Baez was out of the lineup for Monday's game against
the Dodgers and said the elbow was still swollen, but the team decided no
X-rays were needed. Baez leads Chicago with 14 home runs.
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