LEADING OFF: Goldschmidt back in form, Scherzer dominating
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
HOT AS THE WEATHER
Evan Gattis and the World Series champion Astros have the longest active winning streak in the majors. They go for their 10th straight victory when they play at Kansas City, where temperatures are expected to approach triple digits. Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel (3-8) pitches against Danny Duffy (3-6). Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, has allowed 13 runs over 11 innings in two June starts – raising his ERA from 3.65 to 4.45. The Royals have lost four in a row and 10 of 11.
With a franchise-record 15 players on the disabled list, the Angels try for a second consecutive victory in Oakland. Los Angeles added four more players to the DL on Friday: infielder Zack Cozart (partially dislocated right shoulder), right-hander Jim Johnson (lower back strain), right-hander Garrett Richards (strained left hamstring) and right-hander Nick Tropeano (right shoulder inflammation). Only 12 players from the opening day roster were active Friday.
Paul Goldschmidt tries to keep up his torrid pace at the plate when the Diamondbacks host the slumping Mets. Goldschmidt entered this month batting a paltry .209 after slogging his way through May, when he had only 14 hits in 97 at-bats (.144). The All-Star slugger has returned to form in June with seven homers, 15 RBIs and 17 runs. In 14 games, he’s raised his batting average 56 points to .265. He homered for the second consecutive night Friday, finishing with three hits and two RBIs in a 7-3 victory. He has nine homers and 21 RBIs in his past 20 games. Meanwhile, the NL West leaders have won seven of eight and 11 of 14. The freefalling Mets have dropped four straight, 12 of 13 and 19 of 23.
Washington ace Max Scherzer has won the last two NL Cy Young Awards. The right-hander appears well on his way to a third straight – and fourth Cy Young overall – going into his start at Toronto. Scherzer (10-2, 2.00 ERA) leads the majors with 142 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings, and he’s allowed more than five hits in a game only twice in 13 starts this season.
Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner takes the mound in Los Angeles against the rival Dodgers. Bumgarner is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts this season following a two-month stay on the disabled list. He allowed six hits and four runs over 5 1/3 innings last time out vs. Miami. The 2014 World Series MVP is 15-9 with a 2.53 ERA in 29 career outings vs. the Dodgers.
Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-0, 1.21 ERA) brings the longest current shutout streak in the majors into his start at Seattle. Wright has thrown 22 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, including back-to-back starts when he went seven innings in a win against Detroit and 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision at Baltimore. Wade Leblanc (7-3, 4.26) goes for the surprising Mariners, who are 45-25.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has essentially been benched in the wake of a season-long slump. Davis is batting .150 with four home runs, 15 RBIs and 86 strikeouts in 52 games. Making matters worse, he’s in the third year of a $161 million, seven-year contract. Davis hasn’t played since Monday, and there’s no telling when he will be back in the lineup. ”Chris is continuing with some things that he’s working on,” manager Buck Showalter said. ”When they come to me and say they think he’s ready to get back in the lineup, we’ll put him back in there. But it’s nothing imminent.” Baltimore has lost eight straight, its longest skid since July 2011. The Orioles have dropped 15 of 17 overall and 10 straight at home, scoring only 14 runs.
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