LEADING OFF: Braves hitting way to top, Gray on the rebound
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Among the many things the Atlanta Braves have done right on their way to leading the National League East this season, they’ve been getting hits. The Braves began their series against fellow division leader Milwaukee on Thursday night with three of the top four hits leaders in the NL, with outfielder Nick Markakis (108) leading the way and infielder Ozzie Albies (102) and Freddie Freeman (101) close behind in third and fourth, respectively. It’s the first time in franchise history the team has had three players reach 100 hits prior to the All-Star game, and the Braves will continue their series when Mike Foltynewicz and Freddy Peralta face off.
In a season full of highlights for the New York Yankees, right-hander Sonny Gray has been one of the team’s biggest disappointments in his first full season with club. Gray will try and rebound from his worst start of the season when the Yankees begin a weekend series in Toronto against the Blue Jays. After being acquired from Oakland last season, Gray is 5-6 with 5.44 ERA this season and is coming off an 11-0 loss to Boston last weekend in which he allowed six runs in only 2 1/3 innings.
CHICAGO SEEING RED
Two weeks ago, the Chicago Cubs suffered through an embarrassing four-game sweep in Cincinnati – beginning a stretch of six losses in seven games. Chicago has won six straight games since that rough patch, and has the opportunity to make amends with the Reds when the two teams begin a weekend series at Wrigley Field. Mike Montgomery (3-2) starts for Chicago, and Tyler Mahle (6-6) takes the mound for Cincinnati.
ACE OF NEW YORK
Despite the struggles of the New York Mets for much of the season, Jacob deGrom has been one of the NL’s most dominant starters. The right-hander leads the league with his 1.84 ERA and will be back at work when he takes the mound against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. He has allowed three runs in each of his last two starts, the first time he’s allowed three or more runs in back-to-back games since April.
Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez (8-6) put together his best full month of the season in June, posting a 3.71 ERA in six starts and lowering his overall ERA from 5.83 to 5.11 in the process. The 2010 Cy Young award winner will try and extend his improved performance into July when he starts in an interleague game against the visiting Colorado Rockies.
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