LEADING OFF: Daytime aces, Pirates thriving without ‘Cutch

FILE - In this Thursday, March 29, 2018, file photo, Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to a Cleveland Indians batter during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Seattle. Hernandez tries to follow an encouraging season opener when Seattle plays at San Francisco on Wednesday, April 4. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

A look at what’s happening all around the majors Wednesday:

ACES EARLY

Might be a good day to call off from work: There are seven games starting around 1 p.m. local time or earlier, and those matchups are loaded with top-notch pitchers. Washington’s Max Scherzer, the Yankees’ Luis Severino, Kansas City’s Danny Duffy, the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard, Houston’s Dallas Keuchel and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber are all slated to pitch games scheduled between noon and 4 p.m. ET.

NO `CUTCH, NO COLE, NO PROBLEM

The Pirates are 4-0 for the third time in 35 years, and their young players are picking up confidence as they begin the season without traded stars Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. Rotation linchpin Jameson Taillon overpowered Minnesota for more than five innings in Pittsburgh’s 5-4 victory Monday in the home opener, and Colin Moran – acquired from Houston for Cole – hit a grand slam for his first homer as a Pirate. Ivan Nova tries to get the Pirates win No. 5 in a showdown with new Twins righty Jake Odorizzi.

KING IN SWING?

Felix Hernandez tries to follow an encouraging season opener when Seattle plays at San Francisco. The longtime ace of the Mariners only averaged 90.3 mph on his fastball opening day – down from his mid-90s heat a decade ago – but he commanded it well and baffled Cleveland with a biting curveball over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Hernandez will share the hill with Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto, who allowed one hit in seven innings during a 1-0 win over the Dodgers in his first start.

OUT LIKE A LAMB

Arizona will be without third baseman Jake Lamb for a bit after he sprained the left AC joint in his shoulder. Lamb was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday after getting hurt in Monday’s 8-7, 15-inning win over the Dodgers. Lamb was injured making a diving catch in the ninth inning, but stuck around long enough to dive across home plate for the winning run – a move that left him in obvious pain. The Diamondbacks are set to wrap a three-game series vs. the Dodgers.

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