LEADING OFF: Encarnacion’s encore, Eovaldi brings heat
A look at what’s happening all around the major leagues today:
Edwin Encarnacion will try to lead the AL East-leading Blue Jays to their eighth win in nine games, a day after he homered three times and tied a team record with nine RBIs. He has a 24-game hitting streak that’s the longest in the majors this season, along with 29 home runs. He’s aiming for his fourth straight 30-homer season. Mark Buehrle pitches for Toronto at home against Detroit, having allowing nine runs in his last two outings after a two-month run of strong starts.
The Yankees hope for more domination out of Nathan Eovaldi (13-2, 4.00) at Atlanta. He has won eight straight decisions and was up to 101 mph last week when he pitched eight dominant innings in a 1-0 victory over Houston. Eovaldi is averaging 96.6 mph on his fastball this season, the highest among qualified starters, according to Fangraphs.com. What’s allowed him to shine of late, though, is the evolution of his splitter, a pitch that catcher Brian McCann called ”a game-changer” after the win over the Astros. Julio Teheran (9-6, 4.29) starts for the Braves – he has his worst ERA since becoming a regular in the rotation in 2013, but has been better of late, compiling a 2.73 ERA in five August starts.
Jake Arrieta (16-6, 2.22) has already blown past his career high for innings pitched with 174, and the Cubs ace has shown no signs of slowing down going into this twilight start at Dodger Stadium. He is 5-0 with an 0.54 ERA this month and tied with Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner for the most wins in the majors.
RED SOX ROLL
Last-place Boston goes for its first road sweep of the season when it finishes a three-game series against the Mets. The NL East leaders had played well at Citi Field this year before losing five straight at home. Wade Miley, tagged for a career-worst 13 hits by the White Sox in his last start, goes for the Red Sox against Noah Syndergaard – the Mets rookie is 7-1 with a 1.82 ERA at home, 1-5 with a 4.91 ERA away.
CARDS ALL ACES
Jaime Garcia tries to finish August without a loss as the first-place Cardinals wrap a three-game set in San Francisco. He is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA this month. St. Louis starters have a 1.64 ERA in the last seven games, including seven scoreless innings from Lance Lynn on Saturday before he exited after rolling his right ankle. Chris Heston (11-7, 3.34) makes his first start since being recalled from Triple-A, a demotion that allowed the rookie – who threw a no-hitter vs. the Mets this year – a rest period after he lasted just 4 2-3 innings on Aug. 17 at St. Louis.
The Phillies have already gotten a pair of solid starts from Jerad Eickhoff, and they will send out another pitching prospect acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade when they give the ball to Alec Asher for his big league debut vs. visiting San Diego. Asher made four starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley following the non-waiver deadline deal, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. Eickhoff has a 2.25 ERA in two starts with Philadelphia, while Jake Thompson – the third pitching prospect acquired in the trade – has a 1.97 ERA in five starts with Double-A Reading.