LEADING OFF: Eovaldi, Adams bring new blood to Sox, Yanks
A look at what’s happening around the majors Saturday:
HEY, NEW GUYS
Nathan Eovaldi makes his second start for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who acquired him in a trade with Tampa Bay, against the rival New York Yankees. Eovaldi allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings in his Red Sox debut, a win over the Minnesota Twins. New York will be a familiar opponent, and not just because Eovaldi was with the Rays. He spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the Yankees, winning 23 games for New York.
The Yankees will swap one new guy for another. Right-hander Chance Adams is scheduled to make his major league debut in the rotation spot of J.A. Happ, who was acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays but is sidelined with hand, foot and mouth disease. The viral infection is more common among young children than adults and also forced Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard to miss a recent start. The 23-year-old Adams is 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 21 starts with Scranton/Wilks-Barre, but he’s been better than that lately, with a 3.07 ERA over his past six starts.
Javier Baez’s teammates with the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs are talking him up as an MVP candidate after his recent hot streak. Baez is batting .444 (12 for 27) with four homers and 10 RBIs over his past seven games. He has tied his career high with 23 homers, and his 84 RBIs lead the NL. The do-everything All-Star second baseman homered, tripled, walked and threw out a runner at the plate — while playing shortstop — in the eighth inning of Friday’s win over the San Diego Padres. Chicago hosts San Diego in another Wrigley Field day game on Saturday.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Matt Harvey takes the mound against the Washington Nationals in first start against an NL East opponent since the New York Mets shipped him to Cincinnati in May. The change of scenery has been good for the right-hander once known as “the Dark Knight of Gotham.” Harvey has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his past seven starts.
Harvey will start the nightcap of a doubleheader after the Nationals and Reds were rained out on Friday night. Washington has had four postponements because of weather this season, and it’s the second postponement for the Nationals and Reds. Their opening day game in Cincinnati was also pushed back.
Kevin Gausman will make his debut for the Atlanta Braves, who acquired him in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles just ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline. His addition gives Atlanta enough pitching depth that manager Brian Snitker is going with a six-man rotation for now. And if Atlanta — which is fighting with Philadelphia for the NL Central lead — ends up making the playoffs, Gausman could be valuable even if he doesn’t start.
The hard-throwing right-hander made three postseason appearances for the Orioles in 2014, all in relief. In eight playoff innings, he’s allowed four hits and one home run and struck out seven.