LEADING OFF: Giants need hand in bullpen, Felix in the Bronx
A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
NEED A HAND
The Giants are looking for answers at the back of the bullpen after closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand Monday night punching a door in frustration. Strickland blew a save in a 5-4 loss to Miami, then cost himself six to eight weeks with his postgame outburst. Manager Bruce Bochy said Strickland had shown maturity and progress keeping his emotions in check since a fight last year with Nationals star Bryce Harper, leading Bochy to feel ”thoroughly disappointed” by this injury. Sam Dyson and Tony Watson will be called upon for closing duties, with one getting most of the opportunities, though Bochy didn’t reveal which one that would be. The manager doesn’t consider Mark Melancon – signed to a $62 million, four-year deal before last season to work the ninth – ready for the role after a series of injuries.
KING OF THE BRONX
Felix Hernandez (6-6, 5.44 ERA) pitches for Seattle at Yankee Stadium in the middle game of a series between AL playoff contenders. King Felix is 7-2 with a 2.00 ERA over 11 career starts in the Bronx, including 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA in nine outings at the current Yankee Stadium. The 32-year-old righty, a six-time All-Star and the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 10-7 with a 3.04 ERA and four complete games in 21 starts against New York overall. Jonathan Loaisiga (1-0) gets the ball for the Yankees after throwing five scoreless innings to win his major league debut vs. Tampa Bay last Friday.
Corey Kluber tries to become the major league’s first 11-game winner this season when Cleveland hosts the White Sox. Kluber (10-3, 2.24) won five straight decisions before losing to Minnesota last time out, giving up two homers and four runs in a 6-3 defeat. Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.35) is looking to solve the reigning AL Central champs after they tagged him for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings on May 30.
Anibal Sanchez hopes to give the upstart Braves a little more late-career magic. The 34-year-old Sanchez (3-0, 1.93) has been excellent for Atlanta, most recently throwing seven scoreless innings against San Diego. Sanchez has been a surprise contributor after posting a 6.09 ERA over his final two seasons in Detroit and signing with the Braves on a minor league contract in March. He’ll face Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ (8-3, 3.48) in Toronto in the afternoon.
Ross Stripling (6-1, 1.76) tries to win his seventh consecutive start when the Dodgers complete a three-game set against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Stripling joined LA’s rotation amid a bevy of injuries and has been consistently on point, walking just two batters over his past seven starts (43 innings). Chicago will counter with Jon Lester (8-2, 2.28).
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