LEADING OFF: HR record set to fall, Maddon back in TB
A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:
SUMMER OF THE SLUGGER
Major League Baseball is on track to break its season record for home runs with nearly two weeks left in the season. There were 5,677 home runs hit through Monday, 16 shy of the record set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. With 15 games on the schedule, this should be the day that Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger or some other big popper puts 2017 over the top.
GOOD TO BE BACK
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon says he’s looking forward to a two-game series at Tampa Bay. Maddon guided the Rays for nine seasons – they were the Devil Rays when he started in 2006 – and went 754-708, along with leading them to their only World Series appearance. The Cubs are visiting Tropicana Field for the first time since 2008, when Tampa Bay swept all three games and then-rookie Evan Longoria had an RBI in each victory. Maddon still has a lot of friends in the area, and his foundation recently donated $25,000 to those affected by Hurricane Irma.
YOUNG AND OLD
When the Yankees host Minnesota in the middle game of their potential AL wild-card preview, it will be 37-year-old CC Sabathia on the mound for New York against 23-year-old Jose Berrios. Sabathia (11-5, 3.85 ERA) needs one strikeout to match Mickey Lolich (2,832) for third place all-time among left-handers. Sabathia, who will pitch on seven days’ rest, is 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA in five starts since returning last month from a brief stint on the DL due to right knee inflammation. Berrios (12-7, 3.84) beat New York 6-1 back home on July 19.
TOUGH AS NAILS
Astros right-hander Collin McHugh pitches for the first time since detaching a fingernail on his pitching hand Sept. 8. McHugh (2-2, 3.61) will be making just his 10th start this season after also missing time with a shoulder issue. AL West-winning Houston will open a home series against the White Sox, who plan to send out Lucas Giolito (2-2, 2.56).
DREW FOR 17
Boston left-hander Drew Pomeranz vies for his 17th victory in a game against Baltimore. Pitching for the contending Red Sox, Pomeranz has soared past his previous career best in victories (11). He was just 25-36 over six big league seasons heading into this year, but now he’s at .500 thanks to a 16-5 mark in 2017. Kevin Gausman will pitch for the Orioles.
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