LEADING OFF: Red Sox, Rays look to keep surging

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander throws to a Chicago White Sox batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:


The major league-best Boston Red Sox look for their 15th win in 18 games as they host the Texas Rangers in the middle game of their series. The Red Sox, who lead the second-place Yankees by 2 1/2 games in the AL East, send Hector Velazquez (6-0, 2.76 ERA) against the Rangers’ Yovani Gallardo (3-0, 8.17). Boston’s J.D. Martinez is 10 for 23 with three homers, eight runs scored and 10 RBIs the last five games.


The Tampa Bay Rays will try for their 13th win in 14 games at home when they host the Detroit Tigers in the middle game of their series. Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd (4-7, 4.58) will start against a Rays bullpen day.Daniel Robertson hit an RBI single in the 10th inning Monday night to lift the Rays to a 10-9 win in the series opener.


Houston’s Justin Verlander and St. Louis’ Miles Mikolas will both be seeking their 10th win of the season. Verlander (9-4, 2.15) will try to become the ninth in the American League to reach double digits when he opposes Oakland’s Sean Manaea (8-6, 3.33). Mikolas (9-3, 2.63) will aim to become the fifth in the NL with 10 wins he faces Dylan Covey (3-4, 5.54) of the White Sox. The Yankees’ Luis Severino leads the majors with 14, and the Phillies’ Aaron Nola is tops in the NL with 12.


Two starting pitchers are expected to make their major league debuts when the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets continue their four-game series at Citi Field. Philadelphia is likely to call up 22-year-old RHP Enyel De Los Santos from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he is 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 16 starts. New York plans to call up 28-year-old RHP Drew Gagnon from Triple-A Las Vegas, where he is 1-4 with a 4.67 ERA in 17 starts. Gagnon expects to have his parents, fiancee and three sisters in the crowd.

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