LEADING OFF: Severino vs Kluber; Max to the rescue for Nats
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
PAIR OF ACES
Two of the top pitchers in the American League square off when the New York Yankees begin a series in Cleveland. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (12-4, 2.49 ERA) starts for the Indians, while the AL leader in wins, Luis Severino (14-2, 2.12) takes the mound for New York in a matchup of All-Stars. The appearance will be Severino’s first against Cleveland since last season’s playoffs when he allowed three runs in seven innings and helped the Yankees win Game 4 in the AL Division Series to force a decisive Game 5.
Andrew Benintendi and the major league-leading Red Sox (65-29) seek their 10th straight victory when David Price (9-6) pitches against All-Star lefty J.A. Happ (10-5) and the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Benintendi has six consecutive multihit games and has scored in all of them. Working on its second nine-game winning streak of the season, Boston has won 14 of 16 overall and is 36 games above .500 for the first time since Bucky Dent homered over the Green Monster in a one-game playoff to settle the 1978 AL East title.
Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar and Seattle Mariners shortstop Jean Segura are headed to the All-Star Game next week in Washington after winning the final two roster spots in online balloting. Aguilar also is the top seed for Monday night’s Home Run Derby by virtue of his 23 homers, the highest total in the field. He will face Philadelphia slugger Rhys Hoskins in the opening round. Nationals star Bryce Harper, the second seed in his home ballpark, takes on Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman. Dodgers infielder Max Muncy goes up against Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs, and Houston third baseman Alex Bregman opposes Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell (12-4) is second in the AL in ERA (2.09) and has 132 strikeouts in 116 innings this season. The 25-year-old lefty will make his first start since being left off the All-Star team Sunday when he takes the mound at Minnesota.
MAX TO THE RESCUE
The Nationals fell back to .500 with a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the 11th loss in their last 16 games. Washington will try to reclaim a winning record when it begins a four-game series in New York against the Mets. Fortunately for the struggling Nationals, they’ll open with three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (11-5, 2.33 ERA) on the mound, while the Mets counter with left-hander Steven Matz (4-6, 3.31).
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