LEADING OFF: Steamy starts, Price-Severino at Yankee Stadium
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the majors today:
It’s expected to be a hot box at many ballparks, with game-time temperatures likely to climb over 100 degrees in Texas for White Sox-Rangers, near triple digits in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Yankee Stadium, and into the mid-90s in Chicago and Cincinnati. On Saturday, three Twins left early with heat illness at Wrigley Field.
”Drink more water, try to stay by the fan. I try to keep a towel by my side and make sure I catch my breath,” White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said. ”It’s a mind thing. You can’t think too much about it. If you do, it’ll eat you up.”
”These guys will be hydrating tonight and I know Deck McGuire, the starter, was hydrating all day just in anticipation of the heat,” he said.
Said Orioles skipper Buck Showalter: ”There’s a big bulletin board the guys see every day reminding them of the things they need to do to hydrate properly. … We’re taking a lot of precautions.”
The Red Sox and Yankees play in prime time, with stars David Price (9-5, 3.66 ERA) and Luis Severino (12-2, 2.10) on the mound. New York entered Saturday a major league-best 19-5 against left-handed starting pitchers, and its .820 OPS against lefties was best in the majors. The left-handed Price has been tough lately, though, going 7-1 with a 2.72 ERA in nine starts since being diagnosed with a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome that caused him to miss a scheduled turn against the Yankees in early May.
The biggest bat off Cincinnati’s bench might be in the bullpen. No, really. Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen has homered in three straight at-bats after connecting for a pinch-hit grand slam Saturday in a 12-3 victory over Milwaukee. He also went deep Friday during Milwaukee’s 8-2 win. ”We treat him as a position player. We covered him in scouting meetings. We’re going to have to make some adjustments,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. The last major league pitcher to homer in three consecutive at-bats was Colorado’s Mike Hampton in 2001. For the season, Lorenzen is 4 for 6 with three homers and six RBIs. His fifth career homer was the second grand slam by a Reds pitcher in a week – starter Anthony DeSclafani also hit one against the Chicago Cubs.
The surging Rays (41-41) send left-hander Blake Snell (10-4, 2.31 ERA) to the mound against Charlie Morton (10-1, 2.54) and the World Series champion Astros in the finale of a four-game series. Snell didn’t give up a hit until the seventh inning of an 11-0 win over Washington on Monday night. Tampa Bay has limited opponents to two runs or fewer in five straight games, and seven out of eight during a tough stretch against the Yankees, Nationals and Astros. Morton has won three straight starts and hasn’t permitted an earned run in his last two. Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel (paternity leave) is expected back in the lineup.
Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (10-3, 3.62 ERA) faces the skidding Tigers on Canada Day in Toronto. An expected trade target as the July 31 deadline approaches, Happ has won six straight decisions and is unbeaten in eight outings. Detroit has lost 11 games in a row overall – and 12 of 14 in Toronto. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have won 10 of 11 at home.
BAY AREA BOOM
Jed Lowie and the Oakland Athletics (46-38) try for their seventh straight victory when they host AL Central-leading Cleveland. The surprising A’s have won 12 of 14 overall. They’ve also taken seven in a row against Cleveland, and nine of the last 10 meetings in Oakland.
Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester (10-2, 2.18 ERA) hopes to start a new month the same way he ended the last one. After going 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA in five June starts, Lester pitches against Lance Lynn (5-6, 4.81) and the Minnesota Twins in the finale of the three-game interleague series.
The Baltimore Orioles are 0-15 against AL West opponents this year after losing to the Angels 6-2 on Saturday. The O’s have dropped seven in a row overall, 17 of 18 at Camden Yards and own the worst record in the majors at 23-59. They’ll try again when Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.20 ERA) pitches at home against Los Angeles righty Deck McGuire, who makes his third major league start. Gausman has lost his last four decisions and hasn’t completed seven innings in any of his past eight starts.
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