LEADING OFF: Streaking ‘Stros, Kluber goes, Price eyes KC
A look at what’s happening all around the major leagues today:
The surprising Houston Astros try for their ninth consecutive victory and 13th in 14 games when they host Seattle. They seem to have the right man on the mound, too: Collin McHugh (3-0) has won 10 straight decisions, the longest active streak in the majors. Tied with Kansas City for the top record in the American League, the Astros (16-7) matched the 1980 team for the best 23-game start in franchise history.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
The Pirates have lost 14 of their last 17 games at Busch Stadium. Francisco Liriano attempts to change their luck when he faces Cardinals right-hander John Lackey.
Tigers ace David Price pitches in Kansas City when the top two teams in the AL Central square off. Price has a 1.23 ERA in four career games against the Royals, who are 9-2 at home this season. Edinson Volquez returns from a five-game suspension to start for the defending AL champs, who held Detroit hitless until the eighth inning of a 4-1 victory Friday night.
One day after giving up Alex Rodriguez’s 660th home run, which matched Willie Mays for fourth place in major league history, the Red Sox have some decisions to make at catcher. Ryan Hanigan broke his right pinkie Friday night and is expected to be sidelined for a while. Boston could turn to prized minor league prospect Blake Swihart, or perhaps re-sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia after he was cut by Miami this week. Sandy Leon was obtained from Washington to be Hanigan’s backup when the Red Sox lost starting catcher Christian Vazquez to season-ending elbow surgery in spring training.
Struggling ace Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians faces a powerful Toronto lineup at Progressive Field. The start of this season has been nothing like the end of the last one for the 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner. He is 0-3 with a 4.24 ERA in five outings, and the Indians have scored two runs or fewer in four of those games. On the other side, Aaron Sanchez could be pitching for his spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation.
Washington hopes to have leadoff hitter Denard Span back in the lineup against the NL East rival Mets. The speedy center fielder sat out Friday night, a day after leaving in the sixth inning because of general soreness. Span has had a pair of recent operations in his core muscle area and started the season on the disabled list.
”They believe. These guys haven’t `arrived’ yet, but they’re learning, every day, how to win. They’re getting rewarded tremendously for playing clean baseball, and there’s a nice vibe around us. It’s fun to come to the ballpark.” – Astros manager A.J. Hinch on his first-place team.