LEADING OFF: Big Sexy vs Bronx Bombers; Harper in walk year
A look at what's happening around the majors today:
BIG SEXY AND THE BRONX BOMBERS
Three days before his 45th birthday, Bartolo Colon (2-1, 2.82 ERA) pitches for last-place Texas against the hard-hitting New York Yankees, who socked nine homers and totaled 18 runs in the final two games of their series at Kansas City. Colon is 6-9 with a 6.11 ERA in 21 career appearances against the Yankees, one of his former teams. Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 4.73) starts for New York.
Paul Goldschmidt and the slumping Diamondbacks try to snap out of their funk in Milwaukee. Arizona, which still leads the NL West, has lost four in a row and 10 of 11 - scoring just 22 runs in that span. ''Everybody here is a victim of trying to do too much,'' manager Torey Lovullo said. ''They want it so bad that we're doing things in a pressing manner. I just want us to remember that we're good when we're ourselves.'' Zack Greinke (3-2) goes on an extra day of rest against right-hander Chase Anderson (3-3), who is set to come off the disabled list. Anderson hasn't started since May 6 because of an illness. Greinke is 16-3 at Miller Park, including a 15-0 stretch when he pitched for the Brewers.
In his final season before free agency, Bryce Harper has more walks (42) than hits (34). The 2015 NL MVP is stuck in a monthlong slump as the injury-depleted Nationals have struggled to protect him in the lineup. Since April 17, Harper has had three multihit games and 15 hitless games, and his batting average has dropped from .315 to a season-low .224. His 13 home runs are still tied for fourth-most in the majors, but he's gone deep just once since May 4. He went 1 for 10 with five strikeouts as Washington was swept by the Dodgers. Next up, Harper and the Nats host last-place San Diego.
The struggling Royals head to the other side of Missouri for an I-70 interleague series in St. Louis. Miles Mikolas (5-0, 2.63 ERA) opposes Kansas City right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-4, 4.98) in the opener of a three-game set. Mikolas has held opponents to two runs or fewer in his last six starts.
Jason Vargas gets another chance for his first win with the Mets after a miserable first three outings that led to him being skipped in the rotation. The left-hander, signed to a $16 million, two-year contract in February to provide veteran depth in New York's rotation, is 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA. He hasn't pitched since May 8, when he allowed four runs in four innings during a loss to the Reds. Vargas went 18-11 with a 4.16 ERA for Kansas City last year, tying for the major league lead in wins.
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