World Series Game 7 Recap
George Springer powered the Houston Astros to the franchise’s first World Series championship, crushing a two-run home run in the second inning Wednesday that gave his club a commanding lead on the way to a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7.
In a World Series that saw back-and-forth battles nearly every game, only the Astros got off and running in Game 7, and the Dodgers never recovered from Houston’s five-run outburst in the opening two innings.
The Astros won their first title in just their second World Series appearance, after falling short in 2005. The Dodgers have six titles but remain without a championship since 1988.
Springer, who was named the World Series MVP, tied a record for most home runs in one World Series with five, joining the New York Yankees’ Reggie Jackson (1977) and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chase Utley (2009). He also became the first player to hit home runs in four consecutive games of the same World Series.
The blast also gave Springer a record eight extra-base hits in a single World Series. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Willie Stargell (1979) previously held the record with seven.
Springer’s home run Wednesday chased Dodgers starter Yu Darvish after just 1 2/3 innings, as the Astros were productive inside of those five outs by the right-hander. Darvish gave up five runs (four earned) on three hits and a walk.
Darvish (0-2) recorded just 10 outs during his two World Series starts in Games 3 and 7.
The Astros got things going early when Springer doubled to lead off the game. He scored when first baseman Cody Bellinger could not hit Darvish on a throw to first base after a ground ball from Alex Bregman. The Astros made it 2-0 when Bregman stole third and scored on a groundout by Jose Altuve.
Just before Springer delivered his two-run blast, the Astros made it 3-0 when starting pitcher Lance McCullers grounded out to bring home a run. Springer then lifted a 3-2 fastball into the seats in center field.
Bellinger’s rough day was only starting with the errant throw. He also struck out in his first two at-bats to extend his consecutive strikeout streak to six plate appearances. He added a third strikeout to give him a record 29 whiffs in this postseason alone, breaking the record that the Yankees’ Aaron Judge held for all of 11 days.
McCullers delivered a scoreless 2 1/3 innings to open the game, but he was far from sharp, hitting four Dodgers batters, including Justin Turner twice. He was supported by four relievers out of the beleaguered Astros bullpen, although one of those relievers pressed into service was starter Charlie Morton.
The Astros’ bullpen entered with a 7.29 ERA after the first six games but had its day in Game 7, giving up just one run on three hits over the final 6 2/3 innings. Morton (1-0) earned the victory, giving up just one run on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts over the final four innings.
Pinch hitter Andre Ethier drove in the Dodgers’ only run on a sixth-inning single off Morton. It was Ethier’s Dodgers’ record 51st appearance in a postseason game.
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MLB World Series Preview
The Los Angeles Dodgers took game number one over the Houston Astroes. Twenty-four hours later and we are back at it again for game two of the World Series. Select your fantasy draft picks from the MLB World Series Cross Sports Game. Finish off your remaining selections with some NBA action. A total of four games to choose from. Check out the Astros versus Dodgers preview along with with the NBA games below and join the action for cash prize!!! >>>Click here to join the game<<<
Hoston Astros vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Justin Verlander is 4-0 during his stellar postseason run and looks to continue the success when the Houston Astros visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday (8:09 p.m. ET on FOX). Verlander will aim to help Houston knot the series after Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner guided the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory in Game 1. Kershaw allowed one run and three hits with 11 strikeouts over seven innings while Turner belted a tiebreaking two-run homer (his fourth of the postseason) in Tuesday’s victory.
Verlander was acquired from Detroit by the Astros to fortify their rotation, and now he’s a symbol of a franchise looking for its first World Series title in the wake of a damaging hurricane that ravaged Houston in August.
Astros RH Justin Verlander (4-0, 1.46 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Rich Hill (0-0, 3.00)
Verlander has a stellar 11-5 postseason record, but none of those victories occurred in the World Series, where he went 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in three career starts for the Tigers. The 34-year-old’s arrival in Houston changed the complexion of the rotation, providing the team with a second ace alongside Dallas Keuchel as well as raising the stature of the organization.
Hill is 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA in six career postseason starts and is making his World Series debut. The 37-year-old is trying to keep the moment in perspective after his major-league career appeared to be finished in the summer of 2015, when he signed with the independent Long Island Ducks, but 26 of his 50 career regular-season victories have come since that stint.
San Antonio Spurs vs Miami Heat
The San Antonio Spurs have not yet needed MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, who remains out while dealing with right quadriceps tendinopathy. The Spurs will try to stay undefeated when they kick off a four-game road trip by visiting the Miami Heat, who will be missing one of their stars as well, on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).
San Antonio is relying more on LaMarcus Aldridge with Leonard out, and the veteran power forward is responding by averaging 24.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. Aldridge is also helping out on the defensive end and provided the highlight of Monday’s 101-97 win over the Raptors with a chase-down block of Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry as the Spurs held their third consecutive opponent under 100 points to start the season. Aldridge could have some extra room to work with down low on Wednesday with Heat center Hassan Whiteside expected to miss his third straight game with a bone bruise on his left knee.
Indiana Pacers vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Paul George faces his former organization for the first time since his acrimonious departure when the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET on FSN Indiana & FSN Oklahoma). George was a four-time All-Star in his seven seasons with the Pacers but requested a trade during the summer and now is teammates with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City. Indiana acquired guard Victor Oladipo and post player Domantas Sabonis in the deal, and the former is thriving with back-to-back 28-point efforts – including 11-of-16 shooting in Tuesday’s 130-107 rout of Minnesota. The Pacers will be without center Myles Turner (concussion/neck) for the fourth straight game.
Memphis Grizzlies vs Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are the lone remaining winless team in the Western Conference and have the misfortune of going up against one of the few teams that remains undefeated when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday in the first of a back-to-back, home-and-home set (8:30 p.m. ET on FS Southeast (Memphis) & FS Southwest (Dallas)). The Mavericks are being outscored by an average of 14.3 points and were crushed 133-103 at home by the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Monday.
Dallas, which travels to Memphis on Thursday for the start of a stretch with six of nine on the road, allowed 40 points in the first quarter and 68 in the second half on Monday. The Grizzlies showed off their defensive might by holding the explosive Houston Rockets to 14 fourth-quarter points in a 98-90 win on Monday and entered play Tuesday second in the NBA in opponent’s field-goal percentage at 39.6.
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MLB World Series Preview
The Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers will duke it out for baseball most valuable prize. It’s time for the World Series and it all starts tonight. Select your fantasy draft picks from the MLB World Series Cross Sports Game. Finish off your remaining selections with some NBA action. A total of three games to choose from. Check out the Astros versus Dodgers preview along with with the NBA games below and join the action for cash prize!!! >>>Click here to join the game<<<
Houston Astros vs Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988, while the Houston Astros have never been crowned champions in their 56-season history. The teams begin their attempts to end their respective droughts when Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw pitches against Houston’s Dallas Keuchel in Game 1 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium (8:09 p.m. ET on FOX).
The Dodgers are in the World Series for the first time since their memorable 1988 slaying of the Oakland Athletics, a series best known for limping Kirk Gibson’s decisive Game 1 homer. The Astros lost to the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series and this season’s 101-win squad knocked out the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees to reach the Series. The Dodgers, who won 104 regular-season games, rolled through the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs with standout third baseman Justin Turner excelling by going 12-for-31 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in the eight games.
Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 2.60 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 3.63 ERA)
Keuchel has struck out 25 in 17 1/3 innings over three starts this October and is a solid 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six career postseason appearances (five starts). The 29-year-old former Cy Young Award winner scanned the Dodgers’ lineup and had no trouble anointing it as the best he’ll face all season.
Kershaw has served up six homers in three starts this postseason but his career ledger has improved to 6-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 21 appearances (17 starts). The 29-year-old three-time Cy Young winner is 3-2 with a 2.38 ERA in eight career starts against the Astros and has experienced struggles with Astros star second baseman Jose Altuve (6-for-15, four doubles).
New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics finally earned their first win and then got three days off to figure out how to keep their emotions in check and move forward without Gordon Hayward. Kyrie Irving will be a little lighter in the wallet by the time the Celtics try to even their record against the visiting New York Knicks on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET on MSG (New York) & NBCSN Boston). Irving had an altercation with a fan in the tunnel at halftime in Philadelphia and used a profanity, earning himself a $25,000 fine from the league. The Knicks have a young team and are still looking for their first win after squandering a 21-point lead in a 111-107 loss to the Detroit Pistons in the home opener on Saturday.
Indiana Pacers vs Minnesota Timberwolves
Andrew Wiggins is fresh off a dramatic game-winning shot and the 22-year-old shooting guard seeks to post his fourth consecutive 20-point outing to open the campaign when the Minnesota Timberwolves host the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET on FSN Indiana & FSN Minnesota-Plus). Wiggins banked in a last-second shot from more than 30 feet out to give the Timberwolves a 115-113 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. Wiggins, who is averaging 24.7 points, recently signed a five-year, $148 million extension and was prepared to take the decisive shot. Indiana is rebuilding after trading star forward Paul George to Oklahoma City. They are receiving strong play from guard Victor Oladipo (22.3 average), who was acquired in the trade. The Pacers will be without starting center Myles Turner (concussion, neck) for the third straight game.
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MLB Post-Season Team-by-Team Outlook
After six months and a calendar of 162 games, we are ready for the major baseball series. FanPicks will cover all the daily fantasy baseball post-season games. What are you waiting for? Reserve your spot for the upcoming wild cards matchups between the Twins and the Yankees, and the Rockies versus the D-Backs on the National side. It’s starting Tuesday Night. Here’s an outlook of every team who made it in.
The surprise team of the year. They are young, dynamic, dashing and barely have enough output from their starting pitchers to qualify in the playoffs. They are the potential cinderella’s of the post-season story.
New York Yankees
A dangerous formation. Undoubtedly the most formidable big bats staff in the playoffs. The catch is that they have to take the lead in the first five innings. Aaron Judge will need the support of his teammates. Jacoby Ellsbury had a good end of the season, which is reassuring.
Boston Red Sox
For the first time in their history, the Red Sox have won the title of their section two years in a row. They did it without much power, which is far removed from their usual identity. The pitchers held the fort throughout the season, but the relief proved less effective after Joe Kelly’s injury.
They are even more formidable than last year as they pushed the world series in seven games in the absence of starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. This year, they are healthy and Trevor Bauer is among the elite. The Indians have a depth that few teams can boast, both on the mound and on the attack.
The Astros have a devastating attack made up of young people who are hungry for a championship ring. Carlos Correa is finally back a 100 percent healthy. Getting Justin Verlander in the rotation was the missing piece they needed.
The Colorado pitching staff is largely underestimated, led by a gang of young starters (German Marquez, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela).
Among the teams drafted, the D-Backs are maybe the one that has the best chance of going all the way. JD Martinez came in to support Paul Goldschmidt after his acquisition of the Detroit Tigers. And Zach Greinke is no longer alone. Robby Ray and Patrick Corbin, the latter with a good second half of the season, give depth to the mound.
A strong team on paper, but with a lot of question marks. Is Bryce Harper ready? What about Max Scherzer? The lack of control of Gio Gonzalez on the big occasion is not very reassuring, especially against the Chicago Cubs, whose attack has been the best of the National League since the break.
The World Series champions are back in series. Quietly entering in the playoff picture, they have been consistent since early July with an attack that produced as expected. They have several challenges on the mound though. Another trip to the world series is not out of the question.
Los Angeles Dodgers
How can a team that plays for, 800 for more than a month can have a sequence of 1-15 thereafter? The Dodgers are an enigma and even with a season-end of 8-2, doubts remain. Who will support Kershaw? Seager, Bellinger and Turner can not do it alone.
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MLB 2017 Season Preview
American League West
FanPicks examines the American League West division for the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Get ready for fantasy baseball.
A rebound seems plausible. The team finished five games out of the Wild Card, but they didn’t have highly touted prospect Alex Bregman, Cuban import Yuli Gurriel, gold glover Josh Reddick, all-star catcher Brian McCann, or a settled bullpen when they began the 2016 season. The Rangers were a record-setting 36–11 in one-run games, an indicator more of luck than skill, so some regression is to be expected, and the Mariners have become one of the league’s oldest teams. Given Houston’s depth on the field and in the bullpen, a modestly better performance by the rotation could propel the Astros back to October baseball.
Los Angeles Angels
From 2002 through 2014, the Angels won at least 90 games seven times, won six division titles, reached the ALCS three times and won the franchise’s only World Series championship in 2002. This is a much different era. Though GM Billy Eppler defiantly says the Angels “intend to contend” in 2017, the road to fourth place is paved with good intentions.
The A’s play in an antiquated stadium. They don’t draw well. They trade their top players instead of paying them top dollar, making it tough for fans to be faithful. Of course, the sentiment would improve if the A’s got off to a quick start, re-energized their fan base and even took steps toward constructing a baseball-only facility in Oakland. Miracles do happen.
It seems unlikely that heavy hitters Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager can improve much on the stellar production of last year. But GM Jerry Dipoto has been very aggressive in building up the roster depth around his star trio, which should allow the Mariners to be competitive in a very tough American League West. It will come down to how their new-look starting rotation performs.
A third-straight AL West title is within reach. The Rangers have two aces in the rotation in Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, a top-flight bullpen and offensive firepower. That combination will help them stay in contention in the AL West, but the rest of the rotation needs to carry its weight. Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre must stay healthy, newcomer Mike Napoli needs to keep slugging, and DH must be productive to make a push for a three-peat.
Monday’s Late Night Games
Giants (79-70) vs Dodgers (84-65)
Los Angeles are sending ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound on Monday night. They open a three-game series against the visiting San Francisco Giants (Enter Contests), who are fighting for a spot in the postseason with 13 games to play. The Dodgers are leading their division rival Giants by five games in the National League West, while the Giants pursue the Mets in the National League wild card race. They are one game back of New York and just a game ahead of St. Louis.
Diamondbacks (63-86) vs Padres (62-87)
The Arizona Diamondbacks are visiting the San Diego Padres. This will be the first of six games between the last two teams in the National League West. They are both looking to avoid a last-place finish before the regular-season comes to an end. The Diamondbacks have won five of their previous seven contests. Thanks in part of their surging offense. They have a one-game lead for fourth place over the Padres, who were swept in three games by the Colorado Rockies.
Blue Jays (81-68) vs Mariners (79-70)
The Seattle Mariners are focusing in making up ground in the American League wild-card race when they take on the Toronto Blue Jays at home. They open a three-game series against their northern opponents. The Mariners avoided the series-sweep against Houston thanks to a 7-3 victory on Sunday. They have won nine of 11 to close within two games of the slumping Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot.
Astros (78-71) vs Athletics (66-83)
After coming up short of a three-game sweep in Seattle, the Houston Astros look to recharge and continue their quest toward a wild-card spot in the American League. They start the second half of their six-game road trip Monday with the series-opener against the Oakland Athletics. Houston lost 7-3 to the Mariners on Sunday, but remain three games back of Toronto for the second wild card. A chance for them to close down the gap is a likely scenario, as they play their next seven contests against AL West bottom-feeders Oakland and the Los Angeles Angels before another confrontation with Seattle at home.
August 23 MLB Rundown
Tuesday Primetime Matchups
FanPicks has your August 23 MLB rundown to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contests. Get the info you need and play right here!
Right-hander Ivan Nova will make his fourth start for the Pirates since being acquired in a trade from the Yankees. He will face rookie righty Joe Musgrove and the Astros at PNC Park. Cuban slugger Yulieski Gurriel is expected to make his first start in the field for Houston after sitting out Monday’s game.
Nationals rookie Reynaldo Lopez will have a new challenge when he faces the Orioles at Camden Yards. Lopez has dominated in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse earlier this month, allowing two earned runs in 14 innings while striking out 13.
The Blue Jays and Angels will meet for the first time this season when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey takes the mound vs. lefty Tyler Skaggs at Rogers Centre. Dickey hit a rough patch in July, but he has since bounced back with a total of six earned runs over his last three starts.
The Rays are among the hottest teams and will have a chance to continue their winning ways against the Red Sox with their ace on the mound at Tropicana Field. Chris Archer is in the midst of his best month and has lowered his ERA in each of his past six starts.
Right-hander Yordano Ventura will face Miami for the first time in his career. He’s pitched in four straight Royals wins, and hasn’t yielded more than three runs in an outing since July 3. Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is three hits shy of passing Wade Boggs (3,010) for 27th on the all-time hit list.
Rangers lefty Derek Holland will come off the disabled list and start for the first time since June 20th. He will faces the Reds at The Great American Ball Park. Holland will be going up against one of the hottest pitchers in the National League, right-hander Dan Straily. Straily has won his past five decisions, and he is 5-0 with a 2.25 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break.
August 18 MLB Rundown
Thursday Evening Matchups
FanPicks has your August 18 MLB rundown to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contests. Get the info you need and play right here!
Astros vs Orioles
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who reached 1,000 hits against the Cardinals on Tuesday, has had a lot of success against Baltimore, just not recently. In Houston’s three-game sweep of the O’s earlier this season, Altuve went 1-for-13.
Dodgers vs Phillies
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has hit safely in eight straight games, going 15-for-36. Teammate Adrian Gonzalez is 18-for-40 with 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored during a 10-game hitting streak.
White Sox vs Indians
Cleveland’s first baseman Carlos Santana has a career batting average of .364 (4-for-11) off Rodon. Santana is the only Cleveland batter with double-digit career at-bats vs. the southpaw hitting over .200.
Marlins vs Reds
Veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips returned to the Reds lineup on Wednesday after missing the previous two contests due to injury and delivered the key hit with a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh.
Nationals vs Braves
Nats outfielder Jayson Werth has reached base in 45 consecutive games. He has a chance to tie the franchise record if he reaches base on Thursday.
Twins vs Royals
Twins rookie right-hander Tyler Duffey goes for his second win over the Royals in six days.
Mariners vs Angels
Fourteen game winning pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma has dominated the Angels’ two biggest threats in large sample sizes. Mike Trout is hitting just .214 (9-for-42) and Albert Pujols only .133 (3-for-45) vs. Iwakuma.
Padres vs Diamondbacks
Arizona right fielder Yasmany Tomas isn’t having any issues at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with two homers and a career-best six RBIs in Wednesday’s 13-5 victory over the New York Mets. Tomas has slugged 12 homers in his past 19 games and has seven multi-homer games while belting 25 this season.
Mets vs Giants
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has been superb against the Mets in his career by going 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in five career outings. Mets counter-attacks with their ace Jacob deGrom, who is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in three career starts against the Giants. Pitching duel to be expected.
August 11 Fantasy Baseball Preview
Thursday Evening Matchups
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Yankees vs Red Sox
Alex Rodriguez will make his final appearance at Fenway Park and has a chance to lead the New York Yankees to a series win this Thursday. Rodriguez, who is set to play his final game for the Yankees at home on Friday before being released, got into Wednesday’s win as a pinch hitter and is expected to play a bigger role in the finale. He flied out in his lone plate appearance on Wednesday but New York managed to even the series at one win apiece by picking on the Red Sox bullpen for five runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth en route to a 9-4 triumph.
The Red Sox need to win every game at this point to keep pace in the American League East and AL wild card races and may be without All-Star slugger David Ortiz. The veteran designated hitter had to be helped off the field after fouling a ball off his right leg in the ninth inning on Wednesday and was sent for x-rays.
Angels vs Indians
Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 14 games in impressive fashion, collecting two singles and a double for his third straight multi-hit performance in Wednesday’s 7-4 setback at Washington. The 23-year-old Dominican is batting .391 with runners in scoring position but is hitting just .188 (6-for-32) in 10 career encounters with the Angels. Los Angeles saw its offense limited to just one run for a third consecutive contest and sustained its season high-tying sixth straight loss with Wednesday’s 3-1 setback against the red-hot Chicago Cubs. Mike Trout is 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts in his last three games, and his 1-for-11 performance versus Thursday starter Corey Kluber doesn’t inspire much confidence, either.
Astros vs Twins
The Astros made a bold personnel decision by designating Carlos Gomez for assignment and hope the transaction can be looked back on as a courageous factor in their wild-card push. Houston, who trail Boston, Detroit and Seattle in the battle for the American League’s second wild card, decided they no longer could live with the sub-par performances of Gomez. The two-time All-Star center fielder made two key defensive miscues on Monday in his final start for Houston and batted a disappointing .210 with five homers and 100 strikeouts this season. Minnesota has won seven of its last 10 games and Brian Dozier is on a tear with six homers and 13 RBIs during the stretch.
Cardinals vs Cubs
Chicago’s pitching staff has been dominant of late, allowing two or fewer runs in 10 of the last 13 games as the Cubs have gone 12-1 over that stretch. Left-hander Jon Lester looks to continue that trend as he takes on hard-throwing right-hander Carlos Martinez. Lester is 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 10 home starts, while Martinez has excelled on the road, going 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in nine outings.
White Sox vs Royals
Left-hander Danny Duffy routinely has brought smiles to the faces of his teammates, and for good reason, considering that the Kansas City Royals have emerged victorious in each of his last eight trips to the mound. The 27-year-old looks to win his third straight start and improve to 7-0 in his last nine outings on Thursday.
Royals Rookie Cheslor Cuthbert had an RBI double in Wednesday’s 3-2 win in 14 innings and is 10-for-27 during his six-game hitting streak. The 23-year-old Nicaraguan is 15-for-46 in 12 career encounters versus the White Sox and 1-for-3 against Thursday starter Miguel Gonzalez. The right-hander has had his troubles, however, with Jarrod Dyson, who tripled to lead off the 13th inning on Wednesday and is a blistering 8-for-10 in his career versus the hurler. Chicago’s J.B. Shuck continued his strong series by highlighting his second two-hit performance with a solo homer to improve to 19-for-52 in his career versus Kansas City.
August 10 Fantasy Baseball Preview
Wednesday Evening Matchups
FanPicks has your august 10 fantasy baseball preview to get ready for today’s MLB contest. Get the info you need and play right here!
Padres vs Pirates
Out of the starting lineup for three games due to a sore shoulder, Gregory Polanco provide a jolt in his return for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Polanco’s three-run homer was the decisive blow in Tuesday’s 6-4 triumph for Pittsburgh against San Diego. Penciled in at the cleanup spot for the first time in his career, Polanco continued his breakout campaign with his 16th homer to keep the Pirates 2 1/2 games behind Miami for the second wild card in the National League. Andrew McCutchen showed signs of breaking out of his funk by reaching base four times, including a season-high three via the walk.
Padres rookie Jabari Blash went 2-for-4 with a homer on Tuesday and is 7-for-24 since his recall from the minors after batting .120 during his first stint with the team earlier in the season. San Diego sents Edwin Jackson to the mound to oppose Ryan Vogelsong in a matchup of veteran right-handers.
Rays vs Blue Jays
J.A. Happ has provided quite the return on the Toronto Blue Jays’ investment this season. Signed to a three-year, $36 million deal in the offseason, Happ puts his string of a career-high nine straight victorious decisions on the line Wednesday versus the Rays. The 33-year-old’s 15 wins this season have comfortably surpassed his previous best total in 2009, although none have come at the expense of Tampa Bay. Happ settled for a pair of no-decisions versus the Rays in April before getting shredded for a career high-tying eight runs on seven hits in a 13-2 shellacking on May 16. Evan Longoria, who is batting .385 in his career against Happ, collected three hits and as many RBIs in Tuesday’s 9-2 victory over Toronto. The 30-year-old is 6-for-15 with two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored in his last four games.
Yankees vs Red Sox
The Yankees are trying to balance moving the youth onto the roster while gracefully shuffling the veterans out the door, and Alex Rodriguez did not get into the game on Tuesday. The 14-time All-Star, who is set to be released by New York after Friday’s game, is expected to at least play on Thursday and could get an at-bat or two on Wednesday.
Reds vs Cardinals
Billy Hamilton is running wild on the basepaths and looks to increase his major league-leading steals total. The speedy Reds center fielder has stolen nine bases over his last three contests, including five in the first two games of this series, to increase his season total to 48. Hamilton, who is 6-for-11 with four walks and six runs scored during his three-game spree, is an astounding 20-for-22 stealing against Cardinals star Yadier Molina, who is considered one of the top throwing catchers in the game. Hamilton reached base four times and scored three runs to fuel Tuesday’s 7-4 win, which occurred one day after St. Louis staged a five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to post a 5-4 victory. Molina went 2-for-4 with a homer on Tuesday to improve to 7-for-14 over his last four games and has reached base in each of his last 22 contests.
Rockies vs Rangers
Prince Fielder, in his third season with the Rangers, is walking away from the game after undergoing neck surgery on July 29. It is the second surgical procedure on his neck in a 26-month span. The Rockies were without right fielder Carlos Gonzalez for the past two games. He’ll likely be held out once again on Wednesday.
Angels vs Cubs
Jason Hammel will be activated from the bereavement list to make the start and looks to improve upon his 6-1 record and 2.24 ERA at home. He has won four straight starts to set a career-high for wins after tossing six shutout innings against Miami on Aug. 2. The 33-year-old has allowed four runs and 16 hits in 24 innings during the winning streak and hasn’t given up more than two runs in a start since July 1. Hammel is 1-3 with a 6.59 ERA in six games (five starts) against the Angels, with the last meeting in 2013.
Astros vs Twins
Dallas Keuchel tossed his first shutout of the season in his last turn and looks to post a second consecutive strong outing. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner gave up just three hits in a 5-0 victory over the Texas Rangers while recording his fourth career shutout. Keuchel has experienced a bumpy campaign and was rocked for seven runs in five innings by Detroit in his previous turn. Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve went 4-for-4 in Tuesday’s 7-5 victory over the Twins after being rested Monday to end his consecutive games streak to 202. Minnesota has won seven of its last 10 games behind the red-hot Brian Dozier, whose solo shot and two RBIs on Tuesday gave him six homers and 13 RBIs during the stretch.
Braves vs Brewers
Braves Erick Aybar carries a 14-game hitting streak. He has provided a breath of fresh air for his cellar-dwelling club. Aybar collected two singles in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory for Atlanta, which has won four in a row and six of seven overall. The 32-year-old Dominican traditionally has struggled versus the Brewers, going 8-for-36 in nine career encounters and 0-for-3 versus Wednesday starter Chase Anderson. Ryan Braun went deep on Tuesday for the fourth time in seven outings, during which he has recorded 11 RBIs.
White Sox vs Royals
Jose Quintana has won nine games in each of the last three seasons and will look to reach double-digit victories for the first time against the Royals. He lost six consecutive starts while receiving a total of eight runs of support earlier this season, but he is 4-0 since July 3 thanks to some increased offensive support. Losers of 12 of its last 17 overall, Kansas City sends Ian Kennedy to the mound to face Quintana.
Orioles vs Athletics
Baltimore had just three hits in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss with the run coming on a homer by center fielder Adam Jones, who has five hits in the series and is 11-for-22 during a five-game hitting streak. Orioles All-Star right fielder Mark Trumbo, who is tied for the major-league lead with 31 homers, is just 7-for-57 with one blast over his past 15 contests.
Tigers vs Mariners
Two former American League Cy Young Award winners will square off in Seattle. Detroit sends 2011 winner Justin Verlander, who also was the AL MVP that season, to the mound against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who captured the Cy Young the previous year. Verlander has won each of his last five decisions and recorded at least nine strikeouts in four of his last five outings overall, while Hernandez is 2-0 in four turns since returning from a calf injury that landed him on the disabled list.
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Angels vs Cubs
The Cubs’ John Lackey and Angels’ Jered Weaver (Tuesday’s starters) were Los Angeles teammates during Weaver’s first four major league seasons (2006-09), with Lackey serving as his mentor. Lackey received a no-decision in his third straight quality start after yielding three runs and seven hits while striking out eight in seven innings of the Cubs’ 5-4 victory over Miami last Wednesday.
Braves vs Brewers
Center fielder Matt Kemp is endearing himself to his new team with some spirited play of late. Kemp had an RBI single in the fourth inning and scored the go-ahead run in the 12th of Monday’s 4-3 victory over the Brewers. The veteran is 5-for-13 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs scored in his last three games and 7-for-14 with a homer and five RBIs in his career versus Tuesday starter Wily Peralta. He isn’t the only one swinging a hot bat, as teammates Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar are carrying respective 19- and 13-game hitting streaks into Tuesday’s tilt. Veteran Ryan Braun is doing fine in his own right with hits in 15 of 18 games since the All-Star break for the Brewers, who have dropped four of their last five contests.
Astros vs Twins
Houston’s Jose Altuve received his first day off this season in the series opener against Minnesota. The second baseman leads the major leagues with a .356 batting average. He’s played in 202 consecutive games before Monday’s rest. It was the the longest current playing streak in baseball. Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario collected three hits in the opener to improve to 14-for-28 during his seven-game hitting streak.
Reds vs Cardinals
Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter was 2-for-5 with two RBIs in the opener after being removed from Saturday’s contest and sitting out on Sunday due to an injured oblique. Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton stole two bases on Monday and is tied for most in the majors with 45. He’s 17-for-19 against St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina, which is the most steals by anyone against the respected receiver.
White Sox vs Royals
White Sox left-hander Chris Sale will make his fifth attempt for his 15th win. He’ll oppose right-hander Edinson Volquez, who’s been rocked for the second straight outing at Tampa Bay last Wednesday.
Orioles vs Athletics
All-Star third baseman Manny Machado has four homers and nine RBIs over the past two games. The recent display has increased Machado’s round-tripper count to 26, nine shy of his career high set last season. Oakland left fielder Khris Davis has matched his career best of 27 homers but has just one blast and one RBI over the last nine games.
Tigers vs Mariners
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera notched one of the five singles Monday, giving him at least one hit in seven of his last eight contests. Teammate Ian Kinsler improved to 12-for-27 during a hitting streak that reached seven games. Trailing Cleveland by 2 1/2 games for first place in the AL Central, Detroit are sending Daniel Norris to the mound against Seattle’s Wade LeBlanc in a battle of left-handers.
Phillies vs Dodgers
In a season when the Los Angeles Dodgers have placed a total of 26 players on the disabled list, rookie shortstop Corey Seager has emerged as their most reliable and dangerous offensive threat. The 22-year-old belted two homers in Monday’s series-opening 9-4 win and is batting .326 with nine doubles, four home runs, and 13 RBI over his last 20 games. Seager has taken a commanding lead in the National League rookie of the year race with 21 home runs while serving an invaluable role atop the batting order for Los Angeles.
Philadelphia has struggled over the last two months, but may have found their right fielder of the future in Aaron Altherr. The German born player missed the season’s first 103 games with a wrist injury, but has provided surprising pop from the second spot in the order. Altherr is expected to receive regular playing time even after Peter Bourjos returns from the 15-day disabled list to join a crowded outfield later this week.
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Rays vs Blue Jays
Scheduled Monday Rays starter Jake Odorizzi has not allowed a run in three straight games spanning 20 2/3 innings. Tampa Bay shortstop Brad Miller is 8-for-21 with three homers and seven RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
Giants vs Marlins
National League Cy Young Award candidates Johnny Cueto of the Giants and Jose Fernandez of the Marlins are scheduled to square off. They have combined to hold the opposition to two or fewer runs in 28 of their 43 starts this season, although neither managed to win his last time out. Miami saw an high-profile chase come to an end in Sunday’s victory over the Rockies, as Ichiro Suzuki became the fourth player born outside the United States and 30th in major-league history to reach 3,000 hits.
Braves vs Brewers
Brewers rookie center fielder Keon Broxton reached base nine times in the series and is hitting .387 with seven walks, three doubles, two homers and seven RBIs in his past 12 games. Milwaukee leads the majors in stolen bases (116). They are led by Jonathan Villar, who stole two bases Sunday and opens the week tied with Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton for the major-league lead (43).
Astros vs Twins
Former top prospect and Twins third baseman Miguel Sano has endured an up-and-down campaign in his first full season in the majors but led the offense with a pair of home runs in Sunday’s 6-3 victory in Tampa Bay.
Reds vs Cardinals
The Reds are highlighting individual successes in an otherwise disappointing campaign and got three hits and four stolen bases from center fielder Billy Hamilton on Sunday. Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips is also red hot going 12-for-19 with eight RBIs in the last five games.
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Indians vs Yankees
The Cleveland Indians used the long ball to avoid a sweep. They are swinging the power bats at the perfect time as they begin a three-game series against the host New York Yankees. Yankee Stadium possess the highest home run rate of any American League park. It will be hard-pressed to contain the Indians, who have hit 15 shots over their previous seven games.
Giants vs Nationals
Riding some momentum after wrapping up a road trip with a dominating sweep at Arizona, the Washington Nationals will receive the San Francisco Giants in the opener of an eight-game homestand. Washington gathered 32 runs in a three-game set against the Diamondbacks to finish 6-3 on the nine-game trek.
Reds vs Pirates
Struggling Andrew McCutchen is expected to return to the lineup when the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates open a three-game stand against Cincinnati Reds. McCutchen was benched for the whole three-game series versus the Atlanta Braves. The Pirates lost two of three and have fallen back to .500 on the season.
Mets vs Tigers
The red hot Detroit Tigers continue their pursuit of the top spot in the American League Central when they host the New York Mets. Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander, who was unbeaten in six starts last month, will takes on Mets fireballer Noah Syndergaard.
Twins vs Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins have been competing much better than their current lot in the standings would indicate. The cellar dwellers in the American League East and Central divisions, respectively, look to continue their rock solid play of late at the other’s expense.
Orioles vs White Sox
Chicago White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez likely won’t need extra motivation heading into the opener of a three-game series versus the Baltimore Orioles. After spending his first four seasons with the Orioles, the 32-year-old Gonzalez was let go by the club in late March. He posted a 1-4 mark with a bloated 9.78 ERA back in spring training with Baltimore.
Rangers vs Astros
The Texas Rangers will try to extend their dominance of in-state rival Houston. Texas is 9-1 versus Houston this season. They have won seven of the eight match-ups decided by fewer than three runs.