Tag: White Sox
MLB 2017 Season Preview
American League Central
FanPicks examines the American League Central division for the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Get ready for fantasy baseball.
Chicago White Sox
The Sox won’t contend in 2017, but at least there is a plan. Fans are eager for the prospects acquired in the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades to arrive in the Majors. Not to mentioned that the expectation of even more trades as management sells the future. The Sox ranked 11th in the American League in runs scored last season. Their struggles will intensify as more veterans should be traded at season end. After years of patching holes, the rebuild is underway.
The only thing missing from the Indians’ quest for success is fan support. For the last two years, the organization has remodeled Progressive Field, removing seats, changing concourses and making it more consumer friendly. On the field, they’ve produced four straight winning seasons. But the Indians, who once had a streak of 455 straight sellouts, have continually finished near the bottom of MLB attendance. Will that change following their inspired run to Game 7 of the World Series last year?
The Tigers lost to the Indians by eight games in the AL Central in 2016. It’s difficult to envision where they expect to make up those eight games, given their lack of impact additions. Perhaps the Tigers saw the White Sox and Royals shift into rebuild mode and decided to go for it one last time with this core. But it still seems more likely that the Tigers, as currently constructed, will take a big step backward than a big one forward. By July, an out-of-contention Tigers team could look vastly different than the one of April.
Kansas City Royals
There’s a looming fire sale if Kansas City falls from contention with changes to the collective bargaining agreement that restrict compensation for players lost in free agency. Don’t expect general manager Dayton Moore to be as aggressive as 2015 at the trade deadline with a depleted farm system. Health and player development will be keys to squeezing out a playoff push from a roster that’s has already demonstrated its championship mettle.
The Royals will be dedicating this season to the memory of beloved teammate Yordano Ventura. The 25-year-old enigmatic fireballer has been killed in a car crash on January 22 in his home country of the Dominican Republic.
Saddled with the majors’ second-most losses over the past six seasons, the Twins are finally joining the game’s analytics revolution while maintaining a strong emphasis on traditional scouting. Their payroll figured to remain right around $100 million as they continued to break in young talent and sought new methods of procuring future weapons. The honeymoon for the new front-office duo (Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine) figures to last for at least a couple of years while the Twins find their footing once more in a difficult division.
MLB September 23, 2016 Primetime Preview
Diamondbacks (64-88) vs Orioles (82-71)
The Arizona Diamondbacks may have the Baltimore Orioles’ number during their rare interleague contests (Enter Contest), but right-hander Yovani Gallardo routinely has gotten the better of the desert dwellers throughout his career. Gallardo looks to improve upon his 7-2 mark and 2.32 ERA in 12 career starts when he takes the mound at Camden Yards.
Nationals (89-63) vs Pirates (76-76)
The Washington Nationals have an opportunity to shower themselves in champagne as soon as Friday. They can win their third National League East title in five years. Washington’s magic number resides at two.
Yankees (79-73) vs Blue Jays (83-69)
The Toronto Blue Jays’ pursuit of a wild-card spot in the American League heats up on their final homestand of the season, beginning Friday against the New York Yankees. The Yankees are three games out of the second AL wild card and four behind the Blue Jays, who stands atop the wild card. They are one game ahead of Detroit and 1 1/2 clear of the Baltimore Orioles.
Red Sox (89-64) vs Rays (65-87)
The Boston Red Sox have won eight straight games against American League East opponents for the first time in 26 years and can extend the streak to nine when they face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox pushed their lead in the AL East to 5 ½ games and reduced their magic number to five to clinch the division after sweeping four each from the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.
White Sox (72-80) vs Indians (89-63)
The Cleveland Indians would prefer to clinch their first American League Central title since 2007 at home and have a good chance to do it this weekend against the struggling Chicago White Sox. The Indians have won five of six to trim their magic number to four and own a seven-game lead over Detroit in the AL Central as they prepare to host the White Sox.
Royals (77-76) vs Tigers (82-70)
The Detroit Tigers may be a bit tired after their sweep of a doubleheader in Minnesota on Thursday but should be ready for their final homestand of the season against the Kansas City Royals. The Tigers took over sole possession of the second wild card in the American League. They moved one-half game ahead of Baltimore with 10 games remaining to the season.
Braves (62-91) vs Marlins (76-77)
One of baseball’s hottest teams has spent 2016 buried in the National League East basement, but the Atlanta Braves are providing plenty of optimism. They are bringing a six-game winning streak into Friday’s game at Miami. Matt Kemp slugged two homers in Thursday’s series-opening 6-3 victory and Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 26 games. Atlanta has won 14 of their past 22 games and are hitting .281 since the start of August.
Phillies (69-84) vs Mets (81-72)
The New York Mets’ pitching carousel took another unfortunate turn. Starter Steven Matz experienced soreness following a 20-pitch bullpen session. His scheduled Friday start is pushed back due to a left shoulder impingement. The Mets instead will turn to rookie Gabriel Ynoa as they attempt to strengthen their tenuous hold on the first wild card in the National League versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
Saturday’s Primetime Games
MLB September 17, 2016
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Marlins (73-74) vs Phillies (66-82)
The Philadelphia Phillies have long since been removed from any playoffs discussion, and they are doing their best to make sure the Miami Marlins are not involved in that conversation as well. After posting a 13-inning triumph in the series opener, the Phillies will look to deal another blow to visiting Miami’s slim playoff aspirations. Guaranteed by manager Pete Mackanin to start each contest of the three-game stand, former National League MVP Ryan Howard belted a solo homer on Friday. This could be the beginning of his swan song in the City of Brotherly Love.
While the Phillies are playing out the string, the Marlins have fallen nine of 17 decisions to their NL East rival and reside five games behind the New York Mets for the second wild card. Giancarlo Stanton walked twice and scored once in his return to the starting lineup. He has struggled hard though when facing off against Saturday starter Jeremy Hellickson, going 1-for-15 with five strikeouts. Marcell Ozuna has collected back-to-back multi-hit performances overall and is 18-for-57 versus the Phillies this season.
Rays (63-84) vs Orioles (81-66)
After watching an eighth-inning comeback bid fall short in the series opener of their four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles finished the job one day later to maintain their grip on a potential postseason berth. The Orioles hope to avoid the need for yet another rally and try to extend their season-long domination of the Rays.
Baltimore surrendered three first-inning runs and seven over the first four innings in Thursday’s 7-6 setback to Tampa Bay, creating just enough of a gap that eighth-inning RBIs from J.J. Hardy and Michael Bourn couldn’t complete the rally. Baltimore fell behind by four runs early Friday as well before eighth-inning RBIs from Hardy and Bourn capped a five-run resurgence and proved to be the difference this time around. This allowed the club to improve to 12-5 against the Rays. The win also allowed the Orioles to stay two games behind division-leading Boston and hold one of the two AL wild-card spots. Tampa Bay saw its three-game winning streak end as a result and stumble to 8-10 since Aug. 29, when it began a 26-game stretch in which it will not play a contest outside of the division.
Twins (55-93) vs Mets (78-69)
While the two teams they are fighting with for the two wild-cards in the National League are playing one another, the New York Mets are strengthening their lineup with a number of injured players set to return. Slugging first baseman Lucas Duda, sidelined for nearly four months, is expected to rejoin the team on Saturday.
New York cruised to a 3-0 victory in the series opener to improve to 9-3 over its last 12 games and remain one game behind San Francisco for the top wild-card spot as well as two games ahead of St. Louis for the final wild-card. Along with Duda, who was out because of a stress fracture in his back, Juan Lagares is back after undergoing thumb surgery and Wilmer Flores should return soon after receiving a cortisone injection in his sore right wrist. Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera clubbed back-to-back home runs on Friday. Cabrera provided a brief anxious moments when he exited the game in the eighth inning with what turned out to be a leg cramp. Brian Dozier had one of Minnesota’s three singles Friday to prolong his hitting streak to a career-best 20 games.
White Sox (72-75) vs Royals (74-73)
A disastrous homestand has likely buried any chances for the Kansas City Royals to hope of postseason birth. The defending World Series champions have been gouged for 50 runs during that ugly skid. The Royals have dropped to seventh place in the quest for the two wild cards spots and another loss will plunge them back to the .500 mark.
Kansas City’s normally reliable bullpen was unable to maintain a late two-run lead in Friday’s 7-4 loss, giving up five runs over the final two innings. Carlos Sanchez, who delivered a walk-off single for the White Sox on Thursday, smacked a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning Friday. This was his first blast since Sept. 21, 2015. Jose Abreu is now batting .300 after gathering multiple hits in 12 of his last 18 contests.
August 17 MLB Preview
Wednesday Evening Matchups
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Red Sox vs Orioles
Red Sox ace David Price face off against heralded O’s rookie Dylan Bundy. Outfielder Mookie Betts has been a real thorn for Baltimore’s pitching, as he has hit seven homers in five games at Camden Yards this season.
Dodgers vs Phillies
Jake Thompson’s progression from Phillies prospect to Major League starter continues. He will have to watch out for Los Angeles Howie Kendrick though. The veteran outfielder is 14-for-25 with two homers, eight RBIs and six runs scored during his six-game hitting streak.
White Sox vs Indians
Indians first baseman Mike Napoli extended his hitting streak to 16 games Tuesday, the longest active streak in the Majors.
Marlins vs Reds
In his third start back from Tommy John surgery, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey looked like his pre-surgery self with 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings. He needed 31 pitches to get out of a jam in the fifth but had enough in the tank to fan the side in the sixth. On Wednesday, Reds fans will get reacquainted with Homer Bailey, and he with the mound at Great American Ball Park. It will be the Cincinnati right-hander’s first time pitching at home since August 7th 2014.
Twins vs Braves
The wait is over for Braves fans, as top prospect Dansby Swanson is set to make his Major League debut at shortstop Wednesday against the Twins. The move is in line with Erick Aybar Tuesday trade to the Tigers.
Brewers vs Cubs
For all the deserved hype surrounding their star-studded lineup, the Chicago Cubs have leaned on their starting pitching during a red-hot start to the second half. After two more strong pitching performances powered the Cubs to a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, left-hander Jon Lester looks to help Chicago make it three straight.
Athletics vs Rangers
Yu Darvish and rookie left-hander Sean Manaea will go at it again for the series finale between the Rangers and A’s. The two matched up in Arlington on July 27, a game in which Manaea had a career-high nine strikeouts.
Mets vs Diamondbacks
Jonathon Niese has been waiting for the opportunity to prove he deserves a spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. Niese, who was acquired from the Pirates for right-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo at the non-waiver Trade Deadline on Aug. 1, will make his first start since the trade in the spot previously occupied by recently optioned Logan Verrett. The D-backs counter with Zack Godley.
Mariners vs Angels
Seattle’s Cody Martin steps up into the rotation as fill-in for the injured James Paxton. It will be Martin’s first satrt with the Mariners. He’ll face the Angels and Tyler Skaggs, who allowed seven runs in his last start.
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
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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.
August 9 MLB Preview
Tuesday Late Matchups
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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.
Fantasy Baseball August 5 Preview
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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.