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  #26  
Old 04-12-2019, 09:02 AM
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Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees

The New York Yankees' positive feelings after a series sweep in which they scored 29 runs were diminished after they surrendered 18 to find themselves swept away in their last set. The Yankees look to get back on track Friday when they begin a nine-game homestand with the opener of a three-game set versus the struggling Chicago White Sox.

"We got to tighten up a little bit, play a little bit better, but I believe we are really close to turning the corner ... this is a little bump in the road," New York manager Aaron Boone said following Wednesday's 8-6 loss to Houston. Luke Voit went deep for the second straight contest and extended his hitting streak to six games with a two-run homer in the eighth inning against the Astros. Chicago, which has limped out to its worst start to a season since 1997, has been outscored 45-14 during its five-game losing skid to send its team ERA skyrocketing to a league-worst 6.94. Tim Anderson had a pair of singles in Wednesday's 9-1 setback versus Tampa Bay to improve to 15-for-25 with two homers, five RBIs and seven runs scored during his six-game hitting streak.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), WPIX (New York)

PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox RH Lucas Giolito (1-1, 5.73 ERA) vs. Yankees LH J.A. Happ (0-1. 6.48)

Giolito took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his first start but failed to get out of the fifth in the other, allowing five runs on six hits with four walks in a 9-2 setback versus Seattle. The 24-year-old, who will be making his first appearance at Yankee Stadium, was shelled for seven runs on six hits -- including Giancarlo Stanton's grand slam -- in five innings of a 7-3 setback against New York on Aug. 8. Aaron Hicks (back) joined Stanton (biceps) by going deep in that game, although both won't be a factor on Friday against Giolito, who has limited the Yankees' current crop of batters to a 4-for-19 performance at the plate with seven strikeouts.

Happ has yet to work out of the fifth inning in a pair of starts this season and has been taken deep three times, including once in a no-decision at Baltimore on Saturday. "It's kind of the game now," the 36-year-old said of the bullpen trend. "... I definitely think later on, I'll be out there to finish that inning." Happ owns a 4-2 mark with a 3.86 ERA in six career starts versus Chicago, with Anderson batting 6-for-10 with a solo homer against him.

WALK-OFFS

1. Chicago CF Leury Garcia has 10 hits and six runs scored in his last six games while LF Eloy Jimenez has 10 hits in his last seven.

2. New York LH CC Sabathia will come off the injured list to make his first start of the season on Saturday, Boone announced.

3. White Sox 1B Jose Abreu is 0-for-13 with four strikeouts in his last three games.

PREDICTION: Yankees 6, White Sox 2
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  #27  
Old 04-12-2019, 09:02 AM
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Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The Tampa Bay Rays have won their first four series of the season for the first time in franchise history and hope to get off to a strong start in No. 5 when they visit the slumping Toronto Blue Jays on Friday. Austin Meadows led a Tampa Bay offense that posted 24 runs during a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox to start the week, going 7-for-10 with a pair of homers and seven RBIs in his last two contests.

"He's got the ability to do everything well," Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters of Meadows, who has recorded four homers and 13 RBIs overall. "He's got a chance to be a pretty special player with this opportunity that he's earned to get going here in the lineup and be a big part of our group." Ryne Stanek will pitch an inning or two to open the game for Tampa Bay on Friday while Toronto counters with rookie Trent Thornton, who is looking for his first major-league win after two strong performances this season. The Blue Jays started the year with two wins in three games but are just 2-8 since after coughing up a five-run lead and then surrendering a pair in the bottom of the ninth inning to drop a 7-6 decision at Boston on Thursday. Freddy Galvis has been a bright spot for Toronto during its slide, going 11-for-22 with three homers and six RBIs while hitting safely in six consecutive contests to raise his batting average to .395.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, FS Sun (Tampa Bay), Sportsnet One (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Ryne Stanek (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Trent Thornton (0-0, 1.69)

Stanek opens the game for the third time this season after allowing one hit and registering five strikeouts over three scoreless innings in the first two. The 27-year-old native of Kansas had not given up a run in six frames this season before surrendering one on two hits and a walk without retiring a batter Tuesday in Chicago. Rowdy Tellez is 1-for-2 with a homer versus Stanek, who permitted two runs and six hits over 10 innings (six starts) against Toronto last year.

Thornton has given his team a chance to win in his first two major-league starts, tossing five scoreless innings against Detroit before limiting Cleveland to two runs over 5 2/3 frames last Friday. The 25-year-old from North Carolina, who is a former fifth-round draft pick of Houston, has struck out 15 batters and walked just two to start his career. Thornton posted a 9-8 record and 4.42 ERA with Triple-A Fresno last season before being acquired from the Astros in a trade for Aledmys Diaz.

WALK-OFFS

1. Toronto 1B-DH Justin Smoak, who belted a three-run homer on Thursday, recorded six shots and 14 RBIs in 19 games against Boston last year.

2. Tampa Bay LF Tommy Pham hit his first two homers of the season in Wednesday's 9-1 win and has reached base in 45 straight contests.

3. The Rays won 13 of 19 meetings last year - going 6-4 at Toronto - after losing the season series 10-9 in 2017.

PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Rays 4
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  #28  
Old 04-12-2019, 09:02 AM
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Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins

The Philadelphia Phillies made several offseason acquisitions prior to the signing of superstar Bryce Harper, with All-Star J.T. Realmuto reeled in from the Miami Marlins for fellow catcher Jorge Alfaro, a pair of pitchers and international bonus slot money. Realmuto returns to South Florida for the first time since the trade as the Phillies open a three-game series against the Marlins on Friday.

Realmuto had been slow out of the blocks with just four hits in his first seven contests before collecting five in a three-game span prior to Wednesday's 15-1 drubbing by Washington. Rhys Hoskins cooled down in back-to-back losses against the Nationals after a sterling five-game stretch in which he went 9-for-19 with four homers, 10 RBIs and five runs scored. While Philadelphia has surrendered 25 runs in its last two contests, Miami has mustered a majors-worst 34 and has been shut out three times in the last six outings following Thursday afternoon's 5-0 setback in Cincinnati. Brian Anderson collected two of the five hits recorded by the Marlins, who have lost eight of their last nine heading into the opener of their nine-game homestand.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, NBC 10 (Philadelphia), FS Florida (Miami)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Jake Arrieta (1-1, 2.77 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Sandy Alcantara (1-0, 1.50)

Arrieta answered a sterling start with another strong outing, but one bad inning in which he uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch and surrendered a pair of solo homers led to his undoing in a 6-2 setback versus Minnesota. The 2015 National League Cy Young Award recipient improved to 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in eight career starts against the Marlins after posting a 2-1 record in four meetings last season. Starlin Castro (4-for-10, three doubles) and Curtis Granderson (10-for-32, three homers, 10 RBIs) have flustered Arrieta, although the 33-year-old hurler has kept Lewis Brinson and J.T. Riddle hitless in six at-bats apiece.

Alcantara followed up a stellar season-opening start by struggling to find the strike zone in his next trip to the mound, allowing five walks in four innings of Saturday's no-decision at Atlanta. "You can't pitch away from contact," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of the 23-year-old Dominican's performance. "You've got to use your stuff. I really have to say it was a side step. At least it wasn't backwards. Not a step forward, a side step." Alcantara has kept the current crop of Phillies in check in his career, limiting the club to going 1-for-14 with five strikeouts.

WALK-OFFS

1. Philadelphia SS Jean Segura leads the team with 14 hits, although he is just 3-for-15 with three strikeouts in his last four games.

2. Alfaro is 4-for-10 with two blasts while driving in three runs in his last three contests to boost his team-leading totals in homers (three) and RBIs (six).

3. Phillies 3B Maikel Franco is 4-for-26 in his last seven games.

PREDICTION: Phillies 5, Marlins 4
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  #29  
Old 04-12-2019, 09:03 AM
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Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox created a spark with a comeback victory last time out and hope to ignite their first winning streak of the season when they host the struggling Baltimore Orioles on Friday for the opener of their four-game series. The Red Sox trailed by five runs early against Toronto on Thursday and entered the ninth inning down by one before rallying for a 7-6 victory to avoid losing their fourth straight series.

Rafael Devers singled home the winning run and has collected four hits in his last two games to give Boston three regulars batting at least .270 as he joined J.D. Martinez (hits in 12 of 13 games) and Mitch Moreland, who has homered in four straight contests in which he had an official at-bat. Eduardo Rodriguez will try to begin changing the trend after two rough outings when he takes the mound for the Red Sox in the series opener as the Orioles counter with David Hess, who has producd one good start and one poor one thus far in 2019. Baltimore has lost seven of its last eight games after a 4-1 start, giving up 31 runs while dropping the past three, and slugger Chris Davis has gone 0-for-32 this season to extend his major-league record to 53 at-bats without a hit. "It is what it is," Davis told the Baltimore Sun. "The more I try to go out there and do, or the more I try to shoulder this all by myself, the harder it gets. I have to trust the process, I have to trust the work I'm putting in. At some point, it's going to turn around."

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore), NESN (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH David Hess (1-1, 2.70 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (0-2, 12.38)

Hess suffered the loss against the New York Yankees on Sunday, when he allowed four runs and five hits - three homers - in five innings after producing two solid outings to open the season. The 25-year-old Tennessean limited his first two opponents to one hit with 10 strikeouts over 8 1/3 scoreless frames. Martinez is 2-for-2 with a pair of homers and two walks versus Hess, who went 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in two turns against Boston last year.

Rodriguez has played a big role in Boston's early pitching struggles by permitting 12 runs - 11 earned - over eight innings in his first two starts of 2019. The 26-year-old Venezuelan has struck out seven and walked six in the early going after registering 146 strikeouts and issuing just 45 free passes last year. Joey Rickard is 5-for-15 with a homer against Rodriguez, who went 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA in five games (three starts) versus Baltimore in 2018.

WALK-OFFS

1. Orioles 1B-OF-DH Trey Mancini has launched six homers in his last 11 games and leads the team with 12 RBIs.

2. Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia, who was limited to three games last season due to injuries, has notched hits in his first two contests of 2019.

3. Baltimore INF Jonathan Villar has hit safely in 11 of his first 13 games and driven in eight runs.

PREDICTION: Red Sox 7, Orioles 4
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  #30  
Old 04-12-2019, 09:03 AM
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New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves enter Friday's home contest against the New York Mets after a 6-3 loss in Thursday's series opener, just their second defeat in the past nine games, but the day also produced a long-term win for the franchise. Nine days after locking up star outfielder Ronald Acuņa Jr. to an eight-year contract extension, Atlanta inked second baseman Ozzie Albies to a seven-year deal, keeping the All-Star with the Braves through at least 2026.

Albies finished 0-for-5 in the series opener but is off to a solid start in his second full big-league season, hitting .327 with an .838 OPS and manning the leadoff spot against left-handed starters. But it was an opposing infielder who stood out Thursday, as New York shortstop Amed Rosario drove in a career-high four runs - belting a three-run homer in the second and adding an RBI single in the sixth. Rosario, who hit .302 in his final 48 games a season ago, is 6-for-15 in his past four games and is hitting .283 on the season with four extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in 46 at-bats. Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, who came into Thursday tied for second in the National League in RBIs and tied for third in homers, slugged his sixth longball of the season in the seventh and finished with two RBIs - giving him 17 in 12 games.

TV: 7:20 p.m. ET, MLB Network, SNY (New York), FS South (Atlanta)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Zack Wheeler (0-1, 10.24 ERA) vs. Braves RH Kyle Wright (0-1, 4.35)

Wheeler faced Washington in his first two starts and struggled in both, giving up four runs on six hits in five innings on March 31 before walking seven hitters while allowing seven runs over 4 2/3 innings Sunday. The 28-year-old has walked eight hitters over 9 2/3 innings so far, after issuing only 55 walks in 182 1/3 innings en route to a 12-7 record and 3.31 ERA a season ago. Wheeler went 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA and 1.26 WHIP against the Braves in 2018, and in 10 career starts is 5-3 with a 3.21 ERA.

Wright struggled in cold conditions in his first start of the season in Philadelphia, but pitched much better last Saturday at home against Miami, giving up two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and one walk over six innings. The 23-year-old had walked five while allowing three runs in his season debut, but threw 46 of his 77 pitches for strikes Saturday while allowing a pair of solo homers. Wright surrendered two runs in one inning of relief against the Mets as a rookie last season.

WALK-OFFS

1. New York 2B Robinson Cano finished 0-for-5 in the series opener, and is 3-for-21 with five strikeouts in his past six games to drop his average to .180.

2. Acuna slammed a 462-foot homer in the eighth Thursday, finishing a double shy of the cycle, and is 7-for-11 with five runs scored and five RBIs in his last three games.

3. New York RHP Edwin Diaz struck out two in a scoreless ninth, earning his fifth save in five chances.

PREDICTION: Braves 6, Mets 4
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  #31  
Old 04-12-2019, 09:03 AM
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Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers

After averting a fifth consecutive loss to close out their first road trip of the season, the Texas Rangers enjoyed a day off before opening a nine-game homestand against the resurgent Oakland Athletics on Friday night. Oakland had dropped the first four contests of its 10-game road trip before breezing to three consecutive victories in Baltimore.

Athletics first baseman Khris Davis had the most homers in baseball with 48 a year ago and has not missed a beat, belting two for the second straight day to boost his major league-leading total to nine. "We've seen him go on some runs similar to these. A lot of times, they end up being big home runs, too," manager Bob Melvin said after his club swatted 12 homers and amassed 31 runs on 38 hits in the final three games against the Orioles. The Rangers halted a four-game slide with a 5-2 victory at Arizona on Wednesday but the good vibes were dimmed when closer Jose Leclerc had to be yanked after a second straight rocky outing. "There's always a level of concern," manager Chris Woodward said. "He legitimately is the best pitcher on our staff. We have to get him right mentally and physically."

TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, NBCS California (Oakland), FS Southwest (Texas)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Mike Fiers (2-1, 5.94 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Drew Smyly (0-1, 7.11)

Fiers will be making his fifth start of the season and will attempt to bounce back from a shellacking in Houston last time out when he was tagged for six runs and seven hits in only 1 2/3 innings. The 33-year-old did not allow a run in winning each of his previous two outings, tossing six scoreless innings against both Boston and the Los Angeles Angels. Elvis Andrus is 7-for-23 with two homers against Fiers, who owns a 3-3 record and 6.16 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) versus Texas.

Texas has scored one run in each of Smyly's first two starts but he has not helped his cause by failing to get through the fourth inning. The 29-year-old, who made a career-high 30 starts last year, lasted three innings and allowed one run on four hits in his season debut versus Houston before getting roughed up for four runs on six hits over 3 1/3 frames in a loss at the Angels last time out. Smyly, who has not faced Oakland since July 2016, has limited Marcus Semien to one hit in seven at-bats.

WALK-OFFS

1. Oakland C Josh Phegley has three homers and seven RBIs in his last four games while hitting safely in six in a row.

2. Leclerc had a streak of 25 straight scoreless appearances before giving up four runs and four hits in his last two.

3. Athletics 2B Chad Pinder was 7-for-13 with six runs scored in his last three games while Semien has hit safely in five straight.

PREDICTION: Athletics 6, Rangers 4
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:04 AM
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Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals

The Cleveland Indians haven't exactly set a torrid pace offensively while waiting for players like Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis to return from injury, but the pitching staff has more than held up its end of the bargain. The Indians hope to continue rolling Friday when they begin the second leg of a nine-game road trip with the opener of a three-game series against the struggling Kansas City Royals.

Cleveland is averaging 3.6 runs, ranks among the bottom three American League teams in runs scored (43) and has tallied more than four runs only three times in 12 contests so far, yet the back-to-back-to-back AL Central champions have won six of seven in large part because they have yet to allow more than two runs in any of the victories over that stretch. Shane Bieber and two relievers turned in the latest dominant effort by the Indians in Thursday's 4-0 win in Detroit, holding the Tigers to three singles and a walk. The Royals continued along their worst 12-game start since 2006 following a 7-6, 10-inning loss to Seattle on Thursday, losing for the 10th straight time after giving up a game-tying two-run triple with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning. "What's happening can't continue throughout the whole season. It just can't," second baseman Whit Merrifield told the Kansas City Star. "Those balls aren't going to fall all year for our opponents. It's just a matter of when's it going to turn, and hopefully it's (Friday)."

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, STO (Cleveland), FS Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 7.71 ERA) vs. Royals RH Brad Keller (1-1, 2.84)

Carrasco became the first Cleveland pitcher since at least 1908 to record 12 strikeouts through five innings in Saturday's win against Toronto, doing so while allowing two runs on six hits and a walk. The performance was a huge improvement from his March 31 season debut in Minnesota in which he surrendered six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 frames. Merrifield (7-for-17, one home run) has thrived while Alex Gordon (5-for-35, 16 strikeouts) has struggled against Carrasco, who went 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts versus the Royals last season.

Keller turned in his third consecutive quality start Sunday in Detroit, but a lack of run support led to his first loss of the season despite yielding three runs across six innings. The 23-year-old Georgia native has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 turns and is 8-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 starts since last year's All-Star Game. Keller is 6-1 with a 2.80 ERA in 22 career home appearances (12 starts) and finished 1-1 with a 1.65 ERA in four games (two starts) versus the Indians in 2018.

WALK-OFFS

1. Merrifield's 31-game hitting streak was snapped with a 0-for-6 effort Thursday, one day after he broke George Brett's team record.

2. Indians OF Leonys Martin's three hits in four at-bats Thursday to match the total he mustered in the team's first five road games combined (3-for-16), while his two RBIs doubled his previous season total.

3. Cleveland's 2.57 team ERA ranks second in the majors.

PREDICTION: Royals 3, Indians 2
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  #33  
Old 04-12-2019, 09:04 AM
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San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

The San Diego Padres are in sole possession of first place in the National League West 10 games or later into a season for the first time since Sept. 25, 2010. San Diego looks to remain atop the division Friday, when it visits the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second contest of their four-game series.

Manuel Margot belted the tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and Austin Hedges launched a 449-foot, three-run blast earlier in the game as San Diego notched a 7-6 triumph on Thursday for its sixth win in eight contests. Padres rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. recorded a pair of singles for his third two-hit performance, raising his batting average to .244, but also struck out for the 17th time in just 45 at-bats. Arizona recovered from a five-run deficit to forge a tie in the seventh inning on Eduardo Escobar's three-run homer before dropping to 3-3 on its nine-game homestand. David Peralta is swinging a hot bat for the Diamondbacks as he went 2-for-5 with two RBIs to raise his average to .367.

TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, FS San Diego, FS Arizona

PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Chris Paddack (0-0, 1.04 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Luke Weaver (0-0, 6.75)

Paddack has registered 11 strikeouts and given up just three hits over 8 2/3 innings in his first two major-league starts. The 23-year-old struggled with his command in his last outing as he issued four walks and was removed after throwing 89 pitches in 3 2/3 frames while allowing an unearned run and one hit. Paddack gave up one run and two hits while striking out seven in five innings against San Francisco on March 31 in his major-league debut.

Weaver didn't factor in the decision against Boston in his last turn as he gave up three runs and five hits over five innings. The 25-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in three career starts versus the Padres and has struggled with Margot (4-for-8) and Eric Hosmer (3-for-6). Weaver was part of the package Arizona received when it traded slugger Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis in the offseason.

WALK-OFFS

1. Two of Padres OF Franmil Reyes' five hits this season have been homers as he also went deep in Thursday's series opener.

2. A native of San Diego, Arizona RF Adam Jones is 6-for-17 against the Padres this season after going 1-for-3 with an RBI on Thursday.

3. San Diego 3B Manny Machado has registered only two multi-hit performances in his 14 games with the club.

PREDICTION: Padres 5, Diamondbacks 4
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:04 AM
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Milwaukee Brewers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Milwaukee Brewers visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series starting Friday in their first meeting since Los Angeles won the 2018 National League Championship Series in seven games. The clubs have already shown signs this season that they could reconvene in October, although not of late as Milwaukee was swept in three games by the Angels in Anaheim while the Dodgers lost all four in St. Louis to start the week.

"It's still early," Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff told reporters. "We'll look back on these games, and you won't even think about them toward the end of the season when we're winning a lot of ballgames." Los Angeles was outscored 26-12 by the Cardinals with Thursday's 11-7 loss after sweeping three from Colorado at Coors Field by a combined 29-14 last weekend. The Dodgers (8-6) lead the National League with 96 runs and 29 homers - Milwaukee (8-5) has 23 - and Los Angeles on Friday faces a right-hander who has yielded three in each of his last two starts. Corbin Burnes became the first Brewers pitcher to allow at least three homers in consecutive games since Jason Bere in 2000 and opposes Julio Urias, who pitched 3 1/3 innings over four relief appearances in the 2018 NLCS - allowing only a solo home run to Jesus Aguilar in Game 1.

TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee), SportsNet LA, KTLA (Los Angeles)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Corbin Burnes (0-1, 9.90 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Julio Urias (0-0, 3.12)

Burnes makes his first road start of 2019 after allowing 11 runs across 10 innings with 18 strikeouts and four walks over his first two turns. The 24-year-old Californian made four relief appearances - three scoreless - in the 2018 NLCS, striking out six in five innings before joining the rotation this season. "Corbin is a starter for us. We've made that commitment," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell told reporters. "The first two starts are odd, with the home runs, but his stuff has played really well, too. ... I think there's a lot of ingredients there for success. It's our job to help him get there. ..."

Urias wasn't sharp in Sunday's 12-6 victory at Colorado, allowing three runs, four hits and four walks on 74 pitches over 3 2/3 innings, but delivered an RBI single that turned into two runs because of an error. "You go out there with the confidence of putting up zeros, zero after zero, and let the offense do their job,'' the 22-year-old Mexican told reporters about his club's prodigious plate production. Urias has appeared in 28 career games - 14 home and 14 away - with a 3.05 ERA in 59 innings at Dodger Stadium compared to 4.33 in 54 frames on the road.

WALK-OFFS

1. Brewers C Yasmani Grandal, who hit 89 home runs while playing the last four years with the Dodgers, is 12-for-24 with three homers, four RBIs and four walks in his last seven games.

2. Los Angeles SS Corey Seager (.255) went 2-for-2 before leaving Thursday's contest in the fourth inning after he was hit in the left hamstring by a pitch.

3. Milwaukee INF Travis Shaw (6-for-39 this season) left Wednesday's game after getting hit on the right hand with a pitch.

PREDICTION: Dodgers 3, Brewers 2
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:05 AM
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Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners

One season after a middling 176 home runs played a role in the club missing the postseason, the rebuilt Seattle Mariners are enjoying almost unprecedented success with the long ball and doing so with a consistency that has never been seen before. The Mariners also hope to continue the second-best start in the majors since 1987 on Friday when they host the Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game series.

Seattle became the first team ever to homer in each of its first 15 games during Thursday's 7-6, 10-inning triumph at Kansas City, breaking up a shutout bid in the sixth inning with Dee Gordon's first homer of the year and capping off a late rally with another solo shot from Daniel Vogelbach in the 10th. The Mariners have hit a majors-best 36 home runs on the season - more than 20 percent of last year's total - matching the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals for the most through 15 contests while also tying last year's Boston Red Sox for the second-best 15-game start (13-2), one game off the pace set by the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers. Houston opened the season in lackluster fashion by dropping five of seven on the road before completing a perfect six-game homestand with an 8-6 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday. Jose Altuve got it going offensively during the Astros' first-ever sweep of the Yankees, as four of his five hits during the series left the yard.

TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros LH Wade Miley (1-1, 2.31 ERA) vs. Mariners LH Wade LeBlanc (2-0, 4.76)

Miley fell one out short of producing his second consecutive quality start but still got the victory Saturday against Oakland, permitting six baserunners across 5 2/3 scoreless innings. The 32-year-old hasn't struck out more than five batters in any of his last seven regular-season starts, yet he is 4-1 over that span thanks in part to a lack of walks (seven in 34 2/3 frames). Edwin Encarnacion (7-for-15, three homers) has had his way with Miley, who is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in three starts against Seattle.

LeBlanc continued to benefit from excellent run support Sunday in Chicago, although he rebounded from an uneven season debut to hold the White Sox to two runs while striking out six over as many innings. The Alabama product has watched his offense score 22 runs in his two outings, including 21 in support of him. Josh Reddick (6-for-13, home run) and Altuve (4-for-8) have enjoyed much success versus LeBlanc, who went 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in six appearances (four starts) against Houston in 2018.

WALK-OFFS

1. Mariners OF Mitch Haniger has stepped up in the ninth inning of the last two games, delivering a game-winning solo blast Wednesday and a game-tying two-run triple with two outs and two strikes Thursday.

2. Altuve became only the 11th Astro - and first since Lance Berkman in 2010 - to hit four home runs in a three-game regular-season series with his effort versus the Yankees.

3. Vogelbach is batting .462 with six homers, four doubles and 11 RBIs in the past seven games.

PREDICTION: Mariners 6, Astros 4
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:05 AM
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Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants

Not even a strong performance from their starting pitcher last time out could change the fortunes of the Colorado Rockies. The club attempts to halt its six-game slide and record just its second win in 12 contests when it continues its four-game series against the host San Francisco Giants on Friday.

Jon Gray allowed just one run and five hits over 6 2/3 innings in the series opener on Thursday but came away with the loss as the Rockies managed to register only three singles in a 1-0 defeat. Garrett Hampson notched two of them after going 3-for-30 over his first 11 contests as Colorado fell for the 10th time in 11 games following a pair of victories to open the season. Kevin Pillar belted his third homer in four contests while Jeff Samardzija combined with two relievers on a three-hitter on Thursday as San Francisco posted just its third win in nine games. Joe Panik recorded two hits in the opener, matching the total from his previous six contests as the Giants improved to 3-4 on their 10-game homestand.

TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain (Colorado), NBCS Bay Area (San Francisco)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies RH Chad Bettis (0-2, 11.88 ERA) vs. Giants LH Drew Pomeranz (0-1, 4.00)

Bettis hopes to turn things around after being battered in each of his first two starts of the year. The 29-year-old Texan yielded six runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in a loss at Tampa Bay in his season debut and was tagged for six runs on seven hits and four walks without recording a strikeout over 2 2/3 frames by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a setback on Sunday. Bettis owns a 3-4 record with his lone shutout and a 4.59 ERA in 15 career games (10 starts) versus San Francisco.

Pomeranz has allowed just two runs in each of his first two turns this season but has yet to record a victory. The 30-year-old Tennessean worked five innings on the road against the Dodgers in his 2019 debut but lasted only four versus the Rays on Sunday, when he yielded six hits and three walks en route to a loss. Pomeranz, who began his career with Colorado, has gone 2-0 while giving up two runs over 14 frames in two starts and two relief appearances against his former team.

WALK-OFFS

1. Rockies 1B Mark Reynolds and OF Ian Desmond have combined to go 10-for-63 with one homer and seven RBIs this season.

2. San Francisco C Buster Posey and SS Brandon Crawford (one) have driven in a total of one run this year.

3. Colorado (3-10) has matched the worst 13-game start in franchise history.

PREDICTION: Giants 7, Rockies 4
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