LEADING OFF: Scherzer, Cole, Giolito, Bieber tune up for ASG
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Nationals ace Max Scherzer, the NL pitcher of the month for June, and Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, who took the American League prize, make their final starts before heading to the All-Star Game. Scherzer (8-5, 2.43 ERA) was 6-0 with a 1.00 ERA in six June outings and is scheduled to come off the paternity list to face Kansas City. Cole (8-5, 3.28) takes the ball against Mike Trout and the Angels having won four straight decisions.
THE CHICAGO WAY
Following a rare Friday off for both teams, Windy City rivals meet on the South Side in the opener of a two-game interleague series. All-Star pitcher Lucas Giolito (11-2, 2.72 ERA) starts for the Chicago White Sox against Jon Lester and (7-6, 3.89) and the Cubs, who are 9-15 in their last 24 games.
Shane Bieber (7-3, 3.54 ERA) pitches for Cleveland at Cincinnati, one day after being added to the American League roster for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. The right-hander joins Indians teammates Carlos Santana, Francisco Lindor and Brad Hand as hometown representatives.
Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks and Dodgers infielder Max Muncy also were selected as All-Star substitutes Friday. Bieber and Hendriks will replace Rays right-hander Charlie Morton and Rangers left-hander Mike Minor on the AL squad. Morton and Minor are both scheduled to start Sunday.
Muncy takes the spot of Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon, who chose to skip the game to rest nagging injuries. It is Muncy’s first All-Star nod, although he competed in last year’s Home Run Derby.
Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (5-4, 4.04 ERA) faces Tampa Bay in his last start before the All-Star Game, where he will be honored by Major League Baseball on Tuesday night. Sabathia is in the final season of his 19-year career. He’ll be recognized for his contributions to the game and longtime service to the community. His family will join the festivities in Cleveland, where he began his big league career with the Indians.
Sabathia, pitching on 11 days’ rest and looking for his 252nd win, has a contentious history with Tampa Bay. AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell (5-7, 4.87) goes for the second-place Rays, who are 8½ games behind New York in the AL East. Snell gave up six runs and got only one out June 19 at Yankee Stadium.