LEADING OFF: Snell seeks Bronx rebound, Trout gets MRI
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
A day after the Rays came within an inning of baseball’s first ever combined perfect game, ace lefty Blake Snell (5-7, 4.70) faces the first-place Yankees in the Bronx. Snell’s last visit was a historical flop. He became the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to allow six runs and get no more than one out in a start. Snell has adjusted and improved since, even pitching five innings of one-run ball in a home start against New York before the All-Star break. The Rays may go back to the opener Tuesday after the strategy nearly led to perfection Sunday, when Ryan Yarbrough took over from Ryne Stanek in the third inning and went unblemished until Baltimore’s Hanser Alberto grounded a leadoff single in the ninth.
Angels star Mike Trout will have an MRI a day after leaving a game with right calf tightness. Los Angeles doesn’t believe the injury is serious, and Trout said he wanted to continue playing Sunday but was convinced to be cautious by manager Brad Ausmus. The two-time AL MVP had eight homers and 18 RBIs in his previous seven games, including a memorable first-inning shot during the Angels’ emotional no-hitter Friday in their first home game since pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ death. LA has won six of nine since Skaggs passed, and now it’ll get a four-game visit from the AL West-leading Astros.
The Cubs have come rolling out of the All-Star break and are hoping to build a little separation in the crowded NL Central during a three-game home series against Cincinnati. Coming off a three-game sweep over Pittsburgh, Chicago leads the division but is only 6 1/2 games ahead of the last-place Reds. With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, Cincinnati could be active as a buyer or a seller, depending on its proximity in the division. Upcoming series with Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee will likely determine which way the Reds go. The Cubs would be thrilled to sway Cincinnati toward selling.
HEALTHY AND HITTING
The Dodgers head to Philadelphia a night after a marathon game at Fenway Park. Los Angeles needed 5 hours, 40 minutes to finish off a 7-4, 12-inning victory over the Red Sox, locking up the win with Max Muncy’s bases-loaded walk and Alex Verdugo’s RBI single. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 3.09) gets the ball for LA’s series opener against Phillies RHP Zach Eflin (7-8, 3.78).