LEADING OFF: Davis could be back, Kershaw vs Harper
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
The Oakland Athletics are hoping to get injured slugger Khris Davis back in the lineup for the middle game of a series against the first-place Houston Astros. Davis took batting practice before the series opener and could be activated from the injured list as early as Saturday after being sidelined since May 22 with a left him injury. Davis might like to get back in time to face Houston ace Justin Verlander (8-2, 2.38 ERA). Davis homered three times in eight at-bats against Verlander last season. Brett Anderson (6-3, 3.86 ERA) starts for Oakland.
KERSHAW VS. HARPER
Clayton Kershaw starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Philadelphia Phillies in a match-up of first-place teams. The left-hander is 5-0 with a 3.46 ERA and 48 strikeouts this year and 3-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 13 starts against the Phillies. Kershaw will be facing Bryce Harper, who is 2 for 21 with 13 strikeouts against the Dodgers’ ace.
Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán (9-1, 3.43) leads the majors in wins. He won six straight starts before getting tagged for a career-high seven runs and nine hits, including four homers, over five innings Sunday in a no-decision at Kansas City.
MILE HIGH WELCOME
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman has allowed three earned runs over his last three starts. His 2.74 ERA ranks among the leaders in the American League. On Saturday, he has his work cut out for him when he gets his first experience with hitter friendly Coors Field. The Rockies are hitting .296 at home this season and averaging 6.2 runs.
The Nationals face former teammate Tanner Roark in the second game of their series against the Reds. The Nationals traded Roark for Tanner Rainey in December. Roark hasn’t allowed a homer in his last 35 1/3 innings, the second-longest such streak of his career.
Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff will try for his seventh straight victory when he faces the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The 26-year-old is 6-0 with a 2.37 ERA over his last eight starts, including a 5-0 mark with a 1.42 ERA in his last five outings. A win would lift Woodruff into a tie with Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers for tops in the National League. Woodruff is 0-1 in three appearances against the Pirates in his career.
Atlanta right-hander Mike Soroka is close to qualifying for the best ERA in the big leagues. The 21-year-old Canadian goes into his start against Detroit with a miniscule 1.07 ERA, having not allowed more than one earned run in any of his eight starts.
Soroka has pitched 50 2/3 innings, meaning he would need to go a season high 7 1/3 in his ninth start —Atlanta’s 58th game— to qualify for the ERA list. Going into Friday’s games, Ty Buttrey of the Los Angeles Angels led the big leagues with a 1.27 ERA. Hyun-jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers had the best mark in the NL at 1.48.