LEADING OFF: Verlander returns to Detroit, Cubs host Brewers
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Justin Verlander will make his first start in Detroit since the Tigers traded him to the Astros last August. The 2011 AL MVP went on to win the World Series with Houston last fall, while Detroit is powering through what figures to be a lengthy rebuild. Verlander has faced his former team once, allowing four homers in a puzzling 6-3 loss at Houston on July 15. The right-hander also struck out 12 in that game, but was charged with six runs in six innings while allowing four homers for the first time since 2016.
The weary, NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs open a series at Wrigley Field against second-place Milwaukee. The Brewers are two-games behind the Cubs, who capped a soggy, delay-filled series in Washington with a three-hour wait Sunday before that game was postponed. Chicago and the Nationals will make up that rainout Thursday, erasing the Cubs’ final scheduled day off for the rest of the season. Jon Lester (15-5, 3.53) will pitch the opener of the three-game series against Milwaukee, which will counter with Wade Miley (3-2, 2.12).
Star reliever Andrew Miller will return to Cleveland’s bullpen as the Indians open a series at Tampa Bay. The left-hander has been out since late August with a left shoulder injury, the latest setback in a rocky season for the two-time All-Star. Miller has a 3.38 ERA in 24 innings, though he pitched better in August before his shoulder flared up. Miller might not be needed Monday, as the Indians are set to start Corey Kluber (18-7, 2.75), who leads the majors in wins and is 2-0 with an 0.66 ERA in his past two outings. Tampa Bay has won 11 straight home games, tying a team record.
The Diamondbacks try to put a pair of tough losses behind them as they open a series at NL West-leading Colorado. Arizona lost to Atlanta 5-4 in 10 innings Saturday night when Nick Ahmed was thrown out at home by shortstop Dansby Swanson for the final out, and then the NL East-leading Braves erupted for six runs in the ninth inning to beat the Diamondbacks 9-5 on Sunday. Zack Godley (14-8, 4.51) opens the four-game series at Coors Field. He’s 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies. German Marquez (11-9, 4.05) is up for Colorado.
DEGROM DAY REDUX
Jacob deGrom will pitch a day after the Mets scratched his scheduled start due to a forecast of steady rain. Instead of facing the playoff-chasing Phillies, the NL Cy Young Award-frontrunner gets the last-place Marlins. DeGrom’s candidacy comes with a bizarre statistical quirk — the right-hander has just eight wins for the struggling Mets, but has contributed 8.1 wins above replacement, per Baseball-Reference.com.