LEADING OFF: Kershaw vs deGrom, Cubs players collide
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
PAIR OF ACES
It’s a marquee matchup on Memorial Day at Dodger Stadium when NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom (3-5, 3.72 ERA) pitches for the New York Mets against three-time winner Clayton Kershaw (4-0, 3.33).
Kershaw is 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA in six regular-season home starts against the Mets, although deGrom beat him 3-1 in Game 1 of the 2015 NL Division Series and also won the decisive Game 5 in Los Angeles. New York is coming off a 6-1 homestand, while the NL-leading Dodgers have won nine of 11 overall and are 19-6 at home.
Cubs slugger Kris Bryant was cleared to travel with the team to Houston after leaving Sunday’s game against Cincinnati following an outfield collision with teammate Jason Heyward. Chicago manager Joe Maddon said he was told Bryant was hit in the head/neck area. “He’s doing OK,” Maddon said. “We’re trying to talk with the docs and find out exactly where we’re at.” The loss of Bryant for any extended period would be a big blow to the Cubs, who lead the NL Central by 1 1/2 games over Milwaukee. The 2016 NL MVP is batting .345 (30 for 87) with nine homers and 21 RBIs in May. Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.38 ERA) pitches the series opener against Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole (4-5, 4.11), who is 9-3 in his career against Chicago and leads the majors with 100 strikeouts this season.
It could be a good week for souvenir seekers at Target Field when the MLB-best Twins (36-16) host big league home run leader Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers. Minnesota tops the majors with 102 homers, including 16 from Eddie Rosario. Yelich has 21 homers this season and 52 over the past calendar year. The Twins have won six straight and 11 of 12 to move 10 games ahead of second-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
BIG GREEN MACHINE
Oakland tries for a 10th consecutive victory when the Athletics face Mike Trout and the visiting Angels. The winning streak is the longest for the A’s this season but comes with a caveat — the club’s game against Detroit on May 19 was suspended (with Oakland winning) due to bad weather and won’t resume until Sept. 6. The A’s have won six in a row since.
Cavan Biggio begins his first big league road trip as the Blue Jays open a series at Tampa Bay. Biggio got his first career hit and homer Sunday in his second game, with Hall of Fame father Craig and 10 other friends and family members in the stands. “I’ve always wanted to do what my dad did, ever since a young age, and finally here we’ve kind of switched roles,” Cavan Biggio said. “He’s in the seats now and I’m on the field. So that’s pretty cool because it’s everything I ever wanted.” Biggio’s big crowd was waiting for him as he left the clubhouse afterward, admiring a pair of souvenir balls from the game.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington wants MLB to consider changing its concussion assessment system to allow for player re-entry after exiting a game for testing. Huntington offered the suggestion Sunday, a day after Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli suffered a head injury but tried to stay in the game for half an inning before leaving for further examination. Huntington says if a player knows he must leave a game to enter concussion testing, he’s less likely to report symptoms.
The 33-year-old Cervelli has a long history with head injuries during his 12-year career, with six documented concussions since 2011. He was placed on the seven-day concussion list Sunday.
“The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him,” Huntington said. “He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”