LEADING OFF: Indians set sights on O’s, Kershaw faces Mets
A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:
TURNING THE PAGE
Red-hot Jose Ramirez and the Cleveland Indians open a four-game series at Baltimore after storming atop the AL Central with a four-game sweep of Minnesota over the weekend. Ramirez had his sixth straight multihit game Sunday, and Cleveland also got two homers from Edwin Encarnacion, who has six homers in his last 10 games. “We had a big series here and we did a really good job,” manager Terry Francona said. “Now we’ll get on the flight, we’ll turn the page quickly, and we’ll set our sights on Baltimore. That’s our next big series. That’s how we always look at it.”
Yoenis Cespedes and the Mets begin a 10-game road trip in Los Angeles against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (9-2, 2.23 ERA). The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 8-1 with a 1.49 ERA in 13 career starts vs. New York, which has batted a combined .177 against him. It’s been a challenging stretch at the plate for the Mets, who lost to Washington star Max Scherzer on Friday and hard-throwing teammate Stephen Strasburg on Saturday. Zack Wheeler (3-4, 4.48) gets the ball for New York, coming off the worst start of his career vs. the Cubs.
Mike Moustakas and the Royals return home after going 7-2 on their California road trip and scoring at least seven runs in six of those wins, bolstered by 18 homers. “They have been some big homers, too,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “As long as they keep coming in big spots like that, we’ll take every single one.” Moustakas has 19 RBIs this month. On the mound, Jason Hammel (3-6, 5.05 ERA) faces Boston for the first time since 2013. Hammel has allowed just one run in each of his last two starts.
Looking to stop a nine-game losing streak, the last-place Reds (29-39) send Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.29) to the mound at Tampa Bay. The skid is the longest for Cincinnati since an 11-game slide in May 2016. Six of the losses came against the Dodgers — and it sounds as though at least one change could be forthcoming. Bronson Arroyo (3-6, 7.35) planned to meet with manager Bryan Price late Sunday or sometime Monday after getting roughed up in his past two outings. Attempting a comeback this year after missing 2 1/2 seasons with arm injuries, the 40-year-old righty revealed Sunday that he’d been receiving cortisone shots in his shoulder since spring training. “We tried to patch it up and it worked for a while, but I’ve been hit around the yard for a while now,” Arroyo said. “Have I thought, ‘This time might be my last time on the field?’ Yeah.”
Fueled by Eric Thames, the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers have hit at least two homers in four consecutive games and gotten each of their last 15 runs via the long ball. Thames has four homers in his past five games and 20 for the season. All that power could be trouble for Pirates starter Gerrit Cole (4-6, 4.54), who has allowed eight homers over his past five starts. Matt Garza (3-2, 4.17) is up for Milwaukee and has allowed 15 earned runs in his last four outings, a span of 20 innings.
Russell Martin has seven home runs this season, and five have either tied the game or given Toronto a lead, including his tying shot in a victory over the White Sox on Sunday. The Blue Jays are set to open a four-game series at Texas, the site of last year’s brawl that included Rougned Odor’s punch to the face of Jose Bautista.