Previewing Sunday Night Baseball: Phillies at Dodgers

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With the Phillies and Dodgers less than an hour away from first pitch, here are a few things to consider.

On the bump:

– Antonio Bastardo (1-0, 1.50) gets the start for the Phillies. In his
major league debut against the Padres on Tuesday, Bastardo tossed six
innings of one-run ball, fanning five and walking one. The only run
scored via an Adrian Gonzalez home run. The southpaw went 3-2 with a
1.89 ERA in 11 minor league starts this season.

– Randy Wolf (3-1, 3.21) toes the rubber for the Dodgers. He’s
coming off a rough start against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, when he
yielded a season-high five runs over six innings, but was handed a
no-decision. He hasn’t lost a decision since his season-debut on April
7 against the Padres. The ex-Phillie has allowed two runs or less in
five of his last seven starts.

Going for 40:

– The Dodgers have steamrolled their way through the first half of
the season. With a 39-19 record (.672 winning percentage) the next
closest teams to their win total are the Brewers, Red Sox, Yankees and
Rangers who are tied with 33.

In the clutch:

– Andre Ethier has ended each of the last two games in walk-off
fashion, first with a game-winning RBI double off Brad Lidge on Friday
and then a 12th inning solo home run that broke a 2-2 tie on Saturday.
Ethier was slumping for the better part of a month, but has hits in 10
of his last 11 games.

Road warriors:

– The Phillies are 20-8 on the road this season, the best record in baseball. They are currently 4-2 on their 10-game roadtrip.

Fantasy angle:

– Jonathan Broxton has fanned 30 over 17 2/3 scoreless innings at
Dodger Stadium this season. Opponents are batting just .070 (4-for-57)
off him there.

– Juan Pierre is batting .455 (20-for-44) against left-handers this season.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.