– 46-year-old Jamie Moyer and 23-year-old David Price will be the
starts as the Phillies and Rays play in a rematch of last year’s World
Series. Fortunately, the Phillies are back on the road now after losing
six straight at home to the Blue Jays and Orioles. They’re just 3-9 in
interleague play, but they’re an MLB-best 23-9 record in away games
this year. Moyer has seen his ERA come down of late, but he did
struggle last time out, giving up six runs in six innings against
Toronto. He’s 4-6 with a 6.35 ERA. Price is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in five
starts since his callup. The Phillies are hoping to get Ryan Howard
back in the lineup after he missed two starts over the weekend due to
– David Ortiz and Lance Berkman both enter the night with 999 career
RBI, though Ortiz may not start in the NL park against Nationals lefty
John Lannan. Berkman has just two hits and one RBI in his last six
– Tim Lincecum and Vin Mazzaro will duel for the second time in 12
days when the Giants and A’s play in Oakland. The Giants won the
previous contest 3-0, with Lincecum going the distance, as part of a
three-game sweep at home. Mazzaro has turned in four straight quality
starts since debuting in June 2 and is 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA.
– Zack Greinke has seen his ERA jump from 0.84 to 1.96 while he’s
gone winless in his last four starts. Tonight’s assignment would seem
to be a pretty easy one, as he’ll be facing an Astros team that’s
hitting just .261/.329/.387 against right-handers this year. Also, Russ
Ortiz is the opposing starter. Still, the Royals have been particularly
hapless of late. They’ve not only lost five straight, but they’ve lost
all of those games by at least five runs.
Game of the Night
Chicago Cubs vs. Detroit – The Tigers will try to extend their
winning streak to five games when Carlos Zambrano and Edwin Jackson
face off. Jackson ranks second in the AL in ERA for a first-place team,
yet the Tigers are just 7-7 in his starts and they’ve lost the last
two. Zambrano, likewise, hasn’t been very fortunate when it comes to
wins and losses. He’s 4-2 despite giving up more than three earned runs
just once in 11 starts. Still to be determined is whether Magglio
Ordonez will play tonight. The Tigers have won all four games since
benching the former All-Star.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.