What we're watching – June 30

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– Tim Lincecum dominated Albert Pujols and the rest of the Cardinals
with a two-hit shutout on Monday. Now St. Louis will try to even up the
series with Chris Carpenter on the mound. Carpenter has lost two of his
last three starts with the Cardinals’ offense struggling, but he still
hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start this season. He’s 5-2
with a 1.78 ERA. 302-game winner Randy Johnson will get the ball for
the Giants. The Cardinals are one of three teams against which he has a
losing record over the course of at least a dozen starts. The Yankees
and Mets are the other two. Albert Pujols is 9-for-21 with three homers
and three doubles off him, giving him a .429/.478/1.000 line.

– John Smoltz will look to bounce back from a rough Boston debut
when he faces the Orioles in Baltimore. Smoltz showed pretty good stuff
last week, but he gave up five runs over five innings in a loss to the
Nationals. The Orioles will counter with Rich Hill as they try to avoid
what would be a ninth straight loss to the Red Sox at Camden Yards.
Hill is 3-2 with a 6.03 ERA in eight starts.

– While the Red Sox have been remarkably solid, they’re not opening
up any wider of a lead in the AL East. The Yankees will go for their
sixth straight win tonight at home against the Mariners. It will be a
matchup of relievers-turned-starters Brandon Morrow and Joba
Chamberlain. Also, the Rays will go for their seventh straight victory
versus the team the recently overtook for third place in the East, the
Blue Jays. The AL East currently boasts the teams with the first,
second, fifth and seventh best records in the AL.

Game of the Night

Colorado vs. L.A. Dodgers – The two teams played what was probably
Monday’s game of the night, with the Dodgers winning on an Andre Ethier
walkoff homer on the 13th. Tonight’s game will feature a pair of
starters trying to become the NL’s first to 10 victories (unless Johan
Santana, in a game being played two hours earlier, beats them to it).
Jason Marquis is 9-5 with a 4.22 ERA. He beat the Dodgers in his
previous start against the team this year, throwing 7 1/3 innings of
three-run ball back on April 26. Chad Billingsley is 9-3 with a 3.10
ERA. He’s also 1-0 against his opponent tonight, as he beat Aaron Cook
by allowing three runs in six innings on April 18.

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.