– Roy Halladay could be making his last start for the Blue Jays, or he
might even be moved before the game. With rumors of a Phillies deal
swirling, Halladay is set to face the slumping Rays tonight. The Rays
will look to bounce back after going 27 up, 27 down against Mark
Buehrle on Thursday. Matt Garza, who has started the month 0-2 with a
6.06 ERA through three starts, is set to oppose Halladay.
– The Twins are going to have to try to shake off another tough loss
after Joe Nathan blew his first save in two months last night.
Francisco Liriano will get the ball for Minnesota in game two of a
four-game series. He’s steadily lowered his ERA from 6.60 to 5.33 with
eight respectable starts in a row, but he hasn’t dominated at any
point. Angels starter John Lackey was sort of in the same boat a week
ago, but he pitched a three-hit shutout against the A’s last time out.
His ERA has fallen from 6.61 to 4.39 over the course of his last seven
Game of the Night
Florida vs. L.A. Dodgers – Two of the NL’s best young pitchers will
face off, with Josh Johnson dueling against Clayton Kershaw. Both enter
the night with eight wins and sub-3.00 ERAs. Johnson has just two
losses in 19 starts and hasn’t allowed more than three runs since April
18. However, he has a 7.71 ERA in three career starts against the
Dodgers. Kerhsaw has won five in a row and given up a total of three
runs in his last seven starts. He’s faced the Marlins once, beating
them with seven innings of one-hit ball back on May 17.
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 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.