What we're watching: Beckett, Felix aim for for 12th victories

Leave a comment

– Josh Beckett and Felix Hernandez both have opportunities to become
the AL’s first 12-game winner tonight. Beckett goes first, and one has
to like his chances with a home start against the A’s on the schedule.
He beat the A’s on Oakland on July 7 and is 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA in nine
starts at Fenway this season. King Felix will pitch against the Blue
Jays in a 10 p.m. EDT start. The Marlins have won each of his last
eight starts, even though they’ve average just 4.4 runs per game in
those contests. He’ll be going up against Ricky Romero, who is 8-4 with
a 3.44 ERA.

– The Yankees capitalized on a 10-game homestand to build a 2 1/2-game
lead over the Red Sox. Now they’ll play nine straight on the road,
beginning with a series in Tampa Bay. A.J. Burnett, riding a four-game
winning streak, will take on James Shields in the opener. He’s 1-0 with
a 3.21 ERA in two starts against the Rays this year. Shields hasn’t won
since June 20 and is 1-6 with a 5.73 ERA against the Yankees in his
career. This will be his first start against the Bombers in 2009.

Game of the Night

L.A. Dodgers vs. St. Louis – After falling out of first place in the
NL Central on Sunday, the Cardinals will look to Chris Carpenter to
help them bounce back against the team with the best record in
baseball. Carpenter would be 4-0 this month if not for Ryan Franklin’s
blown save last Wednesday. He’s 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four career
starts against the Dodgers. Starting for the Dodgers will be Randy
Wolf, who has turned in 13 quality starts this year — including five
in a row — yet has just five wins to show for his 3.45 ERA.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
5 Comments

Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

Kent Horner/Getty Images
1 Comment

Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.