What we're watching: Lincecum aims for 13th win, 200 Ks

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– Matt Cain and Jason Marquis have both failed twice and Johan Santana and Adam Wainwright once apiece, so now Tim Lincecum will have a shot at becoming the first NL pitcher to reach 13 victories.  He’ll be facing the Reds for the first time in 80 career starts.  I’m not positive about this, but with nine strikeouts tonight, it looks like he’ll be the earliest to get to 200 in a season since Randy Johnson’s 334-strikeout campaign in 2002.  Erik Bedard got their on Aug. 15 in 2007.

 

– The Braves will attempt to recover from a devastating loss Thursday tonight in the second game of a four-game series in Los Angeles.  The Braves led 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth on Friday, only to see Rafael Soriano give up a walkoff homer to Andre Ethier.  Tonight’s game will be a rematch of the contest five days ago in Atlanta, which the Dodgers won 9-1.  Chad Billingsley threw five scoreless innings in that one before leaving with a hamstring cramp.  Jair Jurrjens surrendered four runs in five innings to take his first loss in five starts.  He’s 9-8 with a 2.85 ERA, while Billingsley is 11-6 with a 3.82 ERA.

 

– Carlos Lee will aim again for his 300th homer, this time against the Brewers’ Carlos Villanueva.  He has four extra-base hits in his last three games, but all were doubles.  He’s 4-for-13 with a homer against Villanueva in his career.

 

Game of the Night

 

Boston vs. New York – Having fallen to 8-1 against the Yankees, the Red Sox are terribly desperate for a win, what with there only being 45 games left and them being a mere two games up in the wild card (even if that is the same lead they held 10 games ago).  With the season on the line, they’ll send Josh Beckett to the mound.  He’s 2-0 in three starts against the Yankees, despite having a 5.82 ERA.  Burnett has been roughed up in both of his outings versus Boston, compiling a 12.91 ERA in 7 2/3 innings. 

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

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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

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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.