What we're watching: Kershaw to duel Haren

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– The pitching matchup of the night pits Clayton Kershaw against Dan Haren as the Dodgers take on the Diamondbacks in Arizona. Kershaw currently ranks seventh in the NL in ERA, two spots behind Haren. The two are going in opposite directions, though. Kershaw has a 1.55 ERA since the beginning of June and a 1.10 ERA since the beginning of July. Haren, who entered the All-Star break as the major league leader in ERA, has given up 16 earned runs in his last four starts. He’s 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this year, while Kershaw has yet to face the Diamondbacks.
– The Phillies and Braves are both coming off series sweeps as they face off in Atlanta tonight. Philadelphia just took three straight from the Cubs. Atlanta has won five straight against the Dodgers and the previously surging Nationals. Tonight’s game will feature two rather unlucky starters, at least as far as wins and losses go. Joe Blanton has allowed three runs or fewer in 12 of his last 13 starts, yet he’s just 7-6 for the season. Jair Jurrjens is 9-8 with a 3.01 ERA. The Braves have scored a total of 10 runs in his losses.
Game of the Night
Boston vs. Texas – The AL wild card leaders will begin a three-game series in Texas tonight. The Red Sox, who are a half-game out in front, will send Jon Lester to the mound, while the Rangers counter with Kevin Millwood. Both starters are 9-7 with ERAs in the mid-3.00s, though Lester has been the far better pitcher lately. Millwood has just one win in his last seven starts. However, that did come against the Red Sox back on July 20. The Rangers will have Ian Kinsler back at second base tonight after he missed 16 days with a strained hamstring,

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.