Bronson Arroyo expected to make Game 1 start for Reds in very unfavorable matchup with Phillies

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Bronson Arroyo tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Astros last night in his final start of the season and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that after the game the veteran right-hander “talked like a guy counting on starting Game 1 of the NLDS”:

It’s going to be in a hostile environment, probably Philly. I’m going to have to be on my A game to beat those guys. I think if you ask anyone we’d rather face anyone but Philly. But whoever comes along we’ve got to beat them.

Fay notes that the Phillies would be a particularly difficult matchup for Arroyo because he struggles against left-handed hitters and their lineup is loaded with potent left-handed bats in Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Raul Ibanez, plus switch-hitters Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins.
Arroyo is 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 33 starts overall this season, but that includes holding righties to a .185 batting average and .576 OPS while lefties hit .285 with a .786 OPS. And his career splits are similarly extreme, with a .684 OPS versus righties and an .819 OPS versus lefties.
Perhaps not surprisingly Arroyo is 1-5 with a 5.54 ERA in eight career outings against Philadelphia, although he hasn’t faced the Phillies since 2008.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.

Video: Brett Gardner goes deep for his first and second home runs of 2017

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It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:

Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:

Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.