What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s action

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Call this a crazy, off-the-wall prediction, but I think number 42 is really gonna come up big tonight. Indeed, I guarantee you that number 42 will get the win AND drive in the decisive runs in EVERY SINGLE GAME.

The most notable game where number 42 will play a part, of course, will be the Dodgers-Giants tilt. Notable for the dignitaries present, the history of Jackie Robinson with the Dodgers and the fact that the game will be on national TV, but also notable for the matchup. Once again Madison Bumgarner will face off against Clayton Kershaw. It’s never really become Juan Marichal-Sandy Koufax, but it’s about as good as we have in terms of pitcher/team rivalries these days.

Kershaw is the better pitcher overall, but Bumgarner has had the edge head-to-head. Last time out he held the Dodgers to one run on six hits over six innings while walking one and striking out eight. For his part, Kershaw pitched an eight-inning no-decision but allowed a home run to Bumgarner as the Dodgers won in extra innings. Overall Bumgarner is 4-2 in head-to-head matchups while Kershaw is 2-4, but Kershaw has the lower ERA and WHIP. Bumgarner gets more help and, of course, he helps himself.

The other matchups:

Colorado Rockies (Chad Bettis) @ Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks), 2:20 PM EDT, Wrigley Field;

Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jeff Locke), 7:05 PM EDT, PNC Park;

Seattle Mariners (Nathan Karns) @ New York Yankees (Luis Severino), 7:05 PM EDT Yankee Stadium;

Washington Nationals (Joe Ross) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson), 7:05 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park;

Atlanta Braves (Williams Perez) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EDT, Marlins Park;

Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 7:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field;

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Cleveland Indians (Cody Anderson), 7:10 PM EDT , Progressive Field;

Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey) @ Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello), 7:10 PM EDT, Fenway Park;

Baltimore Orioles (Vance Worley) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington;

Detroit Tigers (Mike Pelfrey) @ Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel), 8:10 PM EDT, Minute Maid Park;

Los Angeles Angels (Garrett Richards) @ Minnesota Twins (Tommy Milone), 8:10 PM EDT, Target Field;

Cincinnati Reds (Tim Melville) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez), 8:15 PM EDT, Busch Stadium;

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill), 10:05 PM EDT, Oakland Coliseum;

San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw), 10:10 PM EDT, Dodger Stadium;

Arizona Diamondbacks (Zack Greinke) @ San Diego Padres (James Shields), 10:40 PM EDT, Petco Park.

Marcus Stroman: Blue Jays are “f– terrible”

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Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman strugged in Sunday afternoon’s start against the Red Sox, yielding four runs (three earned) over five innings. He fell to 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA. The Jays dropped three of four games to the Sox in the series and now sit with a 43-52 record heading into the All-Star break.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun reports that while Stroman was initially cool, calm, and collected when speaking to the media after the game, he eventually snapped. Stroman was asked by a reporter about breaking into professional baseball with short-season Single-A Vancouver in 2012. Stroman yelled at the reporter, noting that his team had just lost to the Red Sox, and called his team “f– terrible.” Keegan Matheson’s account of the situation lines up with Buffery’s as well.

Prior to the outburst, Stroman had just praised his teammates, saying, “My team picks me up a ton. They pick me up all year. I should be able to pitch better in times like that when my team doesn’t have my back. Because they’ve had my back a ton of times. So, love my guys on my team and like I said, I would go to war with them any day.”

Stroman will have off until Friday, so hopefully the time off helps him clear his mind. It has understandably been a frustrating season in Toronto.