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What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s action

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Welcome to the weekend, y’all. A full slate of games tonight including a couple of dudes making debuts for new clubs: Nick Tepesch for the Dodgers and Wade LeBlanc for the Mariners. Tommy Milone has been recalled by the Twins and will make his first big league appearance since May 3. Cody Reed of the Reds, in contrast, is a seasoned pro, making his second big league start.

On the older end of the spectrum is Max Scherzer, going in Milwaukee. The last time he pitched there he struck out 16 dues and retired the first 18 batters he faced. He’s facing a young man in Zach Davies, however, who has done some very special things himself in his short time in the bigs, particularly lately. Meanwhile, Jered Weaver is coming off of his best start of the season: a three-hit shutout in Oakland in which he needed only 95 pitches. He only struck out one dude in that game and his fastball can barely break glass, so he must’ve O.D.’d on the gumption and savvy pills. Why those are legal while PEDs are not I have no idea, but I suppose he’d be grandfathered in if they banned them anyway.

Enjoy your Friday night.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Nick Tepesch) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jameson Taillon), 7:05 PM EDT, PNC Park

Minnesota Twins (Tommy Milone) @ New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka), 7:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Moore) @ Baltimore Orioles (Yovani Gallardo), 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks) @ Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler), 7:10 PM EDT, Marlins Park

Cleveland Indians (Danny Salazar) @ Detroit Tigers (Jordan Zimmermann), 7:10 PM EDT, Comerica Park

San Diego Padres (Colin Rea) @ Cincinnati Reds (Cody Reed), 7:10 PM EDT, Great American Ball Park

New York Mets (Steven Matz) @ Atlanta Braves (Aaron Blair), 7:35 PM EDT, Turner Field

Boston Red Sox (David Price) @ Texas Rangers (Nick Martinez), 8:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington

Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez) @ Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon), 8:10 PM EDT, U.S. Cellular Field

Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies), 8:10 PM EDT, Miller Park

Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel) @ Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez), 8:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley) @ Colorado Rockies (Tyler Anderson), 8:40 PM EDT, Coors Field

Oakland Athletics (Eric Surkamp) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim

St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez) @ Seattle Mariners (Wade LeBlanc), 10:10 PM EDT, Safeco Field

Philadelphia Phillies (Zach Eflin) @ San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy), 10:15 PM EDT, AT&T Park

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.