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James Paxton throws 12-strikeout gem vs. Red Sox

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Yankees starter James Paxton wasn’t off to a great start to the 2019 season after coming to the Bronx from the Mariners in an offseason trade. Despite his first two starts coming against the lowly Orioles, Paxton carried a 6.00 ERA across 15 innings prior to Tuesday night’s start against the Red Sox. His numbers are now looking much healthier.

Paxton tossed eight shutout innings against the Red Sox, limiting the opposition to just two hits and a walk while striking out 12 batters. It’s the second time in Paxton’s career he’s reached the 12-strikeout threshold, previously fanning 16 batters on May 2 last year against the Athletics. The lefty tossed eight-plus shutout innings on five previous occasions in his career spanning 106 starts.

The Yankees went on to defeat the Red Sox 8-0, with Joe Harvey finishing out the game in the ninth. After Tuesday’s effort, Paxton’s ERA now stands at a much more appealing 3.91 with 31 strikeouts and seven walks across 23 innings.

The reigning World Series champion Red Sox are now 6-12 to start the season. That is, ah, not great.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.