A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:
HOUSTON, PROBLEM SOLVED
After taking a step back last season, Dallas Keuchel has regained the form that earned him an AL Cy Young Award in 2015, and he can become the majors’ first seven-game winner when the Astros play at Miami. At a time when pitchers are throwing harder than ever before, Keuchel (6-0, 1.69 ERA) is dominating with a fastball averaging 89 mph. The bush-bearded lefty has the second highest groundball rate among qualified starters (64.4 percent) and has pitched at least seven innings in all but one of his eight starts.
Yu Darvish starts for Texas, which has won six in a row and taken all five on this homestand with late rallies. The two-time AL West champion Rangers can reach .500 for the first time this season by beating Philadelphia, which has lost eight of 10. Darvish is 7-2 with a 2.26 ERA in 12 interleague starts.
BAD NEWS, BEARS
The sputtering Chicago Cubs try to get back on track when they host Cincinnati to open a 10-game homestand. The World Series champions have dropped seven of nine, including two of three at St. Louis to wrap their most recent road trip. After trailing only the Red Sox and Rockies in runs last season, Chicago ranks 13th in the majors this year. Meanwhile, starters Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey all have higher ERAs this year than last. Lackey (3-3, 4.29) will get first crack at the Reds, opposing veteran Bronson Arroyo (3-2, 5.94).
Rich Hill and the Los Angeles Dodgers hope he’s finally put his recurring blister problems behind him. After missing a month, the left-hander comes off the disabled list to start in San Francisco. Hill (1-1, 3.38 ERA) has totaled only eight innings in two major league starts this season, but recently tossed five hitless innings in a rehab outing for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The last time he came off the DL in April, he re-aggravated the blister on his left middle finger and lasted only 54 pitches.
Cleveland is hoping to get good news on Carlos Carrasco’s status after the right-hander left a start Monday with tightness in his left pectoral muscle. The Indians are already missing Corey Kluber from the rotation. Carrasco sat out Cleveland’s run to the World Series last fall because of a broken right hand after being hit by a line drive.
GOOD AS GREINKE
Zack Greinke (4-2, 2.79 ERA) tries to follow up an outstanding performance with another one when he starts for Arizona against the visiting New York Mets. Greinke took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning last Thursday before Gregory Polanco hit a leadoff homer for Pittsburgh. The right-hander struck out 11 and walked one in a 2-1 victory.
There’s been a fun meet-and-greet session this week at Progressive Field — Cleveland outfielder Daniel Robertson finally bumped into Daniel Robertson of the Rays. They grew up near each other in California, but had never met. The Indians’ Robertson is 31 and played for the first time with his new team last weekend; Tampa Bay’s Robertson is 23 and made his big league debut this year.
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