cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 10:49 AM

Preview: Cardinals (9-6) at Phillies (6-10)

Game: 2
Venue: Citizens Bank Park

Date: April 19, 2013 7:05 PM EDT

Roy Halladay began to resemble his former Cy Young-winning self in his last start. The Philadelphia Phillies hope he continues his ace-like ways as they try to end a losing streak.

Halladay and the Phillies look to avoid a fifth straight loss when they host the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

Halladay won Cy Young Awards in 2003 and 2010, and finished second in 2011, but he fought injuries last year and had struggled mightily through his first two starts this season. He had been tagged for 12 runs and 12 hits, not lasting past the fourth inning in either outing.

Halladay turned it around Sunday in a 2-1 win over Miami, allowing one run and five hits in eight innings. He nearly halved his ERA (14.73 to 7.63) and earned career victory No. 200 - the first pitcher to reach that milestone in a Phillies uniform since Steve Carlton in 1978.

"More than anything, I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself," said Halladay, who is 4-3 with a 2.57 ERA in eight career starts against St. Louis, including the postseason. "In the past I tried to control too much and do too much and worry about too much. Today the plan was simpler - execute pitches one at a time, and not worry about what's going on, and it made a big difference."

Now, the Phillies (6-10) get to see if Halladay is returning to form or if his performance was more a result of facing the lowly Marlins and the majors' worst offense.

The Cardinals (9-6) will present a far stiffer challenge, and they bounced back from their own poor offensive performance to beat Philadelphia 4-3 in Thursday's series opener. One night after getting only one hit – a Carlos Beltran double – in a 5-0 loss at Pittsburgh, St. Louis had seven hits, which was enough to beat the Phillies.

Beltran hit the tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and had his first multi-hit game since April 6 to help St. Louis to its sixth win in eight contests. Yadier Molina added three hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals.

"He had a great night for us," manager Mike Matheny said of Beltran. "It's not easy to hit the ball out the other way, but we've had no bigger hit this season."

Beltran has had great success against Halladay, batting .326 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 46 at_bats. He also enjoys hitting at Citizens Bank Park, where he has 12 homers.

"It's a good ballpark to hit in," Beltran said. "Anything can happen if you hit the ball good. I hit it pretty good but I never thought it was going to leave the ballpark."

Jaime Garcia (1-0, 1.86) takes the mound for the Cardinals. Garcia has been stellar this season, allowing four runs in 19 1-3 innings over three starts. He pitched seven scoreless innings against Milwaukee on Sunday, but the bullpen faltered in an eventual 4-3 loss.

He's 2-3 with a 2.30 ERA in six career starts against Philadelphia, including a loss in the 2011 playoffs.

Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard are a combined 3 for 26 (.115) against the left-hander.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 10:51 AM

Preview: Braves (13-2) at Pirates (7-8)

Game: 2
Venue: PNC Park

Date: April 19, 2013 7:05 PM EDT

The Atlanta Braves haven't shown any signs of slowing down from their magnificent home run pace, but taking Pittsburgh's Wandy Rodriguez deep could prove to be a challenge.

A few more blasts might help Tim Hudson reach a major milestone.

After going deep four times in a series-opening win over the Pirates, the Braves look to continue their power surge Friday night against Rodriguez as they try to help Hudson earn his 200th win.

Atlanta (13-2) has hit 29 homers in its first 15 games, becoming the first NL team with such a torrid start since Cincinnati in 2006.

All of the Braves' runs Thursday came via the long ball. B.J. and Justin Upton each hit solo homers - Justin's was his major league-best ninth - while Chris Johnson and Evan Gattis added two-run shots in a 6-4 victory to help Atlanta match its best 15-game start in franchise history.

"I was a little surprised,' Gattis said after hitting his fifth homer in his first 43 major league at_bats, a tiebreaking two-run shot in the eighth. "I didn't think I hit it hard enough. It started hooking and I'm glad it did because I don't think it would have gone out otherwise.'

Opposing pitchers haven't had any margin for error against Atlanta, which is 13-0 when it scores. That's an intimidating prospect for Rodriguez (1-0, 1.00 ERA), who missed his latest start with a tight hamstring after leaving his April 8 outing at Arizona after 2 1-3 innings.

Perhaps the left-hander won't be too fazed by the Braves' torrid start at the plate, though. Rodriguez, who's facing Atlanta for the first time with the Pirates (7-8), hasn't allowed a Braves player to take him deep since July 6, 2008. He went 2-2 with a 1.80 ERA in his eight starts since against Atlanta while with Houston.

Rodriguez has generally done an excellent job of keeping the ball in the park since joining Pittsburgh. After allowing four homers in his first three games with the Pirates, he's given up four over 65 innings spanning his last 11 starts.

The Upton brothers are a combined 3 for 15 against Rodriguez, though they've each homered once.

The Braves counter with Hudson (2-0, 2.50), who has the majors' fourth-lowest home runs per nine inning rate (0.63) since 2007. He gave one up to Washington's Danny Espinosa on Saturday, but allowed only three other hits over seven innings while outdueling Stephen Strasburg in a 3-1 win.

That was Hudson's 199th victory, meaning Friday will be his first chance to become the 110th pitcher in major league history to reach 200.

"I'm just thrilled to have had the opportunity to play as long as I have," Hudson told the Braves' official website. "When I was in college, and even when I first started playing in the big leagues, 200 wins seemed like forever away. A lot of good things have to go right for you."

Plenty has gone right for Hudson in his recent starts against the Pirates. He's 4-2 with a 2.01 ERA in his last six outings versus Pittsburgh, and he hasn't allowed a homer over 40 1-3 innings in that stretch.

Garrett Jones is 5 for 11 against Hudson, but the other five members of the Pirates' Thursday lineup against righty Julio Teheran that have faced Hudson are a combined 8 for 53 (.151).

Leadoff hitter Starling Marte, who hasn't seen Hudson, struck out in all five at_bats in the opener as his 10-game hitting streak came to an end.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 10:53 AM

Preview: Royals (8-6) at Red Sox (11-4)

Game: 1
Venue: Fenway Park

Date: April 19, 2013 7:10 PM EDT

The Boston Red Sox have plenty of reasons to look forward to returning home from a brief but successful trip.

None more than the chance to help their hometown heal from one of the most tragic events in the city's history.

With slugger David Ortiz expected to make his season debut and Clay Buchholz hoping to remain undefeated, the Red Sox try for a seventh consecutive victory Friday night against the Kansas City Royals in their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings.

Shortly after the Red Sox (11-4) won 3-2 over Tampa Bay in Monday's annual Patriots Day game, two bombs exploded near the downtown finish line of the Boston Marathon. The alleged act of terrorism killed three people, injured more than 170 and jarred the collective hearts of a city and nation

On Friday, the Red Sox and Royals (8-6) hope to provide another element in the healing process for the city of Boston.

"It's going to be great,' said Jon Lester, who pitched seven strong innings in Boston's 6-3 win at Cleveland on Thursday. "Maybe for a couple of hours it can get back to being Boston and watching a baseball game and not thinking about all the other things. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that.'

Though the Royals have dropped seven of 10 at Fenway Park, they also are looking forward to Friday's contest.

"It's going to be a lot of fun to go into that city and play in that town when it means more than just playing baseball," Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas told MLB's official website. "It's going to be nice to go into a town and be able to help people out."

During their three-game sweep of Cleveland, the Red Sox put a symbolic jersey in their dugout that had "BOSTON 617 STRONG" on the back. They'll likely do the same with a home jersey at Fenway and have the Red Sox logo "B" with the word "Strong" under it on the Green Monster.

Red Sox fans can certainly find comfort in their team's start after missing the postseason the last three years. Boston leads the AL East and can win seven straight for the first time since 2011.

That success came without Ortiz, who started on the disabled list with an Achilles injury that limited him to 90 games in 2012. The slugger went 4 for 20 during a rehab assignment that ended Thursday when he homered for Triple-A Pawtucket.

"He feels good about where he's at, and all things are pointing to his return (Friday)," manager John Farrell said.

Ortiz has batted .371 with five homers and 23 RBIs in his last 16 games versus Kansas City.

Buchholz (3-0, 0.41 ERA), meanwhile, has thrown 18 scoreless innings since allowing his only run - a homer at Yankee Stadium on April 3. He's yielded 11 hits and struck out 23 in 22 innings overall.

The right-hander, who took a no-hitter in the eighth Sunday versus Tampa Bay, ultimately allowing two hits and fanning 11 in the 5-0 win, will try not to get caught up in the emotion of a special night.

"I'm going to try to keep my emotions under wraps as much as possible," he told the Red Sox's official website. "Given the circumstances, it's going to be a day that's in pursuit of recovery for everyone who had to face losses."

Buchholz is 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA against the Royals, but has not faced them since 2010.

Kansas City counters with James Shields (1-2, 3.43), who went 2-9 with a 5.86 ERA at Fenway for Tampa Bay. However, he allowed four hits in 8 1-3 innings of 1-0 win at Boston last season.

The right-hander gave up three runs, two on a homer, and one other hit in nine innings of a 3-2 loss to Toronto on Saturday.

Lorenzo Cain had three hits and Jeff Francoeur the RBI in Kansas City's 1-0 win over Atlanta on Wednesday.

Cain is batting .424 in his last nine games, but is 2 for 15 with a homer and six strikeouts at Fenway.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 10:55 AM

Preview: Nationals (9-6) at Mets (7-7)

Game: 1
Venue: Citi Field

Date: April 19, 2013 7:10 PM EDT

This pitching matchup could have taken place seven months ago. Instead, it will happen Friday night when Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals put their franchise-record eight-game road winning streak in this series on the line against impressive New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey.

Strasburg was in line to pitch Sept. 12 in the final matchup with the Mets last season, but the Nationals made the controversial move of shutting down their ace, who was in his first full season following Tommy John surgery. Washington won its eighth straight at Citi Field that night behind starter John Lannan and Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a solo homer off Harvey in a 2-0 victory. Harvey, making his first start against Washington, struck out 10 in five-plus innings.

Harvey (3-0, 0.82 ERA) gets the ball after fanning nine in eight innings of a 4-2 victory at Minnesota on Saturday. He didn't give up a hit until Justin Morneau's solo homer with two out in the seventh.

"I'm glad they've got another good young pitcher coming along that's showing a lot of promise," Nationals manager Davey Johnson, the Mets' manager from 1984-90, told the team's official website. " ... That's interesting, and I'll look forward to it when Friday comes."

Strasburg (1-2, 2.95) gets back to work after losing his second consecutive start, 3-1 to Atlanta on Saturday. The right-hander allowed two unearned runs in six innings after walking four and yielding six runs in his previous outing, a 6-3 loss at Cincinnati on April 7.

"I wanted to go out there and try to go deep in the ballgame, but unfortunately I threw a lot of pitches early (and finished with 112), so that kind of spoiled that," Strasburg said. "But at least I was able to go out and give six."

Strasburg was dominant in two starts at Citi Field last season, both wins.

Zimmerman, 24 for 71 (.338) with four homers and 13 RBIs against the Mets in 2012, left Wednesday's 6-1 victory at Miami with cramps in his left hamstring, but he should be available Friday.

Nationals outfielder Denard Span could return after missing two games with the flu, but second baseman Danny Espinosa (bruised right hand) is questionable after sitting out three.

There's no question the Mets (7-7) are happy about playing their first home game since April 7 after a trip that included three winter weather postponements. New York lost its third straight Thursday, 11-3, in a game that started at 28 degrees, tying a Colorado Rockies' record for coldest home start.

"We're glad it's over and we know the weather's going to start changing soon, start getting baseball weather," manager Terry Collins said. "We didn't swing the bats today either. We didn't get a lot of opportunities. We've got to start taking BP like we normally do and get back on our schedule.'

A bigger concern might be the Mets' bullpen, which saw its ERA jump from 3.06 to 5.32 on the trip.

Second baseman Daniel Murphy hit .417 (15 for 36) during that stretch, while David Wright went 13 for 35 (.371) with his first two homers and a team-high 13 RBIs.

Wright hit .344 (22 for 64) with five homers and 10 RBIs last season against Washington (9-6), which won 14 of 18 matchups. The third baseman is 1 for 6 with four strikeouts versus Strasburg.

Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper, who's batting .364 with five homers and 11 RBIs, is 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Harvey.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 10:57 AM

Preview: Marlins (3-13) at Reds (9-7)

Game: 2
Venue: Great American Ball Park

Date: April 19, 2013 7:10 PM EDT

While the Cincinnati Reds are clicking on all cylinders, the Miami Marlins appear to be running out of answers.

The Reds try to extend their season-high winning streak to five Friday night when they play the second of four against the major league-worst Marlins at Great American Ball Park.

Since losing five straight, Cincinnati (9-7) has picked up the pace in a big way. The Reds have gone 16 for 33 (.485) with runners in scoring position and compiled a 1.25 ERA in winning their last four games by a 27-5 margin.

Cincinnati has also taken eight of nine at home, including five straight. The Reds haven't posted six consecutive victories on their own field since a seven-game run May 4-17, 2011.

After completing a three-game sweep of Philadelphia, Cincinnati cruised to an 11-1 victory in Thursday's series opener. Todd Frazier went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer and three runs scored for the Reds, who have posted back-to-back games with at least 11 runs for the first time since beating Houston 15-6 and 12-2 on May 28-29, 2010.

Tony Cingrani also came up big with five solid innings in his season debut.

"He gave us what we needed, and we gave him what he needed," manager Dusty Baker said.

The Reds now give the ball to Mat Latos (0-0, 3.26 ERA), who cruised through six innings before allowing three runs in the seventh of Sunday's 10-7 loss at Pittsburgh. The Reds had won each of his previous nine regular season outings.

"I didn't have a good feel for my slider," he told MLB's official website. "It wasn't as hard as it normally is. That's just the way things go."

Latos has been hit hard in five career outings against the Marlins, going 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA - his second-highest mark against any opponent. He'll need to be cautious with Giancarlo Stanton, who's gone 4 for 5 in their matchups.

After missing the previous six games due to a bruised left shoulder, Stanton went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts Thursday. The slugging right fielder is batting .182 with no RBIs over 10 games and has fanned 14 times in 33 at_bats.

Justin Ruggiano provided all the offense Thursday with Miami's major league-worst fourth homer. The Marlins (3-13) are also last in baseball with 33 runs scored and a .208 average.

Marlins starter Kevin Slowey (0-2, 2.04) knows all too well of the team's offensive woes. The right-hander, who was limited to eight minor league starts in 2012 due to a fractured rib cage, has received zero runs of support through his first three turns in the rotation.

Slowey allowed one run and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings but didn't factor in the decision of Sunday's 2-1 loss to Philadelphia.

"Tremendous pitching performance again by Slowey," said manager Mike Redmond, a former teammate of his in Minnesota. "This might be the best I've ever seen him pitch. He's locating his fastball. His tempo is great. He's pounding the strike zone. Man, he needs a win. We've got to get this guy a win."

Slowey, who's never faced Cincinnati, is 0-10 with a 6.47 ERA over his last 12 big league starts. His last win came in a 4-2 victory over Oakland on Sept. 18, 2010, while with the Twins.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 11:04 AM

Preview: Athletics (12-4) at Rays (5-10)

Game: 1
Venue: Tropicana Field

Date: April 19, 2013 7:10 PM EDT

The Oakland Athletics have the best record in the AL, and success on their upcoming trip could only reinforce their status as one of the league's top teams.

Off to their best road start in 23 seasons, the A's look to remain perfect away from home by continuing their recent success at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Since opening with two straight losses, Oakland (12-4) has lost twice in 14 contests and is coming off a three-game sweep of the lowly Astros. The A's, who also swept series at Houston and the Los Angeles Angels, have not won their first seven road contests since opening 8-0 in 1990.

Oakland hit .326 and clubbed 13 of its 20 home runs while outscoring the Astros and Angels 51-20 on the trek. Manager Bob Melvin, however, expects his team's six-game trip to Tampa and Boston to be a stiffer task considering the Rays (5-10) should be eager to return from a 2-7 trip and the streaking Red Sox lead the AL East.

"It's our first trip out east, which always presents its challenges," Melvin told the Athletics' official website.

The A's should be a confident group at least in Tampa, where they've won six of nine while winning three straight series.

Oakland leads the majors with 96 runs and ranks near the top with a .354 on-base percentage while slugging .464.

"The offense is off the charts at this point,' Melvin said. "We're hitting on all cylinders.'

Seth Smith had three hits and shortstop Jed Lowrie added two as the A's scored six times in the first inning of Wednesday's 7-5 win over Houston.

"We're getting contributions up and down the lineup and that's why we've been consistent so far,' said Lowrie, who is batting .373 (22 for 59) with 13 RBIs this season.

Smith is hitting .447 (17 of 38) in 2013, but went 2 for 21 with six strikeouts against the Rays last season.

Scheduled Oakland starter Brett Anderson (1-2, 4.34 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts versus Tampa Bay, but he gave up seven runs, eight hits, including three homers, and three walks in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss to Detroit on Saturday.

"I never really got into a rhythm," said the left-hander, who yielded two runs in each of his first two starts.

Tampa Bay blew a 3-0 led at Baltimore on Thursday and lost 10-6 in 10 innings on Matt Wieters' grand slam off Brandon Gomes. Evan Longoria hit one of four homers for the Rays, who have dropped eight of 10.

``I'm not worried about either side, pitching or hitting,' Gomes said. ``This is a very talented team and we're going to be fine. We're going to hit our stride, everything's going to click and we're going to win a lot of ballgames."

The Rays hand the ball to Alex Cobb (1-1, 1.93), who is 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA against the A's.

Cobb gave up four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-0 win over Cleveland in his 2013 debut, but gave up four runs and seven hits while throwing 106 pitches in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-0 loss at Boston on Sunday.

"I think in years past, I might have let things get away a little bit, kind of caved under the pressure, versus this year, I took the pressure head on," the right-hander told the Rays' official website. "I kind of told myself not to let this happen. Not to let those games that happened in the past happen."

Three of Longoria's four hits in his last 17 at_bats have left the park. He's 2 for 8 with a homer against Anderson.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 11:05 AM

Preview: Mariners (7-10) at Rangers (9-6)

Game: 1
Venue: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

Date: April 19, 2013 8:05 PM EDT

The Seattle Mariners have had the most success against Yu Darvish in his brief time in the major leagues, but it's all come in their own stadium.

Having to face Darvish on the road could produce a different result, especially with the Texas Rangers right-hander pitching on six days' rest.

The Mariners handed Darvish his first loss of the season last week, and they'll look to beat him for the first time in three tries in Texas when these teams open a three-game series Friday night.

Darvish allowed three runs over 13 2-3 innings in winning his first two starts in 2013 before giving up three runs in the first inning last Friday at Safeco Field. He eventually settled down, striking out eight over six innings, but the Rangers managed six hits in a 3-1 loss.

"I didn't feel right the last outing and it kind of carried over. At least I was able to keep us in the game. That was good," Darvish said through an interpreter.

"I could have given up many runs in any inning. I just didn't have my stuff today. It just came in the first inning."

Darvish dropped to 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in three starts in Seattle since signing with Texas prior to the 2012 season. The only other team to hand Darvish (2-1, 2.75 ERA) more than one loss is Oakland, which has beaten him twice.

In fact, Darvish has lost more games in Seattle than he has at Rangers Ballpark. He is 11-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 15 starts at home, going 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA against Seattle.

The Mariners (7-10) will also have to deal with Darvish getting an extra day of rest due to the Rangers (9-6) having Wednesday's game in Chicago against the Cubs rained out.

Darvish has pitched with at least six days' rest seven times in his career, going 5-1 with a 3.47 ERA. Having Joe Saunders (1-1, 2.08) on the mound could also be a disadvantage for the Mariners.

The left-hander did pitch well against the Rangers on Saturday, but he didn't receive a decision in a 3-1 loss despite allowing one unearned run and three hits in seven innings.

"It's always frustrating to lose those close ones," Saunders said. "... We just had some things that didn't go our way tonight. Sometimes that happens."

That outing wasn't typical for Saunders as he's 3-7 with a 5.79 ERA in 12 regular-season starts against the Rangers. He's been even worse in Texas, losing all six non-postseason starts while posting a 9.38 ERA.

Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler is batting .370 (10 for 27) with four home runs and two doubles against Saunders. Kinsler went 2 for 4 and hit his fifth homer Thursday as the Rangers lost 6-2 to the Cubs at wet and windy Wrigley Field.

Texas has alternated losses and wins in its last seven games following a 6-2 start.

"It's just the way things are going right now," Kinsler said.

Seattle enters with some momentum after beating another of the AL's top pitchers Thursday. Kyle Seager hit a pinch-hit, two-out RBI double off Justin Verlander in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie and help give the Mariners a 2-0 victory over Detroit.

Seattle scored two runs in losing the series opener to the Tigers and crossed the plate once in falling in 14 innings Wednesday night.

"When you're not pounding the ball like I know we're capable of doing and will do, you've got to take advantage of any opportunity, because there may not be another one coming around," manager Eric Wedge told the Mariners' official website.

Seager is 5 for 13 with three doubles against Darvish.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 11:07 AM

Preview: Twins (6-7) at White Sox (7-9)

Game: 1
Venue: U.S. Cellular Field

Date: April 19, 2013 8:10 PM EDT

The Chicago White Sox's Jake Peavy delivered a masterful performance his last time out.

He's been plenty sharp against the Minnesota Twins of late, too.

With Peavy looking to build on his latest outing, the White Sox try to continue their recent success against the Twins as these AL Central rivals begin their season series with the first of three Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

Peavy (2-1, 3.93 ERA) was lights out Sunday, scattering five hits over seven innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 win at Cleveland. The right-hander struck out 11 to match his high from all of last season.

"He's not just throwing to one side of the plate," manager Robin Ventura told MLB's official website. "He'll mix it in on the inside part and backdoor you on the outside so I think he was just sharp today. He seemed to be hitting the glove."

Peavy has also been superb in winning four consecutive starts against the Twins (6-7), compiling a 1.73 ERA and striking out 23 in 26 innings. He's made things extremely difficult on Josh Willingham, who's hitless in 15 career at_bats in their matchups. Justin Morneau has also struggled, going 3 for 16.

As if facing Peavy wasn't daunting enough, Minnesota could be a bit rusty Friday following two days off. The Twins, who saw Sunday's matchup against the Mets get postponed, went on to post back-to-back wins over the Angels before Wednesday's series finale was also canceled due to weather.

"It's never really good to have that many off days, especially when you bang a game this time - you're going to play a lot of games in a row later," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Somewhere you're going to pay. But you can't fight this weather. It is what it is. But you'll be playing in better weather, which is a good thing. But the pitching gets a little out of whack here."

Given the unusual circumstances, the Twins will turn to Vance Worley (0-2, 10.50) after pushing all of their starters back a day. Acquired from Philadelphia this offseason, Worley has been a disappointment thus far, and he was especially bad last Friday in a 16-5 loss to the Mets.

The right-hander surrendered a career-high nine runs before being removed after facing four batters and failing to record an out in the second inning.

"It's frustrating," he said. "Nobody likes to have that happen to them. So I'll have to make some adjustments this week so that I'm ready to go."

The White Sox (7-9), meanwhile, are coming off a four-game split with Toronto. Chris Sale was outdueled by R.A. Dickey in Thursday's 3-1 loss as Chicago finished a 3-7 road trip.

"It's been a long, rough trip," Ventura said, "so we are ready to go home and hopefully turn it around."

The White Sox are likely to be without Dayan Viciedo, who left Thursday's loss with a left oblique strain. Viciedo is batting .333 with two homers and 13 RBIs in his last 11 matchups with the Twins.

Chicago has posted a 22-6 record versus Minnesota dating to August 2011. The White Sox took 14 of 18 last season, including the last four.

They will, however, need to be wary of Joe Mauer, who's gone 16 for 31 with two homers and seven RBIs over the last seven games. Mauer is a career .320 hitter versus Chicago, and his 14 long balls in the series are his most against any opponent.

"When he gets hot, nobody can really stop him," second baseman Brian Dozier said. "He does some pretty neat things with the bat."

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 11:08 AM

Preview: Cubs (5-9) at Brewers (6-8)

Game: 1
Venue: Miller Park

Date: April 19, 2013 8:10 PM EDT

After sweeping the defending champions, the Milwaukee Brewers appear to be playing with some confidence heading into their three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

With their early struggles behind them, the surging Brewers look for their 16th win in 18 home games against the Cubs and fifth straight victory overall Friday night.

Riding a club-record scoreless streak and three innings shy of falling to 2-9, the Brewers (6-8) seemed to gain some momentum Sunday when they scored four runs over the final three innings in a 4-3, 10-inning victory at St. Louis.

The good vibes from that win carried over into their series against San Francisco as they wrapped up a three-game sweep with a 7-2 victory Thursday.

Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Yovani Gallardo homered, and Gallardo also allowed one earned run over six innings in his first start being arrested on a drunken driving charge.

"Anytime you play that well in a series against a really good ballclub, it should build up a lot of confidence in what we're doing," manager Ron Roenicke told MLB's official website.

Now the Brewers have a chance to keep things rolling against a Chicago team they've dominated at home in recent years. They've won five straight over the Cubs at Miller Park and outscored them 82-56 during a 15-2 run that dates to April 9, 2011.

Milwaukee will send right-hander Marco Estrada to the mound as he looks to win his fourth straight start against the Cubs.

Estrada (1-0, 4.50 ERA) gave up two runs over seven innings in a 7-4 win at Wrigley Field on April 8. He's gone 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA while striking out 27 over 24 innings in four starts against Chicago.

Starlin Castro, though, has done some damage against Estrada, going 5 for 12 with two doubles and a triple. He's also batting .356 (16 for 45) with seven extra-base hits and five RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak.

Catcher Wellington Castillo, who homered off Estrada at Wrigley, may get a chance to build on his career-best 4-for-4 performance in a 6-2 win over Texas on Thursday.

"If he can swing the bat like this all year long we've got something really special because the defense he has behind the plate is one of the best in baseball," manager Dale Sveum said.

Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano hit back-to-back home runs, while Carlos Villanueva allowed two runs over seven innings to help the Cubs snap a three-game losing streak.

Chicago (5-9) turns to right-hander Jeff Samardzija as it begins a 10-game road trip.

After shutting out Pittsburgh over eight innings in an opening-day victory, Samardzija (1-2, 2.75) has allowed six runs in 11 2-3 innings while dropping his last two starts.

He's 0-2 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts against the Brewers.

While Braun has two hits - both homers - in 22 at_bats over his last six games, he's 6 for 13 with a home run versus Samardzija.

Lucroy looks to continue his recent tear, going 7 for 17 with two homers and five RBIs in his last four games. The catcher, however, is 0 for 7 with four strikeouts against Samardzija.

The Brewers totaled 21 runs in the three games versus the Giants after scoring seven over the previous four contests.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33072 Followers:38
04/19/2013 11:10 AM

Preview: Indians (5-9) at Astros (4-11)

Game: 1
Venue: Minute Maid Park

Date: April 19, 2013 8:10 PM EDT

The Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians have both gotten off to lackluster starts. So have the starters for Friday night's series opener.

Lucas Harrell and former Astro Brett Myers each seek their first win of the season while helping their respective clubs snap lengthy losing streaks.

After losing 213 games the past two seasons, Houston (4-11) was hardly expected to be competitive in its first AL season, and the Astros have already produced their second skid of five games or more after getting swept in Oakland this week.

In Wednesday's finale, Houston's rally from a six-run deficit fell short in a 7-5 loss.

"We have a resilient group and we will continue to battle to the end," manager Bo Porter said. "I don't believe in moral victories; you either win or lose. But at the same time I liked that we kept fighting."

The Astros return home trying to avoid a sixth straight loss at Minute Maid Park.

Harrell (0-2, 5.63 ERA) will hope to help snap that skid after bouncing back from a disastrous home outing against Oakland by holding the Angels to a run over 5 2-3 innings Saturday. Houston's bullpen, though, failed to hold a three-run lead in a 5-4 defeat.

The Astros will also try to hand Myers (0-2, 8.82) another loss in his return to Houston. The right-hander started 66 games in 2010-11 before working as a reliever in 2012 and recording 19 saves in 21 tries.

Myers was traded in July to the White Sox, who later declined to pick up his option. He signed a one-year, $7 million contract with Cleveland in January but hasn't fared well so far with his new team.

Myers, though, had his best start of the season Sunday after getting tagged for seven runs in each of his first two games. He gave up two runs over six innings to the White Sox in a 3-1 defeat.

"It's easy to tell somebody to have confidence," manager Terry Francona said. "But once you do it and you feel good about yourself, the idea then is to grow off of that and continue to do that. I'm sure it helped. It should. He threw the ball very well."

Myers will try to build on that outing while helping the Indians (5-9) avoid a 10th loss in 13 games. Cleveland has been outscored 22-9 during its latest skid, which hit four with Thursday's 6-3 loss to Boston.

The loss of leadoff hitter Michael Bourn has hardly helped. The former Astros outfielder, who was batting .333, was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a lacerated right finger suffered in Sunday's loss to the White Sox.

Bourn's absence might help Harrell avenge a hard-luck 2-0 defeat to Cleveland on June 22. He had a career-high nine strikeouts while giving up one run and two hits over seven innings.

The Astros bounced back to win the final two games in that series, the first meeting between the clubs in 11 years.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: