MLB Baseball on TV Thursday May 31st
MLB Network Channel 621 and 1868HD
6pm: MLB Tonight
7pm: Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox
Probable Pitchers: Max Scherzer 4-3 5.67 vs Josh Beckett 4-4 4.15
Game Preview (Thanks to statsLLC and espn.com)
One particularly rocky outing aside, Josh Beckett has settled down nicely for the Boston Red Sox since a rough season debut against the Detroit Tigers.
Max Scherzer’s season is heading in the right direction after it began with an awful performance against the Red Sox.
The right-handers will try to continue their string of solid starts Thursday night as Boston goes for the four-game sweep and an eighth consecutive home win in this series.
Since yielding seven runs in 2 1/3 innings of an 8-3 loss to Cleveland on May 10 — and getting booed off the Fenway Park mound after news broke that he played golf while skipping a start to rest a strained lat muscle — Beckett (4-4, 4.15 ERA) has gone 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA. He’s pitched at least seven innings in each of those three outings after striking out five in seven innings of Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay.
“If I get a no-decision the rest of my starts this year, it’s not that big a deal if we win them all like that,” Beckett told the Red Sox’s official website following Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s walk-off two-run homer.
Beckett wasn’t close to defeating Detroit (23-27) on April 7, getting tagged for a career high-tying five homers — two apiece from Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera — in a 10-0 loss.
Boston (26-24) was swept in that season-opening three-game set at Comerica Park, but the club is perfect at home in this series since July 30, 2010, following Wednesday’s 6-4 victory.
Winners of 14 of 19 and a season-best two games above .500, the Red Sox — still last in the AL East — are going for their first four-game sweep at home since July 7-10. That could be challenging considering Scherzer (4-3, 5.67) — the major league leader with 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings — has fanned 24 and walked one while winning his last two starts.
The right-hander, though, has given up two homers in each of those outings.
“I just keep making a couple mistakes every game leaving a pitch in the middle of the plate where they’ve been able to do damage with it,” Scherzer said after striking out nine in Saturday’s 6-3 win at Minnesota.
The Red Sox did plenty of damage against Scherzer on April 8, scoring seven runs and chasing him after 2 2/3 innings of Detroit’s 13-12, 11-inning victory.
Scherzer is 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA — his highest against any opponent — in four starts versus Boston.
David Ortiz, 7 for 12 with two homers, three doubles and five RBIs in the series, is 6 for 8 with two homers and a double off Scherzer.
Adrian Gonzalez, who has two hits in 11 at-bats against Scherzer, is batting .300 (12 for 40) during a team-best 10-game hitting streak.
Fielder is 14 for 27 (.519) while hitting safely in seven straight. He’s faced Beckett six times and has three hits — all home runs.
Cabrera is 10 for 25 against Boston in 2012 after going 4 for 5 with a career high-tying three doubles Wednesday.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is doubtful Thursday after missing the last two games with a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb. Manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that Pedroia was told not to swing a bat until the swelling decreased, but that he could play defense if needed.
Red Sox Broadcast Team: Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy and Jenny Dell
10pm: Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers
Probable Pitchers: Zack Greinke 5-2 3.66 vs Chad Billingsley 2-3 3.88
Game Preview (Thanks to statsLLC and espn.com)
A four-game series with the top two players in NL MVP voting last year may only have one full contest featuring Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun.
Kemp has re-injured his left hamstring and he seems unlikely to play Thursday night as the Los Angeles Dodgers try to avoid being swept by the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.
The Dodgers center fielder returned to the lineup Tuesday in a 2-1 loss after missing two weeks with the hamstring injury that flared up May 13 against Colorado, ending his major league-leading streak of consecutive games at 399.
Kemp, runner-up to MVP Braun in 2011, walked in the first inning of Wednesday’s 6-3 defeat and scored on a two-out double by Andre Ethier. But Kemp seemed to slow up after rounding third and limped into the dugout — where he broke a bat over his knee in frustration — before he was replaced by Tony Gwynn Jr.
“I just felt it grab a little bit. It’s hurting pretty good right now, so we’ll see what the MRI says tomorrow,” said Kemp, who is hitting .355 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs in 36 games. “We went through all the tests, and I was running real hard and doing everything normal. I don’t know what happened.
“It feels worse than the first time. This is my first time ever really having any hamstring problems, so I don’t know how to really treat it.”
Braun, meanwhile, is 2 for 19 this year against the Dodgers, going 2 for 8 with five walks and a homer in the first three games of this series.
Los Angeles (32-18) has lost three straight for the first time. The Brewers (22-28) have never swept a series of any length against the Dodgers, but are now 5-1 in the season series after limiting them to six runs in this set.
Carlos Gomez tied a career high with four hits Wednesday for Milwaukee, which is seeking its first four-game win streak since Sept. 2-5.
Thursday’s pitching matchup features a Dodgers starter who hasn’t won in his last eight outings against one for the Brewers sporting a ghastly 7.03 road ERA.
Chad Billingsley (2-3, 3.88 ERA) is 0-3 with a 5.01 ERA in eight starts since winning his first two this year. He yielded two runs over five innings and struck out eight in a 99-pitch effort in Saturday’s 6-3 win over Houston.
“One thing you can say about Chad is that he always competes,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “He gives you everything he has out there and never lets anything really bother him on the mound.”
The right-hander’s winless run began when he gave up two runs over six innings and was not charged with a 5-4 loss at Milwaukee on April 17. He’s 2-1 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts against the Brewers.
Braun is 4 for 14 — all singles — against Billingsley while Rickie Weeks is 5 for 12 with two doubles.
The Brewers may want to sit Corey Hart, who is 0 for 12 against Billingsley and 5 for 26 with 10 strikeouts in the season series.
Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.66) is 2-2 with a 7.03 ERA in five road starts. He was tagged for seven runs over 2 1/3 innings Saturday in an 8-5 defeat at Arizona.
The right-hander will pitch for the first time at Dodger Stadium after going 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two home starts against Los Angeles with the Brewers, striking out 15 over 14 innings.
Gwynn, who figures to be in center if Kemp can’t go, is 4 for 6 with a homer against Greinke. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Adam Kennedy are each 5 for 10.
Dodgers Broadcast Team: Vin Scully
MLB EXTRA INNINGS
8:30pm: Channel 1922HD,1928HD,1931 and 1933: Houston Astros at Colorado Rockies
Probable Pitchers: Bud Norris 5-1 3.34 vs Jeremy Guthrie 2-3 5.31
Game Preview (thanks to statsLLC and espn.com)
The Colorado Rockies’ offense has been clicking through the first three games of their series with the Houston Astros.
Bud Norris seems capable of slowing it down — particularly since he likely won’t have to face Troy Tulowitzki.
The Astros’ hurler looks to cap an unbeaten month while helping Houston avoid a sweep in Colorado on Thursday night.
The Rockies (20-29) have scored 29 runs while winning three straight over the Astros, who have dropped a season-high five consecutive contests. After sweeping a doubleheader Monday, they hit five homers — three by Carlos Gonzalez — in a 13-5 victory Wednesday.
Michael Cuddyer hit a first-inning grand slam and Dexter Fowler, who is 9 for 14 with two homers in the series, hit a three-run shot in the sixth.
Gonzalez went 4 for 5 in his first-career three-homer game, and he’s hitting .419 with six homers over his last 10 contests.
“All I’ve been doing is trying to put good swings on the ball,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously, I’m not looking for a home run. I’m just looking to hit the ball hard and just make sure it’s in the strike zone.”
Colorado, though, may have to continue its hot hitting without Tulowitzki, who left in the seventh inning with a strained left groin. The two-time All-Star told MLB.com he fears he may wind up on the disabled list with an injury that’s bothered him since the Rockies’ season-opening series in Houston.
“It’s tough,” Tulowitzki said. “The first thing I thought about was we’re playing well and we have a chance for a sweep. But sitting there thinking about it, there’s nothing you can really do. When you’re hurt, you’re hurt.
“There are some other guys around the league that are dealing with the same sort of things. Only for so long you can keep going out there until you need to get it right. My groin has been bothering me. There have been tweaks here and there and I’d get a day (off), but this is worse than just the kind of tweak I’d normally felt.”
His absence certainly won’t help the Rockies against baseball’s stingiest pitcher over the last month.
Norris (5-1, 3.34 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA in May — the best mark in the majors for the month. He hasn’t lost in his last six starts since allowing a season-high seven runs against Milwaukee on April 24.
The right-hander didn’t have his best stuff Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, though, giving up three runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings as Houston lost 6-3 on a walk-off three-run homer.
Norris also didn’t factor in the decision April 8, when he allowed two runs and struck out eight in seven innings of the Astros’ 3-2 win over Colorado.
The Rockies counter with Jeremy Guthrie (2-3, 5.31), who has allowed six runs in four of his seven starts — including his last two. Only two of the six were earned as he gave up a season-high 10 hits over five innings of a 10-3 loss at Cincinnati on Saturday.
“When Jeremy Guthrie is commanding the strike zone, the ball is pounding down, the fastball is well-spotted and he pitches ahead, which helps his secondary pitches immensely,” manager Jim Tracy told the team’s official website. “We’re just not getting that right now.”
The Rockies aren’t getting much from the rest of their pitching staff, either. Colorado has the NL’s worst ERA at 5.18.
Guthrie has had trouble matching the success from his first start of the season April 6, when he allowed three runs in seven innings of a 5-3 victory in Houston.
The Astros (22-28), though, have lost six consecutive games at Coors Field — their longest skid in Denver since dropping all seven at Mile High Stadium to the expansion Rockies in 1993.
Houston’s Chris Johnson, who went 3 for 3 on Wednesday, is hitting .393 over his last nine games.
Astros Broadcast Team: Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies
Rockies Broadcast Team: Drew Goodman and George Frazier