LEADING OFF: Scherzer vs Kershaw; Riggleman takes over
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
CY VS. CY
The marquee pitching matchup of the young season takes place in Los Angeles, where Nationals ace Max Scherzer faces Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. It will be the 13th time in history, 10th in the regular season and first since 2006, with two three-time Cy Young Award winners on the mound. Seven of the past eight involved Roger Clemens, whose Houston Astros beat Greg Maddux and the Chicago Cubs on July 19, 2006, in the most recent such game. Scherzer won the AL Cy Young Award in 2013 with Detroit and picked up his next two in 2016 and 2017 with Washington. Kershaw won the NL prize in 2011, 2013 and 2014. This season, Kershaw is 1-2 with a 1.73 ERA in four starts. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA, also in four starts.
HE KNOWS THE DRILL
The Reds play their first game with Jim Riggleman as interim manager, a situation Riggleman is familiar with. This is the fourth time in his career he’s been promoted during a season. Cincinnati fired manager Bryan Price after its worst start (3-15) since the Great Depression. Riggleman got his first major league managing job with the Padres late in the 1992 season after leading San Diego’s Triple-A club for most of the year. He was promoted from bench coach to manager by Seattle in 2008 and again by Washington in 2009. He stuck with the Nationals through the middle of the 2011 season, when he abruptly resigned. The 65-year-old Riggleman is 662-824 in his career. He’s expected to be a candidate for the full-time job with the Reds, and for now, he said his focus will be “to really put an exclamation point on the details of the game.”
Astros ace Justin Verlander looks for his 10th consecutive regular-season win when Houston visits the struggling Chicago White Sox (4-11), who have lost four straight and nine of 10. Verlander is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in four starts this year and has 34 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. He fanned 11 over eight innings of one-hit ball Sunday night against Texas during a memorable duel with 44-year-old Bartolo Colon, who took a perfect game into the eighth.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
The Yankees entered Thursday tied for the AL lead with 17 errors, and manager Aaron Boone says “that needs to improve.” With that in mind, New York is planning a defensive practice session prior to a game against Toronto. Just in time, too, after third baseman Ronald Torreyes’ error Thursday led to a Blue Jays run, as did the first of catcher Gary Sanchez’s two passed balls. “I’m confident we’ll continue to improve,” Boone said.
The Tigers continue their run of day games at Comerica Park with the opener of a doubleheader against Kansas City. Detroit has five consecutive days of home games starting at 1:10 p.m., another schedule quirk in this weather-interrupted month around the majors. The Tigers’ game against Baltimore on Wednesday was moved from evening to afternoon in anticipation of bad weather later in the day. Friday’s opener of a three-day, four-game set against the Royals is a makeup of a game that was postponed on April 4. Detroit also had two home games against the Yankees postponed last weekend.
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