LEADING OFF: MLB-best Twins at Yanks, Cards-Cubs at Wrigley
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
HOUSE OF HORRORS
Minnesota (19-10) takes baseball’s best record into the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium, where the Twins are 14-50 since 2002 — including the postseason. James Paxton (3-2, 3.38 ERA) pitches for New York against Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.88), who is 1-5 with a 6.86 ERA in eight starts against the Yankees.
NL CENTRAL SHOWDOWN
An old rivalry is renewed when the NL-leading Cardinals (20-11) and Cubs meet for the first time this season at Wrigley Field. Jack Flaherty (3-1) gets the ball for St. Louis, which had won five straight and nine of 10 before a rain-delayed 2-1 loss Thursday at Washington. Flaherty has not allowed a run in 12 innings this season during day games. Kyle Hendricks (1-4) starts for the second-place Cubs, who are riding a four-game winning streak.
The Indians are expected to provide an update on Corey Kluber after the right-hander broke his pitching arm when it was hit by a line drive Wednesday night against Miami. The two-time Cy Young Award winner underwent further imaging tests Thursday to determine the length of his absence. The team was reviewing those results and will place him on the 10-day injured list before the opener of a three-game series against Seattle. Cleveland is already without starter Mike Clevinger, sidelined by a strained upper back muscle.
CHANGE OF SOX
Still looking for his first win of the season, Boston ace Chris Sale (0-5, 6.30 ERA) faces his former team when the Red Sox take on the White Sox. Sale is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts against Chicago. Right-hander Reynaldo López (2-3, 6.03) is on the mound for the White Sox after striking out a career-high 14 in his last outing.
Tyler Glasnow (5-0) tries to extend his outstanding start to the season as the 6-foot-8 righty pitches for AL East-leading Tampa Bay at last-place Baltimore. Glasnow leads the American League with a 1.75 ERA and was chosen AL pitcher of the month for April.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays open a weekend series at Texas, where the touted rookie’s Hall of Fame father was part of the 2010 Rangers team that won the AL championship and went to franchise’s first World Series. During Guerrero’s only season in Texas, the club’s hitting coach was Clint Hurdle, now manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hurdle, whose Pirates swept a two-game series at Texas this week, said the elder Guerrero approached him one August night that season and told the coach to meet him in the batting cage the next day.
“I’m always wondering, am I ever going to get to work with this guy? Because I hadn’t,” Hurdle said, laughing while recalling the story. “He walks in with Junior and says, ‘My son, here, please work with my son.’ ... And he walked out.” Hurdle conducted about a 30-minute session with the 11-year-old Guerrero, concluding he was “very advanced” and hit the ball “way too hard” for his age.
“That was my experience working with Vlad,” Hurdle said.