LEADING OFF: Streaking Rays try to hand Red Sox 1st sweep
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
BREAK OUT THE BROOMS
The surprising Rays go for their eighth straight victory when they try to become the first team to sweep Boston in a series this season. Tampa Bay is a season-high eight games over .500 at 69-61 and has allowed three or fewer runs in seven consecutive games. All-Star lefty Blake Snell (15-5, 2.07 ERA) pitches against former teammate Nathan Eovaldi (5-5) in the finale of the three-game set. “He really helped me with my work ethic and led by example,” said Snell, who is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts against Boston this year. “He’s very special.”
Eovaldi is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts for the major league-leading Red Sox since being acquired from the Rays on July 25. Boston (90-41) has lost five of seven. “We’ve been good on getaway days and day games,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It would be a good day to put everything together, finish strong and turn the page in this stadium.”
Kendrys Morales has homered in six consecutive games, tying Jose Cruz Jr. (2001) for the Blue Jays record, heading into their series finale against Philadelphia. Morales, with seven home runs during his streak, matched St. Louis first baseman Matt Carpenter for the longest run in the majors this season. The big league record of eight games in a row with a homer is shared by Dale Long, Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey Jr. The slumping Phillies have lost 17 of their past 21 meetings with Toronto, including six straight north of the border.
NEW YORK BAGELS
The last time the Nationals faced Mets left-hander Steven Matz, they hammered him for seven runs in the first inning on the way to a 25-4 romp. Washington could have used some of those runs the last three games — all shutout losses. The Nationals will try to end their record skid of offensive futility at Citi Field. They haven’t scored since Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off homer Wednesday night. Not since they were the Montreal Expos and were shut out in three straight by the Florida Marlins in 2004 — all three games were played in Puerto Rico — had the franchise been held down like this. The Expos moved to Washington the next season.
THEN AND NOW
Inducted into the Hall of Fame last month, longtime Detroit shortstop Alan Trammell will have his No. 3 retired by the Tigers in a pregame ceremony. After that, touted rookie Michael Kopech takes the mound to make his second major league start for the Chicago White Sox.
In four games since he joined the Chicago Cubs in a trade with the Nationals, Daniel Murphy is 7 for 19 (.368) with two homers and five RBIs. He’ll try to go deep in a third straight game for the Cubs, who have 17 homers in their past 10 games. Success at Wrigley Field is nothing new for Murphy, who is batting .407 in 31 career regular-season games there — all but three of them before he joined the Cubs. Chicago is hoping Murphy can recapture the form of his postseason run with the Mets in 2015, when he went 9 for 17 (.529) with four homers in a four-game NLCS sweep of the Cubs.
END OF THE ROAD
Giants catcher Buster Posey will undergo season-ending hip surgery Monday in Colorado, ending what has been a painful and frustrating year for the six-time All-Star. The 31-year-old Posey has been playing in pain and is hitting .284 with only 41 RBIs and five home runs — his fewest since 2011, the year before he won the NL MVP award. ... Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (bone spurs in both heels) will not play at all this season. Tulowitzki had surgery on both feet at the start of the regular season. The five-time All-Star hasn’t played since July 2017, when he seriously injured his right ankle in a collision at first base.