LEADING OFF: Cashner makes Boston debut, Bellinger’s bash
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Andrew Cashner makes his Boston Red Sox debut at Fenway Park against Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays. Cashner was acquired Saturday from Baltimore for two 17-year-old prospects. The 32-year-old righty went 9-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 17 starts for the team with the worst record in the majors. He has gone at least six innings in his last five outings and has a 1.41 ERA since the beginning of June. “This is the World Series champs. It’s a chance to help these guys get to where they want to go,” Cashner said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the race. It’s something I haven’t been in, really.”
CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE
Cody Bellinger, now with the most home runs in the majors, tries to add to his total as the Dodgers (63-33) — with the top record in the big leagues — look for another big outburst in Philadelphia. Bellinger saw a sea of blue behind him in right field and heard “M-V-P” chants throughout the night Monday in Philly as Los Angeles cruised to a 16-2 rout. Bellinger hit his 32nd and 33rd homers to pass reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich for the major league lead and entertained a large group of Dodgers fans who nearly turned it into a home game for Los Angeles. “We’re in Philadelphia. We shouldn’t have that many fans here. That was pretty cool,” Bellinger said.
Mike Trout hopes to return to the lineup when the Angels host AL West-leading Houston in the second game of their series. Trout left Sunday’s win over Seattle early and sat out Monday night against the Astros with a strained right calf. An MRI revealed a small strain, according to the team. “I wanted to be out there, but the training staff didn’t think it was a good idea,” the two-time MVP said.
The surprising big league leader in wins is Texas right-hander Lance Lynn (12-4, 3.69 ERA), who goes for No. 13 when the Rangers host the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lynn is 8-0 at home after signing a $30 million, three-year contract with Texas as a free agent in December.
With their All-Star backstop sidelined, the Chicago Cubs quickly found some experienced help behind the plate Monday night. The NL Central leaders acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City that sent left-hander Mike Montgomery to the Royals. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein also announced that top catcher Willson Contreras was going on the 10-day injured list with a strain to the arch area of his right foot.
The 32-year-old Maldonado, a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels, was batting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games for the struggling Royals this season. The Cubs weren’t sure if he would arrive at Wrigley Field in time for Tuesday night’s game against Cincinnati.
Epstein said Contreras should improve quickly with rest and the team hopes he’ll be ready to play once eligible to return from a backdated stint on the IL.