LEADING OFF: Smeltzer’s amazing story, Paxton vs Paddack
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
The inspiring story of Twins pitcher Devin Smeltzer is sure to spread following his dazzling debut in the big leagues.
Diagnosed with a grapefruit-sized cancerous tumor against his bladder when he was just 9 years old, Smeltzer wasn’t deterred in his goal to reach the majors. He made it Tuesday and pitched six shutout innings for Minnesota against Milwaukee at Target Field.
The lanky, 23-year-old lefty with a funky delivery gave up three hits, walked none and struck out seven. He got a no-decision in a game the Twins won.
“I know that tomorrow, between the lines, may not happen. It’s been told to me before, and I don’t take a day for granted out there,” he said later.
Yankees lefty James Paxton is set to start against San Diego after missing nearly a month because of inflammation in his left knee. He is 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA in seven starts this season. Manager Aaron Boone says Paxton will have a limited pitch count as he comes off the injured list.
Padres rookie Chris Paddack (4-2, 1.93) will start at Yankee Stadium. The 23-year-old righty was scratched from a scheduled start in Toronto on Sunday with a stiff neck.
AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays will see how many fans show up at Tropicana Field for the series finale against Toronto.
An announced gathering of 5,786 — the smallest crowd ever for the Rays at the Trop — saw Tampa Bay beat the Blue Jays 3-1 on Tuesday.
“I noticed it during the anthem, and I was like: ‘Oh it’s still early, maybe people will still file in,’” Rays pitcher Ryne Stanek said.
The Rays routinely rank at or near the bottom of the major leagues in attendance. They began the night averaging an AL-worst 14,578 per game.
There have been only two smaller crowds for big league games played in the domed stadium, both in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey forced relocation of a Rangers-Astros series from Houston. Those teams attracted a low of 3,385.
Cardinals left-hander Genesis Cabrera makes his major league debut when he starts at Philadelphia against ace Aaron Nola (5-0, 4.53 ERA).
The Twins will see how center fielder Byron Buxton is a feeling, a day after he crashed hard into the fence at Target Field trying to catch a flyball. Buxton exited early. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Buxton was OK and that it was a precautionary move. ... Cubs infielder Kris Bryant has missed two games after an outfield collision with Jason Heyward, but could return for the series wrapup at Houston.