LEADING OFF: D-backs keep pitching amid no-hitter debate
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Right-hander Merrill Kelly (1-2, 7.71 ERA) starts for the Diamondbacks when they host Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres following a dominant pitching performance in a doubleheader at Atlanta.
Madison Bumgarner tossed a seven-inning no-hitter against the Braves on Sunday after Zac Gallen threw a one-hit shutout in the opener.
Bumgarner didn’t get credit for a no-hitter in the Major League Baseball record book. An MLB committee in 1991 ruled a no-hitter had to go at least nine innings and the Elias Sports Bureau — the sport’s official statistician — repeated that stance last year when seven-inning doubleheaders began.
Bumgarner’s gem has ignited a lively debate among fans over whether it should count as a no-hitter. There currently are no plans by MLB to revisit the decision.
SPRINGER AND SCHERZER
Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo was optimistic that outfielder George Springer would finally be ready to make his Blue Jays debut when they host Washington in Dunedin, Florida. MVP of the 2017 World Series with Houston, Springer signed a team-record $150 million, six-year deal with the Blue Jays during the offseason but has been slowed since spring training — first because of a strained oblique and then by a right quadriceps strain.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (1-1, 1.80 ERA), who has pitched 17 1/3 straight scoreless innings, is on the mound for the Nationals. Toronto counters with a bullpen day in the opener of a five-game homestand. It is the second homestand at the club’s spring training complex, where the Blue Jays are playing through at least May.
Fresh off their first four-game sweep on the road since 1999, surprising Kansas City opens a three-game series at Pittsburgh.
Carlos Santana, Whit Merrifield and the Royals are 14-7 and own the best record in the American League. They’ve won a season-high five in a row, boosted by four straight wins at Detroit.
The Royals haven’t finished over .500 since winning the 2015 World Series.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but we’re expecting good things to happen,” manager Mike Matheny said.
The Royals’ bullpen has been a big help — KC has won 58 consecutive games, dating to June 2019, when leading after the seventh inning for the longest such streak in baseball.
Jakob Junis is scheduled to start against the Pirates in the series opener, but All-Star catcher Salvador Perez might not be in the lineup. Perez exited Monday’s win with an injured right thumb after tagging out Miguel Cabrera and is day to day.
There’s a quality pitching matchup in Cleveland for the second of 19 meetings this season between the Indians and Minnesota Twins.
Kenta Maeda (1-1, 6.11 ERA), runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award last year in his first season with Minnesota, has won all three of his career starts against Cleveland, posting a 0.50 ERA with 20 strikeouts over 18 innings.
Indians right-hander Aaron Civale (3-0, 2.42) has not lost in four starts this season, allowing only 14 hits and nine walks in 26 innings while striking out 22.
The teams have combined to win the last five AL Central titles, with Minnesota the two-time defending champion.
Cleveland won their first matchup this year when Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer leading off the 10th inning against Twins closer Alex Colomé to give the Indians a 5-3 victory Monday night that dropped Minnesota to 0-5 in extra-inning games.
CHANGE AT THE TOP
The last-place Colorado Rockies are under new leadership after Jeff Bridich stepped down as general manager Monday, ending a tumultuous tenure that included two playoff appearances and a falling out with Nolan Arenado that ultimately led to the star third baseman’s offseason trade to St. Louis.
The team announced the decision was a mutual agreement with Bridich, who was in his seventh season as GM. The club will appoint an interim general manager for the rest of the season before launching a search following the postseason.
Bridich said in a statement that he recently had a conversation with owner Dick Monfort and newly appointed team president Greg Feasel about the team’s future.
“It became abundantly clear that ushering in a new leadership structure is critically important,” Bridich said. “Ultimately it will be what is best for the Rockies and for me.”
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