MLB on Sling TV: Cubs at Astros, or Red Sox at Blue Jays in Battle for 1st Place; Saturday’s Action on FOX Sports Regional Networks
(all times Eastern, starters subject to change)
Chicago Cubs (Lackey 9-7, 3.36) at Houston Astros (McHugh 9-10, 4.96)
1pm ET on FOX
John Lackey recently missed three weeks on the DL, only to comeback and give up 2 runs on just a hit and a walk in 5 innings, while fanning 4, as the Cubs beat the Giants 3-2 on Sunday. Because the Cubs lead the NL Central by about 400 games, they’re taking the opportunity to go with a 6-man rotation, giving their guys a nice mix of rest and regular work with an eye toward be ready for the playoffs. One can hardly blame them.
Collin McHugh suffered a backslide this year, going from very good to meh.. McHugh’s been victimized by a spike in his home run rate from .8 per 9 last year to 1.4 this year, and his BABIP has jumped as well, from .312 to .363. Things have been particularly bad since his July 29th implosion against Detroit, when he gave up 8 runs on 10 hits in 1 ⅔ innings. Dating back to that disaster, McHugh’s got a 7.28 ERA over 38 ⅓ innings on 58 hits – including 10 homers.
The Cubs head into the weekend with the best record in baseball at 89-50, a a 16-game lead over the cards in the Central and a magic number of just 8. The Astros are 74-66, 8 ½ back of the Rangers in the AL West, and 2 ½ out of the Wild Card hunt, with four teams ahead of them.
Boston Red Sox (Rodriguez 2-6, 4.83) at Toronto Blue Jays (Happ 17-4, 3.34)
1pm ET on FOX
Woe betide Eduardo Rodriguez… On August 16 he had to leave a game against Baltimore after having pitched 4 no-hit innings, as his hamstring started to flare up. After 11 days of nursing the injury, he came back against KC and had serious control problems, giving up 5 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks in just 5 ⅓ innings. Then, on Sunday, against the A’s, he pitched no-hit ball for 7 ⅔, only to have the third out of the 8th inning overturned on review and ruled a single. Closer Craig Kimbrel came on in the 9th, promptly walked the leadoff hitter, and then gave up a walk-off double to Khris Davis.
J.A. Happ, meanwhile, has been enjoying a season of good fortune, thanks in part to a robust run support of 6.40, though to be fair, he’s only allowed more than 3 runs on 6 occasions – he did, however win 3 of those games. In his lone start against Boston this year, he handcuffed the Red Sox, giving up just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk en route to a 4-3 win.
On Wednesday, the Red Sox moved into sole possession of 1st place in the AL East for the first time since June 4, and at 78-61 on Friday morning found themselves a game ahead of the Blue Jays, who at 77-62 were atop the Wild Card contenders, a game ahead of Baltimore.
Watch the Chicago Cubs vs. the Houston Astros, or the Boston Red Sox vs. the Toronto Blue Jays at 1pm ET Saturday on FOX by subscribing to Sling Blue.
Here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land:
Tampa Bay Rays (Archer 8-17, 4.06) at New York Yankees (Tanaka 12-4, 3.11)
1:05pm ET on FOX
Cincinnati Reds (Stephenson 2-1, 3.12) at Pittsburgh Pirates (Hutchinson 1-0, 4.97)
7:05pm ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati
Baltimore Orioles (Jimenez 6-11, 6.19) at Detroit Tigers (Zimmerman 9-5, 4.44)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Detroit
Cleveland Indians (Clevinger 2-2, 5.30) at Minnesota Twins (Santiago 11-8, 4.91)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports North & SportsTime Ohio
Kansas City Royals (Volquez 10-10, 5.02) at Chicago White Sox (Shields 5-17, 6.07)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Kansas City
Los Angeles Dodgers (Hill 11-3, 1.94) at Miami Marlins (Koehler 9-10, 3.87)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida
New York Mets (Lugo 3-2, 2.38) at Atlanta Braves (Teheran 5-9, 3.01)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports South & FOX Sports Midwest
Milwaukee Brewers (Anderson 8-11, 4.73) at St. Louis Cardinals (Wainwright 10-8, 4.61)
7:15pm ET on FOX Sports Wisconsin
San Francisco Giants (Cueto 14-5, 2.92) at Arizona Diamondbacks (Bradley 6-8, 4.85)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona
Colorado Rockies (Gray 9-7, 4.51) at San Diego Padres (Friedrich 4-10, 4.99)
8:40pm ET on FOX Sports San Diego
Texas Rangers (Hamels 14-5, 3.25) at Los Angeles Angels (Wright 0-2, 7.62)
9:05pm ET on FOX Sports Southwest & FOX Sports West
Watch baseball on FOX and FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to Sling Blue.