MLB on Sling TV: Red Sox vs. Tigers on TBS; Mets at Giants on ESPN; All the Action on Fox Sports Regional Networks
(All times Eastern, starters subject to change)
Boston Red Sox (Rodriguez 2-5, 5.11) vs. Detroit Tigers (Verlander 12-7, 3.44)
1pm ET on TBS
Since returning on July 16 from exile to the minors, where he worked on not tipping his pitches, Eduardo Rodriguez had been rolling along nicely with a 2.80 ERA over 35 ⅓ innings pitched, and on Tuesday took the hill against the Orioles with a chance to pull the Sox even with them for 2nd place. E-Rod had a no-hitter through 4 shutout innings, striking out 7, while giving up just 2 walks, only to take an early shower when he pulled up lame with a tight hamstring while facing Stephen Pearce to lead off the 5th. The Sox would go on to win, as Mookie Betts hit 2 homers to drive in all of Boston’s runs in 5-3 win, and apparently the Sox got Rodriguez out of there in time to avoid any serious damage, as he’s slated to go Sunday. The headed into the weekend at 67-53, tied with the Orioles for second place, a game and a half back of the Blue Jays in the AL East, and 3 games up on the Mariners in the Wild Card race.
Is there a better candidate than Justin Verlander for AL Comeback Player of the Year? Can a guy “come back” from a 15-12 season? Can he “come back” two years after a 15-12 season? Can he win the award for a season in which his walks, homers and ERA are all up? These are the philosophical questions that haunt the baseball nerd’s mind. In any event, Verlander is back to being one of the 10 best starters in the AL, holding opposing batters to a .646 OPS while pitching the second-most innings and striking out the second-most hitters. He’s been great over his last 9 starts, going 5-1 with a 2.01 ERA, though he did serve up 3 homers to KC in a 12-7 loss in his last outing. But he’s still engaged to Kate Upton. At 64-57, the Tigers are 6 games back of the Indians in the AL Central race, and 3 ½ back of the BoSox and O’s in the Wild Card race.
Watch the Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers at 1pm ET on TBS by subscribing to Sling Orange or Sling Blue..
New York Mets (Syndergaard 10-7, 2.76) vs. San Francisco Giants (Samardzija 10-8, 4.24)
8pm ET on ESPN
Noah Syndergaard’s 2016 peaked at approximately 10:16pm ET on June 15, as he’d run his record to 7-2 with a 1.91 ERA after giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, while fanning 11 in 8 ⅓ innings en route to an 11-2 win over the Pirates. Since then he’s been haunted by .406 BABIP that has led to a 4.09 ERA over his last 55 innings, despite the fact that he struck out 65 batters and given up just 5 homers.
The NL Central is essentially beyond reach for the Metropolitans, who headed into Friday’s action 11 ½ games behind the Nationals, and the Wild Card is slowly slipping away, as they’re 4 ½ out of the hunt for the second spot, with Marlins and Pirates ahead of them.
When the Giants originally signed Jeff “The Shark” Samardzija to a 5-year, $90 million deal last off-season, everybody thought they were nuts, as $18 million per seemed awfully high for a guy who’d only had one season with a WAR higher than 1.8. But then Samardzija started the 2016 campaign by going 7-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 71 innings spanning 10 starts, and suddenly Giants GM Brian Sabean looked like a genius. Since then, however, Samardzija has gone 3-6 with a 5.73 ERA in 81 ⅔ innings spanning 14 starts, and suddenly Sabean look like a guy shelling out $18 million for middle-of-the-rotation starter on the wrong side of 30.
The Giants have been in free fall since the All Star break and on Tuesday found themselves in 2nd place in the NL West for the first time since May 10. The Giants went into the weekend at 67-54, a half-game behind the Dodgers, but in sole possession – for now – of the first Wild Card berth.
Watch the New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants at 8pm ET on ESPN by subscribing to Sling Orange..
Here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land:
Boston Red Sox (Rodriguez 2-5, 5.11) at Detroit Tigers (Verlander 12-7, 3.44)
1:10pm ET on FOX Sports Detroit
Los Angeles Dodgers (Maeda 12-7, 3.29) at Cincinnati Reds (DeSclafani 7-1, 3.10)
1:10pm ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati
Texas Rangers (Perez 8-8, 4.09) at Tampa Bay Rays (Smyly 5-11, 4.85)
1:10pm ET on FOX Sports Southwest & Fox Sports Sun
Toronto Blue Jays (Stroman 9-5, 4.63) at Cleveland Indians (Kluber 13-8, 3.15)
1:10pm ET on SportsTime Ohio
Miami Marlins (Urena 1-4, 6.80) at Pittsburgh Pirates (Vogelsong 2-2, 3.20)
1:35pm ET on FOX Sports Florida
St. Louis Cardinals (Leake 8-9, 4.78) at Philadelphia Phillies (Velasquez 8-5, 4.14)
1:35pm ET on FOX Sports Midwest
Washington Nationals (Gonzalez 8-9, 4.28) at Atlanta Braves (De La Cruz 0-6, 3.72)
1:35pm ET on FOX Sports South
Minnesota Twins (Santana 6-9, 3.43) at Kansas City Royals (Duffy 10-1, 2.73)
2:15pm ET on FOX Sports Kansas City & FOX Sports North
New York Yankees (Green 2-2, 4.05) at Los Angeles Angels (Chacin 3-8, 5.92)
3:35pm ET on YES & FOX Sports West
Milwaukee Brewers (Garza 4-5, 4.87) at Seattle Mariners (Miranda 1-0, 5.79)
4:10pm ET on FOX Sports Wisconsin
Arizona Diamondbacks (Shipley 2-2, 4.30) at San Diego Padres (Perdomo 5-7, 6.68)
4:40pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona & FOX Sports San Diego
Watch baseball on FOX and FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to Sling Blue.