LEADING OFF: Cards shuffle infield, Hamels vs Keuchel redux
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
SHUFFLING THE CARDS
Three-time All-Star Jhonny Peralta makes his season debut for St. Louis after injuring his thumb in spring training - but he'll do it at third base because of the emergence of rookie Aledmys Diaz at shortstop. Diaz has become a leading Rookie of the Year candidate with a .328 batting average, eight homers and 38 RBIs. The Cardinals demoted second baseman Kolten Wong to make room for Peralta and will slide Matt Carpenter from third base to second against Cincinnati.
Top left-handers Cole Hamels and Dallas Keuchel share the mound for the second time in just more than two weeks, this time at Texas instead of Houston. Hamels (5-1, 3.39 ERA) allowed one earned run over eight innings in a 9-2 victory against the Astros on May 22, while Keuchel (3-7, 5.50) gave up seven runs in six innings. Hamels is six shy of 2,000 career strikeouts.
Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum makes his second start for Triple-A Salt Lake. The 31-year-old righty signed with the Los Angeles Angels last month and is coming back from hip surgery last September. Lincecum gave up three runs and three hits in five innings last week. The former Giants star pitches at Reno, a Diamondbacks affiliate.
THIRD TIME A CHARM?
Teenage prospect Julio Urias (0-1, 9.39 ERA) gets his third shot at big league hitters when the Dodgers host Colorado. The 19-year-old lefty struggled in his first two starts, allowing three homers and six runs over five innings in a loss to the Cubs last time out. Urias did not give up three homers in any of his 63 minor league starts.
TIES THAT BIND
Rained out Monday night, the Mets and Pirates play a single-admission doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. In a matchup of 2015 NL playoff teams, rookie Steven Matz (7-1) and right-hander Jacob deGrom (3-1) are scheduled to pitch for New York. Pittsburgh has ex-Met Jon Niese (5-2) and fellow lefty Francisco Liriano (4-5) lined up. Niese was traded to the Pirates in December for second baseman Neil Walker, who is returning to play in his Pittsburgh hometown for the first time since the deal. The Pirates won all six meetings between the clubs last season.