LEADING OFF: Mets begin 4-game set vs Nats, Cubs struggling
A look at what's happening all around the majors today.
BIG ONE BEFORE THE BREAK
The NL East-leading Nationals begin a four-game series to end the first half of the season against the second-place Mets with four games separating the teams. Washington's offense broke out Wednesday in a 7-4 win over Milwaukee, with Bryce Harper hitting the Nats' first homer in three games. The Mets, meanwhile, have won six of seven . Youngster Lucas Giolito (0-0, 0.00) makes his second ML start for the Nationals and will face 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (7-4, 2.87) in the opener.
BAD NEWS BEARS
The struggling Cubs host the Braves for one game to make up a rainout from April 30. Chicago is coming off a lost series vs. Cincinnati and has dropped 12 of its past 17 games. ''I can't connect a bunch of negative dots. It just happened,'' said manager Joe Maddon, who believes this poor stretch is more a ''snapshot'' than a sign of bigger problems. Jason Hammel (7-5, 3.45) of the Cubs takes on Lucas Harrell (1-0, 1.50), who is coming off his first major league start in more than two years.
Dodgers right-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu makes his season debut and his first start since the 2014 playoffs when L.A. faces San Diego. He had shoulder surgery in May 2015 after going 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA in 2014. The Padres counter with Drew Pomeranz (7-7, 2.65).
Hard-throwing pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow will make his major league debut for Pittsburgh against St. Louis. The 6-foot-8 right-hander has a 1.78 ERA in 96 innings at Triple-A Indianapolis, runs his fastball up to 99 mph and also throws an impressive curveball. He was a fifth-round draft pick in 2011 and has ranked among the Pirates' top prospects since breaking out in Class-A in 2013. ''It's a downhill angle,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ''It's firm. It's hard. The curveball plays. The changeup he'll use aggressively as well. He's shown the ability to throw those secondary pitches in offensive counts.'' Adam Wainwright (7-5, 4.70) - another tall right-hander with an exceptional curveball - is up for the Cardinals.
Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer (7-2, 3.02) tries to extend a dominant stretch when he faces the Yankees. Bauer's overpowering stuff is finally translating into outstanding results - he has a 1.81 ERA over his past seven appearances (six starts) and hasn't lost since May 21. Ivan Nova (5-5, 5.06) is up for the Yankees.