LEADING OFF: 5 day games, Strasburg vs Carrasco
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
Four games are set to start at 1:35 p.m. EDT or earlier, including Nationals-Indians and Phillies-Marlins at 12:10, Padres-Blue Jays at 12:37 and Tigers-Red Sox at 1:35. The West Coast gets to play in the sun, too, with Rays-Dodgers starting at 3:10 p.m. EDT and Reds-Giants at 3:45.
STRASBURG VS CARRASCO
Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg (13-1, 2.83) seeks a bounce back against Cleveland and right-hander Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 2.31) after suffering his first loss in his last start. Strasburg allowed six runs in six innings in a 6-3 defeat to the Dodgers after winning his previous three outings in dominant fashion. Carrasco threw six scoreless innings and only allowed one hit in an 11-4 victory over Kansas City in his last start.
LONG, STRANGE TRIP
Following a circuitous jaunt to the Canadian border, new Toronto outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. is expected to get his first start for the Blue Jays against San Diego. Upton was traded by the Padres on Tuesday when they were already in Toronto, but joining his new team was much more complicated than walking across the field. Requiring a work visa to enter Canada as a member of the Blue Jays, he drove 1 1/2 hours to Lewiston, New York, and back to Toronto before Tuesday night's game. ''Sat at border patrol for a little while, jumped in the car and came back,'' Upton said. ''It all went pretty smoothly.'' Upton grounded into a fielder's choice as a pinch-hitter Tuesday. He was having a resurgent season with the Padres, batting .256 with 16 homers, 45 RBIs, 46 runs and 20 steals. He's hit three game-ending home runs.
BIRDS OF PREY
St. Louis tries to extend its recent power surge against Logan Verrett (3-6) and the Mets at Citi Field. The Cardinals have homered in 17 consecutive games, their longest streak since a club-record run of 19 games in 2006. They lead the NL in long balls and have already surpassed last season's total of 137. The last time they topped the league was 1998, the Elias Sports Bureau said, when Mark McGwire hit 70 of their 223. Part-time infielder Jedd Gyorko has been a steady power source lately, with seven home runs in nine games.
NEED SOME SUPPORT
Yu Darvish looks for a little help when Texas plays Oakland. Darvish is winless in two starts since coming off the disabled list, but the Rangers have scored only two runs combined for him in those games. The right-hander from Japan struck out 11 in six innings against Kansas City last Friday. He is 1-8 in 10 career starts against the A's. Rookie lefty Sean Manaea makes his fifth start for Oakland since coming off the DL, and in his last three, the A's have scored only one run in his 20 innings.
Ichiro Suzuki made his first start in five games Tuesday and went 1 for 5, giving him 2,997 career hits. He also stole a base and scored a run. He had an extra-base hit taken away in his first at-bat when Peter Bourjos made an impressive catch in right-center.