LEADING OFF: Sale vs Yanks; Thor vs Dickey; injuries pile up
A look at what's happening around the majors Thursday:
Chris Sale (1-1, 0.91 ERA) brings his impressive numbers against the Yankees to the mound when the Red Sox host New York in the finale of a series shortened by rain. The lefty is 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA in his career vs. the Yankees, the lowest ERA against them for any pitcher with at least 50 innings since earned runs became a stat in 1912. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 6.00) goes for New York.
The Mets acquired Noah Syndergaard from Toronto in December 2012 by trading away R.A. Dickey, that year's NL Cy Young Award winner, in a seven-player swap. Now the two pitchers will face each other for the first time when New York hosts Atlanta. Syndergaard (1-1, 1.73 ERA), who is 24, had just completed a season with Class A Lansing when the deal was consummated but has since emerged as the majors' hardest-throwing starter. The 42-year-old Dickey (1-2, 3.86) and his knuckleball are 50-54 with a 4.05 ERA following the trade, and this will be his first start at Citi Field since leaving the Mets. ''Polar differences right there,'' Braves manager Brian Snitker said. ''Both ends of the spectrum.''
Injuries are piling up for some key players around the majors. Houston second baseman Jose Altuve (left shoulder), White Sox slugger Jose Abreu (right hip) and Milwaukee first baseman Eric Thames (left hamstring) are among those to get banged up recently. Boston hopes second baseman Dustin Pedroia can return to the lineup Thursday after missing three games with a sore left knee. Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (right shoulder inflammation) and San Francisco leadoff hitter Denard Span (shoulder) went on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday.
The surroundings don't seem to intimidate Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 2.08 ERA), even when he's pitching at Coors Field. The 22-year-old right-hander from Venezuela is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA at the hitter-friendly ballpark this season. He faces hot-hitting Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals to close out a four-game series.
Young lefty Julio Urias returns to the majors and makes his first start of the season for the Dodgers in San Francisco. He might be up for good, too. ''We can now get Julio here, and he can be with us for the duration,'' manager Dave Roberts said. Los Angeles left the 20-year-old Urias in the minors at the start of the year to limit his workload. The prized pitcher was 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 77 big league innings last year.
LET'S PLAY TWO
After getting rained out Wednesday, the Blue Jays and Cardinals play a day-night doubleheader to wrap up their interleague series in St. Louis. Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez is looking for his first win of the season - he is 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA in four starts.
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