LEADING OFF: D-backs, Rockies begin series; Sale up for Sox
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
NL WEST SHOWDOWN
Winning streaks are on the line when Arizona and Colorado, probably the two most surprising teams in baseball this season, begin a three-game series at Coors Field. Rookie right-hander German Marquez (5-3, 4.19 ERA) starts for the Rockies, who have won five straight and own the best record in the National League at 46-26. They are 20 games above .500 for the first time since 2009. ''The fans and the people of Denver are starting to get a hint that we're for real,'' third baseman Nolan Arenado said after his game-ending homer Sunday.
Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.00) pitches for the Diamondbacks, winners of seven in a row and just a game behind Colorado in the NL West at 44-26. This is Arizona's best 70-game start in team history.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale comes off his best start in more than a month - and his only loss during that span - when he takes the mound at Kansas City. The major league leader in strikeouts allowed one run and four hits over eight innings while striking out 10 in a 1-0 loss at Philadelphia last Thursday. Boston expects to be without Dustin Pedroia for the second consecutive game after the second baseman was hit by a pitch Sunday night in Houston, causing him to spit up blood. Pedroia was drilled in the left ribcage by a 92 mph fastball from James Hoyt. X-rays were negative and an MRI confirmed Pedroia did not break any ribs. He is day to day, but manager John Farrell said it's unlikely Pedroia will play before the series finale Wednesday.
GLAD TO BE HOME
After dropping the final six games of a 1-6 road trip in California, rookie slugger Aaron Judge and the Yankees return to the Bronx on their longest losing streak of the season. Up first, a rematch with the Angels. Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.71) pitches for New York, which lost two of three to Los Angeles last week. Parker Bridwell (1-0, 2.79) makes his second start for the Angels, taking the rotation spot vacated when Matt Shoemaker went on the disabled list.
MINNY STEP BACK
The Twins will try to rally after a deflating four-game sweep against Cleveland knocked them out of first place in the AL Central. Minnesota has dropped seven of nine overall and is just a game over .500 (34-33) entering a series against the White Sox. Ervin Santana (8-4, 2.56) can spark a turnaround when he faces Chicago left-hander Derek Holland (5-6, 3.79).
Keeping St. Louis leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter off the bases has been nearly impossible of late. The first baseman has five walks over his past two games and a .528 on-base percentage during a 12-game on-base streak, a breakout stretch that followed a 5-for-41 slump. All that table setting hasn't done St. Louis much good, though - the Cards have dropped five of six heading into a three-game series against Philadelphia.