LEADING OFF: Rizzo on a roll, Phils drive for 5, Rendon done
A look at what’s happening around the majors on Thursday:
Anthony Rizzo and the New York Yankees host surprising Seattle in the opener of a four-game series between AL wild-card contenders.
Rizzo homered again Wednesday night in a win over Baltimore, making him the first player in Yankees history with at least one RBI in each of his first six games with the club.
The first baseman became just the fourth player in the majors over the last 70 years to do it — Bobby Murcer drove in a run in his first seven games with the Chicago Cubs in 1977 and Jimmy Wynn (Dodgers, 1974) and Jim Spencer (Texas, 1973) did it six in a row, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“To be No. 1 at anything for a Yankee is very special, is very humbling because of the history here and all the success here,” Rizzo said.
Sent from the Chicago Cubs to the Yankees last Thursday, a day before the trade deadline, Rizzo has hit three home runs for New York — and six in his last 10 games overall.
New York (58-49) has scored double-digit runs in consecutive games for the first time this year and can move a season-high 10 games over .500.
Meanwhile, the Mariners just took two of three at Tampa Bay to finish 6-1 against the first-place Rays this year. Seattle trails Oakland by three games for the second AL wild card, while the Yankees are two behind the A’s.
Tyler Anderson makes his second start for the Mariners (58-51) since being acquired from Pittsburgh.
“We’re not taking a back seat to anybody,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Aaron Nola (7-6, 4.30 ERA) takes the mound as Philadelphia tries to extend the longest current winning streak in the majors to five by completing a four-game sweep in Washington. The surging Phillies (55-53) are 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets in the NL East.
MISSING IN MILWAUKEE
The NL Central-leading Brewers are again shuffling their pitching staff with reliever John Axford now out for the season because of elbow trouble and starter Eric Lauer joining the team’s growing COVID-19 injured list.
The 38-year-old Axford, who began this season on the Toronto Blue Jays’ broadcast crew, pitched in the majors Monday for the first time since 2018. But he sustained significant damage to his right elbow and is done for the year.
Lauer started Monday against Pittsburgh and threw five shutout innings. He’ll have to sit out at least 10 days due to his positive virus test.
Lauer joins All-Star closer Josh Hader, relievers Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave and Hunter Strickland, outfielder Christian Yelich and first baseman Keston Hiura on the Brewers’ COVID-19 injured list.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon will have season-ending surgery on his right hip, ending an injury-plagued year.
Rendon was limited to 58 games and had been out since July 6 with a strained left hamstring. The 31-year-old also missed time this year with knee and groin injuries.
The team hopes Rendon will be ready for spring training next year.
Rendon signed a $245 million, seven-year contract after helping Washington win the 2019 World Series. He hit a career-low .240 this year with six homers and 34 RBIs.
Rendon joins three-time AL MVP Mike Trout on the 60-day injured list. Trout went on the injured list May 18 with a right calf strain. He has been out longer than expected, but the Angels say the plan remains for the nine-time All-Star to play this season.
NL batting leader Nick Castellanos is nearing a return to the Reds lineup after being out since July 22 with an injured right wrist.
Castellanos took batting practice for almost a half-hour Wednesday and manager David Bell said he “might be a day away” from returning. The All-Star outfielder is hitting. 329.
The Reds open a four-game series in Cincinnati against Pittsburgh.
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