LEADING OFF: Local rivalries, Phils vs Mets for NL East lead

Aug 5, 2021, 10:20 AM | Updated: 10:41 pm

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Friday:

___

NEIGHBORHOOD RIVALRIES

In-state interleague matchups take center stage in several locales as the Chicago White Sox play the Cubs in a Wrigley Field matinee, the Los Angeles Dodgers host the Angels, and the Kansas City Royals visit the St. Louis Cardinals.

Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.07 ERA), with the lowest ERA in the majors, pitches for the AL Central-leading White Sox against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (13-4, 3.71), who is tied for most wins.

CHANGE AT THE TOP?

First place in the NL East is on the line when Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies welcome the New York Mets for the opener of a pivotal three-game series.

“Can’t wait,” Harper said. “I hope that place is rockin’ all the way to the top.”

New York has been atop the division every day since May 8, but the surging Phillies are only a half-game behind and can overtake the scuffling Mets with a victory. Philadelphia is riding a five-game winning streak, the longest current run in the majors, and is three games over .500 for the first time since May 14.

Phillies newcomer Kyle Gibson (7-3, 2.86 ERA) pitches against Marcus Stroman (7-10, 2.80).

POTENTIAL PLAYOFF PREVIEW

New slugger Kris Bryant and the San Francisco Giants are at Milwaukee in a matchup of National League division leaders. Logan Webb (5-3, 3.33 ERA) starts against Brewers All-Star Corbin Burnes (6-4, 2.46).

FLYING HIGH

Bo Bichette and the Toronto Blue Jays (57-49) have won six of seven since returning north of the border last week to move a season-best eight games above .500. Next up, they host AL East rival Boston in a four-game weekend series. Rookie right-hander Alek Manoah (3-1, 2.47 ERA) pitches the opener against Nathan Eovaldi (9-6, 3.71) and the Red Sox.

Blue Jays starting pitchers have a 1.25 ERA over 43 1/3 innings through the first seven games of their homestand. At the plate, Bichette has 15 RBIs in 13 games since moving into the cleanup spot.

Eovaldi is seeking his first win since July 1. He held the hard-hitting Blue Jays scoreless for 6 2/3 innings on June 14.

Toronto has 164 home runs, tied with San Francisco for the major league lead.

ALL OR NOTHING

Javier Báez has hit two big home runs for the Mets — both in victories — since the NL East leaders acquired the star shortstop in a trade-deadline deal with the Chicago Cubs.

In his other four games, all Mets defeats, Báez is a combined 1 for 16.

Báez reached a new low Thursday by striking out in all five plate appearances during a loss to the Miami Marlins.

“Javy is a free swinger. That’s something we know we can probably work on and get better at,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A pitch invader runs across the field with a rainbow flag during the World Cup group H soccer match...
Associated Press

Protester with rainbow flag banned from World Cup matches

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The protester who ran onto the field during a World Cup match carrying a rainbow flag and wearing a blue Superman T-shirt with messages in support of Ukraine and Iranian women was banned Tuesday from attending any more matches during the tournament in Qatar. The World Cup organizing committee said in […]
1 day ago
FILE — Voria Ghafouri, right, fights for the ball with Iraqi midfielder Hussein Ali, during the A...
Associated Press

Iran releases soccer players ahead of match against US

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian authorities said Tuesday that two former members of the national soccer team arrested this month in connection with nationwide protests have been released on bail. The announcement came hours before Iran was set to play the U.S. at the World Cup in a match that authorities are heavily […]
1 day ago
Cameroon's head coach Rigobert Song arrives to the field for the World Cup group G soccer match bet...
Associated Press

Cameroon goalkeeper Onana leaves World Cup after dispute

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana has apparently left the World Cup and is going home after being dropped from the country’s squad for disciplinary reasons. A photo posted by a Cameroonian journalist on social media shows the Inter Milan goalkeeper at the airport on Tuesday. The Cameroon team spokesman did not […]
1 day ago
Associated Press correspondent Isabel DeBre films a selfie video in front of Lusail Stadium in Lusa...
Associated Press

4 World Cup matches in 1 day? An AP reporter’s challenge

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Qatar’s World Cup is the most compact in history, with all eight stadiums radiating from the capital city in a country smaller than the U.S. state of Connecticut and the two farthest stadiums barely 41 miles (66 kilometers) apart. That led to a question during the tournament’s group stage: Can a […]
1 day ago
Canada head coach John Herdman yells as Canada forward Alphonso Davies (19) looks on during the sec...
Associated Press

Canada heads home from the World Cup with work to be done

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — While Canada is understandably disappointed to be heading home following the World Cup’s group stage, in a way the team’s work is just beginning with an eye toward 2026. The Canadians will turn their attention to their preparation for the next World Cup, which they will co-host with the United States […]
1 day ago
Spain's head coach Luis Enrique walks off the pitch with the players at the end of the World Cup gr...
Associated Press

Veterans keep important role in Spain’s young World Cup team

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After the final whistle of Spain’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the World Cup on Sunday, coach Luis Enrique went out to the field and began talking to some of his players. He spent more time with one in particular, Sergio Busquets, the only remaining member of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad […]
1 day ago
LEADING OFF: Local rivalries, Phils vs Mets for NL East lead