LEADING OFF: Freeman vs Braves, Hill’s special Patriots’ Day

Apr 17, 2022, 10:22 AM | Updated: 10:23 pm
Los Angeles Dodgers' Freddie Freeman, second from left, hits a single as Cincinnati Reds starting p...

Los Angeles Dodgers' Freddie Freeman, second from left, hits a single as Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle, left, watches long with catcher Tyler Stephenson, right, and home plate umpire Jim Reynolds during the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

A look at what’s happening around baseball today:

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OLD FRIENDS

Freddie Freeman faces the Braves in Los Angeles for the first time since leaving the World Series champions and signing a $162 million, six-year deal with the Dodgers last month.

A five-time All-Star in 12 seasons with Atlanta, Freeman said at his introductory news conference in LA that he expected to be a lifelong Brave and expressed frustration with Atlanta GM Alex Anthopoulos. The 2020 NL MVP is hitting .324 with four RBIs in nine games this season.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing all the guys,” Freeman said. “We’re champions forever together, so that’s the best part about all this.”

Freeman and the Dodgers don’t travel to Atlanta until June 24, when Freeman will be presented with his World Series ring.

The showdown is also a rematch of last year’s NL Championship Series, and a homecoming for Atlanta closer Kenley Jansen, who pitched 12 seasons for the Dodgers before signing with the Braves last month.

Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 0.00) starts for Los Angeles after throwing seven perfect innings in his season debut.

HEARTBROKEN HILL

Red Sox veteran Rich Hill is set to pitch on Patriots’ Day at Fenway Park days after the death of his father, who ran the Boston Marathon 37 times.

Lloyd Hill Sr. died Friday at age 94, and Rich Hill says he anticipates having his father on his mind for the 11:10 a.m. first pitch. Hill was raised in nearby Milton, Massachusetts, and knows well the significance Marathon Monday holds in Boston.

The 42-year-old Hill (0-0, 6.23) will face the Twins and right-hander Dylan Bundy (1-0, 0.00).

TAKE A DAY

Mike Trout is unlikely to be in the Angels’ lineup for a game at Houston a day after being hit in the hand by an 81 mph slider. X-rays on the hand were negative, and Los Angeles says the three-time AL MVP is day to day.

Trout said he initially thought he broke the hand. He had trouble picking up Spencer Patton’s pitch in the shadows at Texas and lowered his hands into the path of the ball to protect his midsection.

“Could have hit me anywhere else, but hit me in my hand,” he said.

HERE’S THE PITCH

With both teams off to strong starts, the San Francisco Giants (7-2) and New York Mets (7-3) meet in the opener of a four-game series at Citi Field.

Mets right-hander Tylor Megill (2-0, 0.00 ERA), the rotation replacement for injured ace Jacob deGrom, has struck out 11 batters and walked none in 10 1/3 shutout innings this season. New York starters have a 1.07 ERA — lowest for any team after 10 games since earned runs became an official statistic in both leagues back in 1913.

Alex Cobb (1-0, 3.60) pitches for the Giants, who have won five straight. San Francisco starters have permitted no more than two runs in nine consecutive games — the second-longest such streak since 1901. Only the 1966 Chicago White Sox (11) had a better stretch to open a season.

PRIZED IMPORT

Seiya Suzuki and the Chicago Cubs host two-time defending AL East champion Tampa Bay at Wrigley Field. Suzuki hit his fourth home run of the season Sunday at Colorado, extending an impressive start to his major league career. The 27-year-old outfielder from Japan is batting .400 and has hit safely in eight straight games with an at-bat. He’s reached base in all nine games with the Cubs.

AWARDS SEASON

A pair of AL Cy Young Award winners square off when White Sox lefty Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 5.40 ERA) faces Guardians ace Shane Bieber (0-0, 2.70) in frigid Cleveland, where rain and snow is forecast. In their first home series since the club’s name change, the Guardians managed just six hits and four runs over the weekend in a three-game sweep by San Francisco.

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LEADING OFF: Freeman vs Braves, Hill’s special Patriots’ Day