LEADING OFF: Angels star Trout set to draw a crowd in Philly
A look at what’s happening around the majors on Friday:
Angels star Mike Trout is likely to have a big rooting section at Citizens Bank Park all weekend for a series against the Phillies.
Trout is from the South Jersey city of Millville, about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. Now 30 years old and in his 12th big league season, the three-time MVP has played just two games in Philly — the last time was 2014 after Los Angeles’ scheduled set there in 2020 was canceled because of the pandemic.
Trout spoke this week at Yankee Stadium about how much he enjoys returning to the area where he grew up, be it talking to fans about his favorite Eagles or running into old pals at the Wawa convenience store.
“It’s pretty special going back,” he said.
Bryce Harper and the Phillies are eager, meanwhile, to beat the Angels.
The Angels have won 12 in a row against Philadelphia — the longest active winning streak by any big league team against a single opponent and the longest such win streak in the history of interleague play, the Elias Sports Bureau said.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays have won eight in a row going into this weekend’s series against Minnesota.
Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-1, 3.48 ERA) is set to start the opener for Toronto. Righty Chi Chi Gonzalez is expected to make his season debut for the Twins.
The Blue Jays will see if outfielder George Springer can return to the lineup. He’s missed two games because of a non-COVID-19 illness. Toronto, however, put lefty Hyun Jin Ryu on the 15-day injured list because of a sore forearm.
IN THE SWING?
Marcus Semien has hit two home runs in his last six games after going homerless in his first 43 games this season for Texas.
The 31-year-old Semien signed a $175 million, seven-year contract with the Rangers after hitting 45 homers last year for Toronto, the most ever for a major leaguer primarily playing second base.
Semien is batting just .194 with 18 RBIs. He hit .265 with 102 RBIs for the Blue Jays last season.
Semien, who homered in a loss Thursday to Tampa Bay, and the Rangers host Seattle this weekend.
Slumping Tigers shortstop Javier Báez has been benched the last two games, with manager A.J. Hinch giving the Detroit newcomer time to reset physically and mentally.
Baez, who signed a six-year deal for $140 million deal in the offeason, has his lowest batting average (.197) since he was a Chicago Cubs rookie in 2014. He’s also just three home runs and 13 RBIs in 40 games.
The Tigers have won seven of nine after a slow start. They begin a three-game series at Yankee Stadium with rookie right-hander Elvin Rodriguez facing New York ace Gerrit Cole (4-1, 3.12 ERA).
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