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James Shields of the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds play in opposite leagues and rarely see each other Authentic Isaac Yiadom Jersey , yet they currently have much in common.
Now that they’re starting to make something out of what appeared to be a totally lost season, they’d like to keep it going.
The Reds got off to the worst start in baseball at 8-27, one so bad that getting to .500 looked to be as much of a challenge as winning a division title would be for most teams.
But when the Reds (36-48) take on the right-handed Shields and the White Sox on Monday night at Great American Ball Park, in the teams’ first matchup since 2015, they’ll be one of the majors’ hottest clubs. They’ve won 11 of 14 after taking the final two games of a four-game weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers, and interim manager Jim Riggleman now has a 33-33 record for a last-place team.
Considering that Riggleman took over a Reds team that was 3-15 under former manager Bryan Price, that’s something of an accomplishment. And the Reds own a 6-1 record in interleague games.
“We know we can play with these teams that are in first place in their division,” Riggleman said.
They’re winning now in grand fashion, too. Jose Peraza hit the team’s major league-leading ninth grand slam Sunday in an 8-2 win over the Brewers, their second in two games (pitcher Michael Lorenzen hit a pinch-grand slam Saturday) and sixth in 17 games. They’ve already tied a club season record.
“We’ve been getting better at-bats … and we’ve happened to have men on base,” Riggleman said.
Cincinnati starter Matt Harvey pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings before being lifted after a rain delay, and the Reds dealt Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta (3-1), who gave up three runs in five innings, his first major league loss. Peralta allowed only one hit in seven shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals in his previous start.
“That’s probably the best I’ve felt since 2013,” said Harvey (4-5), who won his third straight start.
Shields (3-9) Youth Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey , likewise, is beginning to see a ray of sunshine in what previously was a gloomy season. He’s coming off his best start of the year, pitching seven shutout innings and giving up four hits Wednesday in a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. It was his 12th quality start of the season, or five more than he had all of last season.
Shields still isn’t the pitcher that won 13 or more games seven times from 2008 to 2015, but it hasn’t helped that he’s pitching for a team that’s off to the second worst start in franchise history. He has allowed a respectable six earned runs in his last four starts, and twice yielded one or no runs while lasting at least seven innings.
At age 36, Shields is making adjustments to compensate for his decreased velocity, yet has pitched at least six innings in 12 of his last 13 starts for a last-place team.
“My body’s feeling really good this year, and this is kind of what I’ve done my whole career,” Shields told reporters after the game against the Twins. “I strive to go as deep as I possibly can in games and so far it’s been good.
“I’m not throwing as hard as I used to. If I were to throw over the top, I’d still throw a little harder than I am right now. (But) at the end of the day, I’m feeling really good with my delivery right now, my mechanics. It’s been a lot of fun making these adjustments.”
Shields goes against Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (5-8), who was 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five June starts. He retired the first 11 batters he faced Wednesday at Atlanta, only to give up four quick runs on a walk and five consecutive singles, although the Reds came back to win 6-5.
Castillo is 0-1 in two starts against American League clubs this season Youth Leighton Vander Esch Jersey , giving up eight runs in six innings. He has never faced the White Sox.
Shields is 18-18 with a 4.57 ERA in interleague play and 0-2 in two career starts against the Reds, the last of which was in 2015.
The White Sox (29-54) ended a three-game losing streak Sunday by salvaging the final game of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers, winning 10-5 as Avisail Garcia went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
The Reds have won five consecutive interleague games but are facing the White Sox at Great American Ball Park for the first time since 2009. The White Sox are 16-4 overall against the Reds and 10-2 in Cincinnati, though that success there predated any of the current players.
NEW YORK – There’s no better indicator of the different directions in which the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are headed than the main topic of conversations following Saturday night’s game, when the Dodgers were excited by the return of their Hall of Fame-bound ace and the Mets were pondering if the pitcher with the second-worst ERA in team history would have to start in place of the pitcher with the worst ERA in team history.
The Dodgers will look to complete a sweep of the reeling Mets Sunday afternoon, when the two teams play the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field.
The Dodgers hit a game-breaking grand slam for the second straight game Saturday, when Matt Kemp’s pinch-hit blast off Robert Gsellman in the eighth inning provided insurance and then some in an 8-3 win. On Friday, Cody Bellinger snapped a scoreless tie with a sixth-inning grand slam off Zack Wheeler in a 5-2 victory.
The big news Saturday for the Dodgers (40-35), who have gone 24-9 since May 17, was the return of ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who missed the previous three-plus weeks due to a lower back strain. Kershaw allowed two runs in three innings in his first start since May 31.
Manager Dave Roberts said afterward he expected Kershaw to start again on Thursday or Friday.
“To not just have the mindset that I can keep going and know that at some point the plug is going to be pulled, that’s got to be tough for the psyche,” Roberts said of the famously competitive Kershaw. “But I think for me, for us, it’s just more of having him out there is such a plus and just a boost for all of our guys.”
If the Mets (31-43), who have lost five straight and are 20-41 since an 11-1 start Youth Preston Brown Jersey , are going to get a badly needed boost Sunday, they’ll receive it from an unknown and unlikely source.
Manager Mickey Callaway said Saturday night that Jason Vargas, who was scheduled to start Sunday, will be placed on the disabled list with an injury he suffered while doing conditioning work earlier this week.
Callaway said the Mets have yet to decide who will start.
Right-hander Chris Flexen will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Vargas on the active roster and is a candidate to start.
Vargas is 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA in nine starts this season and has a 9.38 ERA in 11 career starts with the Mets, for whom he also pitched briefly in 2007. Vargas’ ERA is the highest for any Mets pitcher who has thrown at least 40 innings for the team.
The second-highest ERA in Mets history belongs to Flexen, who has an 11.57 ERA in two appearances this season and an 8.05 ERA in 16 games (nine starts) dating back to last season. Flexen last pitched Thursday, when he got the final out of the Mets’ 4-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies before being optioned to Las Vegas.
“We’re going to see when guys come in (and) play catch,” Callaway said. “Our bullpen’s obviously thrown some innings and we’re going to see how everybody’s feeling when they come in (Sunday) and make that decision then.”
Another possibility to draw the start or to pitch extended innings in relief is rookie Tim Peterson.
He last pitched Thursday, when he tossed 1 1/3 perfect innings against the Rockies and has a 1.17 ERA in five games. The only other Mets reliever to not pitch Friday or Saturday is closer Jeurys Familia.
Whomever pitches for the Mets will oppose Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill (1-2, 4.99 ERA), who is scheduled to make his second start since coming off the disabled list last Tuesday, when he pitched against the Chicago Cubs.
Hill, who missed a month with a blister on his left middle finger, didn’t factor into the decision after allowing three hits over six scoreless innings in Los Angeles’ 2-1, 10-inning loss.
Hill is 1-2 with an 8.00 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Mets. Neither Flexen nor Peterson has ever faced the Dodgers.