LEADING OFF: Dodgers vs Braves NLCS rematch, Red Sox-Yanks

MLB

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

POWER SURGE

Dansby Swanson looks to continue his tear at the plate when the Braves host the Dodgers, their first meeting since Los Angeles rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat Atlanta in last year’s NLCS.

Swanson hit a two-run homer Thursday during a 5-1 victory over Washington, extending his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games. He has five homers in that stretch, including in back-to-back games.

Ian Anderson (4-2, 3.27 ERA) pitches for Atlanta against Julio Urias (7-2, 3.61), who closed out a 4-3 victory in Game 7 of the 2020 NLCS with three hitless innings of relief for his second win of the series.

NEXT TO ARRIVE

After splitting a four-game set with Tampa Bay, the slumping Yankees welcome another AL East rival to the Bronx when the Boston Red Sox visit for the first game this season between the teams.

New York has dropped seven of 10 and its star-studded lineup has been held to five runs or fewer in 11 straight games. Giancarlo Stanton is 1 for 16 with nine strikeouts in five games since returning from a left quadriceps strain.

Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 4.01 ERA) starts for the Red Sox against Michael King (0-2, 2.86).

BEEN A WHILE

Cincinnati right-hander Luis Castillo (1-8, 7.22 ERA) tries for his first win in almost two months when the visiting Reds face Kwang Hyun Kim and the St. Louis Cardinals. Castillo is 0-7 with a 7.91 ERA in his last seven starts. He hasn’t won since he tossed seven scoreless innings in an 11-4 victory over Pittsburgh on April 7.

According to Elias Sports, no Reds pitcher has lost eight consecutive appearances as a starting pitcher in a single season.

Kim (1-3, 3.65 ERA) has dropped his last three starts.

WORTH WATCHING

The Chicago White Sox are in wait-and-see mode with outfielder Andrew Vaughn after the rookie was placed on the COVID-19 injured list. General manager Rick Hahn said Vaughn was asymptomatic.

”Our hope is that, similar to our other IL placements of this nature, he will return shortly to the active roster,” Hahn said in a statement.

The 23-year-old Vaughn was selected by Chicago with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 amateur draft. He is batting .226 with four homers and 12 RBIs for the AL Central leaders.

BACK AT THE SCENE

Tampa Bay, with the best record in the American League, returns to Texas for the first time since losing last year’s neutral-site World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.24 ERA) is expected to come off the injured list for the Rangers, finally back home after a franchise-worst 0-9 road trip that marked their longest losing streak overall since 2003. Texas has dropped 15 in a row away from home, one shy of the club record set by the 1961 Washington Senators, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The last-place Rangers are 13-13 at home and 9-23 on the road.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Cleveland is moving closer to a new name. The club says it has a final list from an initial pool of nearly 1,200 entries. It is vetting the possible team names for legal purposes after months of research and discussions with fans. In December, the Indians said they were changing their name for the first time since 1915. The decision came during a national movement to remove and replace prejudicial names and symbols, and after a strong push from Native American groups who deemed the existing name racist.

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

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