MLB: Previewing Matchups for Wednesday, April 8

Minnesota Twins @ Detroit Tigers, 1:08 pm

After a convincing 4-0 win over the Twins on Opening Day, the Tigers will send Anibal Sanchez to the hill against Twins hurler Ricky Nolasco. Sanchez, 31, went 8-5 with a 3.43 ERA last year in 126 innings, but went 4-5 with a 3.53 ERA at home. Nolasco, much like Ervin Santana, was brought into Minnesota to stabilize an otherwise spotty staff. After the 2013 season, he signed a four-year, $49M pact with Minnesota, and in his only season, finished with a 5.38 ERA. Hopefully for the Twins, especially with Santana suspended for 80 games, Nolasco can pitch like he did when he was in the NL.

St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs, 2:10 pm

After an off day and a postponed game, you can figure the Cubs and Cardinals are ready to take the field on Wednesday, as Jake Arrieta looks to get the Cubs back on track. After a mostly terrible start to his career in Baltimore, Arrieta was traded (along with reliever Pedro Strop) to Chicago, where he’s experienced something of a revival, going 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA last year. He’ll face off against Cardinals number two pitcher Lance Lynn, who’s gone 48-27 since 2012 with the Cardinals. Hopefully for the Cubs, they aren’t stifled by Lynn as they were by Wainwright.

Boston Red Sox @ Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm

After signing a four-year, $82 million extension, it’ll be interesting to see how Red Sox righty Rick Porcello responds. The consensus was that the Sox are overpaying for a guy who pitched to an ERA under four just twice in his six year career thus far. It’s also seen as a deal in which the Red Sox were projecting, as Porcello had his best season to date last year, going 15-13 with a 3.43 mark. On the other side, Aaron Harang will also be debuting with his new team, after finishing 12-12 with a 3.57 ERA in Atlanta last season. After an offseason filled with hype, the Red Sox offense looked dangerous in Philadelphia on Monday, receiving five home runs — two from Dustin Pedroia, two from Hanley Ramirez, and one from Mookie Betts. They can only hope they can get to Harang as they did Cole Hamels.

New York Mets @ Washington Nationals, 7:05

New Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer looked every bit as dominant as the team expected when they signed him to a seven-year, $210 million deal, but defense and lack of run support did him in, as he allowed three unearned runs, and only received one run of support in a 3-1 Opening Day loss. In their second game, they’ll send Jordan Zimmermann to the hill against 2014 NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom. Hopefully for the Nats, they get more than one Bryce Harper home run to support Zimmermann, a 2016 free agent who went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA last season.

Toronto Blue Jays @ New York Yankees, 7:05 pm

On Opening Day, the Yankees looked very sluggish, putting up only one run on Drew Hutchison and the Jays, while Yanks ace Masahiro Tanaka struggled mightily, allowing five runs (four earned), and one home run in just four innings of work. They’ll send Michael Pineda to the mound on Wednesday, who has pitched in the majors in two of the last four seasons, and when healthy, he can be dominant, posting a 1.89 ERA in 13 starts last season, while he’ll rival 40-year-old knuckle baller R.A. Dickey, who has gone 28-26 since joining the Blue Jays in 2013. The Blue Jays look like they’ll be a team who can mash the baseball this season.

Atlanta Braves @ Miami Marlins, 7:10 pm

This series and how it’s played out may come as a surprise to some. The Marlins were seen as the upstart team with a possibility of contending with all the talent they already had in addition to the pieces they’ve managed to acquire. The Braves, however, are seen as a team in rebuilding mode – as they are. They’ve traded key guys like Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, and Evan Gattis, and only acquiring really two pieces – solid contact hitter Nick Markakis and former Cards hurler Shelby Miller. However, in the first game, Julio Teheran quieted a scary Marlins attack in a 2-1 win, and in a blowout win, the Braves dominated game two, 12-2. Marlins newcomer Mat Latos recorded two outs and allowed seven earned runs, and Alex Wood allowed two runs over five for the Braves. First baseman Freddie Freeman had three hits, two doubles, and two RBI in the win. Tomorrow, Miller, acquired in a trade that sent Jason Heyward to St. Louis, will make his Braves debut, and after a relatively down year last season (10-9, 3.74 after 15-9, 3.06 in 2013), he’ll look to get the year started on the right foot and possibly, complete a sweep. The Marlins will have Tom Koehler, who won ten games last season, lost as many, and posted a 3.81 mark.

Baltimore Orioles @ Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 pm

Despite losing Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Miller, and being without Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy early on, it’s been more of the same for the Orioles – offense, defense, and good bullpen. Steve Pearce has homered in the first two games, newcomer Travis Snider has been excellent, and the O’s received a good outing from Chris Tillman on Opening Day, and good work from Darren O’Day and Zach Britton in a 6-5 Tuesday win to start the season with two victories. On Tampa’s side, they’ve received poor outings from Chris Archer and Nathan Karns, and their offense hasn’t given them enough. Tomorrow, they’ll send Jake Odorizzi, an 11-game winner in 2014, to the mound hoping to the avoid the sweep, against the dependable Miguel Gonzalez, who went 10-9 with a 3.23 mark last season.

Pittsburgh Pirates @ Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm

To say the least, Opening Day was disappointing for the Pirates. They were in Cincinnati to face the Reds, and after getting down by a 2-0 tally, superstar center fielder Andrew McCutchen tied it with a homer, and in the bottom half of the inning, reliever Tony Watson allowed a three-run homer to Reds slugger Todd Frazier, and Aroldis Chapman struck out two of the three batters he faced. On Wednesday, the Pirates will have former first round pick Gerrit Cole on the rubber against fellow former first round pick Mike Leake.

Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm

Following an offseason in which they made multiple moves, like trading for Jeff Samardzija, signing Melky Cabrera, signing David Robertson, and signing Adam LaRoche, the White Sox go into the 2015 season with very high expectations. However, so do the defending American League Champion Royals, and in their first head-to-head matchup, Samardzija was beat around by Kansas City, who cruised to a 10-1 victory. New Royal Alex Rios homered and Yordano Ventura pitched six innings of one-run ball. In the second game of the series, they’ll have lefty Danny Duffy on the bump, who was just 9-12 last season despite a 2.53 ERA. Jose Quintana (9-11, 3.32) will pitch for the Pale Hose.

Cleveland Indians @ Houston Astros, 8:10 pm

After arguably the best pitcher’s duel of the short season on Monday, Carlos Carrasco (Cleveland) and Scott Feldman (Houston) will square off to see if they can pick up where they left off. On Monday, Cy Young winner Corey Kluber (7.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) was outdueled by Dallas Keuchel (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) in a 2-0 Astros win. Both guys were dominant against fairly respected offenses. In game two of the series, Carrasco, who was much better last year after converting from the ‘pen to the rotation, will make his first start of the year against the veteran Feldman, coming off a eight-win, 3.74 ERA 2014 season, his first with Houston.

Colorado Rockies @ Milwaukee Brewers, 8:10 pm

After a 10-0 win in which everyone in the lineup contributed, the Rox followed up with a 5-2 win, receiving a big game from Troy Tulowitzki and a strong outing from youngster Jordan Lyles. Surprisingly, they’ll be going for the sweep at Milwaukee tonight, and send Eddie Butler to the hill against Brewers righty Wily Peralta. Butler is an interesting breakout candidate for Colorado, as he last year went 1-1 with a 6.75 mark in three starts, but it’ll be interesting to see what he does this year with a full year. Peralta, 25, had his best season last year, winning 17 games, losing 11, and posting a 3.53 ERA in nearly 200 innings.

San Francisco Giants @ Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm 

After a 5-4 win, the defending champion Giant were bested by Arizona, 7-6, no thanks to a David Peralta three-run blast. Right now, the Giants have tons of instability within their rotation, as both Matt Cain and Jake Peavy are injured. Ryan Vogelsong made the spot start, and allowed all seven runs and didn’t make it out of the fifth. Despite allowing six runs, Diamondbacks hurler Rubby de La Rosa got the win. Today, the Giants will start Chris Heston, who pitched to a 5.06 ERA in five and a third innings last year. The Diamondbacks will start newcomer Jeremy Hellickson, who spent the early part of his career in Tampa Bay.

Texas Rangers @ Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm

After splitting the first two games, 8-0 (Oakland), and 3-1 (Texas), the series will be decided tonight. In last night’s matchup, veteran Colby Lewis (six innings of one run ball) bested new Athletic Jesse Hahn (six innings, three runs), and the Rangers looked much better than the team that lost on Opening Day, 8-0. Leodys Martin, Elvis Andrus, and Prince Fielder all had two hits in the win, and Neftali Feliz notched the save. Today, the Rangers will get to see Ross Detwiler, the offseason acquisition who has spent most of his career as a reliever with the Nationals, but has been wanting to start, and now gets his opportunity. He’ll go against 2014 All Star lefty Scott Kazmir, who won 15 last year.

Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners, 10:10 pm

Just like Texas and Oakland, LA and Seattle split the first two games by a 4-1 (Mariners) and 2-0 (Angels) score. Last night, CJ Wilson dominated the Mariners offense, allowing just two hits and a walk over eight innings of scoreless baseball. Mariners hurler James Paxton wasn’t bad either, allowing just two runs in six innings, but that was all Wilson needed. Today will mark the season debuts of Hisashi Iwakuma for Seattle and for the Angels, Matt Shoemaker. Iwakuma, turning 34 this Sunday, has been excellent since breaking into the majors in 2012, going 38-20 with a 3.07 mark. Shoemaker made his presence felt last season, going 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA as a rookie.

San Diego Padres @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:10 pm

The Padres and Dodgers, too, have split the series. On Opening Day, the Padres were done in by poor bullpen, and lost, 6-3. Yesterday, however, they exploited the Dodgers bullpen, putting up six of their seven runs after the sixth inning. Craig Kimbrel made his Padres debut, and struck out all three batters for his first save of the season. Today, the Padres will have righty Andrew Cashner on the hill who, despite just five wins last season, posted a 2.55 ERA. The Dodgers will have newcomer Brandon McCarthy, who was 10-15 last season with a 4.05, but 7-5 with a 2.89 later in the season, after the joined the Yankees. He’s a good acquisition for the back-end of the rotation, especially after the Dodgers get Hyu-Jin Ryu back.

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