We saw two pieces of history with the Los Angeles Angels last week, and none of them involved the best player in baseball, Mike Trout. Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols hit his 200th homer with the club, becoming just the sixth player in MLB history to hit at least 200 with two teams. He hit 445 with the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani became the first-ever Japanese player to hit for the cycle. Trout was the last Angel to hit for the cycle, occurring on May 21, 2013, against the Mariners. Here’s a look at two intriguing matchups this week. Check back for Mybookie Sportsbook odds.
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Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs
- When: Tuesday, 8 PM ET (ESPN+)
It’s the Crosstown Classic between the Windy City’s two teams as the clubs play two games this week – this is the opener – and then two on the South Side of Chicago right before the All-Star break. The Cubs have won this series the past two years and they tied the two before that. The Cubbies are a great home team with a 24-11 record at Wrigley Field but are just 15-21 away from home and lost five of seven on a just-completed trip to the Rockies and Dodgers.
Last week, the Cubs won the bidding for free-agent reliever Craig Kimbrel, but he’s not major-league ready yet. Kimbrel will make his first appearance with Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday in Sacramento. The Cubs want to get him into around five games before he joins the big league club. Pedro Strop will continue to close until Kimbrel is ready.
The Cubs go with red-hot lefty Cole Hamels here. Hamels (6-2) tossed seven scoreless innings to pick up the win last Wednesday against the Rockies. He allowed six hits and a walk while striking out nine. The veteran needed just 93 pitches to breeze through his seven innings. He was also aided by five runs of support in the second inning and three more in the fifth, setting him up for an easy win. Hamels will take a solid 2.98 ERA and 83:30 K:BB through 84.2 innings into his next start. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past three outings. Hamels needs just two strikeouts for 2,500 career.
The White Sox will get a look at one of their potential future stars during this series most likely as the club was calling up catcher Zack Collins from Triple-A Charlotte on Monday. The 24-year-old was the White Sox’ first-round pick from the 2016 draft class and he was recently ranked as the 11th best prospect in the White Sox’s system. He’ll both catch and likely see occasional time at DH. Collins was hitting .258/.382/.497 with nine homers and 38 RBI in 48 games at Triple-A.
The Pale Hose start struggling Ivan Nova (3-5). Nova took a no-decision in last Thursday’s win over the Yankees, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five through 5.2 innings. The 32-year-old held his former Yankees team to one run over six innings earlier this season, but he couldn’t make it happen this time.
Nova handed the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the second inning thanks to a wild pitch and an RBI single by Clint Frazier. Then in the fourth, he gave up a two-run homer to Brett Gardner. Luckily, the White Sox worked their way out of the 4-0 deficit, but Nova left the game with the score still tied, 4-4. He’ll carry a 6.28 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and 51:21 K:BB into this one.
San Francisco Giants at LA Dodgers
- When: Wednesday, 10 PM ET (ESPN)
Arguably the best rivalry in the National League and the teams nearly got into a brawl during their series from June 7-9 in San Francisco. The Dodgers are down a key player with shortstop Corey Seager landing on the injured list last week with a hamstring strain. He’s likely to miss at least a month. Chris Taylor will be the Dodgers’ primary shortstop to close out the first half of the 2019 season.
The Dodgers own a Major League-best 28-8 record at home this season, including a 23-4 mark since April 14. Cody Bellinger is one of the best clutch hitters in Major League Baseball, batting .361 with 11 homers and 46 RBI with runners on base. He is tied for second in the Majors with 11 homers with runners on base, while his 46 RBI rank fifth in all of baseball.
It’s lefty Rich Hill on the mound. Hill (4-1) earned the win in Friday’s 5-3 win over the Cubs, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out seven. Home runs by Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant accounted for all of the damage against Hill in this contest. The southpaw has not allowed more than three runs in his last eight starts. He has a 2.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP through 52 innings this season while adding 59 strikeouts.
San Francisco goes with lefty Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz (2-6) allowed two unearned runs on five hits and three walks over five innings. He earned the win and struck out five in Friday’s 5-3 win over the Brewers. A passed ball in the third inning and an error before Christian Yelich’s RBI single in the fifth inning got Pomeranz off the hook for both runs allowed on his watch. The performance lowers the left-hander’s ERA to 6.43 with 55 strikeouts over 49 innings this season.
Back Cubs and Dodgers, both on runline.