LEADING OFF: Verlander pitches as Astros face Twins, Correa

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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Justin Verlander (3-1, 1.93 ERA) and the Houston Astros try for their eighth straight win when they visit Joe Ryan (3-1, 1.63) and the first-place Minnesota Twins in a matchup of American League contenders with identical 18-11 records.

It’s unclear if new Twins shortstop Carlos Correa will play in the three-game series against his former team because of a bruised finger. Correa has been sidelined since he was hit by a pitch late last week. The two-time All-Star and 2015 AL Rookie of the Year went from Houston to Minnesota last offseason, signing a $105.3 million, three-year contract. He can opt out after each of the first two seasons.

After completing a 7-0 homestand Sunday, the Astros open a nine-game road trip. Minnesota has swept three of its last five series and won 14 of 17 since beginning the season 4-8.


One day after teammate Nestor Cortes took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, Luis Severino (2-0, 3.75 ERA) starts on eight days’ rest for the New York Yankees against Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the powerful Blue Jays. Yusei Kikuchi (1-1, 4.35) goes for Toronto in the opener of a two-game series between AL East rivals at Yankee Stadium.

New York, which has won 13 of 15, boasts the best record in the majors at 20-8 — including 12-4 at home. The Yankees are 4-3 this season against Toronto, which snapped their 11-game winning streak last week.


Reds rookie Hunter Greene seeks redemption in his second straight start against NL Central-leading Milwaukee after he allowed five homers last time out. Greene’s eye-catching velocity has been up and down in his first month as a big leaguer, and he topped 100 mph just once while allowing eight runs against Milwaukee last Thursday.

Of course, everything is going wrong in Cincinnati. Mike Moustakas became the 14th Reds player on the injured list Monday when he was added without designation, the latest Cincinnati player apparently sidelined by COVID-19 issues on the last-place club.

First baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Jonathan India are also out for COVID-19-related reasons. Outfielder Tyler Naquin returned from the COVID-19 IL on Saturday.


Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner returns to the mound against Miami after being ejected in the first inning of his previous start during a foreign substance check.

The veteran left-hander got into an argument with first base umpire Dan Bellino during the check, and the shouting match led to Bumgarner’s second career ejection. Bellino issued a public apology for his role in the exchange a few days later.


Major League Baseball intends to play regular-season games in London in 2023, 2024 and 2026. The Cardinals and Cubs are the leading candidates to play in London next year after their scheduled 2020 meeting there was canceled due to the pandemic.

The New York Yankees swept two games against the Boston Red Sox at London’s Olympic Stadium in June 2019, MLB’s first games ever in Europe.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the formation of the MLB London Legacy Group on Monday that will include members from the Greater London Authority and Baseball Softball UK.


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