A look at what’s happening around the majors Thursday:
The Nationals open a series against Miami hoping to end a five-game skid and get back to .500. Washington fell to 42-43 with a loss to Boston on Wednesday T.J. Hockenson Jersey , the first time the preseason NL East favorites have been under .500 this late in the year since being 60-61 on Aug. 21, 2015. The Nationals held a players’ only meeting after a 3-0 loss to the Red Sox highlighted by Adam Eaton’s throwing error and a wild pitch from Ryan Madson. Jeremy Hellickson (2-1, 2.63) makes his second start since returning from the DL, while Marlins righty Pablo Lopez (1-0, 3.00) makes his second MLB start.
NOT VERY VERLANDER
Justin Verlander (9-4, 2.12) tries to stop a personal slide when the Astros open a series against the White Sox. Verlander has allowed nine runs in 11 2/3 innings over his past two starts, taking losses to Toronto (four runs) and Tampa Bay (five runs). Verlander hasn’t allowed four or more earned runs in three straight starts since June 2014 while with Detroit. Carlos Rodon (1-3, 4.55) is up for Chicago.
Johnny Cueto is expected to be reinstated from the disabled list and pitch when the Giants open a four-game series against the Cardinals. Cueto was placed on the disabled list May 1 with inflammation in his right elbow. A few days later, he visited Dr. James Andrews Jahlani Tavai Jersey , who diagnosed him with a strained elbow. Cueto is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in five starts this season. The Giants are 41-21 in his starts since he joined the team in 2016.
Angels rookie Jaime Barria will start against AL West-leading Seattle in place of Tyler Skaggs a day after the left-hander went on the DL with a thigh strain. Barria is making his 12th start of the season and has given up two earned runs or fewer in four of his last five starts. Lefty Marco Gonzales (8-5, 3.77) makes his first start since pitching the first complete game of his career in a 4-1 win over Kansas City.
Joe Mauer needs one double to give him 415 in his career, which would break a tie with Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett for the Twins’ franchise record. Minnesota has lost six straight and returns home from a 1-8 trip to play Baltimore, which has the worst record in the majors at 24-61. More good news for the scuffling Twins: Two-time All-Star Ervin Santana (right middle finger surgery) is scheduled to make his next rehab appearance for Class A Fort Myers.
MIAMI — San Francisco Giants rookie Dereck Rodriguez is thrilled to be in the major leagues while Miami Marlins veteran Dan Straily is just relieved he’s not on the disabled list.
Rodriguez and Straily will go at each other in Thursday’s finale to this four-game series. The Marlins (26-42) have won the first three games against the Giants (33-35) including Wednesday’s 5-4 victory, which ended with Brian Anderson’s walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.
As for Rodriguez (1-1, 5.25 ERA in three starts), he is the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, Straily (2-2, 4.08 ERA) survived last week when he got hit by a 110-mph line drive off the bat of San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer. It was a terrifying play Will Harris Jersey , but Straily escaped with bruised ribs and did not miss a start.
“It definitely took the wind out of me,” Straily said of the Hosmer line drive. “I felt myself kind of spinning around.
“When you get hit, you don’t really remember it — you kind of have a momentary blackout. Your body takes over, whether it’s adrenaline or whatever the actual reaction is … You don’t feel anything for a few minutes.”
Straily said it wasn’t until he left the game after 3 2/3 innings that he felt “a little bit of soreness” while back in the locker room.
“It’s never anything you want to deal with, but you keep going forward,” he said. “We all know that we (pitchers) stand the closest to home plate, but you can’t let that stuff bother you or you won’t be able to pitch. You can’t let that be a fear.”
Straily said x-rays were negative — no broken bones.
“If there were any doubt that I’m not 100 percent, I wouldn’t be on the mound,” Straily said. “It’s not about trying to be a tough guy or having a lot of pride.”
The Marlins are 5-3 when Straily starts Austin Bryant Jersey , but he has allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in his past 13 2/3 innings. He has just two quality starts this season — both on the road — May 18 and 23.
In fact, Straily has been better on the road (1-2, 2.67 ERA in five starts) as opposed to his home numbers (1-0, 7.11 ERA, three starts).
A promising note for Straily is the fact that he is 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA in five career starts against San Francisco.
His counterpart Thursday, whose full name is Ivan Dereck Rodriguez, is 26 years old and has endured a long journey to get to the majors.
Rodriguez was an outfielder at two South Florida high schools, Hollywood Chaminade and Monsignor Pace. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the sixth round in 2011 and switched positions to pitcher late in the 2013 season.
It wasn’t until last year that he finally got to Double A, going 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA in 15 appearances (13 starts).
This year Rashan Gary Jersey , he went 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A Sacramento, earning his promotion to the majors May 29.
Rodriguez lasted only 3 1/3 innings in his debut, allowing five hits, one walk and four runs (one earned) at the Colorado Rockies.
His next start, at home against the Philadelphia Phillies, marked his only major league win as Rodriguez picked up a quality start, allowing one run, five hits and two walks in six innings.
However, Rodriguez allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings last week against the Washington Nationals Darnell Savage Jr. Jersey , and that has produced an early trend in which he is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two road starts.
He clearly has a long way to match the exploits of his father, who was a 14-time All-Star and a 13-time Gold Glove winner. Pudge also won a World Series championship in 2003, his only year with the Marlins.
“I was there almost every game,” Dereck Rodriguez told the Sun-Sentinel when asked about that 2003 season. “I remember everything. It was a year to remember, honestly. I spent a lot of time on the field with the guys. It was a lot of fun.”
Rodriguez can jack up his fastball to 95 mph, which is not surprising given what a strong arm was possessed by Pudge.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy praised Dereck Rodriguez for having good command of four pitches.
“Being a converted (pitcher), it’s impressive how fast he has come on,” Bochy said. “He earned the promotion with the way he was throwing in Sacramento.”