LEADING OFF: Verlander, Astros on a roll, a new Yanks injury

Sports

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

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

POWER ARM

Justin Verlander will try to keep up his impressive strikeout roll — and the blazing run by Houston pitching — when the Astros host Seattle.

Verlander starts a day after Houston newcomer Aaron Sanchez made an impressive debut, combining with three relievers for a no-hitter against the Mariners at Minute Maid Park.

Verlander has fanned 36 in his last 19 innings, spanning three starts that all resulted in wins. He is four Ks short of reaching 200 for a fourth straight season.

The 36-year-old ace is aiming for his big league-leading 15th victory. He tops the AL with a 2.73 ERA and has pitched 151 2/3 innings, the most in the majors.

AILING YANKEES

A season of injuries continues for the Yankees, who placed Edwin Encarnación on the injured list with a broken right wrist after he was hit by a pitch during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader sweep against Boston.

There has been no indication yet of how long he’ll be out, or whether he’ll play again this season. Encarnación was acquired from Seattle on June 15 and the 36-year-old has batted .238 with nine homers and 27 RBIs over 36 games with the Yankees.

He is the 15th Yankees player currently on the disabled list, joining catcher Gary Sanchez, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, first baseman Luke Voit and pitchers Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and CC Sabathia.

HURTING HAMMY

The Cubs are waiting to see if they’ll be without All-Star catcher Willson Contreras for an extended amount of time. He hurt his right hamstring while running out a flyball during a win over Milwaukee on Saturday. Manager Joe Maddon said the catcher will have an MRI on Monday.

Contreras is batting .275 with 19 homers and 57 RBIs this season.

SALTY SALE

The Red Sox almost certainly need a better version of Chris Sale if they’re going to make a push into the AL playoff field. An increasingly agitated Sale gave up eight runs over 3 2/3 innings and was ejected in a 9-2 loss to the Yankees in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday.

Sale is 0-4 with a 9.90 ERA against the Yankees this season and a pedestrian 4.68 ERA overall since signing his six-year, $160 million contract in March.

KLUBER COMEBACK

Two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber took another step in his comeback from a broken right forearm by throwing a simulated game on Saturday.

The Cleveland right-hander started playing catch about six weeks ago and has been throwing in the bullpen for a couple of weeks. He threw 35 pitches to hitters from Akron, the Indians’ Double-A team, in a session at Progressive Field. He hit 88-89 mph and threw several breaking pitches.

Cleveland is chasing Minnesota for the top spot in the AL Central. Kluber went 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA before the injury, which happened on May 1 when he was struck by a line drive.

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