Here are three things worth monitoring today…
1. Fourth of July:
Since it is the Fourth of July, that means there’s a whole lot going on, including an entire day of baseball action. It gets started early with the Reds and Nationals kicking things off at 10:05am Central, and will go deep into the night with the Pirates and Dodgers starting at 8:10.
Naturally, there’s more than just the on-field action for fans to enjoy. There will be plenty of fireworks, food and festivities of all kinds as America celebrates its 247th birthday.
2. Trout wrist injury:
Angels outfielder Mike Trout departed last night’s game with an apparent injury. He later told reporters, including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, that he was getting X-rays on his left wrist. “I’m just praying the results come back clean,” Trout said. “It doesn’t feel great. Hopefully it’s just a sprained wrist.”
Needless to say, any kind of significant injury to Trout would be a serious blow to the Angels. With Shohei Ohtani set to hit free agency in a few months, the club is hoping to make the playoffs this year, both to break their own drought that dates back to 2014 and show Ohtani they can put a winning team around him in order to convince him to stay. Losing their other superstar for any amount of time would obviously hamper those efforts. Though if the issue is minor, the timing would be fairly fortunate since the upcoming All-Star break would allow Trout to take a few days off to recuperate.
3. Skubal back on the hill:
The Tigers are expected to send left-hander Tarik Skubal to the mound as their starter in today’s game. This would be his first time in a major league game in almost a full year, as his last appearance was August 1 of 2022. He posted a 3.52 ERA in 21 starts last season before requiring flexor tendon surgery that has kept him out of action until now.
The Tigers also recently welcomed back Matt Manning and have Eduardo Rodriguez potentially coming back tomorrow, making their starting rotation the healthiest it has been in quite a while. Those pitching injuries have contributed to a lackluster 37-46 record but that only puts them 4.5 games off the lead in the weak American League Central. If the stabilized rotation helps them win a few extra games, they could get right back in the race. Like the Angels, the Tigers haven’t made the playoffs since 2014, the longest active droughts in the league. Skubal is on the 60-day injured list and will require a corresponding 40-man move in order to be activated.