The first weekend of the second half is in full swing, as all 30 clubs are in action today on MLB.TV.Madison Bumgarner returns to the Giants after a three-month hiatus due to a dirt bike accident, resulting in his first career stint on the disabled list. In Baltimore, Jacob Arrieta
The first weekend of the second half is in full swing, as all 30 clubs are in action today on MLB.TV.
Madison Bumgarner returns to the Giants after a three-month hiatus due to a dirt bike accident, resulting in his first career stint on the disabled list. In Baltimore, Jacob Arrieta and the Cubs look to continue their climb toward first place in the National League Central. In Queens, Tyler Chatwood will bring his road 3.19 ERA to Citi Field, where he takes on Seth Lugo and the Mets.
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Here's what to watch for today (all times ET):
Welcome back: SF@SD, 8:40 p.m.
Sidelined since April 20 after separating his pitching shoulder, the left-handed Bumgarner will make just his fifth start of the year. He went winless in his first four outings, with a 3.00 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 27 innings.
"It's going to be great to have him back," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was an unfortunate incident he feels terrible about. It's seemed a lot longer than it's been for him, as far as his return. You've got one of your guys back, his intensity, his presence, all that."
Exiting the All-Star break, the Giants' .378 win percentage was on pace for their worst season since moving to San Francisco. At this time last year, they had the best record in the Majors.
For the Padres, Jhoulys Chacin is coming off an 8-7 first half in which he compiled a 4.32 ERA. His slider has been one of the game's best this year, as his .281 opponents' slugging percentage against the pitch is fifth in the Major Leagues, per Statcast™.
Remember me?: CHC@BAL, 7:05 p.m.
The Cubs won't trot out new acquisition Jose Quintana until Sunday. Arrieta will start tonight in his old stomping grounds at Camden Yards. The bearded right-hander was a fifth-round Draft pick by the Orioles in 2007 and he spent parts of his first four seasons there, from '10-13 before being traded to the Cubs. This will be his first start in Baltimore since the deal.
Before developing into a Cy Young Award winner, Arrieta was an unpolished, cleanshaven starter whose future seemed uncertain. He was 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA in 358 innings with Baltimore, and he said his struggles fueled his drive to improve.
He'll square off against Wade Miley, who has weathered issues of his own in 2017. The left-hander is 4-7 with a 4.97 ERA in 18 starts, though he ended the first half on a positive note, coming one out shy of what would've been his first quality start since June 1.
Road rage: COL@NYM, 7:10 p.m.
For the past two years, Chatwood has been starkly better on the road than at hitter-friendly Coors Field. However, that hasn't quite been the case his past two away outings, in which he's allowed 10 runs on 10 hits over 9 2/3 innings.
Chatwood has among the highest spin rates on his four-seamer, per Statcast™, and an offspeed arsenal to complement it. He said he's more confident in his curve away from altitude. Entering the weekend, Chatwood allowed a .149 batting average against on offspeed pitches, which is 10th in the Majors (min. 50 at-bats ending on an offspeed pitch).
He faces another spin star in Lugo, who is coming off a rough start on July 4 after going 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in June.
The race is on: TEX@KC, 7:15 p.m.
The Royals and Rangers are among 12 American League clubs that entered the second half within five games of a postseason spot, and both have the pedigree, each with two postseason appearances the past three seasons.
For Texas, Cole Hamels is coming off consecutive wins while allowing just two runs in 14 2/3 innings in those starts. He has a career 3-1 record with a 3.67 ERA against the Royals, and he beat them on April 21 while holding them to one run in eight innings.
Danny Duffy is making his third start since coming off the DL. In the first two, he allowed a combined seven runs in 12 2/3 innings. He had his slowest four-seam velocity of the year in his most recent outing, averaging 92.2 mph.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.