LEADING OFF: Big Papi takes center stage at Hall inductions

·4 min read

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

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HALL OF A DAY

David Ortiz will certainly hear loud chants of “Big Papi!” as he's enshrined in the Hall of Fame during induction ceremonies at Cooperstown, New York.

Ortiz hit 541 home runs in 20 big league seasons and helped the Boston Red Sox win three World Series championhips.

Joining Ortiz on stage will be three-time batting champion Tony Oliva and 283-game winner Jim Kaat.

Also getting their due on induction day are: Dodgers great Gil Hodges, who managed the New York Mets to their first World Series title in 1969; Minnie Miñoso, a star with the Chicago White Sox in the 1950s; Buck O’Neil, who played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues and was a tireless advocate for the game; and Bud Fowler, a pioneering Black player who grew up in Cooperstown in the 1860s and played in more than a dozen leagues.

ALL-STAR SANDY

Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara makes his first start since an impressive showing in the All-Star Game.

The 26-year-old righty faces the Pirates at PNC Park. He is 9-4 and his 1.76 ERA is second in the majors to Tampa Bay's Shane McClanahan at 1.71.

On Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, Alcantara pitched a perfect second inning. He struck out Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton — in their next at-bats against Tony Gonsolin, they hit back-to-back home runs that powered the AL to a 3-2 win.

BACK TO BUSINESS

Clayton Kershaw faces a familiar foe when he starts against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

The longtime Los Angeles ace is 24-15 with a 1.91 ERA vs. San Francisco in 53 games, 51 of them starts — that's the team he's seen the most often in his career.

Kershaw (7-2, 2.13) started the All-Star Game last Tuesday in his home park. He drew a lot of attention and did a live TV interview just moments before throwing his first pitch. Kershaw gave up a first-pitch single to Shohei Ohtani, then picked him off first base, and struck out Aaron Judge while working a scoreless first inning.

NEW MUSCLE

Daniel Vogelbach figures to make his Mets debut when the NL East leaders face All-Star righty Joe Musgrove (8-2, 2.42 ERA) and the San Diego Padres in prime time at Citi Field.

The beefy Vogelbach, a left-handed hitter with 12 home runs, was acquired Friday from Pittsburgh to provide much-needed pop at designated hitter. Rookie reliever Colin Holderman was traded to the Pirates.

New York has been outscored 6-2 in the first two games of the series and its division lead is down to a half-game over defending World Series champion Atlanta. The slumping Mets, who had a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, have lost three straight for the second time this year. They’ve managed only 10 runs in their last five games.

Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 4.27) tries to help New York prevent a three-game sweep.

SAY WHAT?

Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes provided a fun, running commentary on his pitching during the All-Star Game when he was on a microphone with catcher Jose Trevino and the Fox announcers while on the mound.

Cortes and Trevino, his Yankees teammate, talked about what pitches were coming, working around a walk and a hit batter in a scorless sixth inning.

Known for his tricky motions, Cortes (7-3, 2.63 ERA) won't be giving away any secrets when he starts against Baltimore at Camden Yards.

WORTH WATCHING

The series finale for this weekend’s Guardians-White Sox series in Chicago features an intriguing matchup of tough right-handers.

Dylan Cease (9-4, 2.15 ERA) is in the middle of a breakout season for the White Sox, going 5-1 with a sparkling 0.65 ERA in his past seven starts. He worked seven innings of one-hit ball in an 11-0 victory at Minnesota in his last outing before the All-Star break.

Shane Bieber (4-5, 3.24 ERA) gets the ball for Cleveland. The 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner tossed a three-hitter in a 4-1 victory over the White Sox in his last start on July 12.

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