LEADING OFF: Dodgers' Kershaw to get back checked out
A look at what's happening around Major League Baseball on Friday:
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will have his back checked out after manager Dave Roberts said the left-hander experienced tightness during his five-inning outing in a 2-1 loss Thursday to the Phillies. Roberts said Kershaw might have an MRI. Kershaw was making first start following a nearly monthlong stint on the disabled list with left biceps tendinitis. He also spent time on the DL each of the past two seasons with a back injury. His first pitch Thursday was a 90-mph fastball that Cesar Hernandez hit into center field for a single.
Two of the American League's top starters face off when the Boston Red Sox send left-hander Chris Sale (5-2, 2.76 ERA) to the mound against right-hander Gerrit Cole (5-1, 2.05 ERA) in Houston. Sale is coming off a subpar outing, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings against Atlanta. Cole is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA over his last seven starts. Boston might be without second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was scratched from the opener of the four-game series with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.
Ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg (6-4, 3.13 ERA) takes the mound when the Washington Nationals try to reclaim first place in the NL East back from the Braves. Atlanta took a half-game lead following a 4-2 win over the Nationals in the series opener on Thursday. Mike Foltynewicz (4-3, 2.55 ERA) will be face Washington for the third time this season.
It's back to a bullpen day for the Tampa Bay Rays, who are scheduled to send Sergio Romo (1-1, 6.33 ERA) to the mound in Seattle. Primarily a reliever, Romo has been used for short stints to start games by manager Kevin Cash. Romo made four starts in a nine-day period from May 19 to 27.
The struggling New York Mets, who have lost eight of 11, send righty Zack Wheeler (2-2, 5.40 ERA) to the mound at Citi Field to face the Chicago Cubs as the clubs continue their four-game series. The Mets also will be keeping close tabs on a pregame bullpen session for lefty Steven Matz. He left his last start Tuesday against Atlanta following four innings after hurting his left middle finger while swinging the bat. If all goes well, Matz could make his next scheduled start on Saturday without missing a turn. The Mets already have ace Noah Syndergaard on the DL with a strained ligament in his right index finger.