Wake me up when Boston outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. extends his hitting streak to 40 games, and then I'll get excited. He took a 29-game streak, pretty impressive no doubt, into Thursday's game. That was tied with Johnny Damon (2005) for the fourth-longest streak in team history. If Bradley's streak reaches 30, he'd be in a three-way tie for second place in franchise history with Nomar Garciaparra (1997) and Tris Speaker (1912). The Red Sox record is by Dom DiMaggio with 34. I don't need to tell you another DiMaggio holds the major-league record at 56 in a row. That's never being broken. Bradley is the first major leaguer to have a hit streak of 29 games since Denard Span in 2013. The last player to reach 40 was Pete Rose in 1978 when he got to 44. If Bradley can extend it Thursday at home vs. Colorado, the Sox are in Toronto on Friday night. Bradley is 0-for-3 career against Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez.
Phillies at Cubs (-270, TBA)
This is your lone matinee with a 2:20 p.m. ET start. The Cubs looked very mortal on their just completed nine-game road trip with a 4-5 mark, although the offense exploded for 21 combined runs in the final two games to take two of three in St. Louis. I thought Cubs ace Jake Arrieta might finally lose on Wednesday, and he didn't pitch very well, allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings in his worst start in about a year, but his offense bailed him out. So now the Cubs begin a 10-game homestand behind Jon Lester (4-3, 2.60) on Friday. The lefty comes off his worst start of the season, allowing five runs and six hits in 2.2 innings in a loss to the Giants. It was the first time a Cubs starter did not go at least five innings this season. Lester hasn't faced the Phils this year. Lefty Adam Morgan (1-2, 5.61) goes for the Phillies. He lost in Atlanta last time out despite a quality start, allowing two runs in six innings. The Cubs' Kris Bryant is 1-for-3 career off him with an RBI. Jason Heyward and Dexter Fowler are each 2-for-3.
Key trends: The Phillies are 1-4 in Morgan's past five on the road. The Cubs are 5-2 in Lester's past seven on five days of rest. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of in Morgan's past nine on the road. The under is 5-2-1 in Lester's past seven after allowing at least five runs in his previous start.
Early lean: Cubs and wait on wind direction.
Dodgers at Mets (-152, 7)
An MLB Network national TV game and will have live betting at sportsbooks. These teams will be done with each other on Sunday for the season unless they have another playoff meeting. They split four meetings in L.A. from May 9-12. This will be must-see TV because the Dodgers are promoting a guy who many call the top pitching prospect in baseball, lefty Julio Urias, to make his big-league debut. Alex Wood was originally supposed to start on Friday but was pushed back to Monday as he is dealing with soreness in his left triceps. Urias is just 19 and has 27 consecutive scoreless innings in Triple-A with a 1.10 ERA down there this year. He will be the youngest Dodgers starting pitcher since Dick Calmus on Aug. 23, 1963. The Dodgers signed Urias in June 2012 when he was just 16. New York starts Jacob deGrom (3-1, 3.07). He was opposite Wood on May 10 and allowed two runs and eight hits over seven innings in also getting a no-decision. Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-10 with two homers and six RBIs against him.
Key trends: The Mets are 10-1 in deGrom's past 11 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-1 in deGrom's past six at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
Yankees at Rays (-108, 7)
Probably the best pitching matchup of the day here. The Yankees might have to put first baseman Mark Texieira on the disabled list as he's dealing with some neck issues. He missed Wednesday's game after getting a cortisone shot. Tex is really struggling this season. The Bombers go with ace Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 3.24). They have won his past three. He allowed a run and five hits in Oakland in his last start. Tanaka took a no-decision on April 23 vs. the Rays in allowing two runs in seven innings. Evan Longoria is 1-for-11 off him. Logan Morrison is 2-for-12 with six strikeouts. It's Chris Archer (3-5, 5.16) for Tampa. For a few starts there, Archer looked to have turned his season around. But he was shelled for six runs and eight hits over three innings Sunday in Detroit. He hasn't faced the Yankees this season but is 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA career against them. Alex Rodriguez, who was to return to the Yankees on Thursday, is 1-for-12 off him. Jacoby Ellsbury hits .667 against Archer in 24 at-bats.
Key trends: The Yankees are 3-7 in their past 10 on Friday. The Rays are 4-0 in Archer's past four following an outing of less than four innings in his last appearance. The under is 4-1-1 in Archer's past six at home.
Early lean: Rays and under.
Giants at Rockies (+103, 10.5)
San Francisco got good news on first baseman Brandon Belt as he suffered only an ankle sprain after a slide into second base on Wednesday when it looked potentially much worse. Belt, who thinks he can play Friday after a day off Thursday, is hitting .276 with four homers and 22 RBIs. The Giants go with Matt Cain (1-5, 5.37) here. He was awful to start the season but has really turned it around of late, allowing four combined runs over 21 innings in his past three starts. Cain is 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA in two starts this year against Colorado. Carlos Gonzalez hits just .154 off him with 17 strikeouts in 52 at-bats. Mark Reynolds is 8-for-27 with two homers and four RBIs. For Colorado, it's Tyler Chatwood. It was Eddie Butler's spot, but he was needed in relief on Tuesday. Chatwood (5-3, 3.02) has been magnificent on the road this season but shaky at home with a 6.65 ERA. He lost at Coors Field to San Francisco on April 12, allowing five runs and 11 hits in six innings. Belt is 4-for-17 off him. Brandon Crawford is 7-for-17.
Key trends: The Giants are 1-5 in Cain's past six on the road. The Rockies are 1-4 in Chatwood's past five at home. The over is 7-1-1 in Cain's past nine on the road. The over is 4-1 in his past five against Colorado.
Early lean: Rockies and over.
Twins at Mariners (-220, 7.5)
Seattle will be without Leonys Martin for a few games. He was pulled Wednesday after tweaking his hamstring while running the bases. Martin is having a really nice season, batting .262 with nine homers and 20 RBIs while playing excellent defense in center field. The Mariners start ace Felix Hernandez (4-3, 2.21) here, and he's second in the AL in ERA. King Felix shut out the Reds on four hits over six innings in his last start. He's 8-5 with a 1.93 ERA in 17 career starts vs. Minnesota. Joe Mauer hits .341 against him with two homers and seven RBIs in 41 at-bats. Trevor Plouffe is 6-for-11 with three RBIs. Minnesota goes with lefty Pat Dean (0-1, 3.86). He made the third big-league appearance of his career and first start Saturday vs. Toronto and was solid, allowing two runs and three hits over six innings.
Key trends: The Twins are 0-7 in their past seven after an off day. The Mariners are 15-6 in Hernandez's past 21 series openers. The under is 4-0-2 in Hernandez's past six at home.
Early lean: Mariners and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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