LEADING OFF: Paxton gets Red Sox rematch, May Day in LA

National Sports
James Paxton

New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton delivers to the Boston Red Sox in the first inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Friday, July 26, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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

NO REINFORCEMENTS

The Yankees came up short trying to acquire pitching help at the trade deadline, and that’s putting more pressure on James Paxton to shake off a rough stretch. The big left-hander is 0-3 with a 6.67 ERA in his past six starts, including a loss at Fenway Park last week when he allowed seven runs in four innings. Paxton (5-6, 4.72) faces the Red Sox again in the opener of a four-game home series. He’ll oppose right-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (13-4, 4.13).

MAY DAY

Top Dodgers pitching prospect Dustin May is expected to make his major league debut against San Diego. The 21-year-old right-hander is nicknamed Gingergaard because his flowing red hair and big-time fastball remind some of Mets ace Noah Syndergaard. May was 6-5 with a 3.38 ERA over 20 starts between Double-A and Triple-A this season.

ENJOY IT

The Tampa Bay Rays will have a rare Friday off before starting a two-game series against Miami on Saturday at Tropicana Field. It will mark the first time in franchise history Tampa Bay has a scheduled idle Friday past the opening week of April.

“That’s odd. I don’t think I’ve ever have had a Friday off,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday night’s game at Boston.

Under scheduling guidelines, MLB teams have some leeway regarding a day off before or after a two-game series.

DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS

Madison Bumgarner, who had been the subject of trade speculation, starts for the Giants when they open a series at Coors Field. San Francisco and Colorado are coming off completely opposite performances last month. The Giants began July at 36-47, but finished the month at 55-53. They became the first major league team to start July at least 10 games under .500 and end with a winning mark. The Rockies, meanwhile, were 44-40 heading into July before going 6-19 — that was the worst showing by any team that went into July with a winning record since the 1888 Boston Beaneaters were 5-17.

PHILLING UP

Jason Vargas (6-5, 4.01 ERA) makes his debut with the Phillies after being acquired this week from the Mets. The 36-year-old lefty has won three straight starts going into this outing in Philadelphia against the White Sox.

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