A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
NEED A HAND
The Giants are looking for answers at the back of the bullpen after closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand Monday night punching a door in frustration. Strickland blew a save in a 5-4 loss to Miami [link=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/davante-adams-jersey]Davante Adams Jersey[/link] , then cost himself six to eight weeks with his postgame outburst. Manager Bruce Bochy said Strickland had shown maturity and progress keeping his emotions in check since a fight last year with Nationals star Bryce Harper, leading Bochy to feel ”thoroughly disappointed” by this injury. Sam Dyson and Tony Watson will be called upon for closing duties, with one getting most of the opportunities, though Bochy didn’t reveal which one that would be. The manager doesn’t consider Mark Melancon – signed to a $62 million, four-year deal before last season to work the ninth – ready for the role after a series of injuries.
KING OF THE BRONX
Felix Hernandez (6-6, 5.44 ERA) pitches for Seattle at Yankee Stadium in the middle game of a series between AL playoff contenders. King Felix is 7-2 with a 2.00 ERA over 11 career starts in the Bronx, including 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA in nine outings at the current Yankee Stadium. The 32-year-old righty, a six-time All-Star and the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 10-7 with a 3.04 ERA and four complete games in 21 starts against New York overall. Jonathan Loaisiga (1-0) gets the ball for the Yankees after throwing five scoreless innings to win his major league debut vs. Tampa Bay last Friday.
Corey Kluber tries to become the major league’s first 11-game winner this season when Cleveland hosts the White Sox. Kluber (10-3, 2.24) won five straight decisions before losing to Minnesota last time out, giving up two homers and four runs in a 6-3 defeat. Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez (2-4 [link=http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/jordan-howard-jersey]Jordan Howard Bears Jersey[/link] , 3.35) is looking to solve the reigning AL Central champs after they tagged him for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings on May 30.
Anibal Sanchez hopes to give the upstart Braves a little more late-career magic. The 34-year-old Sanchez (3-0, 1.93) has been excellent for Atlanta, most recently throwing seven scoreless innings against San Diego. Sanchez has been a surprise contributor after posting a 6.09 ERA over his final two seasons in Detroit and signing with the Braves on a minor league contract in March. He’ll face Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ (8-3, 3.48) in Toronto in the afternoon.
Ross Stripling (6-1, 1.76) tries to win his seventh consecutive start when the Dodgers complete a three-game set against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Stripling joined LA’s rotation amid a bevy of injuries and has been consistently on point, walking just two batters over his past seven starts (43 innings). Chicago will counter with Jon Lester (8-2, 2.28).
鈥?The Kansas City Chiefs played so well without Marcus Peters last week that some wondered whether they were better off without the talented yet volatile All-Pro cornerback.Peters provided quite an answer to that question Saturday night.Returning from a one-game disciplinary suspension, Peters picked off Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers twice and caused another fumble in a dazzling performance. Kansas City added another interception of Rivers and rolled on offense to a 30-13 victory and a stronghold on the AFC West lead.“Marcus went out there and played lights-out football,” said Chiefs safety Ron Parker, who had the other pick. “I think he came back with an ego. He wanted to prove to us that he missed us.”He proved it with his actions, even if he didn’t want to say it in words.Peters refused to speak to reporters this week [link=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/clay-matthews-jersey]Clay Matthews Jersey Youth[/link] , then declined to speak again after the game, even though players can be subject to fines if they do not handle media responsibilities.There were plenty of others in the Chiefs’ locker room willing to speak for him, though.“Definitely not surprised,” said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who threw for 231 yards and two scores. “He’s such a competitor on top of what kind of player he is. He’s got amazing ability, he has such great feel for the game 鈥?just a heck of a competitor.”But that competitiveness had boiled over in recent weeks, and led to embarrassing incident in New York when he chucked an officials’ flag into the stands during a loss to the Jets. Those antics, and a blowup with an assistant coach on the team bus, earned him a one-game suspension from coach Andy Reid.“He has a chip on his shoulder. That’s how he plays the game,” Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “Coming back from his suspension, really contributing to this win [link=http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com/eli-manning-jersey]http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com/eli-manning-jersey[/link] , it’s big.”Kareem Hunt had 155 yards rushing and a touchdown, and hauled in seven catches for 51 yards and another score, as Kansas City (8-6) beat the Chargers (7-7) for the eighth straight time.Now, they need only win one of their final two games to clinch the AFC West and a playoff berth.The Chargers, meanwhile, have to win out and get a lot of help if they want to reach the postseason, a disappointing turn of events for a team that had already dug out from a 0-4 start.“At this point we don’t control our own destiny,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “We lost that today. We can win out but we need some help. All we can control is these next two weeks.”TYREEK THE FREAK: Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill showed off his speed on a 64-yard touchdown catch, beating Chargers CB Casey Hayward. It was Hill’s seventh touchdown reception of the season. “He almost overthrew me,” Hill said of Smith’s throw. “I went to the sidelines and gave him crap for it.”INJURY WOES: Chargers LB Denzel Perryman (hamstring), S Adrian Phillips (ankle) [link=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/davante-adams-jersey]Davante Adams Jersey Elite[/link] , DT Corey Liuget (knee) and LT Russell Okung (groin) were among those to go down Saturday night. RB Austin Ekeler also hurt his hand after fumbling the ball away in the second half. “We had a bunch of guys come out of the game today,” Rivers said. “That’s not an excuse but that certainly didn’t help.”DIVISION DOMINANCE: Reid improved to 10-3 against the Chargers, including his time with Philadelphia, while Smith improved to 7-1. The organization’s streak of eight consecutive wins ties the franchise record of eight straight over the Chargers from 1990-93.STILL CLIMBING: Rivers’ lone touchdown pass went to Antonio Gates, the 86th time he’s connected with his trusty tight end. That broke a tie with the 49ers’ Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the second-most connections between a quarterback and pass-catcher, trailing only Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. The longtime Colts teammates connected for 112 touchdowns.LOOKING AHEAD: The Chiefs can clinch the AFC West with a win over the Dolphins next Sunday, while the Chargers head to the Meadowlands to face the Jets with fading postseason hopes. “Just keep going,” Rivers said. “We’ve got two games left. Finish it the right way.”.