LEADING OFF: Rangers roll into road trip, Wood good for LA
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A look at what's happening all around the majors Friday:
The Rangers take the longest winning streak in the majors into a series at Detroit. Texas has won nine straight, including eight games during a homestand that ended Wednesday, powering their way to a 22-20 record following an abysmal start. Nick Martinez (0-2, 5.04) will pitch the opener against Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.34).
Chris Sale goes for his eighth straight double-digit strikeout game when the Boston Red Sox take on the Oakland Athletics. Sale already has one streak of eight straight double-digit strikeout games in 2015 for the White Sox. The only other player with at least 10 strikeouts in eight straight starts was Pedro Martinez for Boston in 1999.
Alex Wood is throwing harder and pitching better than ever before for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The left-hander is averaging 93 mph on his fastball, easily the best mark of his career per Statcast, and batters are noticing. Wood (4-0, 2.27) has been overpowering of late, striking out 21 over 11 scoreless innings in his past two starts. He has 48 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings this season while allowing just one home run. He'll face Miami left-hander Justin Nicolino (0-0, 1.50).
The Mets return to Citi Field for six games after going 0-6 at Milwaukee and Arizona, their longest winless road trip since 1999. New York has lost seven consecutive games overall, a streak it will try to end when right-hander Jacob deGrom (2-1, 4.07) opposes Angels righty Ricky Nolasco (2-2, 4.34). Los Angeles has won four straight, and reigning AL MVP Mike Trout has homered five times in six games.
Toronto's Aaron Sanchez and Baltimore's Chris Tillman square off in a battle of pitchers not far removed from injuries. Sanchez (0-1, 2.95) pitched five solid innings against Seattle in his return from the disabled list Sunday after missing time with a blister. He threw just 78 pitches in the 3-2 win, allowing five hits and an unearned run. Tillman (1-0, 2.89) has made two starts since recovering from right shoulder bursitis, but hasn't thrown more than five innings in a game yet.
NERD IS THE WORD
Nerd Power is alive and well with Milwaukee. Eric Sogard has been a driving force behind the Brewers' ascent atop of the NL Central this week. Recalled from Triple-A last Friday, Sogard has two homers and is hitting .476, including four-hit games Wednesday and Thursday in wins over San Diego. Standing 5-foot-9 with black-framed glasses, Sogard was a fan
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