Tonight in MLB: Hernandez debuts for Dodgers

Tonight in MLB: Hernandez debuts for Dodgers
August 8, 2014, 10:30 am
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The Phillies traded Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers on Thursday for two players to be named later. (USA Today Images)

Thursday, the Phillies scratched Roberto Hernandez from his schedule start against the Astros and traded him to the Dodgers for a pair of low-level minor leaguers to be named later (see story).

Friday, Hernandez will make his debut with his new team. Here's more on that game and other notable matchups Friday around baseball:

Dodgers at Brewers, 8:10 p.m.
Roberto Hernandez's week and remaining summer just got a whole lot more interesting.

The right-hander, who will debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night in Milwaukee, was scheduled to start Thursday for Philadelphia against Houston in a matchup of teams that were a combined 32 games under .500.

After being traded Thursday for two players to be named later or cash considerations, the 33-year-old now takes on the Brewers as two first-place clubs open a three-game series.

"I'm happy," Hernandez told MLB's official website through former Phillies teammate Wil Nieves. "It's the first time that I've been traded. Obviously, it's a nice feeling going to a team that has a chance. I'm really nervous right now. I wasn't expecting this. So yeah, I'm excited, but at the same time, I'm nervous."

Hernandez (6-8, 3.87 ERA) replaces Josh Beckett, who had been pitching through a left hip injury, and could ultimately contend with Dan Haren for starts at the back end of the rotation if Beckett doesn't land on the disabled list.

A recent run of success likely put Hernandez on the Dodgers' radar. He's 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA and .170 opponents' average over his last four starts, and limited Washington to an unearned run and five hits over eight innings in a 2-1 win last Friday.

Hernandez enjoyed similar success on July 9 in Milwaukee, yielding a run and three hits over eight innings in a 4-1 victory.

Nationals at Braves, 7:35 p.m.
Matt Williams recently stepped away from his normally calm demeanor to vehemently defend the slumping Bryce Harper, leading to an apology from the Washington Nationals manager.

Harper hasn't needed Williams to speak for him since.

After Harper hit a game-winning homer to extend Washington's NL East lead over Atlanta, the visiting Nationals look to add to that advantage and deal the Braves a ninth straight defeat Friday night.

Williams fielded multiple questions earlier in the week about the possibility of sending Harper to the minors with the 21-year-old outfielder mired in a 3-for-24 slump.

Finally fed up, Williams uncharacteristically lashed out at reporters prior to Wednesday's 7-1 win over the New York Mets and cautioned to refrain from asking any more questions about Harper's future with the major league club.

Harper went 1 for 3 in that contest, then hit an opposite-field homer in the 13th inning Thursday to give Washington (62-51) a 5-3 win and 4 1/2-game lead over Atlanta (58-56) atop the East.

"I want to apologize for the way I reacted (Wednesday)," Williams said. "My tact wasn't very good. I'll be better from now on."

Now the Nationals turn their focus to second-place Atlanta.

Tigers at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m.
Neither the Detroit Tigers nor the Toronto Blue Jays are generating much offense heading into Friday night's series opener.

While a trip to Toronto may not help Miguel Cabrera break out of his slump, a home series versus the Tigers may be just what Jose Bautista needs.

The AL Central-leading Tigers (62-50) opened a nine-game trip by dropping three of four to the New York Yankees. Detroit's average of 4.6 runs ranks fourth in the majors, but it totaled six in the Bronx while batting .173 and striking out 35 times.

"Offensively we just didn't do anything," Victor Martinez said after Thursday's 1-0 loss.

Cabrera, who grounded into a double play as a pinch-hitter in the ninth after originally being scheduled to get Thursday off, finished the series 1 for 10.

He had similar struggles in Detroit's first 2014 series with Toronto from June 3-5, going 1 for 11 as the Tigers were swept in three games. He did homer off R.A. Dickey (9-11, 4.03 ERA), but is still 2 for his last 11 against the knuckleballer.

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