LEADING OFF: Eovaldi, Red Sox in funk, Cards try to sweep LA

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

SHAKY STARTS

Nathan Eovaldi tries to snap Boston out of its early-season funk. The Red Sox are 3-9 in defense of their World Series championship, and the rotation has an 8.78 ERA. Eovaldi (0-0, 8.10) has struggled during starts against Seattle and Oakland. He’ll oppose the Blue Jays, who averaged 2.66 runs over their first 11 games before beating Chris Sale and the Red Sox 7-5 at the Fenway Park home opener Tuesday.

TIEBREAKER GAME

Yadier Molina and the Cardinals go for a four-game sweep of the Dodgers in St. Louis. The longtime National League rivals have played each other 2,074 times since 1892 and the series is even at 1,029-1,029 with 16 ties. St. Louis has won four in a row and outscored its opponents 19-6 during the winning streak. Los Angeles has dropped three straight after a five-game winning streak. Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler (1-0, 6.75 ERA) faces Michael Wacha (0-0, 1.54) in the series finale. Buehler has struck out 18 and allowed only five hits in 15 scoreless innings over two career starts against the Cardinals. Wacha walked a career-high eight in a 6-4 loss to San Diego on Saturday.

RIVALRY RENEWED

The Mets and Braves square off for the first time this season when they open a four-game series in Atlanta. Steven Matz (0.87 ERA) makes his third start of the season for New York, facing Braves right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-0, 0.00). Matz has gone a team-record eight straight starts without getting a decision. He is 4-0 in seven career starts vs. the Braves. Gausman allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings in his first start of the season against Miami. Atlanta, the defending NL East champion, has hit its stride after dropping its first three games of the year. The Braves have won seven of their last eight and scored 48 runs in those eight games.

WELCOME BACK

Yasiel Puig is eligible to return to the lineup as the Reds try for a three-game sweep of Miami. The right fielder was suspended two games for his role in a bench-clearing fracas Sunday in Pittsburgh. Puig decided to accept the penalty rather than appeal, saying he doubted it would make much difference. Cincinnati had lost eight straight before the struggling Marlins arrived.

CHRIS-CROSSED AT CAMDEN

Orioles fans hoping for a breakout from Chris Davis got a cruel twist Wednesday, when Oakland’s Khris Davis homered twice and had three hits in a 10-3 A’s win. Chris Davis, meanwhile, flied out as a pinch-hitter to extend his record hitless streak to 50 at-bats. Chris Davis could get into the lineup for the series finale against right-hander Aaron Brooks (1-1, 4.09 ERA). He hasn’t had a hit since Sept. 14. Khris Davis has seven homers this season, tied for the AL lead with Seattle’s Jay Bruce.

GOTTA GET AWAY

The Rockies couldn’t get out of Denver soon enough, and not just because a projected winter storm postponed a game against Atlanta on Wednesday night. Colorado has dropped five straight at Coors Field and heads to San Francisco with a 3-9 record this season. Jon Gray (0-2, 5.68 ERA) gets the ball against Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 2.79).

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