With the regular season quickly approaching, Monday marks the beginning of the end for Spring Training, and MLB.TV features a packed slate of Grapefruit and Cactus League action.
Among the early afternoon games is the Cardinals' contest against the Mets, where Daisuke Matsuzaka at 1:10 p.m. ET will make his final Grapefruit League start. Should he earn the Mets' fifth rotation spot, Matsuzaka is also in line for a tuneup in an exhibition game against the Blue Jays. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA through 12 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals will send Shelby Miller to the mound for his fourth start. Miller has surrendered six earned runs on nine hits through 8 2/3 innings. Keith Butler will also be in the mix Monday as he competes for the final spot in the St. Louis 'pen.
The Tigers will meet the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Detroit's Rick Porcello will start opposite Pittsburgh's Wandy Rodriguez, who has bounced back from the forearm arthritis that sidelined him for much of 2013 to allow just one earned run through seven innings this spring. While the Tigers travel to Bradenton, Fla., Anibal Sanchez will pitch in a Minor League game.
Left-hander Drake Britton gets the nod Monday when the Red Sox head to Sarasota, Fla., to take on the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. ET, while Jake Peavy and Craig Breslow stay behind to pitch in a Minor League game. Baltimore's Brian Matusz will face the Red Sox for a third time this spring, having allowed just two hits through four innings in Grapefruit League action against the defending World Series champions.
After easing into the spring schedule, Toronto's Brandon Morrow on Monday gets another chance to build his endurance when he starts against the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET. Relievers Sergio Santos, Brett Cecil, Jeremy Jeffress and closer Casey Janssen are scheduled to follow Morrow, while David Buchanan will start for Philadelphia. Also at 1:05 p.m. ET is a Twins-Rays contest in which Minnesota's Mike Pelfrey will take on Tampa Bay's Chris Archer. Both Grapefruit League games will stream live on MLB.TV.
Later in the afternoon, in Tempe, Ariz., Michael Morse (left calf) is expected to return to the Giants' lineup against the Angels at 4:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Los Angeles southpaw Tyler Skaggs will make his fifth Cactus League start opposite San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong. Skaggs is looking to rebound from a poor outing against the White Sox on Wednesday in which he surrendered five runs on seven hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings of work.
The battle to decide Cleveland's fifth starter continues with Carlos Carrasco getting his chance on the mound in a 4:05 p.m. ET contest against the Reds. The right-hander allowed eight runs (five earned) his last time out and will face a challenge in Brandon Phillips, who is hot at the plate with hits in four straight games, including home runs in three of his last four. Alfredo Simon will get the ball for Cincinnati.
In Peoria, Ariz., Erik Johnson is set for his final Cactus League start when his White Sox face the Mariners at 4:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. For Seattle, Blake Beavan will continue his bid for a spot in the rotation, looking to improve from a seven-run outing against the Brewers.
The Rangers will send Ryan Feierabend to the hill against the Athletics at 4:05 p.m. ET in Surprise, Ariz. Minor Leaguer Murphy Smith will make his Cactus League debut for the Oakland. Texas outfielder Michael Choice, who was traded by the A's in December, is 3-for-5 with a double and a homer against his former team this spring.
Concluding MLB.TV's Monday action will be an Astros-Braves matchup at 6:05 p.m. ET, when Houston's Dallas Keuchel will head to the hill hoping for a return to form from his first three outings, in which he did not allow a single run. Keuchel was knocked around for seven runs and 13 hits by the Marlins last week. David Hale, who is the favorite for the fourth and final spot in the four-man rotation the Braves will use for at least the first seven games of the regular season, will start for Atlanta.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com.