With a doubleheader in St. Louis and every team in action, today brings baseball fans a hefty 16-game slate on MLB.TV.Clayton Kershaw takes on the defending American League champs in Cleveland, Tyler Chatwood looks to continue his remarkable trend on the road in Pittsburgh, Zack Greinke takes on the Tigers
With a doubleheader in St. Louis and every team in action, today brings baseball fans a hefty 16-game slate on MLB.TV.
Clayton Kershaw takes on the defending American League champs in Cleveland, Tyler Chatwood looks to continue his remarkable trend on the road in Pittsburgh, Zack Greinke takes on the Tigers in Detroit, the Giants and Royals take part in a rematch of the 2014 World Series and Jonathan Lester squares off against Zack Wheeler at Citi Field.
MLB.TV will be offering 50 percent off subscriptions throughout the week leading up to Father's Day. MLB.TV Premium, with nearly two dozen features for subscribers to access and interact with live out-of-market Major League Baseball games at 60 frames per second on any of the more than 400 supported devices, is on sale for just $49.99. MLB.TV Single Team subscriptions are also available, on sale for $39.99.
Here is what to watch for today (all times ET):
It's been a while: LAD@CLE, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw is making his first start in Cleveland and just the second of his career against the Indians. He last pitched against the Tribe in 2008, making just his sixth big league start, giving up four earned runs in five innings. Austin Jackson, Edwin Encarnacion and Abraham Almonte (who is on the 10-day DL) are the only three Indians who have faced Kershaw in their careers, and they have combined to go 1-for-10 with two strikeouts. This is the Dodgers' first Interleague game of 2017.
Trevor Bauer last pitched on Wednesday in Colorado, lasting just 3 1/3 innings after struggling with his location. He walked five and was on the unfortunate end of some gap hits at Coors Field.
Road run: COL@PIT, 7:05 p.m.
In his past three road outings, Chatwood has limited opponents to just two earned runs and nine hits in 21 innings -- all Rockies wins. Since the start of last season, Chatwood has an MLB-best 1.99 road ERA. The righty didn't go to his cutter as much as he has in his last start, just eight times in a 98-pitch outing, but it's proven to be highly effective, limiting batters to an MLB-best .092 batting average against (min. 30 at-bats ending in a cutter).
Gerrit Cole has been pegged for a career-high seven earned runs in each of his last two starts, and though he's thrown just 18.3 percent of his pitches when behind in the count, eighth lowest in the Majors, he's struggled mightily in those sequences, having surrendered a .608 weighted on-base average -- highest in in the Majors when behind in the count, according to Statcast™.
"I haven't really gone through something like this before," Cole said. "That's certainly the furthest thing from an excuse. I've got to turn it around."
Zack's back: ARI@DET, 7:10 p.m.
The theme of "Zack's back" has prevailed for much of the season, but such conviction seems particularly warranted now that the D-backs righty has made it through 13 starts and compiled 100 strikeouts. Greinke, whose wipeout slider is generating a whopping 30 percent swing-and-miss rate, has mastered location in the lower-third of the zone, which accounts for 72.1 percent of his pitch tally, third highest in MLB, according to Statcast™. He is making his first start since his wife, Emily, gave birth to their second child.
Greinke will square off against Tigers righty Buck Farmer, who is carrying a 13-inning scoreless streak -- tied for the longest in the American League this year -- as he makes his third start of 2017.
"There was a split camp in the organization: Is he a starter? Is he a reliever? But we kind of held fast to pitching him in a starting role," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Farmer after his most recent outing. "Really, from the get-go in Spring Training, [general manager] Al [Avila] and his staff and our staff decided that we really didn't want to do that with Buck this year, where he was kind of on a yo-yo string. We felt like [we should] just let him be in [Triple-A] Toledo, let him start, let him get comfortable."
Remember us?: KC@SFG, 10:15 p.m.
Jason Vargas enters today's tilt as one of the hottest pitchers in the game. He's given up three or fewer earned runs in all but one of his 12 starts, and has compiled a 2.18 ERA, behind only Dallas Keuchel for the MLB lead. Much of his success could be pinned to the consistent soft contact he's limited batters to, having given up just 28.3 percent of batted balls hit 95 mph or harder, the exit velocity Statcast™ classifies as hard-hit.
Giants rookie Ty Blach is coming off his first loss in more than a month, on Wednesday in Milwaukee, but manager Bruce Bochy merely chalked the outing up as an outlier.
"I don't know if I have to learn any more about him," Bochy said last week. "I love the way he pitches. The tempo. I love strike throwers, and he is. He throws quality strikes. The changeup has only gotten better and the breaking ball has only gotten better. That was an area that he needed to improve on, and he's done that. He's a Major League starter."
Finding form: CHC@NYM, 7:10 p.m.
For a Cubs rotation that has been far from embodying the stability that propelled the club through last postseason, Lester had been the one consistent force as the defending champs have hovered around or below .500 for much of the year. That is, before his last three starts, in which he's given up a combined 13 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings with a .960 opposing OPS.
Meanwhile, Wheeler -- whose rotation spot was uncertain during Spring Training -- has been the one form of stability the beleaguered Mets have had, though they are only 5-6 in games he's started.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.