The first month of the season is in the books as we turn our calendars to May.April was full of surprises, improbable comebacks, incredible individual performances and unforgettable moments. It was a truly amazing way to start the 2017 season, but with more than five months to go, some of
The first month of the season is in the books as we turn our calendars to May.
April was full of surprises, improbable comebacks, incredible individual performances and unforgettable moments. It was a truly amazing way to start the 2017 season, but with more than five months to go, some of the best is yet to come.
It all starts Monday, with an exciting slate of 11 games, highlighted by Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto dueling it out at Dodger Stadium in the nightcap, streaming live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times ET):
The Claw versus Johnny Beisbol: SF@LAD, 10:15 p.m.
Kershaw and Cueto kick off the second month of the young season as two National League West rivals clash in Los Angeles with the Giants looking to gain ground on the Dodgers.
Kershaw has dominated San Francisco throughout his career, with a remarkable 19-8 record and 1.60 ERA in 37 games (36 starts) against his division foe. His 285 career strikeouts and 270 1/3 innings against the Giants are his highest totals against any opponent in the big leagues.
Cueto got off to a fast start to the season by winning his first three starts, but cooled a bit in his last two. The right-hander will look to keep the ball in the ballpark after allowing six homers in 30 innings this season. He allowed 15 all of last season in 219 2/3 frames.
Bundy faces BoSox: BAL@BOS, 7:10 p.m.
For quite some time, Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy was the top rated prospect in the game. Following multiple bouts with arm issues that ultimately resulted in Tommy John surgery, the 24-year-old is finally flashing the potential he always possessed.
Bundy wasn't expected to anchor Baltimore's rotation in 2017, but that's exactly what he's done. He's 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in five starts in his second full season in the Majors and has given the Orioles much-needed length by completing at least six innings in all of his outings.
Bundy grapples with the Red Sox after splitting decisions his first two times facing the club this season. He won't have it easy, as Boston counters with reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello at Fenway Park.
AL East action continues in Bronx: TOR@NYY, 7:05 p.m.
The Blue Jays' Marco Estrada squares off against the Yankees' Luis Severino in a series that could help turn things around for Toronto. The club is coming off back-to-back wins for the first time all season and with a series win over the Yankees, the outlook for the year could be looking a little brighter.
Estrada, who has pitched much better than his record shows, will try to get Toronto in the win column once again. The righty is 0-1, but has a 2.70 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 30 innings.
Severino, 23, has also pitched beautifully this season, going 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts. He will look to slow down the Blue Jays in what will be his fifth career start against them.
Vargas vying for victories: CWS@KC, 8:15 p.m.
The Royals struggled to win games throughout the season's first month, but left-hander Jason Vargas has kept Kansas City afloat in the AL Central. Vargas' resurgence has given fans hope that a turnaround is possible.
Vargas, 34, hasn't pitched a full season since 2014. But he's been phenomenal since returning from a UCL tear that forced him to miss significant portions of the past two seasons.
The veteran lefty is 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA in four starts this season and has struck out 28 batters in 25 2/3 innings. After losing for the first time this year in his last meeting with the White Sox, Vargas will seek redemption against right-hander Dylan Covey (0-1, 6.91) at Kaufmann Stadium.
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C.