Lester, Cubs aim for 2nd sweep of Bucs on MLB.TV

May 15th, 2016

The Cubs aim for a serious leg up on their close rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates, to start 2016, while a young Mets ace will test his serious heat in Denver's thin air for the first time. 

All that and more will be part of a full slate of 15 games available today on MLB.TV.

MLB.TV Premium returns with the same features as last year, but at $109.99, it is a full 20 bucks cheaper than the 2015 cost. This package has the best value and provides access to more than 400 devices and a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat Premium app (a $19.99 value). It offers the best picture quality ever -- a new 60 frames per second -- for supported devices. Monthly signups for MLB.TV Premium are now underway as well for $24.99.

The new MLB.TV Single Team package is also now available as an $84.99 yearly subscription. You can watch a single team's live out-of-market games in full HD.

Here is your guide for what to watch for today in the Majors (all times ET):

Chicago seeks to move to 6-0 over Bucs: [email protected], 2:20 p.m.

Entering 2016, the 19 games between the Pirates and Cubs figured to be some of the tightest and most important games of the schedule. But Chicago has claimed the first five contests between these National League Central rivals, and the reeling Pirates, who have lost eight of their last 11, look to ace Gerrit Cole (3-3, 3.78 ERA) to stop the bleeding. Cole has struggled in his last two starts against the North Siders -- including Pittsburgh's 4-0 loss in the NL Wildcard Game last fall -- but he is 5-1 against the Cubs in six career starts at Wrigley Field. Meanwhile, Jon Lester (4-1, 1.96) hopes to help his club keep pace with the 1907 Cubs (28-8) for the best start through 36 games in franchise history.

Stat that matters:Addison Russell is riding a streak of 17 games in which he has reached safely and eight straight games with a hit. He has as many hits (15) in 11 games in May as he did in 20 games during the months of March and April.

deGrom looks to take next step: [email protected], 4:10 p.m.

Jacob deGrom has been good but not dominant in the four starts since his return from paternity leave. deGrom (3-1, 2.12) delivered a steely performance Tuesday against the Dodgers, letting just two runners come home despite scattering eight hits over seven innings.

"This night showed what Jake deGrom is made of," manager Terry Collins said of the pitcher's start in Los Angeles. "We all talk about the plus stuff. He's fighting through some mechanical things right now, and this guy was in trouble for the first five innings. Yet you looked up and he gave you seven innings. That tells me a lot about him."

deGrom makes his first career start in Denver opposite the Rockies' Tyler Chatwood (4-3, 3.09), who hasn't felt at home at Coors Field. Chatwood owns the Majors' best road ERA among starters at 0.33 while going 4-0, but is 0-3 with a staggering 7.88 ERA at his home park. Chatwood has given up all five of his home runs this year at Coors Field, whose thin air admittedly makes it a tough place for any pitcher to feel comfortable.

Stat that matters:Curtis Granderson is batting .321 (9-for-28) as the Mets' leadoff batter for the team's first at-bat of the game, including two home runs. That's 35 points higher than the NL's average of .277 in first at-bats of the game entering Saturday.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers get the Mosaic View -- split screen or quad, available on PC or Mac only. That always comes in handy, especially when scoreboard-watching looms. MLB.TV Premium and MLB.TV Single Team subscribers both enjoy HD and both will get real-time highlights and player stats automatically loaded moments after they occur (only for the game you are watching with MLB.TV Single Team, and for all games with MLB.TV Premium).