The first weekend of summer is upon us, and with the boys of summer doing their thing all over the country, a matchup in the heart of Texas promises to provide plenty of sizzle.The Red Sox, fresh off a walkoff win over the White Sox at Fenway Park, travel to
The first weekend of summer is upon us, and with the boys of summer doing their thing all over the country, a matchup in the heart of Texas promises to provide plenty of sizzle.
The Red Sox, fresh off a walkoff win over the White Sox at Fenway Park, travel to Arlington to take on the Rangers, American League West leaders and owners of the AL's best record, in the first of three games today. Even if it's a tad early to start tabbing potential playoff matchups, this game represents the current top seed and the Wild Card leader in the AL squaring off.
The opener of the three-game set between AL heavyweights is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET, part of a full slate of 15 games available today on MLB.TV.
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Here is a look at what to watch for today in the Majors (all times ET):
Texas showdown: BOS@TEX, 8:05 p.m.
The Rangers entered the summer with not only the best record in the AL but the best record to this point in franchise history, and they've been on a roll, winning 16 of their last 20. They'll welcome the Red Sox this weekend after splitting a two-game set with the Reds -- the first series the Rangers hadn't won after taking 10 straight.
The Red Sox will go with their ace offseason acquisition to face the AL's hottest club, sending David Price to the mound against the Rangers' Nick Martinez. Price has thrown eight straight quality starts, good for a 2.47 ERA over that span.
Said Red Sox manager John Farrell: "You look at what he's done over the last eight starts, it's progressively getting better. He's been more efficient with … not only his pitch mix, but the number of pitches thrown. He's been to quality locations throughout. It's great to see a guy go out and work like he does."
Stat that matters: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is hitting .400 in 25 regular-season at-bats against Price. It's the second-highest average of any opponent with a minimum of 25 at-bats.
Bucs and Bums: LAD@PIT, 7:05 p.m.
Next up on Jameson Taillon's introduction to the Majors is a talented team on its best run of the season. The red-hot Dodgers come to PNC Park, where they'll meet the rookie who has seen the Mets twice, the Cubs once and now takes on another of the NL's best clubs. He'll be matched with Nick Tepesch, making his season debut.
The Dodgers have reeled off six straight wins, their longest streak of the season, after sweeping the NL East-leading Nationals at home, and they begin a seven-game road trip with a visit to the Steel City. The Pirates just hosted the NL West leaders, the Giants, dropping three of four to them.
Stat that matters: The Dodgers have hit a home run in each of their last 13 games, the longest streak for the team since July 2001.
Central issue: CLE@DET, 7:10 p.m.
In a stacked AL Central race, it's the Indians who have taken the division lead into the summer, sitting in first since June 4. They chalked up their 11th straight home win to wrap up a perfect six-game homestand, and now the Tribe visits Detroit. Something has to give in the opener -- Cleveland is on a six-game winning streak, while the Tigers have won four straight.
A big reason the Indians have surged to the top of the AL Central is their 21-10 mark within the division, including a pair of three-game sweeps of the Tigers.
"I guarantee if you ask the players, they're well aware that we haven't beaten Cleveland this year," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "If that's motivation, then great. It should be, really."
The series begins with Danny Salazar taking the ball for the Tribe and Jordan Zimmermann making the start for the Tigers.
Stat that matters:Miguel Cabrera has a career .346 average (9-for-26) off Salazar with a pair of HRs and five RBIs.
Long time coming: STL@SEA, 10:10 p.m.
It's actually rare to see a rare matchup when it comes to Interleague Play anymore, but when the Cardinals visit the Mariners for a three-game set this weekend, it will be the Redbirds' first visit to the Pacific Northwest since 2002.
Both clubs are staring at big deficits in their respective division races as Carlos Martinez steps to the mound for the Cardinals against a starter to be determined -- likely to be Wade LeBlanc, who would fill in for an injured Taijuan Walker (right foot tendinitis). The Mariners' losing streak was extended to six games Thursday at Detroit, while the Cardinals bring a three-game win streak with them to Seattle.
Stat that matters: Cards third baseman Matt Carpenter saw his 12-game hit streak end earlier this week, but he remains hot, having reached safely in 15 of his last 26 plate appearances.
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).
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB.