Key things to watch for in today's games
June is nearing a close and, when the calendar flips to July, trades and trade rumors will own Major League Baseball.
Several teams open key series this week with the rumor season nearing. Here are three games to watch for:
First-place teams duel, KC vs. HOU, 8:10 p.m. ET
No one is surprised the Royals -- the reigning American League champions -- sit atop the AL Central after last year's magical postseason run. The Astros, though, still get the raised-eyebrow treatment from the casual fan who sees Houston sitting in first place in the AL West.
The two teams open a three-game series at Minute Maid Park on Monday in a clash of the AL's best. Right-hander Joe Blanton makes his third consecutive start for Kansas City after allowing one run in each of his previous two, while rookie righty Lance McCullers (3-2, 2.33 ERA) takes the ball for the Astros.
Trout, Pujols host Yankees, NYY vs. LAA, 10:05 p.m.
Two of the game's biggest stars, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, host the sport's most storied franchise for a three-game series beginning Monday at Angel Stadium.
Trout is a .330/.426/.626 career hitter in 24 games against the Yankees, while Pujols has a .340/.412/.547 career line in 27 career games against the Bombers.
There also will be dueling lefties on the mound as New York's CC Sabathia (3-7, 5.65) faces the Halos' C.J. Wilson (5-6, 3.92).
Graveman closes strong June, COL vs. OAK, 10:05 p.m.
A's right-hander Kendall Graveman has been on quite a roll this month -- and even before. The 24-year-old has allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven straight starts and his last four have been superb: six earned runs in 29 innings, for a 1.86 ERA. The A's have won just one of his last four starts, however.
Right-hander David Hale starts for Colorado.