What to watch for in today's games
Baseball's top prospect is set to take his game to the next level.
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton, ranked No. 1 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 list, will make his Major League debut on Sunday at Texas (3:05 p.m. ET). Minnesota, looking to boost its production in center field, is bringing the 21-year-old up from Double-A Chattanooga, where he was hitting .283/.351/.489 with six homers, seven doubles, 12 triples and 20 steals in 59 games.
"I'm not nervous now," said Buxton, who found out about the promotion on Saturday. "I'm ready to get up there and get going. But I'm sure once I'm up there, the nerves will kick in a little bit."
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Buxton battled injuries and played in only 31 games last season but looks to be clicking now, hitting .467 during an eight-game hitting streak. A spark from him could be just what the Twins need as they try to snap a five-game losing streak.
It's Lindor Time: CLE @ DET, 1:08 p.m. ET
Buxton isn't the only heralded young player expected to break into the big leagues on Sunday. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, MLBPipeline.com's No. 3 prospect, is coming up from Triple-A Columbus to make his debut in the finale of a three-game series in Detroit. A stellar defender, the 21-year-old switch-hitter is batting .279/.346/.398 with two homers, 11 doubles, five triples and eight steals this season.
Lindor will try to help Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber get back in the win column. This season has been a story of streaks for Kluber, who opened it by losing his first five decisions, before winning his next three, then dropping his first two of June. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner held the Mariners to two runs over seven innings in his last outing, but the Indians didn't score more than two runs for the ninth time in his 13 starts.
The Tigers turn to Alfredo Simon, who's pitched well against the Indians this season thanks to a nasty splitter. In two outings, he's 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. In his previous start against the White Sox, the right-hander allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits in eight innings for the win.
Here are a few other matchups and games to look forward to Sunday.
Calling E.R., stat! TOR @ BOS, 1:35 p.m. ET
It's hard to imagine a pitcher beginning his career any better than Eduardo Rodriguez.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Red Sox left-hander is the first pitcher in baseball history to go at least six innings and not allow more than one run or three hits in each of his first three Major League starts.
He'll have his work cut out for him in Sunday's series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET against the Blue Jays, who are riding a 10-game win streak and have outscored opponents 77-35 during that stretch.
Right-hander Marco Estrada will take the hill for Toronto. He has been a dependable starter at the back end of the rotation, tossing three consecutive quality starts. In his last outing against the Marlins, Estrada allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings for his second straight win.
Intrastate Rivals: PHI @ PIT, 1:35 p.m. ET
The battle for Pennsylvania continues in Sunday's series finale between the Phillies and the Pirates. It should be quite the pitching matchup as Cole Hamels takes the hill for Philadelphia and A.J. Burnett gets the nod for Pittsburgh.
Hamels took the loss in his last start against the Reds, surrendering five runs on eight hits in six innings. The left-hander got the win in one other start against the Pirates back on May 13, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings.
Burnett is looking for his second win of the month over his former club. The right-hander has been on point at home this season, going 2-2 with a 1.60 ERA.
Burnett snapped a five-game win streak in his last start against the Brewers, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings in a 2-0 loss.
AL West foes: OAK @ LAA, 3:35 p.m. ET
Sonny Gray has been nothing but dominant so far this season, leading the American League with a 1.74 ERA. In 11 of his 13 starts, the A's right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer, including two starts against the Angels.
Gray will look to keep that success going in Sunday's series finale when he squares off against the Angels' Matt Shoemaker. In his last outing against the Rangers, Gray allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings. However, he didn't get much run support and the A's took a 2-1 loss.
Shoemaker hasn't had that same kind of success against the A's this year. He's 0-1 in two starts, combining to allow eight runs on 13 hits in 8 2/3 innings for a 8.31 ERA. The right-hander got a win against the Rays in his last start, giving up two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings.