What's Next: Harvey Day in Bronx on tap
Patriots' Day in Boston, Statcast debut among intriguing storylines
The month of April is whizzing by. Small sample sizes are getting bigger. The narrative of the 2015 season in Major League Baseball is taking shape, inning by inning.
After a terrific and tumultuous weekend of hardball, Monday brings us what's next in the 162-game grind: a week packed with emotion, rivalries, arrivals and the usual big-league intrigue.
The week will begin early with tradition and solemn remembrance in Boston on Patriots' Day. The Red Sox will play a home game at 11:05 a.m. ET on the same day as the Boston Marathon, and the two-year anniversary of the Marathon bombing tragedy will be recognized.
"That will be a day that will live on," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Each player has his own thoughts and relationships that each has developed with victims as they visit them in the hospital, the follow-up conversation and visits. Patriots' Day in and of itself is such a unique thing to us in New England, to Boston and particularly with the 11 [a.m.] start."
On Tuesday, a matchup between two of the National League's top postseason contenders begins in Washington with the Cardinals and Nationals providing a possible preview of an October series to remember. Lance Lynn will start the opener against Nats left-hander Gio Gonzalez, setting the tone for three games of pitching duels. The other two games are set to feature John Lackey against Doug Fister and Michael Wacha against Max Scherzer.
Tuesday also will be an MLB Network Showcase game between the Cardinals and Nationals and will feature the 2015 debut of Statcast, the revolutionary technology in which analysts and fans can analyze plays, get the pertinent data and crunch the numbers into explanations for what they see on the field.
But even before that stellar matchup unfolds, there will be much to chew on out West.
On Monday, the A's will venture to Anaheim to take on their American League West and California-rival Angels in a four-game set, and on Tuesday, the Dodgers will head to the Bay Area to renew their adversarial NL West relationship with three games against the World Series champion Giants.
The Angels edged the A's, 10-9, in last year's season series and have won seven of their last eight games against the A's overall.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, will be going for their eighth straight win, although it's still an uncertainty for them as to how much right fielder Yasiel Puig will play in the series after missing several games over the last week because of a tight left hamstring.
Later in the week, it will be time for the first Subway Series of 2015, and it's taking place at Yankee Stadium.
The Mets, who enter the week on an eight-game winning streak, will celebrate their first Matt Harvey Day in the Bronx, which is slated for Saturday. They also are likely to ring in the Kevin Plawecki era at some point during the week. Plawecki, a 24-year-old catcher, is their No. 2-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, and is needed right now because starting backstop Travis d'Arnaud is out indefinitely with a broken hand sustained on Sunday when he was hit by a pitch.
"If he's coming, he's going to play," Mets manager Terry Collins said before knowing of Plawecki's promotion. "Can he handle it here? We will most likely find out."
The same will be said for Carlos Rodon, the 22-year-old Chicago White Sox left-hander who will be called up to the big leagues for the first time on Monday and stashed in the bullpen until he's ready to join the rotation.
Rodon was selected No. 3 overall in the First-Year Player Draft last June and almost made the team out of Spring Training.