Matinee baseball to rule schedule; Scherzer vs. Lester at night at Wrigley
By Spencer Fordin
There are 11 day games today, but the main event is a nighttime contest involving a pair of transplanted aces.
Max Scherzer and Jon Lester both signed lucrative free-agent contracts to move from the American League to the National League in the offseason, and they're both thriving in their transition. They'll match up at Wrigley Field at 8:05 p.m. ET.
Scherzer has been especially good for the Nationals, notching a 5-3 record and a 1.67 ERA in nine starts. Scherzer has gone 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 23 strikeouts in his last three starts, and he's held the opposition to one earned run or fewer in seven of his first nine outings. The right-hander has been especially dominant on the road, where he's managed a 1.00 ERA in his first 27 innings.
Lester, meanwhile, has rebounded after a shaky start to his tenure with the Cubs. The left-hander is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last six outings, and he has more strikeouts (37) than hits allowed (34) in that span. Lester is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA in three career starts against the Nationals.
Here are a few other matchups and games to look forward to today.
The Felix Effect, SEA @ TB, 1:10 p.m. ET
When Felix Hernandez is pitching, the Mariners can beat anyone. Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, is off to another tremendous start this season and leads the league in victories (seven) and in WHIP (0.941). Hernandez has gone 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA and 63 strikeouts through nine starts.
Hernandez, an All-Star in five of the last six years, has given up seven home runs this season, and all solo shots. For his career, Hernandez is 5-2 with a 2.12 ERA in 13 starts against Tampa Bay, but he's winless in four starts at Tropicana Field (0-2, 3.23).
The Rays, who have played their way to the top of the AL East, will counter with Chris Archer, their Opening Day starter. Archer has gone 5-4 with a 2.40 ERA in his first 10 starts. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last three starts and has held hitters to a .205 average this season.
Baseball Royalty -- KC @ NYY, 1:05 p.m. ET
The Yankees have 27 World Series titles, but the Royals are the team of the moment. Kansas City won the pennant last year and had five starters in the first update of the All-Star fan balloting. The Royals also have control of the AL Central, and they'll try to hang on today against the Yankees.
Kansas City will start veteran Chris Young, and he'll bring his microscopic 0.78 ERA on the line against New York. Young is 4-0 this season, but one of those victories came as a reliever. He's gone 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA in four starts, and he's yet to allow more than two earned runs in any game this season.
The Yankees, fighting for the top spot in the AL East, will go with Michael Pineda. Pineda is 5-2 with a 3.59 ERA in nine starts this season, and he's been especially effective at home. The right-hander has a 2-1 record with a 2.78 ERA at home, and he's struck out 38 batters with only two walks at Yankee Stadium.
The Nightcap -- ATL @ LAD, 10:10 p.m. ET Zack Greinke is on a roll. Greinke is 5-1 with a 1.48 ERA in his first nine starts this season, and he's been near unhittable in the month of May. Greinke is just 1-1 in his last four starts, but he has a 0.95 ERA in that span and has held hitters to a .180 average. The Dodgers have won three of those four games.
Greinke's ERA hasn't risen above 1.93 after any start this season, and he's completed at least six innings every time he's taken the ball. Greinke has allowed 12 extra-base hits in nine outings.
Atlanta's starter, Alex Wood, has been just as stingy: He's given up 11 extra-base hits in eight games. Opposing hitters are batting .308 off Wood, but he's managed to limit the damage. Wood has allowed more than three earned runs just once this season, and he's given up just two home runs.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.