Fernandez-Maeda, Arrieta encore highlight MLB.TV slate
Cubs ace to follow up second career no-hitter; White Sox take six-game win streak to Baltimore
By Andrew Simon
Jose Fernandez was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2013. Tonight at Dodger Stadium, he will find himself matched up against a pitcher who has made himself the early frontrunner for this year's honor.
At 28, Kenta Maeda is five years older than Fernandez, but this is his first season in the Majors after a successful run in his native Japan. Entering his outing against the Marlins, the Dodgers right-hander has allowed a total of one run over four quality starts, going 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA.
The Fernandez-Maeda clash is one of eight games on today's schedule, available live on MLB.TV.
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Here is a look at what to watch for today in the Majors (all times ET):
Going for another no-no: MIL@CHC, 2:20 p.m.
After Wednesday's rainout pushed the attempt back by a day, the Cubs' Jake Arrieta will try to join Johnny Vander Meer (1938) as the only pitchers to throw no-hitters in back-to-back starts when he takes on the Brewers and righty Taylor Jungmann at Wrigley Field. Also on the line is Arrieta's streak of 24 consecutive quality starts, during which he has posted a 0.86 ERA and held the Brewers to two runs over three games (all in 2015). Two more quality starts would tie Arrieta with Hall of Famer Bob Gibson (1967-68) for the modern record.
Stat that matters: Right-handed batters are hitting .092/.132/.169 with 19 strikeouts in 68 plate appearances against Arrieta this season.
Putting the 'K' in Roark: PHI@WAS, 4:05 p.m.
What will the Nationals' Tanner Roark do for an encore as he faces the Phillies in this series finale? Roark, not typically a big strikeout pitcher, racked up 15 of them over seven scoreless innings on Saturday against the Twins, topping his previous career high by four. Entering the day, Roark had struck out more than six in only four of his 51 career starts.
"I was throwing four pitches to lefties and righties," Roark said. "Keeping them guessing, keeping them uncomfortable up at the plate, trying to get ahead with strike one. In the first inning, that wasn't really the case. So you really got to go after it and be aggressive, keep going at the hitters."
The Nats will try to support Roark by repeating their April 16 performance against Phillies starter Aaron Nola. In that game, Washington hammered the 22-year-old for seven earned runs over five innings in an 8-1 win. Nola then rebounded with seven strong innings at Milwaukee in his last outing.
Stat that matters: How did Roark get to 15 K's? It helped that the Twins chased 16 of 25 pitches (64 percent) he threw out of the strike zone in two-strike counts.
Surging Sox: CWS@BAL, 7:05 p.m.
The White Sox couldn't be much hotter as they arrive in Baltimore for the start of a four-game series. Chicago owns the American League's best record at 16-6 and has won six straight and eight of nine after completing a three-game sweep in Toronto on Wednesday. That improved the club to 10-3 on the road, but on the other hand, the Orioles are 7-1 at Camden Yards this season. That's good news for Baltimore as it returns for a 10-game homestand following a 2-4 road trip that still left it a half-game ahead of the Red Sox for the AL East lead. Righty Tyler Wilson will make his second start of the season for the O's, while veteran lefty John Danks goes for the Sox.
Stat that matters: The Orioles' Mark Trumbo is batting .414 at home this season, but each of his 17 RBIs has come on the road.
Magnificent Maeda: MIA@LAD, 10:10 p.m.
Maeda already is the first pitcher since at least 1913 to begin his career by allowing no more than one run over his first four games, all as a starter. Only the Giants' Joe Panik has managed to break through against him, with a solo homer on April 17. Overall, Maeda has allowed only 17 hits (three for extra bases) and five walks while striking out 23 over 25 1/3 innings. Even Coors Field couldn't phase Maeda, who tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts there in his last outing.
"His pitchability, athleticism, calmness," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said afterward. "First time here in Coors Field and to make pitches consistently, locate the fastball and breaking ball was down. It was a special night. This is the best fastball command since I've seen him. And after he realized you have to finish your breaking pitches here, his breaking pitches were sharp, too. He rose to the challenge. He doesn't scare off."
Fernandez, by contrast, is off to a bit of a slow start, with a 4.37 ERA through four outings. Over 22 2/3 innings, he has walked 11 -- including at least three in three straight starts -- but also struck out 32. This will be the second career start at Dodger Stadium for Fernandez, whose road ERA (3.81) is more than two runs higher than his mark at Marlins Park (1.61).
Stat that matters: Opponents have gone 1-for-25 (.040) against Maeda's fastball this season, the lowest average among qualified pitchers.
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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.