Happ, Hollywood rivals also star in today's lineup
By Matt Kelly
The Red Sox's hitters had the scoreboard operators working overtime during their seven-game homestand at Fenway Park. Now they'll see if their power trip can extend to the home of the defending champs.
Meanwhile, Toronto's prized offseason pickup looks to extend a career-best run north of the border. A pair of Southern California teams renew their Interleague rivalry, and the Yankees' latest callup makes his big league debut in the desert.
It's all happening today, and all of the action is available on MLB.TV.
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The new MLB.TV Single Team package is also now available as an $84.99 yearly subscription. You can watch a single team's live out-of-market games in full HD.
Here is a look at what to watch for today in the Majors (all times ET):
Red-hot Sox roll into KC: BOS@KC, 7:05 p.m.
Boston's homestand featured a little bit of everything, including tape-measure home runs, numerous lead changes and David Ortiz walk-off hits. It also contained an offensive eruption for Red Sox hitters, who were already heating up before their series against the A's and Astros. The Sox scored a combined 73 runs in those seven games, their most in a seven-game homestand since June 23-29, 2003. They've also hit at least one home run in 16 straight games, the second-longest streak in franchise history behind a string of 19 games from July 4-25, 1996.
"The moment that we are living right now, it's something very special," said Ortiz. "Something that gives me some really good thoughts and hopefully continues through the year."
Now they'll see if their run parade can continue in Kansas City against the defending World Series champion Royals, who find themselves still a game under .500 despite Sunday's extra-innings win over the Braves. Kansas City was also 18-19 through its first 37 games in 2014, however, before eventually making its run to the American League pennant.
Stat that matters: If a team is going to score as much as Boston has of late, it needs a table-setter who can get on base. Mookie Betts has been that and more. On Sunday, Betts became the first Red Sox leadoff hitter to record at least one hit and one RBI in seven straight games since Dom DiMaggio in August 1940.
J.A. aims to keep Happ-y streak going: TB@TOR, 7:07 p.m.
After a wild Sunday afternoon in Texas that featured an ugly fracas and eight ejections, Toronto turns to left-hander J.A. Happ to serve as its calming force. Happ has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball -- not just in 2016, but over the last nine months. The southpaw was dealt from the Mariners to the Pirates at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last July, and since the time he toed the mound for his second start for Pittsburgh on Aug. 14, Happ has gone 13-2 with a 1.68 ERA -- the second-lowest ERA in the Majors during that span behind the Cubs' Jake Arrieta. After signing a three-year, $36 million deal to return to Toronto this offseason, all Happ has done is go a perfect 5-0 and post the fifth-best ERA (2.05) in the AL.
"He's a pitcher now, he's not a thrower," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Happ's recent transformation. "He's able to go deeper in games because he's not trying to overpower anybody. He used to get a lot of foul balls, now he's getting a lot of ground balls, which you'd hardly ever see before."
Happ will face a heartbroken Rays club that was just one out from getting a series win before blowing a 6-5 lead against Oakland on Sunday. Tampa Bay will give the ball to Drew Smyly (1-4, 3.63 ERA), who is 1-0 and has not allowed a run in three career starts at Rogers Centre.
Stat that matters:Justin Smoak has been one of the Blue Jays' hottest hitters in May. Over his last 10 games, Smoak boasts a 1.364 OPS in two-strike counts, the highest rate in the Majors over that span.
SoCal showdown: LAA@LAD, 10:10 p.m.
The Freeway Series takes on literal meaning this week as the Angels and Dodgers meet for a four-game set featuring two games in Chavez Ravine and then two more down Interstate 5 in Anaheim. Japanese native Kenta Maeda got off to a sensational start in his rookie MLB season, giving up just one run in his first 25 1/3 innings. But with hitters paying extra attention to his scouting reports of late, Maeda has gone winless in his last three outings with a 5.09 ERA.
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker (1-5, 9.12 ERA) simply has not put things together yet in two separate stints in the Majors so far this year. Since completing his stellar 16-4 season in 2014, Shoemaker is 8-15 with a 5.18 ERA in his last 30 starts.
Stat that matters: Angels manager Mike Scioscia recently flipped Kole Calhoun and Daniel Nava in the batting order, and the move has paid dividends for Calhoun. In the seven games he's played batting in the No. 2 spot in front of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, Calhoun has hit .440 (11-for-25) and posted a 1.076 OPS with nine RBIs and 14 total bases.
Green dons pinstripes for first time: NYY@ARI, 9:40 p.m.
Joe Girardi has decided to give the struggling Michael Pineda an extra day of rest, creating an opportunity for 24-year-old Chad Green to make his first Major League start for the Yankees. Green has been terrific for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2016, posting a 1.22 ERA with 36 strikeouts over 37 innings. The young right-hander, who hits from the left side, hasn't stepped in the batter's box since high school, so he'll be crossing off a number of firsts at Chase Field. He was one of the pieces the Yankees received back in a trade with the Tigers after dealing away left-handed reliever Justin Wilson.
"I mean, I'm definitely nervous, just because they told me I was pitching in the bullpen," Green said after receiving the news Sunday that he would start Monday's contest. "So yeah, I'm just anxious."
Another young starter, Robbie Ray (1-2, 4.84 ERA), will get the ball for the D-backs. Ray has seen his ERA balloon from 1.96 to 4.84 over his last four starts.
Stat that matters: Opposing lineups are hitting just .154 in their first time through the order against Ray, but have adjusted to hit .345 the second time through and .421 in their third time up at the plate against the left-hander.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers get the Mosaic View -- split screen or quad, available on PC or Mac only. That always comes in handy, especially when scoreboard-watching looms. MLB.TV Premium and MLB.TV Single Team subscribers both enjoy HD and both will get real-time highlights and player stats automatically loaded moments after they occur (only for the game you are watching with MLB.TV Single Team, and for all games with MLB.TV Premium).
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.