AL East rivals open four-game set; Wainwright starts for St. Louis
By Chad Thornburg
A pair of American League East rivals will clash north of the border today as the Blue Jays and Orioles open their second head-to-head series of the year.
Both clubs figure to compete for the division pennant this season. Baltimore currently tops the standings, and Toronto -- which won the first series, 2-1, at Camden Yards -- is trying to close the gap, sending right-hander Marcus Stroman to the mound opposite O's righty Tyler Wilson. Fans can catch this AL East matchup, as well as the rest of today's nine-game slate, streaming live on MLB.TV.
MLB.TV Premium returns with the same features as last year, but at $109.99, it is a full 20 bucks cheaper than the 2015 cost. This package has the best value and provides access to more than 400 devices and a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat Premium app (a $19.99 value). It offers the best picture quality ever -- a new 60 frames per second -- for supported devices. Monthly signups for MLB.TV Premium are now underway as well for $24.99.
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's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
AL East showdown: BAL@TOR, 7:07 p.m.
Stroman has endured a stretch of tough outings recently, getting knocked around for six or more runs in three of his last four starts. The right-hander has been adamant that he'll work through this slump and said he intends to make some adjustments heading into tonight's start against Wilson and the Orioles.
"I'm just in a little bit of a rut," Stroman said. "Just struggling a little bit as of late, but I know my work ethic, and I know that I'll do everything in my power to get back to where it needs to be."
Wilson, meanwhile, is coming off a loss to the the Yankees in which he allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings. Wilson faced the Jays once earlier this season, tossing two innings of relief on April 19 in his last appearance out of the bullpen before joining the Baltimore rotation.
Waino making strides: STL@CIN, 7:10 p.m.
It's been an uncharacteristic season for Adam Wainwright, whose 5.40 ERA would be his worst mark since joining the Cardinals rotation full-time in 2007. The right-hander has allowed three or more runs in all but two of his 12 starts this year. However, he's shown signs of turning the corner of late. Wainwright took the loss against Giants in his last outing, but yielded just two runs over seven innings. After failing to complete seven frames in any of his first 10 starts, he's now done it in back-to-back games entering today's division matchup against Brandon Finnegan and the Reds.
"I was very confident," Wainwright said. "I'm happy with where I'm at and I've just got to keep going."
Stat that matters: Wainwright has been especially susceptible to leadoff batters this season; they're hitting .361/.378/.653 with 13 extra-base hits (eight doubles, two triples, three homers) against him.
Gonzalez Bowl: WSH@CWS, 8:10 p.m.
The Nationals and White Sox complete a three-game series with each club sending a pitcher named Gonzalez to the mound. Washington's Gio Gonzalez will face the club that selected him in the first round of the 2004 Draft, looking to rebound from three rough outings that raised his ERA from 1.86 to 3.94. In each of those starts, he's been undone by one bad inning.
"We need Gio," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "We need him to break this streak that he's on."
For Chicago, Miguel Gonzalez gets the start in place of Carlos Rodon (neck soreness). The White Sox right-hander is pitching on three days rest after throwing 1 1/3 innings of relief Sunday in Detroit.
Stat that matters: It's been almost a year since Gio Gonzalez last gave up a run in the first inning (June 10, 2015). He's gone 31 consecutive starts without allowing a first-inning run, the longest active streak in baseball.
Lone Star State showdown: HOU@TEX, 8:10 p.m.
Major League Baseball's two Texas clubs will wrap a three-game set in Arlington. Southpaw Martin Perez will toe the rubber for the Rangers, seeking his fourth consecutive quality start. He's traditionally pitched well against Houston, going 4-2 with a 1.71 ERA in six career starts. The Astros will counter with right-hander Collin McHugh. Coming off his first career complete game, McHugh took a no decision vs. the A's his last time out, allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Stat that matters: Rangers starters have induced 18 ground-ball double plays in 80 opportunities, which ranks first among all Major League starting staffs.
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).
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.