Division rivals square off at Fenway for final time until September
By Austin Laymance
Boasting matching 37-27 records, the Red Sox and Orioles meet tonight at Fenway Park with first place in the American League East on the line. It's one of 10 Major League games on the docket today, which includes three matinees.
The O's and Sox employ some of the most potent lineups in baseball, and the division rivals have already played two close games in this three-game series, setting up another big-time showdown in Boston tonight.
Meanwhile, the Rays and Mariners wrap up their three-game series with an intriguing pitching matchup this afternoon, and the Rangers and A's conclude a four-game set with a matinee in Oakland.
The best place to catch all the action is on MLB.TV.
MLB.TV Premium returns with the same features as last year, and this week it is on sale for $49.99 -- 50 percent off -- for Father's Week. 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. You can watch a single team's live out-of-market games in full HD.
Here's what to watch for today in the Majors (all times ET):
First-place battle: BAL@BOS, 7:10 p.m.
Playing at Fenway Park for the last time until Sept. 12, the Orioles will send Tyler Wilson to the mound in the series finale. Wilson is starting on an extra day of rest, as he faces the Sox for the second time in two weeks. He allowed three runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings in a loss on May 30. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez starts for Boston, looking to work deeper than he has recently. Rodriguez beat the Orioles in his season debut on May 31, but each of his past two starts has been shorter than the last.
Stat that matters: The Orioles lead the Majors with 102 homers, while the Red Sox lead MLB with 260 extra-base hits.
Unique fastballs on display: SEA@TB, 1:10 p.m.
The Rays look to sweep the Mariners this afternoon after winning in 13 innings on Wednesday night. Blake Snell starts for the Rays opposite Seattle's James Paxton. It's a must-watch matchup of southpaws with formidable fastballs, writes MLB.com's Mike Petriello. The Rays are trending up with wins in nine of their last 11 games, while the Mariners have dropped nine of their last 12 contests.
Stat that matters: Seattle's Robinson Cano is one home run shy of setting an AL record for homers as a second baseman with 247. Cano shares the record with Hall of Famer Joe Gordon.
Lewis tries to remain unbeaten: TEX@OAK, 3:35 p.m.
The first-place Rangers wrap up their series with the A's this afternoon, as Colby Lewis (5-0, 3.00 ERA) looks to remain unbeaten in his 14th start of the year. Lewis leads the AL with 11 quality starts. He's won four straight outings against Oakland but has not faced the A's this year. Daniel Mengden gets the ball for the A's for his second big league start. He debuted on Saturday against the Reds and allowed two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Stat that matters: Lewis is looking to become the first member of the Rangers' season-opening rotation to go 6-0 since Alexi Ogando in 2011.
So we meet again: PIT@NYM, 7:10 p.m.
The Pirates and Mets meet for their sixth matchup in the last nine days in tonight's rubber game at Citi Field. It's the final regular-season meeting between the two clubs, with the Pirates holding a 3-2 edge in the season series. Bartolo Colon gets the ball for the Mets, who snapped a three-game skid on Wednesday night. Colon is 1-2 with a 2.73 ERA in five home starts this season. Pirates starter Juan Nicasio beat the Mets at PNC Park in his last start, on June 7 at PNC Park, but he's winless in five road starts this season.
Stat that matters: Colon owns a lifetime 1.88 ERA against the Pirates, his lowest against any opponent in his 19-year career.
Verlander goes for Tigers: DET@KC, 8:15 p.m.
The Tigers send Justin Verlander to the mound in the opener of a four-game series against the division-rival Royals, who will counter with lefty Danny Duffy. It will be Verlander's first appearance against the Royals this year. He's been impressive over his last seven starts, going 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings. Duffy is making his seventh straight start after beginning the year in the Royals' bullpen. He's 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings as a starter.
Stat that matters: Verlander is 20-8 lifetime against the Royals, having earned the most wins against Kansas City among all active pitchers.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.