Giants look to extend win streak; Cubs renew rivalry with Cardinals
By Austin Laymance
In a dream starting-pitching matchup seven years in the making, baseball fans will finally be able to see Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg duel tonight, when the Dodgers host the Nationals in the opener of a three-game series.
Strasburg is seeking to remain perfect on the season and run his record to 11-0. It won't be easy, though, as the Dodgers are 13-1 this season when Kershaw starts.
There's plenty of big league baseball on tap beforehand, with 10 games on the schedule today. The Giants are looking to stay hot behind ace Madison Bumgarner, and the Cubs and Cardinals are set to renew their rivalry.
And the best place to catch all the action is on MLB.TV.
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The new MLB.TV Single Team package is also now available as an $79.99 yearly subscription. 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):
Kershaw, Strasburg duel: WSH@LAD, 10:10 p.m.
Kershaw is in the midst of another dominant season, as the left-hander leads MLB in ERA (1.58), WHIP (0.66), strikeouts (133) and innings pitched (108). Meanwhile, Strasburg has once again established himself as one of the game's premier pitchers, going 10-0 with a 2.90 ERA and 118 strikeouts (tied for third in MLB).
Kershaw and Strasburg are tied for third in MLB with 10 wins apiece, a stat that Kershaw believes still holds significance. "There is something to being able to win games," he said after his last start.
The Dodgers are expected to activate outfielder Yasiel Puig (left hamstring) from the disabled list before the game.
Stat that matters: Kershaw has won his last seven starts against the Nats, going 7-0 with a 0.82 ERA.
Giants look to keep rolling: SF@PIT, 7:05 p.m.
Bumgarner starts for the first-place Giants as baseball's hottest team opens a four-game series against the Pirates, who will counter with Jeff Locke. The Giants have won eight games in a row, thanks in part to their pitching staff.
"You have to look at all the facets of the game when you get on a run like this," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Usually the pitching is keeping you in the games, and those guys are pitching so much better now than they were at the beginning of the season."
Bumgarner has led the way for the Giants, going 7-0 in his last 10 starts. On the flip side, Locke surrendered 18 earned runs in his last two outings and was unable to complete five innings in either start.
Stat that matters: The Giants have won 27 of their last 35 games since May 11, the best record in baseball over that span.
Rivalry renewed: STL@CHC, 8:05 p.m. John Lackey starts for the first-place Cubs as they open a three-game series at Wrigley Field against the division-rival Cardinals, who will throw lefty Jaime Garcia. Lackey has pitched well in his last nine starts, going 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA and holding opponents to a .173 average over that span. Garcia has dropped four of his last five decisions. In his only other start against the Cubs this year, Garcia allowed two runs in five innings and took the loss on April 19 in St. Louis.
Stat that matters: Garcia owns a 6.92 ERA in the first inning, compared to a combined 3.30 ERA the rest of the way.
First-place clubs meet: BAL@TEX, 8:05 p.m.
In a makeup game from an April rainout featuring division leaders, the Orioles head to Arlington for a rare one-game road trip. Kevin Gausman starts for the O's as he seeks his first win since Sept. 30. The Rangers will send lefty Derek Holland to the mound. Holland will be looking for better results after posting a 7.09 ERA over his past eight starts.
"I need to get it together and get on a roll," Holland said. "My mechanics are fine, I just need to do a better job of execution and making my pitches.
The Rangers bring a six-game win streak into today's game. They have outscored opponents, 32-19, during that time. Texas is 24-10 at home, the second-best 34-game home record in club history.
Stat that matters: The Orioles haven't had a one-game road trip with home games immediately before and after since June 25, 1967, according to STATS, LLC.
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).
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.