Thor, Kennedy star in World Series rematch on MLB.TV
Sale goes for win No. 12, Reds try to slow streaking Rangers
By Chad Thornburg
A World Series rematch is on tap today as the Royals make their first trip back to Citi Field, the ballpark in which they were crowned champions last fall.
The Royals and Mets open a three-game Interleague series in Queens -- with Noah Syndergaard and Ian Kennedy on the mound -- headlining a stacked MLB.TV schedule that also features starts by Chris Sale, Johnny Cueto, Corey Kluber, Justin Verlander and Jose Fernandez.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
Fall Classic rematch: KC@NYM, 7:10 p.m.
Syndergaard will try for a repeat of last year's World Series Game 3, in which he was responsible for the Mets' lone victory in the Fall Classic. The right-hander came within two outs of his first career shutout his last time out, striking out 11 batters in a win over the Pirates. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in nine straight starts. The Royals will counter with Kennedy, a new addition to the defending champions this winter. Kennedy has been susceptible to the long ball this month, serving up eight homers through three starts. He's allowed four or more runs in each of those outings.
Stat that matters: With 11 strikeouts in his last start, Syndergaard eclipsed the 100-strikeout mark for a Mets franchise-record 81 1/3 innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He's fanned six or more batters in 10 of his 14 outings this year, reaching double digits four times.
Streaking Rangers host Reds: CIN@TEX, 8:05 p.m.
The Rangers have been among the hottest teams in baseball this season. They enter Tuesday's three-game series against the Reds having won nine consecutive series. Right-hander Colby Lewis will start for Texas in the opener. He carried a perfect game into the eighth inning against the A's last week and has allowed just five combined hits over his last two starts (17 innings). For Cincinnati, Anthony DeSclafani will make his third start after an oblique strain suffered in Spring Training delayed his season debut. He was tagged for four runs in 2 2/3 innings vs. the Braves on Wednesday, and will look to rebound as the Reds play their third-ever series at Globe Life Park.
Stat that matters: Five of the nine series the Rangers have won on their streak have come against clubs with .500 or better records.
Sale seeks win No. 12: CWS@BOS, 7:10 p.m.
Sale will try to become this season's first 12-game winner when he takes the mound against the Red Sox at Fenway Park today. Sale ranks among the American League leaders in ERA (2.94), WHIP (1.01) and opponents' batting average (.218), but has stumbled in recent weeks. He owns a 6.07 ERA over his last five starts, allowing four or more runs in three of them. Clay Buchholz will toe the rubber for Boston, rejoining the rotation for the first time since his May 27 demotion to the bullpen. Buchholz was 2-5 with a 6.35 ERA in 10 starts, but impressed with three scoreless innings of relief with no walks and four strikeouts on Thursday.
"We didn't anticipate the number of guys we've gone through for 66 games," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We'll continue to search. ... Hopefully, [Buchholz] continues to build on the three innings he pitched [Thursday] night."
Stat that matters: Opponents were hitting just .163 with five home runs against Sale for his first nine starts this season. Over this last five outings, they're batting .325 with six homers.
Cueto takes the hill: SF@PIT, 7:05 p.m.
Cueto will take the mound opposite an old foe when his Giants visit the Pirates at PNC Park. Cueto's 18 wins against his old division rival with the Reds are his most against any club. He's excelled in 28 starts against the Bucs, posting a 2.13 ERA. He enters today's outing having won seven consecutive decisions, and the Giants are 12-2 in games he starts. Cueto will look to get his club back on track after the Pirates snapped San Francisco's eight-game winning streak with a win in the opener.
Stat that matters: Cueto is limiting batters to just a .053 (3-for-57) average on two-strike counts over the last 30 days, which ranks first among all qualifiers. The league average in such situations is .176.
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.