Darvish starts for Rangers; top Draft picks share mound in Baltimore
By Austin Laymance
Madison Bumgarner gets the ball for the first-place Giants tonight in the opener of a three-game Interleague series against the Yankees, who will counter with Masahiro Tanaka. Tonight's game at Yankee Stadium is only the fourth meeting between the former New York rivals since Interleague Play began in 1997.
Today's full schedule of Major League games also includes a start from Rangers ace Yu Darvish and a rare pitching matchup in Baltimore featuring a pair of top five picks from the same Draft class.
And the best place to catch all the action is on MLB.TV.
MLB.TV Premium has returned with the same features as last year, and is only $79.99 for the rest of the season. 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 available as a $59.99 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):
Bumgarner, Tanaka toe rubber: SF@NYY, 7:05 p.m.
Bumgarner takes the mound at the opportune time for the Giants, who have lost five straight and watched their lead over the Dodgers in the National League West shrink to four games. The Yankees, meanwhile, have won four of their last five games.
Bumgarner is 10-5 with a 2.12 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 20 starts this year. The Yankees are one of the four teams the ace has never faced in his career. San Francisco is 13-7 with Bumgarner on the mound this season.
Tanaka is 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA and is unbeaten in his last six outings. He will be starting on four days' rest. Tanaka, who has never faced the Giants, has allowed two earned runs or less in 13 of his 19 starts this year.
Tonight's series opener -- an MLB Network Showcase and MLB Plus game -- is the first meeting between these clubs since Sept. 20-22, 2013, at Yankee Stadium, where New York took two of three games.
Stat that matters: Giants designated hitters are batting .476 (10-for-21) in seven Interleague games this year.
Top picks duel: CLE@BAL, 7:05 p.m.
The Indians head to Baltimore for the opener of a three-game series against the Orioles in a matchup of American League contenders. Trevor Bauer starts for the Indians, opposite Dylan Bundy for the O's.
Bundy and Bauer, respectively, were the third and fourth picks overall in the 2011 Draft. It's the first time pitchers selected in the top five picks of the same Draft have faced one another since Justin Verlander and Philip Humber, the Nos. 2 and 3 picks in the 2004 Draft, faced each other on May 5, 2013.
For Bundy, it's his second start of the season. The 23-year-old allowed four runs (three homers) over 3 1/3 innings in a loss on Sunday against the Rays. Bundy posted a 3.08 ERA in 22 relief appearances this year prior to that start.
Bauer has pitched well for an extended period, recording a 2.93 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 86 innings over his last 13 appearances. He's allowed an average of 0.67 homers per nine innings, the best rate among Indians' qualified pitchers and near the top of the AL in that category.
Stat that matters: The Orioles lead MLB with 142 homers, while Indians pitchers have allowed the third-fewest homers in the AL (103).
Darvish faces Royals: TEX@KC, 7:10 p.m.
Darvish starts for the first-place Rangers in their first meeting of the season with the defending World Series champion Royals. It's the fifth start of the year for Darvish, who missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery. He's 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA, but is still building endurance and is yet to complete six innings in a start this year.
Danny Duffy takes the mound for the Royals, who spent Thursday's off-day visiting the White House. Duffy is 3-0 with a 3.07 ERA over his last four starts and has struck out at least seven in five straight outings.
Kansas City has lost its last two games to fall back to .500 at 47-47. The Rangers have dropped 12 of their last 15 and now lead the AL West by 3 1/2 games over the Astros.
Stat that matters: Royals slugger Kendrys Morales is 3-for-25 (.120) lifetime against Darvish with nine strikeouts.
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.