All 30 Major League clubs return to action today with a handful of afternoon games on the schedule and several premier pitching matchups, streaming live on MLB.TV.
National League Cy Young Award contenders Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg will face off for the first time. They were supposed to be pitted against each other last June, but Strasburg was scratched with an upper-back strain. The Red Sox are looking to join the Yankees atop the division after a win in the series opener on Tuesday night. The MLB-leading Astros seek to continue their surge in a battle of aces with the Royals after losing for the first time in 12 games. And a pair of 2016 playoff teams try to get back on track as the Mets face the Rangers in Arlington.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
Battle of the aces: WSH@LAD, 3:10 p.m.
This is the first series between these two playoff favorites since the Dodgers won their National League Division Series matchup in five games. Strasburg missed the series with an elbow injury, but he has been as strong as ever in 2017.
Sox-Yankees reignited: BOS@NYY, 7:05 p.m.
With Boston just a game behind New York in the AL East, the Red Sox and Yankees have reignited their rivalry to heights potentially not seen since they both won 90-plus games in 2011. Now they just need their pitchers to get back on track.
Rick Porcello has followed up his American League Cy Young Award-winning campaign slowly with a 4.24 ERA, thanks to his ground-ball rate dropping (from 43.1 percent to 37.9 percent) and home-run rate rising (from 9.3 percent HR/FB to 12.4 percent). He held the Yankees to three runs (two earned) over 6 2/3 innings in April.
CC Sabathia has a middling 4.12 ERA through 11 starts, but he's been heating up lately. The veteran left-hander has held opponents to two runs or fewer in his past four starts, all of which the Yankees have won.
Southpaw showdown: HOU@KC, 8:15 p.m.
No team has been as good as the Astros this season, and few starters have been as good as their ace, Dallas Keuchel. April's AL Pitcher of the Month, Keuchel has given up more than two runs in a start just once and paces qualified starters with a 1.67 ERA.
Kansas City's Jason Vargas is in the midst of a career year, and his 2.08 ERA ranks only behind Keuchel. He held the Astros to one run over six innings in his season debut with six strikeouts and a walk.
Who can get back on track: NYM@TEX, 8:05 p.m.
The Rangers and Mets had a combined .562 winning percentage in 2016, but both are currently under .500.
Yu Darvish has been one of the highlights of Texas' season with a 3.13 ERA through 12 starts. However, his 1.21 homers per nine innings would be a career high, and his 10.0 percent walk rate is his highest mark since his rookie campaign.
Zack Wheeler has been another welcome surprise in his return from March 2015 Tommy John surgery. After missing two seasons, he has a 3.72 ERA through 10 starts and has held opponents to two or fewer runs in five of his past six starts.
Greinke vs. the Padres, Pt. 3: SD@ARI, 9:40 p.m.
D-backs ace Zack Greinke is back to, well, looking like an ace. After a posting a 4.37 ERA in his first season in Arizona, he's down to 3.06 through 12 starts this year. Two of his best starts have come against the Padres, whom he's held to two runs on 11 hits over 14 innings with 17 strikeouts and a walk.
Greinke will face off against Luis Perdomo, who was hit hard in his only start of the year against the D-backs. He gave up eight runs in three-plus innings on May 20 in San Diego, but he holds a 5.01 ERA on the season and has two straight quality starts.
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.