Euro 2012 got underway yesterday and there are two promising games from Group B this evening to enjoy; however you can never have enough great sport to watch and the Interleague match-ups this weekend offer plenty of reasons to find some time for baseball tonight.
Nobody much cares about those San Diego-Seattle rivalry games, with all due respect to those teams, but Interleague play does produce some exciting match-ups where teams and players (the latter perhaps a little less of an impact due to players moving between leagues anyway) that rarely meet suddenly come together for a three-game series.
That’s been particularly the case this weekend as the AL and NL East divisions, which most would agree are the two strongest in the Majors right now, have been scheduled to face each other.
Of today’s ‘East’ games, the stand-out is the Nationals-Red Sox game.
Seeing Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper playing against the Red Sox at Fenway was an event last night, something that neutrals were excited about, and it will be interesting to see if that same atmosphere and expectation is generated when we move to what will more or less be all-season long Interleague play from next season. Both Strasburg and Harper delivered in the opening game of their series as the Nationals beat the Red Sox and the second game today should be equally compelling.
Gio Gonzalez will be very familiar to the Boston hitters having pitched in the American League for the A’s, but he has had an excellent start with his new team and will be a very tough opponent. On the Red Sox’s side, Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his return from Tommy John surgery. He is out of contract at the end of this season and when he initially suffered the injury there was some doubt if he would play for Boston again, with the recovery time combined with his disappointing performances over the last couple of seasons. He has made it back and while expectations may be modest, especially in today’s game where he will be on a shortened pitch count limit, it’s always good to see a player work his way back from a long lay-off.
The full list of games starting before midnight can be found below, with all times in BST.
19.10. Chicago Cubs at Minnesota (Samardzija – Diamond)
21.05. Philadelphia at Baltimore (Worley – Hunter)
21.05. Washington at Boston (Gonzalez – Matsuzaka)
21.05. Toronto at Atlanta (Hutchison – Hanson)
21.05. Texas at San Francisco (Feldman – Vogelsong) *ESPN America
21.05. Houston at Chicago White Sox (Lyles – Sale)
21.05. San Diego at Milwaukee (Cashner – Fiers)
21.05. Detroit at Cincinnati (Verlander – Arroyo)
21.05. LA Angels at Colorado (Haren – Francis)
All of these games are available to watch live via the MLB.TV subscription at MLB.com. ESPN America is scheduled to join the Rangers-Giants game from 22.30, followed by Indians v Cardinals. The full schedule for today’s games can be found on MLB.com.