Saturday’s early MLB games: Yanks-Red Sox, Braves-Phillies and more

We’ve got seven early games today and both leagues offer up some exciting contests.  All times are in BST.

18.05. Detroit at Cleveland (Justin Verlander – Justin Masterson)

It’s a battle of Justins in Cleveland, with Masterson looking for his first win of the season and Verlander aiming to improve his win-loss record to 3-2.  Yesterday’s game was postponed due to rain.

18.05. Florida at Washington (Josh Johnson – Matt Chico)

The Marlins took the series opener last night, coming back from 2-1 down to win it 4-2.  Matt Chico is on the all-too-familiar road back from Tommy John surgery.  He is set to be recalled from Double-A to make his first post-surgery Major League start.

18.10. San Francisco at NY Mets (Todd Wellemeyer – Johan Santana)

Rod Barajas and rookie Ike Davis both went deep twice yesterday as the Mets beat the Giants 6-4.  Santana pitched in the Sunday Night Game against the Phillies last week and had the worst start of his Major League career, giving up four homers and a bases-loaded walk to opposing pitcher Jamie Moyer.  A bad day at the office or something more? Pessimistic Mets fans will be peeping out from behind a cushion as they wait to find out.

18.10. Baltimore at Minnesota (Kevin Millwood – Francisco Liriano)

The Orioles and Twins play a double-header today after the first ever rain-out at Target Field yesterday. If only they played in a dome.  Liriano has been a scintillating form for the Twins while MLB.com notes that Millwood is 0-7 with a 5.90 ERA in 12 career starts against Minnesota.

20.10. NY Yankees at Boston (CC Sabathia – Clay Buchholz) * ESPN America

It’s time once again for another instalment of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.  The hype gets annoying largely because beneath it is always a good game of baseball (if a little long) that often seems to get overshadowed by the soap opera.  The Red Sox entered the series with many of their followers suffering from a crisis of confidence and the Yankees’ 10-3 win last night, their fifth win in a row, wouldn’t have done much to help.  Neither will facing CC today.  Can Clay come to the rescue?

20.10. Atlanta at Philadelphia (Kris Medlen – Joe Blanton)

The Braves have not lived up to pre-season expectations so far and sit bottom of the NL East with a 12-17 record after being shutout by the Phillies yesterday in a 7-0 loss.  Medlen takes over from the injured Jair Jurrjens, while Blanton is making his second start of the season after beginning the year on the DL.

21.05. Tampa Bay at Oakland (Wade Davis – Ben Sheets)

Finally, if the Mets are a little worried about Johan Santana’s start, that’s nothing compared to what A’s fans like myself are feeling today ahead of Ben Sheets taking the mound.  After coming off an injury-lost 2009 season, Sheets has been downright terrible in his last two starts and the Rays are the best team in the Majors right now, with a Major League-leading 22-7 record.

All the above games can be followed via various resources on MLB.com (Gameday, At Bat with Gameday Audio and MLB.tv), while ESPN America is broadcasting the Yankees-Red Sox game. A complete schedule of MLB games can be found on MLB.com.

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