Yesterdayâ€™s slate of â€˜earlyâ€™ MLB games produced high drama, with the New York Yankeesâ€™ CC Sabathia going close to pitching a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays.Â Considering the pitchers on show, another no-hitter attempt or two could be on the cards today as well.Â
There are plenty of opportunities for Brits to follow the action as all but the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game between the Cardinals and Brewers are being played during the day time in the States, making them perfect evening entertainment for us in the UK.
Todayâ€™s list of probable pitchers in the â€˜earlyâ€™ games includes six starters who have thrown Major League no-hitters before: A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood, AnÃbal SÃ¡nchez, Mark Buehrle X2, Justin Verlander and Clay Buchholz â€“ call it seven starters if you include Roy Oswaltâ€™s contribution to the combined six-pitcher effort by the Astros back in 2003.Â Johan Santana, Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum are all good bets to add a no-no to their considerable list of achievements at some point in the future, while the Blue Jaysâ€™ Shaun Marcum flirted with one in his last start.
And for the biggest potential storyline, how about tipping the Redsâ€™ Mike Leake to send a team home hitless?Â Clay Buchholz threw his no-hitter in just his second start and Leake could better that today in not just his first Major League start, but his first ever start for a professional team (he was drafted last year and has made the MLB roster this spring without playing a single Minor League game).Â
All times are listed in BST.
18.05. Cleveland at Detroit (Jake Westbrook – Justin Verlander)
18.10. Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati (Tom Gorzelanny – Mike Leake)
18.10. Washington at NY Mets (Livan Hernandez – Johan Santana)
18.10. LA Dodgers at Florida (Charlie Haeger – Anibal Sanchez)
18.35. Toronto at Baltimore (Shaun Marcum – Kevin Millwood)
18.40. NY Yankees at Tampa Bay (A.J. Burnett – James Shields)
19.05. Minnesota at Chicago Sox (Nick Blackburn – Mark Buehrle)
19.05. Philadelphia at Houston (Roy Halladay – Roy Oswalt)
19.10. Boston at Kansas City (Clay Buchholz – Gil Meche)
20.05. Seattle at Texas (Ian Snell – Scott Feldman)
20.10. San Diego at Colorado (Jon Garland – Ubaldo Jimenez)
20.35. Oakland at LA Angels (Dallas Braden – Joe Saunders)
21.05. Atlanta at San Francisco (Kenshin Kawakami – Tim Lincecum)
21.10. Pittsburgh at Arizona (Daniel McCutchen – Edwin Jackson)
All the above games can be followed via various resources on MLB.com (Gameday, At Bat with Gameday Audio and MLB.tv).Â ESPN America is broadcasting the Sunday Night game between the Cardinals and Brewers from 01.00 a.m. A complete schedule of MLB games can be found on MLB.com.
So close for CC
As for Sabathiaâ€™s attempt yesterday, while MLB.com offered a free live video feed as he got ever closer to his goal, I listened to the tension build via the Raysâ€™ radio crew.Â Alex Rodriguezâ€™s magnificent fielding play in the seventh inning came across loud and clear and much like Dewayne Wiseâ€™s breathtaking catch to preserve Mark Buehrleâ€™s perfect game last year (also against the Rays), it made you feel that this was going to be CCâ€™s day.
However, as called by the Raysâ€™ commentators as he stepped up to the plate, Sabathiaâ€™s former teammate Kelly Shoppach spoiled the show, hitting a single with two outs in the eighth.Â Close, but not quite close enough.Â Little did we know at the time that Yankees manager Joe Girardi was considering taking Sabathia out of the game due to a high pitch count, no-hitter attempt or not.Â That would have had the old-timers frothing at the mouth.Â
It just goes to show, not as if we needed reminding, you never know whatâ€™s going to happen on any given day in MLB.