Each weekday evening, Big League Stew will take a look at five approaching games that are worth monitoring. Feel free to discuss the night's happenings as they occur in the comments below.
Yankees at Tigers, 7:05 ET Before New York spent a quarter of a billion to obtain CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes was anointed as the savior of the Yankees' starting rotation. After a disappointing 2008, he'll make his first start of the season tonight as the possible stopper of a four-game losing streak and a replacement for the trying-to-get-his-head right Chien-Ming Wang. Meanwhile, John Harper of the NYDN wonders if a successful start by Hughes would be the first step to getting Joba Chamberlain back into a Yankee bullpen in need of bolstering.
(By the way, how about that news that the Yankees are slashing their ticket prices? Tell you what, those $1,250 seats that used to be $2,500 seats are right in my wheelhouse now. Same goes for the $650 ticket that used to be $1,000. There's no telling how many games we'll all be able to afford now. HUGE move, bombers.)
Mariners at White Sox (Game 2) A traditional one-ticket doubleheader wasn't the only side benefit created by Monday's rainout. John Danks, who was originally slated to face Chris Jakubauskas, will go against Felix Hernandez in the night cap.
Rays at Twins, 8:10 Speaking of fun, young pitching matchups, James Shields and Francisco Liriano are getting ready to battle in the Metrodome. Wait, Liriano is already 0-4 this year with a 7.06 ERA? Uh, well tune in any way because Tampa Bay has been just as awful against lefthanded starters with a 1-7 record.
Cubs at Diamondbacks, 9:40 If Chicago fans needed any reminders that the NL Central isn't simply going to be handed to them, they received plenty over the past week. The Cubs have dropped five of six games, have a middling record of 9-9 and already trail the Cardinals by four games. Milton Bradley and his robust 1-for-24 start to the season will be back in the lineup against Arizona starter Yusmeiro Petit, who is understandably not doing a very good job of filling Brandon Webb's shoes.
Dodgers at Giants, 10:15 Coming into this season, Los Angeles needed Chad Billingsley to be the ace and so far he's worn the crown. At 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA, Billingsley can become MLB's first five-game winner with a victory by the Bay tonight. Yes, it's early, but certain national TV networks have already started the Cy Young talk.
Other story lines: The Red Sox go for a winning streak of an even dozen in Cleveland; The Brewers and Pirates may or may not fight at Miller Park; Cole Hamels curiously looks toward Nationals as the cure for what's ailing him