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.
Blue Jays at Royals, 8:10 ET Chad Billingsley didn't notch it on Tuesday, so sudden superstar Zack Greinke (4-0, 0.00) can become the majors' first five-game winner with a victory over Toronto at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday.
But in addition to conquering a Blue Jay lineup that has been surprisingly potent, Greinke must also battle the hex of being the first Royal to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 16 years. Some have wondered if the cover title of Joe Posnanski's feature — "The Best Pitcher In Baseball" — is a bit sensationalistic, but I've been countering with "not if you add a 'in 2009.'" Greinke has been that good to start this season.
Yankees at Tigers, 7:05 Over the past few seasons, there haven't been many pitchers whose arrivals have been as anticipated as much as New York's Joba Chamberlain and Detroit's Rick Porcello. Their two paths cross tonight with only one win (Porcello's) between them. Since Phil Hughes looked good in Tuesday night's outing, you can expect reborn World Series predictions in the Big Apple if Chamberlain matches the effort tonight.
Astros at Reds, 7:10 We've asked what's wrong with a lot of top flight pitchers (Hamels, Sabathia, etc.), but the inconsistency of Edinson Volquez has pretty much escaped our notice. Coming into tonight's game, Volquez is 2-2 with a 6.20 ERA and has walked at least four batters in each of his four starts (including seven in last Friday's start against Atlanta). The good news, though, is that Volquez has never lost to Houston, which has won 11 straight games in Cincinnati. He's 3-0 with a 1.37 career ERA again the 'Stros.
Cardinals at Braves 7:10 This has been a great series so far with each team earning a one-run victory and it ends with a heckuva pitching matchup — Adam Wainwright (2-0, 2.70) vs. Javier Vazquez (2-1, 2.63). Surprising stat: Though Albert Pujols has been crushing any ball thrown at him within the St. Louis city limits, he hasn't been anywhere near as good on the road. He's hitting .194 in the road grays and has gone 1-for-9 since arriving in Atlanta.