Fans of the Giants, Nationals, Mets and Cubs rejoice: you can watch your team twice this week on Sling TV. And with seven games on ESPN, here’s your guide for what to look for.
Best Pitching Matchup
On Friday, Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard faces the Dodgers’ two-time Cy Young-winner Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw has established himself as the one of the best pitchers of his generation—and some would argue the 27-year-old lefty is already an all-time great.
Syndergaard, 22, came over to the Mets from Toronto in the deal for R.A. Dickey. He has earned the nickname “Thor” in part because he’s 6-foot-6, 242 pounds. But also because of his 97-mph fastball that tops out in triple digits, and a curve that drops like a—yes—hammer. Or maybe his hammer is his bat. Syndergaard is one of the best hitting pitchers in the league.
The Mets have so many talented young arms in Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and rookie Steven Matz that it might get lost just how good Syndergaard could become. He has the potential to win a couple Cy Young awards just like his opponent on Friday.
Best Playoff Preview
Not only is this matchup the best playoff preview, you get that preview twice. You can watch the Giants battle the Nationals on Friday and Sunday in a rematch of one of last year’s division series, which the San Francisco won 3-1.
The Giants are the reigning World Series champions—and have won three of the last five titles—but the Nationals, who have finally taken over the lead in the N.L. East, topped many preseason lists as the favorite to win it all this year.
Washington got off to a slow start and pundits began to wonder what was wrong. But Bryce Harper is finally starting to realize the MVP promise that made him a Sports Illustrated Cover boy when he was 15, and free agent ace Max Scherzer has pitched better than ever, including a recent no-hitter that was just a hair shy of a perfect game and helped him toward one of the best three-game stretches in MLB history.
Meanwhile by the Bay, the Giants are still the Giants. How do they do it? They just do. Shortstop Brandon Crawford is having a career year, and they got a no-hitter of their own from Chris Heston, an unlikely hero as a 27-year-old rookie from East Carolina. They lost fan-favorite Pablo Sandoval in the offseason and haven’t had the services of Hunter Pence for much of the season because of stints on the disabled list. But somehow the Giants haven’t skipped at beat. At third base they’ve gotten a surprise performance from another rookie, 24-year-old Matt Duffy, and Joe Panik has put up similarly surprising numbers at second base.
Plus, ace Madison Bumgarner is still Madison Bumgarner.
Best Look at a Star Rookie
This would be a tie between Dodgers centerfielder Joc Pederson and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, but the edge goes to Bryant this week because he’s playing twice. The Cubs face the Mets on Tuesday and host the Marlins on Friday.
Bryant sped through the minor leagues, dominating at every level. His ascent to the majors was only slowed down by his own club, which kept him in Triple A for reasons that people are still debating.
But he wasn’t held down long enough to hinder his chances of winning N.L. Rookie of the Year. His main competition will likely be Pederson.
MLB on Sling TV Schedule
(*Projected starters as of Monday.)
Monday, June 29
Texas at Baltimore, 7pm ET (ESPN)
Wandy Rodriguez vs Bud Norris
Tuesday, June 30
Chicago Cubs at New York Mets, 7pm ET (ESPN)
Kyle Hendricks vs Jonathon Niese
Wednesday, July 1
New York Yankees* at Los Angeles Angels, 7pm ET (ESPN)
Adam Warren vs Matt Shoemaker
*Subject to blackout
Friday, July 3
Miami at Chicago Cubs*, 2:10pm ET (ESPN2)
Tom Koehler vs Donn Roach
*Subject to blackout
San Francisco at Washington, 6pm ET (ESPN)
Jake Peavy vs Gio Gonzalez
New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10pm ET (ESPN)
Noah Syndergaard vs Clayton Kershaw
Sunday, July 5
San Francisco at Washington, 8pm ET (ESPN)
Ryan Vogelsong vs Jordan Zimmermann