Welcome to MLB.TV Free Preview Sunday.
This is the day that both Boston pitcher John Lackey and Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes are eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list, David Price and Cole Hamels each try to avoid winless Aprils, and Bartolo Colon seeks the first 4-0 April of his long career. Major League Baseball fans get to see for themselves why millions of their peers watch live games this way. Here's a closer look at what you can see:
Blue Jays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. ET: R.A. Dickey faces the Bronx Bombers for the first time since last June 24, when he had a no-decision for the Mets in the finale of the Subway Series.
Cubs at Marlins, 1:10: The North Siders have seen 14 players make their debut for the club already in April, the most players to make their Cubs debut in a single calendar month in the past 98 seasons. This is a good time to get to know the Cubs. Not to mention the Marlins.
Phillies at Mets, 1:10: It's a battle of Opening Day starters, Hamels vs. Jon Niese. Remember when Hamels went 5-0 last May? The Phillies could use some of that magic again. The lefty is trying to avoid a winless April, but his last three starts have been solid. Niese returns after taking a shot to the leg in his latest outing.
Reds at Nationals, 1:35: Bryce Harper is winding down an electric April, entering Saturday with a .363/.440/.750 slash line and among the National League leaders in several categories. You'd pay to watch him, but you don't have to on Sunday.
Astros at Red Sox, 1:35: Lackey is due to return from the 15-day disabled list for this outing, and he hopes to show the latest shelving was "a bump in the road." For the city of Boston, this is the conclusion of a homestand that could not have begun on a more emotional note.
Indians at Royals, 2:10 (Game 1): Justin Masterson tries to make it a five-win April in Game 1 of the split doubleheader, and if he does that, he will be 4-0 on the road. Kansas City is posing a legitimate threat atop the American League Central, and this is a good time to take a look at their sparkplug, Lorenzo Cain, who was 12-for-25 on the most recent road trip.
Rays at White Sox, 2:10: Like Hamels, it's hard to imagine Price going through April winless. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner tries again in this one. And with Dickey also starting on this day, you've got both Cy winners on the hill for free viewing.
Rangers at Twins, 2:10: Texas is off to a hot start just like last year, and the Rangers were firing on all cylinders entering this series. Choose either TV or radio feed, or choose "Park" for ambient crowd noise only. A free MLB.TV game is a good way to experiment, and it is Minnesota's hope that you won't see Joe Nathan at the end of this one.
Pirates at Cardinals, 2:15: The only bump in the road thus far for Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller has been that April 17 loss at Pittsburgh, and even that was a quality start. He is 3-1 with an 0.84 WHIP, and, so far, a good reason why St. Louis made Kyle Lohse expendable. Jeff Locke is on the mound for the Pirates, and off to a 2-1 start with six scoreless innings to win his last outing at Philadelphia.
Orioles at Athletics, 4:05: This is the first day Cespedes would be eligible to be activated by the A's from the 15-day DL since he went out with a left hand strain. Baltimore's big bats will try to do something opponents have largely failed to do so far: bother Colon. The Oakland pitcher, who blanked the Red Sox at Fenway Park in his most recent outing, has never gone 4-0 in any April, and even a loss would tie him for his best such month at 3-1.
Angels at Mariners, 4:10: If you are waiting for Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to bust out, then you are not alone. It may be worth watching for this reason alone. There are other reasons, though. One is Hisashi Iwakuma, the Mariners right-hander who is making his sixth start of the month and has a 2-1 record, 1.99 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 29 strikeouts and just five walks.
Rockies at D-backs, 4:10: Jon Garland (2-1) was roughed up in Atlanta during his most recent outing, but the veteran has been a key addition to a Colorado club that has led the NL West for most of the month. Patrick Corbin (2-0) has been brilliant in his first full April in the bigs, and it should be fun to see him face an explosive lineup featuring Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario.
Brewers at Dodgers, 4:10: Since opening the season with two gems, Clayton Kershaw (2-2) has gone a few starts without a W. He's back home and facing a Milwaukee club that had won nine of its past 10 games entering this weekend's series, and featuring an almost untouchable bullpen.
Giants at Padres, 4:10: While Tulowitzki might be the early choice at NL shortstop on the All-Star ballot, take a free look at Brandon Crawford and give that one some thought. Crawford was hitting .304 with four homers, 10 RBIs and 15 runs entering Saturday's action, and he has been a durable cog for the defending World Series champs.
The Braves-Tigers game on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball is subject to blackout restrictions as usual each week, so the free preview will not apply to the nightcap on the docket.
MLB.TV will stream these available games live online and on connected devices, and there are plenty of reasons to take advantage, in addition to the ones on the field listed above. You can look around and educate yourself as you use your 25 chances to vote in the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot, sponsored by freecreditscores.com. And then there's the technology behind MLB.TV itself.
The games are all streamed in HD, detecting your speed connection. You can pause and rewind or fast-forward live games and even use Clickable Linescores to revert directly to any half-inning's at-bat. Watch up to four live games simultaneously.
Take advantage of picture-in-picture to choose one game and track another or watch in-game highlights simultaneously in a secondary window. Track the location, type and speed of every pitch. View real-time highlights and player stats that automatically load into the media player, instantly launching a picture-in-picture window with one click. Customize a list to feature entire fantasy rosters and receive on-deck notifications to watch live look-ins for each player.
For those wanting to go beyond the free preview, signups are under way for the 11th season of the technology that changed sports as we know it today. MLB.TV Premium continues to support more than 350 mobile and connected devices, including through the highest-grossing sports app of all time, MLB.com At Bat 13, on smartphones and tablets and those platforms listed here.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers once again receive an exclusive offer to get a free subscription to At Bat 13 on iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.
You can see why Braves fan Thomas Chandler fires up his PlayStation 3 console when he comes home from work as an environmental scientist in Longview, Texas, using his MLB.TV Premium subscription to watch the Brothers Upton and a new chapter for his favorite team.
"I started with MLB.TV last season, and it quickly became part of my daily routine," Chandler said. "It truly is a necessity for every baseball addict like myself. During the baseball season, the first thing I do when I get home from work is fire up the MLB.TV app on my PlayStation 3 and flip to the first available game that's playing. That's the beauty of the whole thing -- you can watch every game played throughout the season, no matter what your allegiance is. Also, with it allowing me to watch on all the different devices like my phone and computer, I don't miss games when I'm on the road for work."