Daily Sports: The First Taste Of Summer On Friday

The last day of May provides sports fans with the first real taste of summer—there’s no NBA or NHL playoff action, so it’s all about baseball on the daily sports docket for Friday.

With the Red Sox-Yankees set for a three-game series in the Bronx, you know where the TV networks are going to be focused. MLB Network sends Bob Costas and Jim Kaat to cover Friday night’s series opener at 7 PM ET.

Unlike last year, when all the networks plugged this rivalry into their schedule even when Boston was awful, at least this year’s series is relevant. Boston has moved past slumping New York into first place by two games in the AL East. Even more important from the standpoint of tonight, a juicy pitching matchup is on tap—it’s Jon Lester and C. C. Sabathia getting the weekend underway.

Boston-NYY isn’t the only notable game on Friday , nor the only one with good pitching. The NL Central has a key series in a Cincinnati-Pittsburgh matchup, with the Reds are sending Johnny Cueto to the mound. A rematch of last year’s NLCS goes down in St. Louis, with the Giants throwing Matt Cain against the Cardinals’ phenom rookie, Shelby Miller.

Baseball isn’t limited to the Major Leagues either. The NCAA Tournament starts today at regional sites around the country, and from 11 AM through midnight, ESPNU will have mostly uninterrupted coverage of college baseball action. This is a double-elimination tournament that between today and Monday will pare 64 teams down to 16.

TheSportsNotebook’s focus today will be on hockey. Coming up later we’ll have NHL analysis previewing both conference finals, as Los Angeles-Chicago and Boston-Pittsburgh start up tomorrow. Over the weekend, there will be more MLB coverage coming, and on Sunday it’ll be updated NBA commentary. By then we’ll know if the Miami-San Antonio matchup in the Finals is set, or if we get set for a Monday night Game 7.