What to watch for in today's games

What to watch for in today's games

More than half of the teams in baseball had the day off Monday, but everyone will be back in action tonight with a full 15 games on the schedule. Don't miss a thing.

Here are six things to watch for:

Qualifying for history: WAS @ LAD, 10:10 p.m. ET

Ross' strong outing

In a potential playoff preview, the Nationals and Dodgers will tangle in Hollywood with Joe Ross and Zack Greinke squaring off. Through 45 innings, Ross has 47 strikeouts and four walks, which would be the best ratio for a rookie in baseball history if he qualified for the minimum innings limit (50). Greinke, who leads the Majors in ERA (1.71), has been pretty sharp this year, also.

NL Central race heats up, PIT @ STL, 8:15 p.m. ET

Martinez's scoreless start

At 65-44, the Pirates boast one of the best records in baseball. Unfortunately for them, there's an obstacle blocking their path to a National League Central crown, and it wears Cardinal Red. The Bucs have a chance to cut into the Cardinals' five-game lead as they open a three-game set in St. Louis. It's the first of nine remaining contests between the division rivals. They've split the previous 10 matchups, with the Cardinals out scoring Pittsburgh by just one run (39-38). Right-hander Carlos Martinez will be on the mound for St. Louis, facing a Pirates team that tagged him for seven runs back in May. For Pittsburgh, lefty Jeff Locke will take the ball. He's 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals.

Rea debuts: CIN @ SD, 10:10 p.m. ET

Top Prospects: Rea, SD

Right-hander Colin Rea, who represented the Padres in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 12 after posting a 1.08 ERA in 12 Double-A starts, gets the call for his Major League debut. Including six starts at Triple-A, he has a 1.95 ERA this season and will match up against Reds rookie Michael Lorenzen. Rea is considered the Padres' top pitching prospect and No. 2 overall.

Aces up: HOU @ SF, 10:15 p.m. ET

Bumgarner strikes out nine

Two of the top left-handers in baseball will take the mound in a showdown pitting the defending World Series champs against a rebuilt club with playoff aspirations this year. Scott Kazmir has been red-hot for the Astros, with a 0.44 ERA in three starts wearing a Houston uniform. Madison Bumgarner has gone at least seven innings in eight of his last 11 starts, improving on his strikeout and walk ratios along the way.

Rivalry rematch: DET @ KC, 8:10 p.m. ET

Sanchez's solid start

The defending American League Central champion Tigers will face off against the defending AL champs and first-place Royals for the middle game in a three-game series as Anibal Sanchez and Yordano Ventura meet again. They will look to improve from their meeting last Thursday, as Sanchez walked four in six innings of four-run ball and Ventura gave up eight hits and six runs in five innings.

Hot Harvey: COL @ NYM, 7:10 p.m. ET

Harvey goes seven scoreless

Mets right-hander Matt Harvey has been lights-out lately, with a 1.64 ERA over his last nine starts in his best stretch of the season. He hasn't walked a batter in 20 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, Chris Rusin will make his first start against the Mets and try to go more than five innings for the first time since July 20.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.