Key things to watch for in today's games

Key things to watch for in today's games

The postseason picture is shaping up, and every day has different storylines.

Here are five to keep an eye on today:

Pirates, Cubs on the verge: PIT @ COL, 8:40 p.m. ET; MIL @ CHC, 8:05 p.m. ET

The Pirates and Cubs could soon become the second and third National League Central teams to secure postseason spots. With a win or a Giants loss today, the Pirates can join the first-place Cardinals in the postseason. The Cubs, who are just two games back of the Pirates in the race for the top NL Wild Card spot, can clinch a postseason berth as early as Thursday. Charlie Morton takes the hill for the Bucs at Coors Field, while Kyle Hendricks gets the call for Chicago against the Brewers.

The fight for the AL East: NYY @ TOR, 7:07 p.m. ET

If the Yankees are to have a fighting chance to take the top spot in the American League East away from the Blue Jays, they'll need top-notch stuff from Ivan Nova today against Marcus Stroman and the Jays, who lead the division by 2 1/2 games. With Masahiro Tanaka going down for a short while with a hamstring strain, Nova returns to the rotation shortly after he was demoted to the bullpen. Stroman has two starts under his belt after his return from ACL surgery.

Angels, Astros battle for Wild Card: LAA @ HOU, 2:10 p.m. ET

Nick Tropeano and Mike Fiers will take the hill during this AL West showdown. The Angels need Tropeano as a sixth starter because of this past Saturday's doubleheader, while Fiers has been filling Scott Feldman's spot in the Houston rotation. Tropeano will be making his sixth start of the year. Fiers has allowed just 11 earned runs in his last seven starts, and he has been especially strong at Minute Maid Park. The Astros hold the second AL Wild Card spot, with the Angels trailing them by 2 1/2 games.

Royals seek AL Central crown: SEA @ KC, 8:10 p.m. ET

After seeing the Tigers take home the AL Central title the last four years, the Royals are hoping to be the next team in line. Kansas City enters today with only the Twins (division elimination number of three) and Indians (one) in contention, which means the Royals can clinch the title outright as soon as Thursday. Yordano Ventura, 6-1 with a 2.63 ERA over his last eight starts, gets the ball today against Roenis Elias and the Mariners.

Sale closing in on history: CWS @ DET, 1:08 p.m. ET

The White Sox may be a long shot for the postseason, but Chris Sale has plenty to shoot for in his start today against the Tigers. The left-hander needs just 11 strikeouts to break the single-season franchise record of 269 set by Ed Walsh in 1908. Just four more earns Sale 1,000 for his career.

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.