Giants, Nats clash in DC bout on MLB.TV

Thor, Verlander duel in Detroit; Liriano debuts for Jays

Giants, Nats clash in DC bout on MLB.TV

Fans will again be treated to possible glimpse into October as the Giants and Nationals meet for the second weekend in a row, opening a three-game set at Nationals Park today. 

Both clubs enter the series at the top of their respective divisions. They split a four-game series in San Francisco last week.

This NL showdown isn't the only intriguing matchup on tap. Today's 15-game slate also features a prime pitching duel between Noah Syndergaard and Justin Verlander, Francisco Liriano's Blue Jays debut and starts by Jon Lester and Felix Hernandez. All the action is available for streaming live on MLB.TV.

MLB.TV Premium has returned with the same features as last year, and is only $49.99 for the rest of the season. This package has the best value and provides access to more than 400 devices and a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat Premium app (a $19.99 value). It offers the best picture quality ever -- a new 60 frames per second -- for supported devices. Monthly signups for MLB.TV Premium are now underway as well for $24.99.

The new MLB.TV Single Team package is also available as a $39.99 yearly subscription. You can watch a single team's live out-of-market games in full HD.

Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):

NL contenders clash in D.C.: SF@WSH, 7:05 p.m.
After a few rough outings in June, Gio Gonzalez appears to have settled in of late, posting a 2.70 ERA in July. He's limited his opponent to two or fewer runs in each of his last four starts. Gonzalez took the loss against the Giants last week, however, despite allowing just two runs (one earned) in six innings.

"He's throwing strikes, No. 1," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "He's not walking people, getting out of some jams when he gets in them."

For San Francisco, Jeff Samardzija will get the start. He's surrendered four or more runs in five of his last six starts, including a loss to the Nationals.

Stat that matters: Since these clubs last met, the Giants added left-hander Will Smith to their bullpen. Smith has a 2.84 ERA in eight lifetime appearances against the Nationals.

Smith collects first Giants' K

Syndergaard, Verlander duel in Detroit: NYM@DET, 7:10 p.m.
The Mets will look to slow a surging Tigers club when they open a weekend series today at Comerica Park. The Tigers saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end Thursday in a loss to the White Sox, but are still 13-7 since the All-Star break. New York, meanwhile, is locked in a tight National League Wild Card race, currently trailing the Cardinals and Marlins for the second spot.

The series opener features a marquee pitching matchup between Syndergaard and Verlander. Verlander is coming off a stellar July that earned him AL Pitcher of the Month honors. He went 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in six starts last month. Syndergaard is winless over his last four starts, but has a 2.82 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 22 1/3 innings in that span.

Stat that matters: Verlander is 26-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 37 career Interleague starts. He's tied for most Interleague wins with the Mets' Bartolo Colon, who isn't expected to pitch in this series.

Verlander's 11 K's in 11 seconds

Liriano makes Jays debut: TOR@KC, 8:15 p.m.
Francisco Liriano, the newest member of the Blue Jays, will make his debut for the club today against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Liriano, who was acquired from the Pirates at Monday's non-wavier Trade Deadline, was 6-11 with a 5.46 ERA in 21 starts for Pittsburgh. The left-hander has struggled with command, averaging 5.5 walks per nine innings.

"I haven't got into a good rhythm this year," Liriano said. "I was kind of up and down. I'd have a good outing and then a couple of bad ones in a row. It has been a tough year for me, but I'm on a new team right now, and I'm trying to put it behind me."

Right-hander Dillon Gee will get the nod for the Royals. Gee pitched a season-high six innings in his last start against Texas, but allowed four runs and took the loss.

Stat that matters: In Toronto, Liriano is reunited with former Pirates battery mate Russell Martin. Liriano's 2.92 ERA with Martin is his lowest with any catcher through 11 years in the Majors.

Chisholm on Blue Jays' trades

MLB.TV Premium subscribers get the Mosaic View -- split screen or quad, available on PC or Mac only. That always comes in handy, especially when scoreboard-watching looms. MLB.TV Premium and MLB.TV Single Team subscribers both enjoy HD and both will get real-time highlights and player stats automatically loaded moments after they occur (only for the game you are watching with MLB.TV Single Team, and for all games with MLB.TV Premium).

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.