A potential postseason preview is on tap for tonight's games as the Blue Jays and Indians meet for a three-game weekend series at Progressive Field. If the postseason began today, Toronto and Cleveland would meet head-to-head in the American League Division Series. These first-place clubs split their first meeting, a four-game set at Rogers Centre.
This glimpse into a possible October matchup isn't the only intriguing contest among the day's 15-game slate. Rick Porcello returns to Detroit for the first time since joining the Red Sox.
MLB.TV Premium has 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 $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):
Tribe hosts Jays in playoff preview: TOR@CLE, 7:10 p.m.
The Indians will get their first look at new Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano, who will start the opener. Liriano is seeking his first win with Toronto, looking to rebound from a tough start against the Astros in which he allowed five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.
"I thought he threw better than the line would indicate," Jays manager John Gibbons said after the game. "There were a lot of good things we liked. ... They just squared a couple of balls up that were costly."
For Cleveland, Trevor Bauer will toe the rubber. The last time he faced the Blue Jays, Bauer was pressed into relief duty in a game that went 19 innings on Canada Day on July 1. He tossed the final five frames in a 2-1 win.
Stat that matters: Liriano has faced the Blue Jays six times in his career (five starts). He's 1-3 with a 5.20 ERA in those outings.
Porcello faces familiar foe: BOS@DET, 7:10 p.m.
Porcello returns to Detroit today, making his first start at Comerica Park since he was traded to the Red Sox prior to the 2015 season. Porcello was drafted in the first round by the Tigers in 2007 and spent the first six seasons of his career pitching for them. Now with the Red Sox, he's is in the midst of what may end up as the best season of his career. The right-hander enters today's outing having won eight of his last nine starts.
"I'm kind of trying to block it out. After Friday, I'll go over and say hi to those guys, but I'm not talking to them before Friday," Porcello said Thursday.
The Tigers will send Michael Fulmer to the mound. An American League Rookie of the Year candidate, Fulmer is coming off a dominant start against the Rangers, picking up his first career shutout. He limited Texas to just four hits and struck out nine batters with no walks.
The Tigers are monitoring the rookie hurler's workload. Including his time spent at Triple-A before his callup, Fulmer is at 135 1/3 innings this year, already eclipsing the 124 2/3 frames he pitched in 2015. But with Detroit chasing an AL Wild Card berth and Fulmer's breakout success, he figures to remain in the rotation, receiving extra rest whenever possible.
"He's making it increasingly difficult to keep his innings down," manager Brad Ausmus said.
Stat that matters: Porcello went 36-29 with a 4.58 ERA through 89 starts at Comercia Park while with the Tigers.
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.