Verlander, Keuchel among top hurlers rounding out today's slate
By Chad Thornburg
The Indians and Blue Jays continue a pivotal American League series today with the finale at Progressive Field, a matchup heavy on postseason stakes.
The Jays need to keep winning to fend off the Red Sox and Orioles out East in the AL's most tightly contested division, while the Tribe will try to maintain its lead over the Tigers in the AL Central. This afternoon's contest is the last scheduled matchup between these first-place clubs, but they very well could meet again in October.
This AL clash is just one of many intriguing games on tap for today, including a bout between Boston and Detroit with Wild Card implications and the finale between the Astros and Orioles in Baltimore. The best place to catch all the action is MLB.TV.
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):
Kluber looks to silence Jays bats: TOR@CLE, 1:10 p.m.
Indians ace Corey Kluber has been as dominant as any pitcher in the game of late, posting a perfect 5-0 record with a 1.65 ERA in his last seven starts. He's fanned 49 batters against 11 walks in that span (49 innings). The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner is right back in the conversation for baseball's top pitching honor. He'll look to carry that momentum into today's finale against a potent Blue Jays lineup.
"Every time he toes the rubber," Indians closer Cody Allen said, "you know you have a chance to see something special."
After a tough first half, Marcus Stroman has been much improved lately for the Blue Jays. He enters today's matchup with the Indians boasting a 3.27 ERA since the beginning of July, a span of eight starts and 52 1/3 innings. The righty has held his opponent to three or fewer runs in four of his last five turns.
Stat that matters: Opponents are reaching at just a .174 clip against Kluber on two-strike counts this year, which ranks first among all qualifiers.
Verlander looks to rebound vs. Red Sox: BOS@DET, 1:10 p.m.
The Tigers and Red Sox, two AL clubs in contention for a Wild Card spot, will wrap a four-game series today at Comerica Park. Justin Verlander will start for the Tigers, coming off a loss to the Royals, his first since June 26. Prior to that outing -- in which Verlander gave up three solo home runs -- the former Cy Young winner hadn't allowed more than two runs in any of his previous eight starts.
"I'll take my chance giving up four hits," Verlander said after the game. "It just so happened the mistakes I made got hit hard and they got into the seats. It happens sometimes."
For Boston, Henry Owens is being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make the start in place of Eduardo Rodriguez, who was scratched due to lingering tightness in his left hamstring.
Stat that matters: Verlander owns a 3.05 ERA through 14 career starts against Boston, his third-best mark against an AL opponent.
Keuchel takes the hill: HOU@BAL, 1:35 p.m.
The Astros and Orioles will conclude their season series today at Camden Yards as both teams continue to contend for a postseason berth. The O's currently have possession of the AL's second Wild Card spot, while Houston is among the five teams looming within 4 1/2 games. The Astros enter today's finale leading the season set, 5-1, against Baltimore.
Dallas Keuchel will start for the Astros, looking to balance out an inconsistent August. The southpaw followed up a three-hit shutout against the division-rival Rangers on Aug. 5 with a six-run outing in his last trip to the mound, Tuesday against the Cardinals. Heralded Cuban prospect Yulieski Gurriel is also set to make his Major League debut, and will serve as the designated hitter against the O's.
The Orioles will counter with right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who's coming off a no-decision in a start against the Red Sox. Gallardo walked five batters in that outing and allowed a three-run homer.
Stat that matters: Gallardo has completed seven innings just once through 16 starts this season. He's only eclipsed 100 pitches three times.
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.