Rangers, Indians play for AL's best record on MLB.TV
Mets try to close gap on Cardinals; Scherzer starts for Nationals
By Austin Laymance
The two teams with the best records in the American League, the Rangers and Indians, open a four-game series tonight in Texas, with ace Cole Hamels set to take the mound for the Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Mets wrap up their key three-game series with the Cardinals, who lead New York by 4 1/2 games for the second National League Wild Card.
Also today, ace Max Scherzer starts for the first-place Nationals against the contending Orioles in the final installment of the Battle of the Beltways. And the division-leading Dodgers look to hold off the rival Giants in the finale of a three-game series between NL West contenders.
And the best place to catch all the action is on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for today in the Majors (all times ET):
Top AL teams meet: CLE@TEX, 8:05 p.m.
There's no shortage of storylines heading into this big series, which could be a preview of a possible postseason matchup.
The AL West-leading Rangers give the ball to Hamels, who has beaten all but two teams -- the Blue Jays and Indians. Hamels has pitched to a 1.85 ERA since the All-Star break. He's 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA in three career starts against the Tribe.
It's Cleveland's first meeting with Jonathan Lucroy since the two-time All-Star catcher blocked a trade that would have sent him to the Indians before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Josh Tomlin starts for the AL Central-leading Indians, who are 3-8 in their last 11 road games. Tomlin was 9-1 after his first 15 starts, but he's gone 2-6 with a 6.85 ERA over his last eight outings.
The Rangers are expected to add outfielder Carlos Gomez from Triple-A Round Rock before the game. He signed a Minor League deal on Saturday after being released by the Astros earlier this month.
Stat that matters: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is a career .373 hitter against the Indians, the second-highest all-time average for an opponent with at least 200 at-bats against Cleveland.
Mets try to close gap on Cards: NYM@STL, 7:15 p.m.
The Mets turn to Seth Lugo as they try to gain ground on the Cardinals in the race for the second NL Wild Card. It's the second big league start for Lugo, who is filling in for the injured Steven Matz. Lugo went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits against the Giants in his first start.
The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright, who has an 8.53 ERA in four starts this month. Wainwright last faced the Mets on July 27 in New York, settling for a no-decision after giving up four runs on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Stat that matters: The Cardinals have homered in 13 straight games, totaling 28 in that span.
Scherzer faces O's: BAL@WSH, 7:05 p.m.
The Nationals give the ball to Scherzer as they look to snap a four-game losing skid. Scherzer is 4-2 with a 3.81 ERA in eight career starts against the Orioles.
The Orioles, who have won all three Battle of the Beltways games this week, will counter with Ubaldo Jimenez. He's back in the rotation in place of the injured Chris Tillman.
The O's are just one game behind the Blue Jays and Red Sox for first place in the AL East. Baltimore is currently holding onto the second AL Wild Card.
Stat that matters: Scherzer is 9-6 lifetime with a 2.75 ERA in Interleague games when pitching at home.
Can Stripling do it again?: SF@LAD, 10:10 p.m.
Dodgers rookie starter Ross Stripling will look for repeat success against the Giants tonight, after a historic MLB debut against San Francisco in April. In that game, Stripling didn't allow a hit over 7 1/3 innings. So what can he do for an encore?
"I'll go back and I'll watch that game, just to see how I attacked them, see what I did well," Stripling said. "Trying not to go in there with expectations to not give up a hit. That's unreasonable. Just go in and attack them, give us the best chance to win."
Matt Moore makes his fifth start for the Giants since coming over in a trade with the Rays. Moore is still looking for his first win with his new team. He owns a 4.70 ERA and 22 strikeouts against 17 walks in 23 innings over four starts with the Giants, who are three games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.
Stat that matters: Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is riding a 17-game hit streak.
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).
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.