Orioles, Cardinals holding off several clubs for final postseason spots
By Austin Laymance
The Wild Card races are heating up in both leagues, with the Orioles and Cardinals each trying to hold off a number of teams looking up at them in the standings. Today's full schedule of Major League games is sure to add drama to the postseason push.
The O's lead the Tigers by one game for the second American League Wild Card, while the Cardinals have a 1 1/2-game edge over the Pirates for the second National League Wild Card.
Meanwhile, the Royals and Astros are two games behind the O's, and the Mets and Marlins are 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals.
The Giants lead the Cardinals by two games for the first NL Wild Card, and San Francisco will send ace Johnny Cueto to the mound tonight for a potential pitchers' duel against D-backs ace Zack Greinke.
And the best place to catch all the action is on MLB.TV.
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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 today in the Majors (all times ET):
O's try to slow Happ: TOR@BAL, 7:05 p.m.
The Orioles turn to Ubaldo Jimenez as they look to hold onto the second AL Wild Card. Jimenez is making his second straight start in place of the injured Chris Tillman. Jimenez has struggled the last two times he's faced Toronto, allowing 10 runs in 2 2/3 innings.
The first-place Blue Jays, who led the Red Sox by two games and the Orioles by four, give the ball to J.A. Happ as he attempts to become the second 18-game winner in MLB this season, joining Boston's Rick Porcello. The left-hander lost his last start, snapping a streak of 11 winning decisions.
Stat that matters: The Orioles lead MLB with 205 home runs, while the Blue Jays are second with 192.
Tigers trying to catch Orioles: CWS@DET, 7:10 p.m.
When Daniel Norris takes the mound for the Tigers, he'll be looking for repeat success against the White Sox. Norris pitched 10 scoreless innings in two starts against the White Sox last season. He's 1-2 in four starts since returning from an oblique strain and went a season-high 6 1/3 innings against the Twins in his last outing
Anthony Ranaudo starts for the White Sox. He's allowed 11 runs over 9 1/3 innings in his last two starts, though the Sox won both games.
Stat that matters: Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler has hit safely in 12 straight games against the White Sox, batting .346 (18-for-52) with six extra-base hits and six RBIs in that span.
Wainwright goes for Cardinals: STL@MIL, 8:10 p.m. Adam Wainwright toes the rubber for the Cardinals, who have won 10 of 13 meetings with the Brewers this season. Wainwright is seeking his first win since he tossed a shutout against the Marlins on July 16, having lost his last three decisions.
The Cardinals have been on a power surge, setting a franchise record for homers in the month of August with 44. The Cards clubbed three homers Monday night to break the old record of 42 homers in August 1998.
Wily Peralta starts for the Brewers, who have dropped five straight games. Peralta is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals this year.
Stat that matters: The Cardinals have the best road record in MLB at 39-24.
Tough task looms for Pirates: PIT@CHC, 8:05 p.m.
The Pirates will have their hands full against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who leads MLB with a 2.19 ERA, in this MLB Network Showcase and MLB Plus game.
Hendricks has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last 17 starts, currently the longest such streak in MLB. He's been dominant at Wrigley Field, where he is 8-1 with a 1.31 ERA in 13 games.
Chad Kuhl gets the ball for the Pirates. The rookie has strung together four consecutive quality starts, generating 41 grounders and posting a 2.96 ERA in that time.
Stat that matters: Pirates cleanup man Gregory Polanco is 6-for-14 (.429) lifetime against Hendricks, with one home run and two doubles.
Greinke, Cueto duel: ARI@SF, 10:15 p.m.
Two aces take the mound as Cueto and the Giants welcome Greinke and the D-backs for the first of a two-game series at AT&T Park. The Giants are 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers for first in the NL West.
Cueto has allowed two runs over his last 13 innings overall. In three starts against Arizona this year, Cueto is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA.
Greinke is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two starts against the Giants this season. For his career, he's 8-1 with a 2.41 ERA in 11 starts against San Francisco.
Stat that matters: Cueto is 8-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 11 career starts against the D-backs.
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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.