Wild Card contenders in action in today's matinees
By Austin Laymance
Today's full schedule of Major League games includes six matinees, each of which features teams locked in tight postseason races.
The fun gets started when Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Tigers opposite White Sox ace Chris Sale in today's first game. Detroit is one game behind Baltimore for the second American League Wild Card.
The Red Sox, who lead the O's by one game for the first AL Wild Card, are also in action this afternoon, as are AL Wild Card contenders Houston and Seattle.
In the National League, the race for the NL West continues this afternoon with the Dodgers and Giants both in action. The first-place Dodgers have a doubleheader against the Rockies.
And the best place to catch all the action is on MLB.TV.
MLB.TV Premium has returned with the same features as last year, and is only $24.99 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.
Here's what to watch for today in the Majors (all times ET):
Sale, Verlander duel: CWS@DET, 1:10 p.m.
The Tigers can potentially move into a tie with the O's for the second Wild Card as they go for a three-game sweep behind Verlander, who is 7-1 with a 2.00 ERA since the beginning of July.
Meanwhile, Sale is 2-5 with a 3.76 ERA since winning 13 of 16 starts to begin the season. The left-hander has tossed two complete games in August, though his team lost both games. He struck out 14 in his last outing.
It's the first Verlander-Sale matchup since Sept. 24, 2014. In that meeting, Verlander fired eight innings of one-run ball to outduel Sale, who gave up one run in six innings.
Stat that matters: Tigers outfielder Justin Upton is hitting .342 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Knuckleballer starts for Red Sox: TB@BOS, 1:35 p.m. Steven Wright starts for the Red Sox in a rubber game against the Rays. The knuckleballer has never faced Tampa Bay. For Wright, it's his second start since missing three weeks with a right shoulder strain. He allowed five runs in his first inning back from the disabled list and then followed with five scoreless frames against the Royals.
The Rays will counter with Drew Smyly. The left-hander has gone at least six innings in each of his last seven starts, the longest such streak in his career. In that time, he's lowered his season ERA from 5.64 to 4.80. Smyly is 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA in four career starts at Fenway Park.
Stat that matters: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in his last 16 home games, the longest active streak in MLB.
King Felix goes for Mariners: SEA@TEX, 2:05 p.m.
The Mariners will look to bounce back behind ace Felix Hernandez after a walk-off loss to the Rangers on Tuesday that put Seattle four games out of a Wild Card berth. Hernandez has won his last three starts. He last faced the Rangers on Opening Day, when he was charged with three runs (one earned) on one hit in six innings.
The first-place Rangers give the ball to left-hander Martin Perez, who has allowed 12 earned runs in his last 11 2/3 innings spanning two starts. Texas has the best record in the AL at 79-54.
Stat that matters: The Mariners are 20-29 in 49 games against a left-handed starting pitcher.
Astros go for sweep: OAK@HOU, 2:10 p.m.
The Astros have surged back into the AL Wild Card race with wins in nine of their last 11 games, and they trail the O's by two games.
Mike Fiers gets the ball for Houston as they go for a three-game sweep of the A's. Fiers has produced quality starts in each of his last two outings. He's struggled against Oakland, though, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against the A's this year.
Ross Detwiler starts for the A's. He's looking to turn things around after going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA over his last three starts.
Stat that matters: The Astros' Carlos Correa needs one RBI to pass Miguel Tejada and set a franchise record for single-season RBIs as a shortstop. Correa has 86 RBIs from that position and 89 overall.
Miller returns to D-backs: ARI@SF, 3:45 p.m. Shelby Miller rejoins Arizona's rotation after spending all of the second half with Triple-A Reno. An All-Star in 2015 with the Braves, Miller had a 7.14 ERA in 14 starts with the D-backs before being optioned to the Minors on July 14. In eight starts with Reno, he went 5-1 with a 3.91 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings.
Matt Moore starts for the Giants, who are holding off the Cardinals for the first NL Wild Card. The left-hander is coming off the best start of his career, coming within one out of a no-hitter against the Dodgers.
Stat that matters: Moore is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA in two starts at AT&T Park since coming over in a Trade Deadline deal with the Rays.
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.