Astros, Mariners compete for Wild Card push; Tigers take on newly crowned AL Central champs
By Chad Thornburg
The final division race can be settled today as the Red Sox enter play with an opportunity to clinch the American League East.
Boston has already secured at least a tie for the division as well as a playoff spot, but the club can claim the East outright with a win over the Yankees in New York or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.
This is far from the day's only matchup featuring major postseason implications, however. Both Wild Card races are as tight as ever with multiple teams vying for the remaining playoff spots. Two of those clubs will go head-to-head in Houston as the Astros and Mariners resume a three-game series, while the Tigers continue their playoff push against the newly minted AL Central champs.
And the best place to catch all the action is MLB.TV.
MLB.TV Premium has returned with the same features as last year, and is only $3.99 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 throughout the day (all times in ET):
Red Sox eye East title: BOS@NYY, 7:05 p.m. David Price will toe the rubber in this potential division-clincher for a red-hot Red Sox club that's won 11 straight games. Boston can celebrate its eighth AL East title and first since 2013 with a win.
Price had an uneven start to his Boston tenure, but he's posted a 2.78 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP over his last eight outings. He's won eight consecutive decisions and has allowed more than three earned runs just once in his last 10 starts.
New York will turn to Luis Cessa as they cling to fading playoff hopes in a crowded AL Wild Card field. The rookie hurler is 2-3 with a 3.83 ERA since joining the rotation Aug. 20.
Stat that matters: This is David Ortiz's final series at Yankee Stadium. He's hitting .307/.397/.574 with 53 home runs through 240 career games in the Bronx.
Tigers in the hunt: CLE@DET, 7:10 p.m.
Although they were knocked out of the AL Central with Monday's loss to the Indians, a playoff berth is still within reach for the Tigers. Detroit is one of several teams chasing the Orioles and Blue Jays in the Wild Card race. They'll look to keep pace against the Indians, who were crowned division champs Monday.
Justin Verlander will start for the Tigers, facing the Indians for the second time this month. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless frames and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Cleveland on Sept. 17, but received a no decision as the Tigers were shut out.
The Tribe will counter with right-hander Mike Clevinger, who owns a 2.55 ERA over his last six outings (17 2/3 innings).
Stat that matters: The Indians entered the final week of the season batting just .238 on the road, the second lowest mark in the Majors.
Mets continue Wild Card chase: NYM@MIA, 7:10 p.m.
With all three divisions claimed in National League, the focus is now on a tightly contested Wild Card race between the Mets, Giants and Cardinals. The Mets are currently nursing a half-game lead despite losing in Miami on an emotional night Monday in Miami as the Marlins honored Jose Fernandez.
New York will look to get back on track with Noah Syndergaard, whose start was delayed three days due to strep throat. He felt well enough to throw a bullpen session over the weekend.
Tom Koehler goes for the Marlins, who will debut new uniforms with a patch featuring Fernandez's No. 16 that they will wear for the remainder of the season. Miami is still alive in the Wild Card race but is near elimination.
"We're not quitting," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. "I'm going to forever be hearing [Fernandez], 'Do what you have to do, but keep it going.' We're not going to walk away. We're going to keep it going."
Stat that matters: Opposing hitters are missing on 30.7 percent of the swings they take against Syndergaard this year. That ranks sixth among all qualified starting pitchers.
Mariners, Astros compete for Wild Card positioning: SEA@HOU, 8:10 p.m.
Two teams hoping to climb back into AL Wild Card contention, the Astros and Mariners will resume play at Minute Maid Park. Both clubs are chasing the Orioles for a place in the one-game playoff, but by the end of this series, one could emerge as the primary challenger to the Orioles for the second spot.
Felix Hernandez will take the hill for the Mariners, aiming to reach the postseason for the first time in his 12-year career. Hernandez rebounded from a tough outing to toss seven scoreless frames against the Blue Jays his last time out, holding them to just two hits.
"Felix really stepped up his game," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I'm happy for him. He had a tough time the last time he took the ball here in the homestand, and he needed to kind of redeem himself and get after it. And he did. Hopefully, he's going to pitch in a lot more big games."
Right-hander Mike Fiers will start for the Astros, who have won six of his last nine starts. He held the Mariners scoreless for six innings earlier this month.
Stat that matters: Hernandez owns a 5.40 ERA through five career starts at Minute Maid Park. It's tied for his highest ERA at any ballpark with Coors Field, where he's only pitched once.
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.