Cubs, Nationals duel at Wrigley; Archer takes on Brewers
By Daniel Kramer
A potential postseason preview wraps its regular-season series this afternoon in Chicago, while another convenes in Cleveland on this getaway Sunday. All 30 clubs are in action this afternoon, and fans can watch every game on MLB.TV.
MLB.TV Premium is now available for $49.99 for the rest of the season or $24.99 monthly, with nearly two dozen features for subscribers to access and interact with live out-of-market Major League Baseball games at 60 frames per second on any of the more than 400 supported devices. MLB.TV Single Team subscriptions are also available at $39.99 for the rest of the season.Here's what to watch for today (all times ET):
Hot vs. cold: NYY@CLE, 1:10 p.m.
The Yankees had lost four in a row before their 2-1 win Saturday over Cleveland, and that skid has dropped them back to second place in the American League East.
The Indians, meanwhile, have been hot. They have won seven of their last 11, which bodes well now that they're in a critical stretch. Including their last series against Boston earlier this week, the Indians' entire August slate is against clubs that, entering Saturday, occupied a postseason spot or were within a half-game of one, except for the sputtering Twins.
The Tribe will turn to reliable right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who is coming off an uncharacteristically poor outing, when he gave up five runs on six hits and three walks in just 1 2/3 innings against the Red Sox -- his shortest start since breaking his hand last Sept. 17.
In hopes of making up ground on the first-place Red Sox, the Yankees will turn to 23-year-old flamethrower Luis Severino, who has quickly blossomed into their ace in '17. Starting on an extra day's rest because of a six-man rotation this time through and a 116-pitch count his last outing, the All-Star is 8-4 with a 2.98 ERA and hasn't lost since July 2 at Houston.
See you soon?: WSH@CHC, 2:20 p.m.
The Cubs pulled out a 7-4 win Saturday and held off a late scare from the Nationals, with Wade Davis punching out Bryce Harper with an off-the-table curve with two on and two out, evening the weekend series.
Going for the series win, the Cubs may have the leg up in the pitching matchup. Though Jon Lester hasn't quite been his Cy Young self this year, he did pick up his 2,000th career strikeout and hit his first career homer in a 16-4 rout of the D-backs on Tuesday. On the year, he's 8-6 with a 3.96 ERA. If he can establish his curveball, it's proven to be one of the game's most difficult to hit -- batters are clipping just .144 off the pitch, the fourth-lowest in MLB (min. 150 at-bats ending on a curve), per Statcast™.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Nationals will trot out right-hander Erick Fedde for his second start, filling a rotational void for Stephen Strasburg. In his long-awaited MLB debut, the club's No. 3 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, showed strong stuff, though it was masked by his seven runs allowed in four innings, largely a result of failing to finish off batters.
Not backing down: TEX@MIN, 2:10 p.m.
With a fall all the way to third place in the American League Central -- and chasing the red-hot Indians and Royals in the division -- the Twins have conviction they can make a late-season run.
"No white flags in here," second baseman Brian Dozier said Friday. "Not at all. Zero."
Perhaps riding a high from Bartolo Colon becoming the oldest AL pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1992 to throw a complete game, the Twins kicked off the weekend with momentum. On Sunday, they'll turn to their prized pitcher. Jose Berrios, 23, who had a rough stretch in July, is coming off one of his best starts of the year, in which he allowed one run in seven innings against the Padres but took the loss.
For the Rangers, Nick Martinez is in his second stint with the big league club, brought up to fill rotational depth after the club traded Yu Darvish. Martinez is coming off a loss to the Mariners on Tuesday, when he tossed 5 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits.
Outside looking in: MIL@TB, 1:10 p.m.
Sunday's Interleague series finale pits the two clubs currently on the outside looking in for each Wild Card race. And the Brewers and Rays will turn to their top-of-the-rotation starters.
Hard-throwing Rays righty Chris Archer, an All-Star for the second time in his career, had his string of seven quality starts snapped his last time out in Houston. Maybe his lingering feud with Astros mascot Orbit had a hand in it, though he got the last laugh by picking up the win.
Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson has a club-high 13 quality starts, including his last outing against the Cardinals, a 3-2 win. He's never faced the Rays in his career, and it'll be worth watching how he fares in the indoor confines of Tropicana Field. On the road, the righty is 4-2 with a 4.66 ERA in 10 starts this year.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.