Cubs visit Giants for first time since NLDS; Scherzer back after short start
By Daniel Kramer
Despite more than half the league being off today, there's still an exciting slate of games that fans can catch on MLB.TV.
The I-70 series kicks off in Kansas City, where the Cards and Royals will meet for the first time this year. The Cubs visit the Giants by the Bay for the first time since Chicago eliminated San Francisco in last year's National League Division Series. In Minnesota, the Twins and Brewers open a four-game home-and-home set, as both clubs continue their postseason pursuit. And in Washington, Max Scherzer makes his first start since being pulled after one inning with neck spasms last Tuesday.
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.
Show-Me Series: STL@KC, 8:15 p.m.
This in-state rivalry dates back to 1985, when these clubs first played each other in an epic, seven-game World Series, with the Royals overcoming an 0-2 deficit to capture their first title. They've played each other in non-exhibition games every year since 1997, when Interleague Play was implemented, and they'll play a four-game home-and-home, with the series shifting to Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
Today's matchup pits Carlos Martinez against Ian Kennedy. Martinez will be looking to overcome recent woes in the first inning. He's given up runs in the opening frame in each of his last six starts and has a 6.55 ERA in the first inning on the year. The Cardinals have encouraged Martinez to make changes to his warmup routine to help.
"We have to keep tinkering with whatever it is, because when he gets through the first like he did today, he rolled," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after Martinez's most recent outing on Tuesday, when he gave up three runs in the first to the Brewers, who went on to win, 3-2. "Early on, it was just a timing issue. We're going to have to keep making some adjustments so that he's sharp when he comes out of the gate."
Kennedy will start on an extra day's rest due to the Royals' rainout on Saturday. He struggled with efficiency his last time out against the Orioles, giving up hits to four of the first five batters he faced, quickly falling behind, 2-0, in an eventual 7-2 loss.
NLDS rematch: CHC@SFG, 10:08 p.m.
The last time the Cubs were at AT&T Park in Game 4 of last year's NLDS, they overcame a three-run deficit and scored four times in the ninth inning to clinch the series, spoiling a gem twirled by Matt Moore, who will start today.
Much has changed since that October comeback, as the Giants have slumped to a .389 win percentage -- on pace to be their second-worst since moving to San Francisco. Their struggles have aligned with Moore's, as the lefty is seeking his first win since June 20 and has an ERA of 5.80, by far a career high.
Moore is likely seeking the sort of resurgence shown by Cubs righty Jake Arrieta, who has a 2.08 ERA over his last six starts. While the former Cy Young Award winner hasn't quite recaptured his mid-90s fastball, he's honed his offspeed well. For example, his .133 opponents' batting average against his curveball is fifth-lowest in the Majors among starters, according to Statcast™.
Outside looking in: MIL@MIN, 8:10 p.m.
The Twins and Brewers enter today's Interleague matchup within striking distance of their respective division leads, as well as a Wild Card spot.
Minnesota will turn to reliable righty Ervin Santana, who's coming off his MLB-best fifth complete game against the Padres.
For the Brewers, Brent Suter is coming off his worst start since being moved to the rotation in early July, having given up a season-high five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, though as a starter he's been solid, going 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA.
Max is back: MIA@WSH, 7:05 p.m.
Scherzer will make his first appearance since leaving after one inning with neck spasms on Tuesday in a game that was also against the Marlins. He did not miss a turn in the rotation and will face Miami for the third time this year. On June 21 in Miami, Scherzer took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but he was eventually dealt the loss after the Marlins engineered a comeback on a wild pitch and an RBI single in consecutive at-bats.
For the Marlins, Chris O'Grady started opposite Scherzer when he was pulled Tuesday, and didn't last much longer, going just three innings and giving up six earned runs.
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.