Playoff crunch time starts Labor Day on MLB.TV

Playoff crunch time starts Labor Day on MLB.TV

Baseball fans, rejoice. It's Labor Day, which means there are games on tap from the early afternoon all through the night.

It also marks the beginning of crunch time for the several clubs around the Major Leagues in contention for the postseason. With exactly four weeks left in the 2017 regular season, playoff races are heating up.

A handful of intriguing games -- many between division rivals -- highlights Monday's full slate, streaming live on MLB.TV. Be sure to tune in to catch all the action.

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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times ET):

Battle in Seattle: HOU@SEA, 6:40 p.m.
American League West foes square off at Safeco Field when the first-place Astros take on the Wild Card-seeking Mariners.

Dallas Keuchel (11-3, 2.91), the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, takes the mound for Houston looking to rebound from a loss to Texas in which he allowed six runs in six innings.

The Mariners turn to veteran righty Erasmo Ramirez, who is 4-4 with a 4.94 ERA in his 14 starts this season.

Keuchel vs. Ramirez

Postseason push: MIN@TB, 7:10 p.m.
A pair of AL teams pushing for Wild Card spots meets as the Twins' Jose Berrios (12-6, 3.80) and the Rays' Alex Cobb (9-9, 3.72) go head-to-head at Tropicana Field.

Berrios has shown flashes of brilliance this season, including in his most recent outing, when he held the White Sox scoreless over seven frames while striking out 11.

Berrios vs. Cobb

Cobb was limited to three starts last month because of a right toe injury, but fared well in those chances. The right-hander gave up just four earned runs in 16 1/3 innings in August.

West is best: ARI@LAD, 8:10 p.m.
Lethal left-handers duel in Los Angeles as the D-backs' Robbie Ray (11-5, 2.97) duels with the Dodgers' Rich Hill (9-6, 3.71) at Dodger Stadium in the final game of the day.

Ray's return to the Arizona rotation since being struck in the head by a line drive July 28 has gone swimmingly. The 25-year-old has earned victories in both of his outings with 19 strikeouts and just two runs allowed in 11 2/3 frames.

Hill followed up his near perfect game against the Pirates on Aug. 23 with one of his worst outings of the season, when he allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings against Arizona. The veteran breaking ball specialist should have his hands full with a tough D-backs lineup as he tries to bounce back.

Hill dominates in tough loss

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @OMacklinMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.