Contenders clash this afternoon on MLB.TV

Indians seek 17th straight win, Yankees visit Rangers in matinees

Contenders clash this afternoon on MLB.TV

bc theyThe drama of postseason races gets an early start today, with five matinees on the schedule as part of a full slate of games streaming live on MLB.TV.

Three division-leading clubs are in action this afternoon: The Indians, winners of 16 straight games, the Cubs and the Astros. In addition, four teams in the thick of the American League and National League Wild Card standings take the field for day games, including the Orioles, Yankees, Rangers and Brewers.

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

Tribe seeks to extend historic streak against O's: BAL@CLE, 1:05 p.m.
The Indians extended their franchise-record win streak to 16 games with a series-opening victory over the Orioles on Friday. Cleveland is peaking at the right time and has its sights set on catching Houston for the best record in the AL, not to mention become the second team in the Expansion Era (since 1961) to win 17 or more in a row (the 2002 Athletics won 20 straight). Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the mix for their second straight AL Wild Card berth.

Josh Tomlin (8-9, 5.20 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Indians, who have a comfortable lead over the Twins in the AL Central. The O's, one of eight teams in the thick of the AL Wild Card race, turn to Gabriel Ynoa (1-0, 3.68 ERA). Tomlin makes his second start since coming off the disabled list, while Ynoa gets his first big league start of the season.

Indians shut out the O's

Wild Card implications: NYY@TEX, 1:05 p.m.
The Yankees are in the driver's seat in the AL Wild Card race, but the Rangers have an opportunity to make up some ground in the standings in their final series against the Bronx Bombers this year.

Texas is one of eight teams in the mix for the AL Wild Card, with New York leading the pack.

Luis Severino (12-6, 3.03 ERA) takes the mound for the Yankees and Andrew Cashner (9-9, 3.29 ERA) toes the rubber for the Rangers. Both starting pitchers have been great in the second half. Severino is 7-2 with a 2.15 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break, while Cashner is 5-2 with a 2.93 ERA in nine starts during that span.

Severino vs. Cashner

NL Central rivals meet: MIL@CHC, 4:05 p.m.
This is a big game for the Brewers, who are still within striking distance of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central and the Rockies in the race for the second NL Wild Card.

Chase Anderson (8-3, 3.06 ERA) gets the ball for the Brewers, who need to make a run soon in order to make it back to the postseason for the first time since 2011. In two starts at Wrigley Field this year, Anderson is 1-1 with eight earned runs allowed in nine innings.

Mike Montgomery (5-7, 3.38 ERA) toes the rubber for the Cubs, who are looking to hold off the Brewers and the Cardinals to win the division for the second straight year. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation at the end of August.

Anderson vs. Montgomery

Astros play two in Oakland: HOU@OAK, 4:05 p.m.
The Astros and A's will play a straight doubleheader at the Coliseum as part of a makeup game from April 16. This is Houston's last trip to Oakland this season.

The Astros have a comfortable lead in the AL West, and they have been able to hold off the charging Indians in the race for the best record in the AL, which provides coveted home-field advantage in the postseason.

Charlie Morton (11-6. 3.87 ERA) starts for the Astros in Game 1, with Brad Peacock (10-2, 3.05 ERA) set to take the mound in Game 2. The A's will counter with Daniel Gossett (3-8, 5.32 ERA) in Game 1 and Daniel Mengden (0-1, 10.13 ERA) in Game 2.

Morton vs. Gossett

Sale starts for Sox: TB@BOS, 7:10 p.m.
The first-place Red Sox give the ball to ace Chris Sale (15-7, 2.85 ERA) in the second of a three-game series against the Rays, who are still in the hunt for the second AL Wild Card. Matt Andriese (5-2, 3.78 ERA) is scheduled to start for Tampa Bay.

Sale looks for continued success against the Rays, having gone 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in four starts against them this season. The left-hander has recorded at least 12 strikeouts in all four of those outings, which is the longest such streak by any pitcher versus Tampa Bay.

Andriese beat the Red Sox in his only other start against them this year, allowing two runs in five innings on May 14 at Fenway Park.

Andriese vs. Sale

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.