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Postseason push: Contenders clash on MLB.TV

MLB.com

With nearly a month and a half of baseball left to play, postseason races are heating up rapidly. More than half of the teams throughout Major League Baseball find themselves in playoff contention, leaving plenty of intrigue on the table as the regular season comes down to the wire.

The action continues Sunday, when a handful of competing clubs square off for their series finales. The Mariners take on the Rays in Tampa; the Angels go head-to-head with the Orioles in Baltimore; the D-backs and Twins clash in Minnesota; the Indians and Royals meet in Kansas City; and the Brewers and Rockies face off in Colorado.

With nearly a month and a half of baseball left to play, postseason races are heating up rapidly. More than half of the teams throughout Major League Baseball find themselves in playoff contention, leaving plenty of intrigue on the table as the regular season comes down to the wire.

The action continues Sunday, when a handful of competing clubs square off for their series finales. The Mariners take on the Rays in Tampa; the Angels go head-to-head with the Orioles in Baltimore; the D-backs and Twins clash in Minnesota; the Indians and Royals meet in Kansas City; and the Brewers and Rockies face off in Colorado.

Be sure to catch the exciting full slate of games streaming live on MLB.TV. Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV Premium. With nearly two dozen features for subscribers to access and interact, including the best picture quality at 60 frames per second, choice of home or away broadcasts, live game DVR, and multi-game viewing, MLB.TV is supported by more than 400 devices. Monthly and Single Team subscriptions are also available.

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

Soft touch: MIL@COL, 3:10 p.m.
Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson skips his final rehab start and returns to the big leagues as the club attempts to catch the first-place Cubs in the National League Central.

Facing the Rockies at mile-high Coors Field, Anderson will look to keep the ball from finding the barrels of Colorado's hitters. If his performance for the rest of the season is any indication, the 29-year-old hurler should find success in that department -- his 84.3 mph average exit velocity against ranks near the top among all pitchers.

Kyle Freeland is set to oppose Anderson. Freeland has had similar success this season limiting hard contact. In fact, Freeland's 70 percent rate of inducing "poor contact" (defined as balls that are topped, hit under or otherwise weakly hit by Statcast™) is second to only the Astros' Dallas Keuchel this season.

AL Central clash: CLE@KC, 2:15 p.m.
The Indians and Royals go head-to-head at Kauffman Stadium as Kansas City looks to gain ground in the American League Central.

Cleveland's Danny Salazar gets the ball looking to continue an impressive run during which he's gone 2-0 with a 1.39 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings in his last five starts.

The Royals counter with right-hander Jason Hammel, who has allowed more than three earned runs just twice in 14 starts dating to the beginning of June. The veteran is 4-3 with a 3.89 ERA over that span.

Video: CLE@KC: Salazar, Hammel set to pitch in Kansas City

Coastal clubs battle: SEA@TB, 1:10 p.m.
Two clubs fighting for a potential AL Wild Card spot square off when the Mariners and Rays meet at Tropicana Field for the final game of the series.

Veteran hurler Yovani Gallardo gets the ball for the Mariners looking to bounce back from a loss to the Orioles in which he allowed eight runs on nine hits in in four-plus innings. The righty is 3-2 with a 4.71 ERA in seven career starts against the Rays.

The Rays send left-hander Blake Snell to the hill, who is coming off his first win of the season. The 24-year-old surrendered four runs in six innings as the Tampa Bay offense put up six runs to help him earn the victory.

Video: SEA@TB: Gallardo to pitch against Snell at Tropicana

Little League Classic: STL@PIT, 7 p.m., ESPN
The Pirates and Cardinals are set to face off at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., as the Little League World Series hosts a Major League game for the first time in history as part of a celebration for youth baseball across the globe.

Video: STL@PIT: Leake, Nova to toe the mound in the MLB Little League Classic

St. Louis right-hander Mike Leake (7-11, 3.88 ERA) opposes Pittsburgh righty Ivan Nova (10-10, 3.77) in the inaugural contest.

The teams also will be the first participants of Players Weekend, which will honor players' individual personalities Aug. 25-27. Players will wear nicknames across the back of their non-traditional jerseys made by Majestic, uniquely colored spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catchers masks and bats. They also will wear specially designed caps by New Era and unique socks from Stance. 

• Players Weekend: Nicknames of the game

• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

Keep an eye out for "El Coffee," "Cole Train" and "Super Nova" on the Pirates, and "Tsunami," "Sparky" and "Big T" on the Cardinals. 

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @OMacklinMLB.

Chase Anderson, Kyle Freeland, Yovani Gallardo, Jason Hammel, Mike Leake, Ivan Nova, Danny Salazar, Blake Snell