These are the best games each day this week
The Oakland Athletics had pretty much played themselves out of contention a few weeks ago when something happened virtually no one saw coming. The A's started to win. And win. And win some more.
Now the A's (50-40) arrive at Minute Maid Park today having won 16 of 20 to cut their deficit in the American League Wild Card race from 11 games to 6 1/2 at the beginning of a week that may determine whether they're buyers or sellers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
After continuing its run by winning two of three in Cleveland, Oakland plays four in Houston and three in San Francisco leading into the All-Star break. At the moment, no team is playing better.
Let's run through the schedule and find the best game each day:
MONDAY: Athletics at Astros (8:10 p.m. ET, MLB.TV)
Veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson, playing for his 13th team, has added quality depth to a rotation that has also gotten solid work from Monday's starter, right-hander Frankie Montas. Second baseman Jed Lowrie is having his best offensive season, and first baseman Matt Olson has 19 home runs. Meanwhile, the Astros have won six in a row to open up a 3 1/2-game lead over Seattle in the AL West.
TUESDAY: Reds at Indians (7:10 p.m. ET, MLB.TV)
This Ohio rivalry suddenly isn't as lopsided as it appeared to be on Opening Day. While the Indians are, as expected, running away with the AL Central, the Reds are 36-36 under interim manager Jim Riggleman. The Tribe has opened up a 9 1/2-game lead in the AL Central without breaking a sweat.
WEDNESDAY: Phillies at Mets (7:10 p.m. ET, MLB.TV)
Mets ace Jacob deGrom leads the Majors with a 1.79 ERA as he makes his 19th start in what could be an audition in preparation for the Trade Deadline. The Mets have told teams they're unsure about whether or not to deal him, but they're definitely listening. Meanwhile, the Phillies had their six-game win streak snapped on Sunday to slow down a roll in which they've won 17 of 25. They're 19-7 in one-run games and have 28 come-from-behind victories. In the last seven games, Phils relievers have a 0.89 ERA.
THURSDAY: D-backs at Rockies (3:10 p.m. ET, MLB.TV)
The Rockies have won eight of 10 and are playing their best baseball of the season as the rotation has stepped up big-time, having allowed two runs or fewer in six of the past eight games. The D-backs haven't been out of first place since early June. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has 15 home runs and 10 doubles in his past 40 games.
FRIDAY: Yankees at Indians (7:10 p.m. ET, MLB NETWORK, MLB.TV)
The Indians get to test themselves against the team that eliminated them in the AL playoffs last fall. With its bullpen and rotation performing well, Cleveland's Trade Deadline focus may have turned to attempting to acquire a hitter. The Yankees are zeroed in on another starting pitcher, perhaps Tampa Bay's Nathan Eovaldi. The Yanks won two of three this weekend in Toronto and remain two behind the Red Sox in the AL East.
SATURDAY: Angels at Dodgers (7:15 p.m. ET, MLB.TV)
The Dodgers have emphatically turned their season around, entering Sunday's game 32-14 since a 16-26 start. Utility man Player Page for Max Muncy is a 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Game Final Vote candidate and Matt Kemp was tabbed for his third All-Star appearance. The Angels are hoping Shohei Ohtani's return as a hitter will help spark a run back into contention.
SUNDAY: Mariners at Rockies (3:10 p.m. ET, MLB.TV)
The Mariners have won 33 of 48 games in one of the more remarkable streaks in recent years. Seattle's 26 one-run victories are 10 more than any other MLB team. All-Star closer Edwin Diaz (35 saves, 78 strikeouts) is the second pitcher with at least 30 saves and 70 strikeouts before the All-Star break, joining Eric Gagne of the Dodgers in 2003. Diaz is 20-for-22 in one-run save chances. His 20 one-run saves is three shy of the MLB record of 23 by Francisco Rodriguez in 2008.