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Key things to watch for in today's games

The Royals may have the best record in the American League, but they'll have to go through Toronto and the Majors' highest-scoring offense this weekend. Both teams have been active on the trade front, with Kansas City acquiring Johnny Cueto and Toronto landing Troy Tulowitzki.

Both players will be in action this series, with Cueto scheduled to start on Friday. In Thursday's 7:07 p.m. ET opener, Kansas City will start Danny Duffy, who has logged a 2.15 ERA in six starts since returning from the disabled list. The Blue Jays will counter with Marco Estrada, who has gone 7-6 with a 3.55 ERA in 21 appearances between the bullpen and rotation. Estrada posted a 0.84 ERA in six relief appearances, and he's managed a 3.17 ERA in 10 appearances at home.

Here are a few other matchups and games to look forward to on Thursday.

Video: HOU@KC: Kazmir goes seven scoreless in Astros debut

Winning the West: LAA @ HOU, 8:10 p.m. ET
The Angels and Astros are waging the tightest division race in the AL, and Houston native Scott Kazmir will make his first home start since last week's trade with the A's. Kazmir, a graduate of Cypress Falls High School in Houston, made his first start for the Astros in a 4-0 victory over the Royals in Kansas City on Friday. The lefty has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13 straight starts dating to May 11.

Coming off one of his best starts of the season -- a 10-strikeout, two-hit gem over six innings -- Matt Shoemaker will start for the Angels. Shoemaker has allowed 17 homers, but only four have come in his last 10 outings.

Video: CWS@CHC: Sale sparkles over seven-plus frames

Set of Sox, CWS @ BOS: 7:10 p.m. ET
The White Sox are within a few wins of reaching the break-even mark for the first time since they were 18-18 on May 19, and on Thursday they'll start Chris Sale (9-5, 2.85 ERA), who has 170 strikeouts in 132 2/3 innings. In four career outings (one start) at Fenway Park, the lefty has posted a 0.87 ERA.

Boston will start Steven Wright (3-4, 4.78 ERA), who went 2-5 with a 3.81 ERA in eight appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket this year before being promoted.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for