Key things to watch for in today's games
One more round. The Blue Jays and the Yankees fought their way through a contentious doubleheader on Saturday, and they'll be back for an intense series finale on Sunday. Toronto will send knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the mound, and the Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka.
Dickey, the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner, has faced the Yankees three times this season, notching a 1-0 record and a 1.27 ERA. Dickey struggled to a 3-10 record and a 4.87 ERA before the All-Star break, but he's rebounded to a 7-0 record and a 2.68 ERA after the intermission.
Tanaka has an 11-6 record and a 3.57 ERA in 21 starts for the Yankees, but he's given up 22 home runs. The 26-year-old has held opponents to a .222 batting average and a .258 on-base percentage this season, and he's rung up nearly five times as many strikeouts (125) as walks (26).
Here are a few other matchups and games to look forward to today.
Counting Cards: STL @ CIN, 1:10 p.m. ET
The Cardinals still have the best record in baseball, but the red-hot Pirates are putting pressure on St. Louis in the National League Central. Michael Wacha will take the ball for St. Louis against Cincinnati on Sunday, and he's posted a 3-0 record and a dominant 0.89 ERA in three starts against the Reds this season.
Wacha, an NL All-Star for the first time in July, pitched on 10 days rest last time out and lasted a season-low four innings. The right-hander went 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in five August starts, and he's gone 9-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 14 road starts this season. Wacha has allowed 14 home runs in 26 starts.
The Reds, meanwhile, are working through a modern-day record stretch. Cincinnati has used a rookie starting pitcher in 43 straight games to break a record set by the 1902 Cardinals, and Raisel Iglesias will make it 44 on Sunday. Iglesias is 3-7 with a 4.18 ERA in his first 17 games in the Majors.
Rangers' revival: OAK @ TEX, 3:05 p.m. ET
The playoff race has turned out to be delightfully chaotic in the AL, and the Rangers' second-half resurgence has been a huge reason. Texas is putting pressure on Houston in the AL West, and it's also trying to stay narrowly ahead of Minnesota in the search for the league's second Wild Card.
Chi Chi Gonzalez returns from Triple-A Round Rock to make this start for the Rangers, but he's struggled (0-2 with a 4.97 ERA) against the A's this season. Gonzalez, the 23rd overall choice in the 2013 Draft, has pitched to a 2-5 record and a 4.25 ERA in the first nine starts of his big league career.
The A's have won the last four games in which Sunday starter Felix Doubront has appeared, and he'll be trying to finish his season strong. Doubront was signed by the Blue Jays in the offseason and purchased from Toronto at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and a strong finish could earn him a job for next year.
Digging deep: HOU @ LAA, 3:35 p.m. ET
The Astros have seen their lead in the AL West shrink in September, and they'll need to regain their footing against the potent Angels. Houston went into Saturday's action leading second-place Texas by 1.5 games, and the Angels are still within striking distance in the home stretch.
Mike Fiers will pitch for the Astros on Sunday, and he's logged a 2-1 record and a 2.92 ERA in six appearances since arriving in a Trade Deadline deal from Milwaukee. Fiers, who pitched a no-hitter on August 21, has struck out more batters (35) than he's allowed hits (25) in 37 innings for the Astros.
The Angels will counter with southpaw Andrew Heaney, who has gone 6-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 14 starts this season. Heaney also registered a 6-2 record and a 4.71 ERA in 14 starts for Triple-A Salt Lake, but he's logged a much lower WHIP in the Majors (1.162) than he did in the Minors (1.532).