The Indians have a chance to clinch the American League Central tonight when they open a four-game series on the road against the Tigers, who are in contention for an AL Wild Card spot.It's the final week of the regular season, and the Wild Card races remain close in both
The Indians have a chance to clinch the American League Central tonight when they open a four-game series on the road against the Tigers, who are in contention for an AL Wild Card spot.
It's the final week of the regular season, and the Wild Card races remain close in both leagues, so there is a lot on the line in today's Major League schedule.
And the best place to watch all the drama unfold is on MLB.TV.
MLB.TV Premium has returned with the same features as last year, and is only $3.99 for the rest of the season. This package has the best value and provides access to more than 400 devices and a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat Premium app (a $19.99 value). It offers the best picture quality ever -- a new 60 frames per second -- for supported devices.
Here's what to watch for today in the Majors (all times ET):
Tribe eyes division crown: CLE@DET, 7:10 p.m.
The Indians can clinch the AL Central with a win in the opener of this big four-game series against the Tigers, who are 1 1/2 games behind the Orioles for the second AL Wild Card.
Indians ace Corey Kluber will take the mound as he continues his push for the AL Cy Young Award. Kluber is on a roll, going 10-1 with a 2.32 ERA over his past 14 starts. He's 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this year.
Detroit will counter with Buck Farmer, who had his last start on Wednesday washed away by rain after 2 2/3 innings against the Twins. He's faced the Indians just once this year, but that was in relief during a blowout loss in July.
The Tigers would need to win the remainder of their final seven games and have the Indians lose out in order to clinch a share of the division title. The Indians are 13-2 against the Tigers this year.
Stat that matters: Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has a lifetime .467 average against Kluber, with five homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.344 OPS over 48 career plate appearances.
Jays go for sweep: NYY@TOR, 7:07 p.m.
The Blue Jays turn to 20-game winner J.A. Happ as they go for a four-game sweep of the Yankees. Toronto is in sole possession of the top AL Wild Card Spot, with a 1 1/2-game lead over the Orioles.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are 5 1/2 games behind the O's with seven games to play and three other teams in front of them.
Happ is second on Toronto's staff with 19 quality starts. He's pitched a career-high 181 1/3 innings. The left-hander will look to continue a solid series for Blue Jays pitchers, as the Yankees have been limited to three runs in the first three games.
Luis Severino is expected to start for the Yankees in place of the injured Masahiro Tanaka. Severino is 3-8 with a 5.70 ERA in 20 games (nine starts) this year.
Stat that matters: Blue Jays outfielder José Bautista has reached base in 32 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the AL.
Marlins return to play: NYM@MIA, 7:10 p.m.
The Marlins return to Marlins Park for the start of a three-game series against the contending Mets after Miami canceled its series finale against the Braves on Sunday to mourn José Fernández, the Marlins ace who died in a boating accident early Sunday morning.
"It'll be hard for all of baseball," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It's going to be a tough night for everybody, but we'll get through it. Because we have to."
Said Marlins infielder Martín Prado: "We're not robots. We're humans. And we feel. He made an impact on every single person on this team, in different ways. I understand the fact we have to play games and we have to be professional. But deep in our hearts, there is a lot of pain."
The Mets will try to balance their own grief with the obligations of a pennant race. New York is in sole possession of the top NL Wild Card spot.
"We'll keep things in perspective," Collins said. "It's going to be, really, a tough night for a lot of people. Certainly we lost a great player, but the respect for the game itself -- and he had it -- it's got to be played, and it's going to be played right. Because I know that's how Jose would want to do it. That's how he would want it played. And so we've got to keep that in our minds, also."
Bartolo Colon starts for the Mets. The Marlins have not yet announced a starter, as Fernandez had been scheduled to take the mound.
Stat that matters: MLB's two oldest players, Colon and Ichiro Suzuki, have a chance to face each other in the game. Suzuki, who ranks 25th all-time with 3,028 career hits, is 35-for-117 (.299) in his career against Colon.
Wild Card contenders meet: SEA@HOU, 8:10 p.m.
These two AL West clubs are each battling to remain in the Wild Card chase, so this three-game series could be make-or-break for both teams. The Mariners are 2 1/2 games behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card Spot, with the Astros a half-game behind Seattle.
"We have to grind," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of the final week. "We have to fight, we have to claw. Every inch is a big deal out there, and we've got to get after it."
Hisashi Iwakuma will start for the Mariners opposite Houston's Collin McHugh, who is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against Seattle this year. McHugh has won his last three starts overall, including seven shutout innings with two hits to beat the Mariners at Safeco Field on Sept. 16.
Iwakuma has a career-high 16 wins, but went only 3 1/3 innings against Toronto in his last outing. He tossed seven scoreless innings against the Astros the last time he faced them in July after losing twice to Houston early in the year.
Stat that matters: The Astros lead the season series 10-6 and are 5-2 at Minute Maid Park against Seattle.
Cards continue postseason push at home: CIN@STL, 8:15 p.m.
The Cardinals return home to open a seven-game homestand as they continue their push to earn one of the NL Wild Card spots. The Cards are battling the Mets and Giants for the two Wild Card berths in a race that looks like it will come right down to the wire.
Left-hander Jaime García gets the ball for the Cardinals, who have struggled to a 33-41 record at home this season. Garcia is 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in three starts against the Reds this season.
Tim Adelman starts for the Reds, who have won five of the last nine meetings with the Cardinals. The Reds are looking to win consecutive series against the Cards for the first time since 2011.
Stat that matters: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is a .285/.324/.439 hitter in his career against Cincinnati with 17 home runs and 85 RBIs. This season, he's trended above that against the Reds, batting .356/.431/.578 with two homers.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers get the Mosaic View -- split screen or quad, available on PC or Mac only. That always comes in handy, especially when scoreboard-watching looms. MLB.TV Premium and MLB.TV Single Team subscribers both enjoy HD and both will get real-time highlights and player stats automatically loaded moments after they occur (only for the game you are watching with MLB.TV Single Team, and for all games with MLB.TV Premium).
**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com.