Wild Card races near final turn on MLB.TV

Postseason spots there for the taking with big matchups on deck

September 29th, 2016

With just four days remaining in the regular season, the Wild Card races in both the National League and American League are heading down to the wire. Several games on Thursday will have huge postseason implications, making for a must-see slate of action around the Majors.

The best way to catch it all is with 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 on the final Thursday of the 2016 regular season:

Big stakes by the Bay: [email protected], 10:15 p.m. ET

The Giants are still clinging to the second NL Wild Card spot -- 1 1/2 games behind the Mets and a game ahead of the Cardinals -- despite having lost seven of their last 11 games. With the Mets idle on Thursday, San Francisco has a chance to gain on New York in its quest to not only win a spot in the NL Wild Card Game next week, but to host it at AT&T Park.

That's where right-hander will take the mound against the Rockies Thursday. Cueto missed his last scheduled start with a groin strain, but has had a resurgent month of September following a difficult August: Cueto has posted a 1.59 ERA this month after a 4.38 mark in the preceding month.

Cueto will be opposed by hard-throwing rookie right-hander , who has struck out 26 and walked just three over his last 13 innings pitched. Though he gave up four runs in four innings in a loss to the Dodgers in his last start, Gray tossed a four-hit shutout against the Padres on Sept. 17.

Stat that matters: In 11 career starts against Colorado, Cueto has posted a 2.19 ERA (74 innings pitched), the second-lowest ERA against any team that he's faced at least seven times.

Cards try to reverse rut at Busch: [email protected], 7:15 p.m. ET

The Cardinals will give the ball to rookie right-hander on Thursday against the Reds. Reyes makes his fifth career start in the heat of a pennant race. With St. Louis entering one game behind San Francisco for the second NL Wild Card spot, the club hopes the 22-year-old Reyes continues to handle the pressure well: in his four starts this season, he's posted a 2.38 ERA.

Reyes will be up against a Reds offense that has been hot lately -- Cincinnati has scored 22 runs in the first three games of this series.

Right-hander takes the mound for the Reds, who are 35-34 in the second half of the season after reaching the All-Star break with a record of 32-57. Straily has pitched well in September, posting a 2.87 ERA in five starts this month.

Stat that matters: The Cardinals continued their home struggles with a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium; St. Louis is nine games under .500 at home, and an MLB-best 48-33 on the road this season.

Birds of different feathers battle in tight Wild Card race: [email protected], 7:07 p.m. ET

With the Orioles trailing the Blue Jays by just one game in the AL Wild Card race, the two AL East rivals square off in their final matchup of the regular season on Thursday. Hanging in the balance is the top AL Wild Card spot, the winner of which will host the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday.

The Blue Jays will send to the hill. Stroman has struggled mightily against Baltimore this season, surrendering 14 runs in 16 innings (7.88 ERA) over three starts against the Orioles. Stroman is coming off seven scoreless innings against the Yankees, and has a 3.00 ERA in September. That's his best mark in any month this season, though he's 0-4.

will be Stroman's counterpart at Rogers Centre. Jimenez had a poor first half of the season (7.38 ERA), but has pitched well since the All-Star break, particularly this month: in four starts, he's 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA.

Stat that matters: In the only start of his career at Rogers Centre, Jimenez lasted just 1/3 of an inning, getting shelled for five runs on six hits on June 12.