Players Weekend is here, so no matter which games you tune into, you're bound to see players expressing themselves and being creative in ways you've never seen before.Everywhere you look around Major League Baseball, you will see fun in the form of cool bats, snazzy spikes, tricked-out gloves and customized
Players Weekend is here, so no matter which games you tune into, you're bound to see players expressing themselves and being creative in ways you've never seen before.
Everywhere you look around Major League Baseball, you will see fun in the form of cool bats, snazzy spikes, tricked-out gloves and customized uniforms with nicknames on the back.
And you will also see good baseball.
• It's Players Weekend! Here's your complete guide
Apart from all the decorations this weekend, there are some really intriguing games on the Major League schedule.
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Here's what else to watch for throughout the day (all times ET):
Don't Ya Know these are big games: SEA@NYY, 1:05 p.m.
It's always great to see Robinson Cano back in Yankee Stadium, where his Players Weekend nickname "Don't You Know" was spawned. His Mariners are in town now with postseason aspirations. This is a big series in the American League Wild Card race, with New York in the top spot and Seattle one of nine teams hoping to take the second. A big weekend could go a long way toward the Mariners realizing their October dreams.
Yovani Gallardo (5-9, 5.75 ERA) takes the hill against Sonny Gray (7-8, 3.38 ERA), who is very familiar with Seattle from his time with Oakland in the AL West. Gray is using one of the funnier Players Weekend nicknames, "Pickles," even though he has no idea where it came from.
Wild Card wins at stake: MIN@TOR, 1:07 p.m.
Everyone seems to be in the AL Wild Card race, which makes this Twins-Blue Jays series so important. The Twins entered the weekend in line for the second spot, but the Blue Jays are one of nine in the mix for it as well. A few wins from either team in this series this weekend would really swing the pendulum.
Right-hander Dillon Gee (1-0, 2.84 ERA) makes his second start for the Twins. He'll have his work cut out for him against Jose Bautista (aka "Joey Bats" for Players Weekend), Josh Donaldson ("Bringer of Rain") and Justin Smoak ("Moakey"). Marco Estrada ("Estradabien") opposes for the Jays.
Will Stanton homer (again)? SD@MIA, 7:10 p.m.
Don't look now, but the Marlins are making moves in the National League Wild Card race. On top of that, this game is notable because every game Giancarlo Stanton ("Cruz" for Players Weekend) plays in is notable.
The Miami slugger is insanely hot, hitting home runs at a near-historic pace. If he gets to 50 homers by the end of the weekend, he'll put himself in rarified air, becoming one of only a handful of players to reach the benchmark before the end of August.
Stanton will take his hacks against Padres rookie Dinelson Lamet (7-5, 4.84 ERA), while Miami counters with Odrisamer Despaigne (0-1, 4.42 ERA).
Kansas City's last stand: KC@CLE, 7:15 p.m.
This has the makings of a pretty pivotal series, with the Royals looking up at the Indians in the AL Central. If Cleveland makes up two games this weekend, Kansas City could be resigned to fight for the second Wild Card spot. If the Royals can make up a few games, however, they're right in the thick of the division heading into September. Jason Hammel (6-9, 4.73 ERA) opposes Mike Clevinger (6-5, 3.97 ERA) in the middle game of a three-game set.
"Every game is important, but especially [these games with Cleveland]," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's like a two-game swing with each one."
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.