With the dastardly Pale Hoes' starter Jeff Samardzija already having thrown a "Maddux" (a complete game shut-out with fewer than 90 pitches thrown--a term coined by Jason Lukehart, who you may recognize as the managing editor at Let's Go Tribe) today, significant baseball has already taken place, though it happened between fourth- and fifth-place teams in the first game of a day-night double-header.
Action with playoff implications also takes place tonight while the Royals are inactive, standing by watching others try to decide their playoff destinies.
In the early starts in the Eastern Time Zone--sorry Haligonians, Cleveland is idle tonight and will not be courting your eyes and your eyes only--the standout matchup is between the two teams vying for the American League East pennant with the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays kicking off a three-game series against the visiting New York Yankees. New York, trailing the Jays by 2.5 games, will send
Earl Adam Warren to the mound in just his second start since injuries forced the Yankees to insert him back into the rotation. While his demotion happened irrespective of his performance on the mound--he owned a 3.59 ERA when he was bumped from the rotation at the end of June--he will be limited in that it is just his second start after spending the middle of the season in the bullpen, so he'll likely be working with a pitch count around 80 after throwing just 65 pitches in four moderately effective innings last time out. He will have the undesirable task of trying to match David Price of Toronto.
The other four games in the East feature just one team likely to reach the playoffs, the Mets, who will send Jon Niese to the mound to square off against Shelby Miller and the Braves. The only other team above .500, the Nationals, play host to the Baltimore Orioles, who are now three games under .500 and 5.5 games back from the last Wild Card spot.
Taking place in the Central Time Zone, the cross-state Cardinals play host to the Cincinnati Reds with Jaime Garcia set to duel against recent Royal farmhand John Lamb, who makes his seventh major-league start tonight and possesses strong peripherals with lousy BABIP (.396!), though it's early to say that this owes entirely to luck and not a lack of movement on his fastball. The Cubs, also a likely playoff team, play host to the last-place Brewers.
The most interesting match-up of these three 7:10ish CDT starts takes place in Houston, where Dallas Keuchel and Jered Weaver face off with the Astros nursing a 2.5 game lead over the Angels while trying to back in to the playoffs. Trailing the Rangers by two games, the Astros would seem to have the opportunity to enjoy any number of fates--a division crown, a wild-card berth, or an embarrassing collapse after holding onto the division lead for most of the season--and they will turn to their ace, Cy Young hopeful Dallas Keuchel, who has yet to lose a decision at home this season.
Pittsburgh sends A.J. Burnett to the hill in Colorado while the Rockies turn to the third overall pick of the 2013 draft Jon Gray. Pittsburgh sits four games back from the Cardinals, with their hopes of avoiding another play-in/Wild Card scenario dwindling. Gray, whose five-plus ERA is being inflated by a not-quite-Lambian .376 ERA that also likely owes a bit of its robustness to home ballpark, owns a 3.19 FIP, suggesting that perhaps his ability mixed with his groundball tendencies could enable him to survive in Coors Field.
Last but not least, the Los Angeles Dodgers play host to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Reclamation project and seemingly righteous dude Brett Anderson will make his 28th start of the season tonight. That is the most starts he has registered since the 2009 season. With his incentive-laden contract, he stands to make $700K tonight if he finishes six innings of work. Jhoulys Chacin throws baseballs tonight for the D-Backs. More importantly, Vin Scully will presumably be calling the game. Hear baseball the way it was meant to be heard.
Or catch up on your programs. There is always a bunch of stuff on Netflix to be watched. The Double, directed by Richard Ayoade and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Jesse Eisenberg, and Mia Wasikowska, is really good. So was The Hunt starring Mads Mikkelsen. Or you could catch up on the classics. Be inspired by Sunset Boulevard or Charade or His Girl Friday or The Conversation or Chinatown.