The vibes have been pretty good for Mariners fans the past few days. After a thrilling sweep of the hated Angels, the M’s now have a game and a half lead on the first Wild Card spot, with the Rays and Blue Jays both tied behind them. With just 43 games left to play, they’re in a pretty damn good position. They sadly aren’t playing today - in fact, we have quite a few off days on the horizon - but every other team they’re fighting with other than the Twins is, and there are relevant matchups to keep an eye on nearly all day. Join us for a fine day of scoreboard watching and cross those fingers for gaining half a game on these fools!
Astros at White Sox, 11:10am PDT
The White Sox had their five-game win streak snapped yesterday at the hands of Framber Valdez, who cruised through seven innings allowing just two hits. They’ll try to get back on track with Lucas Giolito, who’s taken a step back from his four-win 2021, mostly on the back of an uptick in walks. Luis García and his shimmying windup will take the mound for Houston, who we regrettably should be rooting for to win this game. The Southsiders are two games out of a wild card spot and 3.5 behind Seattle, but their recent win streak proved they shouldn’t be taken lightly down the stretch. Win your game, Astros.
Cubs at Orioles, 12:05pm PDT
After a series against the Blue Jays that was difficult to figure out who to cheer on, the O’s are hosting the Cubs in a makeup for a game that was rained out in June. Baltimore is sending out Spenser Watkins, who’s bounced back from a wretched 2021 to settle in as a decent back-end starter. Old friend Adrian Sampson will be going for the Cubs, and sorry to Birdland, but we must root for the visiting team here - separation is key at this point in the season. Go Cubs.
Red Sox at Pirates, 4:05pm PDT
It’s been a rough series in a rough season for the Pirates, who have dropped both of the first two games to Boston and responded to Dennis Eckersley calling their lineup a “hodgepodge of nothingness” and “pathetic” on Tuesday. Yikes! JT Brubaker will attempt to stop the bleeding against the Red Sox’s Josh Winckowski, and the Red Sox will look to climb back above .500. At four games out of a playoff spot and a full 5.5 games behind the M’s (imagine being told that in mid-May), time is running out for them, but I would like to take as few chances as possible. Go Pirates.
Blue Jays at Yankees, 4:05pm PDT
The Yankees got a badly-needed win last night, with Josh Donaldson hitting a walkoff grand slam in extras against the Rays. They’ll now set their sights on another divisional foe, and Frankie Montas has a great opportunity to put his first two starts in pinstripes behind him. José Berríos has had a brutal year for Toronto, notching exactly 0.0 fWAR, tied for second-lowest among all qualified starters (and uh, maybe don’t look at who’s tied with him). For the rest of the AL East to sufficiently beat up on each other, the Yankees need to get out of their funk, and hopefully yesterday signaled a turnaround. Win your game, Yankees.
Royals at Rays, 4:10pm PDT
While the Royals have been out of the playoff race since the end of April, they’ve played somewhat respectably in the second half. Thanks in part to Vinnie Pasquantino’s breakout, they’ve gone just three games under .500 - not great, of course, but perfectly mediocre. Think 2012 Mariners. They’ve also been a decent spoiler, and will hope to continue that against the Rays in Tampa. Veteran righty Brad Keller will take the mound for KC, and the Rays just called up Luis Patiño to start tonight. Once a top prospect in all of baseball and a key part of the Blake Snell trade, Patiño has battled injuries this year, only throwing eight innings total. It might end up being a bullpen day for Tampa, and KC will need to capitalize early. Go Royals.