NL Central Showdown 8/30/13
UNDATED - The top two teams in the National League Central start a crucial weekend series tonight.
Division leading St. Louis holds a one-game lead over the home standing Pirates. Pittsburgh is in a second-half slump, losing 12 of their last 19 to surrender the lead to St. Louis.
Pittsburgh is going with lefty Francisco Liriano who takes a 14-6 record and 2.74 ERA into tonight's action. The Cards counter with Shelby Miller who is 12-8 with a 2.90 ERA.
The top two teams in the AL Central square off tonight, although that race isn't as tight. Detroit hosts Cleveland with a 6.5 game lead over the Indians.
The Tigers are coming off a dramatic 7-6 victory over Oakland that ended with Torii Hunter's walkoff homer. The Tigers will be anxious to find out about Miguel Cabrera's condition heading into the game. He had to leave yesterday's win with an abdominal injury, but the American hitting, batting and RBI leader insisted after the game he'd be ready to go tonight.
The American League wildcard teams open a series tonight when Oakland hosts Tampa Bay. The Rays have lost four of five and trot out David Price to do the pitching. He's won five straight. Oakland starter Jerrod Parker has his own streak going. He's 8-0 in 16 starts since May 22. The Athletics will try to shake off the last inning meltdown that cost them yesterday's game with the Tigers and kept them from completing a sweep.
Major-league strikeout leader Yu Darvish is back on the mound for the Rangers tonight when they host Minnesota. Not only does the 12-5 Darvish have 225 strikeouts this season, his 2.68 ERA is fifth best in the majors.
Washington's Jordan Zimmermann tries to become the National League's first 16-game winner when he gets the start at home against the New York Mets tonight.