The race of the Major League Baseball playoffs heats up this weekend as the Boston Red Sox hope to secure a Wild Card berth by beating the Baltimore Orioles, while the New York Yankees travel to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles (September 28th)
The Red Sox will close out their September schedule on Wednesday night when they finish up a road series at Camden Yards against the last-place Orioles.
Boston has Jon Lester (15-9, 3.49 ERA) pencilled in to start Wednesday's contest as they try to avoid losing out on a Wild Card playoff berth to the resurgent Rays.
The left-hander, though, would be starting on short rest on Wednesday, and he was beaten badly by the Yankees in his most recent start (eight runs in 2 2-3 innings). The Orioles hand the ball to Alfredo Simon (4-9, 4.85 ERA) for their finale; right-hander Simon is 0-3 with three no-decisions over his past six trips to the mound.
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays (September 28th)
The Yankees don't have anything to play for on Wednesday night as they close up their regular-season schedule with a game down in Tampa Bay against the Rays.
New York will enter the postseason this weekend with the best record in the American League, giving them home-field advantage through the AL playoff rounds.
The Rays, still looking to grab the AL Wild Card, have David Price (12-13, 3.35 ERA) starting for them Wednesday night in search of his first victory since August.
Left-hander Price last faced the Yankees in New York back on August 12, surrendering a single earned run on six hits over eight innings in a victory that day.
St. Louis Cardinals at Houston Astros (September 28th)
The Cardinals will put their trust in Chris Carpenter (10-9, 3.59 ERA) on Wednesday night as they play their 162nd game of the season down in Houston.
Right-hander Carpenter is coming off back-to-back strong outings against the Cubs and Phillies, allowing just one run on 13 hits over 15 innings of work in those starts.
Carpenter last faced the Astros back on July 27th at home, surrendering two runs on eight hits in seven innings in that contest but settling for a no-decision on the day.
The Astros close out their season with Brett Myers (7-13, 4.31) taking to the hill; the right-hander has given up two or fewer runs in each of his past four outings.
Baseball's playoff schedule will get underway on Friday with Game 1 of both ALDS matchups, while Game 1 of the two NLDS match-ups are set to be played Saturday.
If a tiebreaker game is required (ie if the Red Sox and Rays end up with identical records after Wednesday night), then that game would be contested on Thursday.
The opening game of the ALCS is set for Saturday, October 8th, with the NLCS starting on Sunday, October 9th. Game 1 of the World Series goes on October 19th.