Surprisingly, the most interesting match up, at least in terms of playoff implications, involves the two teams currently holding onto the two Wild Card spots in the American League: the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics.
Fresh off the Bartolo Colon 50-game suspension, the Athletics will turn to Tyson Ross on the mound against the Rays’ Alex Cobb. A win tonight pulls the Rays to within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees for the AL East title. You don’t typically see a lot of three game series starting on a Thursday, but this is the case since Tropicana Field is being used for a Republican National Convention party on Sunday.
Everything’s going right for the Rays lately, even the manager is getting pied.
Other notable games tonight:
The Los Angeles Angels (C.J. Wilson) look for their first sweep of the Red Sox (Franklin Morales) since 2008. This could prove to be a tough assignment with word that Albert Pujols will be out of the lineup.
And the rest around MLB:
David Ortiz may return to the Boston lineup Friday. [Twitter]
The Cincinnati Reds have sent Devin Mesoraco to Triple-A. [Cincinnati.com]
The Pittsburgh Pirates have released reliever Juan Cruz. [Piratesprospects.com]
In case you missed it, Joe Girardi yelled at a heckler during his media scrum Wednesday night. [theScore]
Twins outfielder Denard Span will return to the lineup Thursday after missing time with a sore clavicle. Span also refused to take an MRI because he’s claustrophobic. [Twitter]