Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:50 pm
By Evan Brunell
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Cy Watch: Jered Weaver allowed eight earned runs his last time out against the Blue Jays in his worst start on the year by far. That shot his ERA up to 2.13 from 1.78 and is quickly losing ground to Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young Award race. Not only for that race does Weaver need to show up, but the Angels desperately need some help. Los Angeles is taking a five-game losing streak up against six straight for Texas, with Thursday night wrapping up a four-game series that has seen L.A. slip to seven games back. If the Angels want any hope of staying in the AL West race, a win tonight would be a good place to start. Colby Lewis goes for Texas. Rangers vs. Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET
Top dogs: The Phillies are 8 1/2 up against the Braves, with a 79-42 record good enough for first place in the division and in baseball. It's not as if the Braves are any slouches with 72 wins and the NL Wild Card race in hand, but Arizona is also in first place out in the NL West... with 69 victories. 'Zona goes up against Philadelphia looking to take the rubber game of the series and an outright win in the season series. Ian Kennedy has won seven consecutive starts and is after his 16th victory, which would lead the game. Vance Worley, meanwhile, is hoping to match Kennedy's run as he's won six straight -- but gave up six runs in four innings last time out. Diamondbacks vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET
Battling out in the AL Central: This has already become a common refrain and figures to continue being one down the stretch, but there's a good battle set up between AL Central opponents. The Indians, two games behind the Tigers for the division lead, are attempting to fend off the White Sox, who are 3 1/2 behind Detroit. Cleveland has ace Justin Masterson lined up for battle against Phil Humber, who recently became a permanent member of the Sox's five-man rotation after the six-man rotation finally ended when Zach Stewart was moved to the bullpen. This is the rubber game of the three-game series, with eight games to come in September. "I know that every game means a lot because we're playing the White Sox and we're going to play Detroit, but there are so many games left that if we go day-by-day paying attention to that I'm going to get a heart attack," manager Manny Acta told the Associated Press. Indians vs. White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET
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