NL Central Race Takes Center Stage 9/13/13
UNDATED - The wild and wide open National League Central race takes center stage as part of a full 15-game schedule in the majors.
Pittsburgh and St. Louis open the day tied for the lead with Cincinnati just 2 1-2 games back.
The Pirates continue their home series with the Cubs tonight riding a four-game winning streak. The Pirates go with 7-4 righty Charlie Morton.
St. Louis is hoping Adam Wainwright has some carry-over from the end of his last outing when they open a home series against Seattle. The 16-game winner retired the final 11 batters he faced, including the last four by strikeout.
Cincinnati opens a series in Milwaukee fresh off a 7-3 homestand that's moved the Reds into the division hunt. Mat Latos (LAY'-tohs) takes a 14-5 mark to the hill for the Reds.
There's a showdown in Texas starting tonight when the top two teams in the AL West square off. Oakland visits the Rangers with a 3 1-2 - game lead at the top of the division.
Texas has dropped nine of its last 12 and the problem has been a combination of pitching and hitting. Over the past 20 games, the only starting pitchers to win games are rookie left-hander Martin Perez and rotation fill-in Travis Blackley. And the usually explosive Texas offense has failed to score five or more runs in 12 straight games, the Rangers' longest such streak in three years.
Tampa Bay has had a rough few weeks, winning just five times in 18 games. But the Rays still hold a one-game lead over the Yankees for the final American League wildcard spot. Tampa Bay opens a three-game weekend set at Minnesota trying to protect that slim edge.
The Yankees continue their road trip against arch rival and AL East-leading Boston, fresh off winning three of four at Baltimore.
Cleveland is just a game and a-half back of the Rays and continues its series with the White Sox. The Orioles and Royals are 2 1-2 games back. Baltimore plays at Toronto, Kansas City visits AL Central leading Detroit.
Major League ERA leader Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to start for NL West-leading Los Angeles when the Dodgers host San Francisco. The lefty is 14-8 with a 1.92 ERA.