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Evening Shade: Texas topping the ever-changing AL West

Big League Stew

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Most weekday evenings, Big League Stew looks at five approaching games worth monitoring. As they occur, feel free to discuss the night's happenings with other Stewies in the comment section below.

Mariners at Rangers, 8:05 ET If you haven't noticed, Texas is the team that's holding the hot potato prize that will be first place in the AL West. The Rangers are 18-14, have a healthy and homering Josh Hamilton(notes) back on the roster and closer Frank Francisco(notes) (right) still hasn't allowed an earned run while racking up nine saves. With a win tonight, Texas can extend its lead over Seattle to 3.5 games while keeping eye on those soon-to-be hard charging Angels. (Ervin Santana(notes) and John Lackey(notes) are both back soon).

Padres at Cubs, 8:05 Tonight's starter Ted Lilly(notes) has been dominant at Wrigley Field so far this season, going 2-1 with a 0.42 ERA and 0.60 WHIP. He'll face Chris Young, who will hopefully reprise his role in that entertaining (and tall!) slapfight that he and Derrek Lee(notes) had in the Friendly Confines a few years back.

Yankees at Blue Jays, 7:07 It'll be tough to top what Roy Halladay(notes) did in the series opener, but rookie Scott Richmond(notes) can get the Rogers Centre crowd buzzing with a good effort against Andy Pettitte(notes) tonight. The native Canadian (swoon) is 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA and is just a few starts away from being on everyone's ROY favorites (if he's not there already).

Tigers at Twins, 8:10 I'm not saying that Dontrelle Willis'(notes) return to the mound will be a thing of beauty; just that it'll be a very curious start to watch because it could get ugly.

Dodgers at Phillies, 7:05 Think they'll be keeping an eye on Jayson Werth(notes) tonight?

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