Some weekday evenings, the Stew looks at the storylines that will be worth monitoring that night. Feel free to discuss the night's action in the comments below.
Adrian Beltre's Hall chances: This topic take a little longer view than your usual Evening Shade fare, but it's a hot one given the hot streak that Adrian Beltre has been riding. The Texas Rangers third baseman is hitting .330/.381/.630 for the month of August entering tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Rays and his last week has been positively unreal: 15-for-29 with six homers, four doubles and a triple for a video-game slash line of .517/.533/1.345. In posting those numbers, he joined Joe DiMaggio as the only hitters to notch a three-homer game and a cycle in the same week.
Adding Beltre's burst to his previous numbers this season still probably doesn't thrust him into the AL MVP talk but it has ignited a nice round of attention for the 33-year-old's Hall chances. ESPN's Dave Schoenfield and SI's Jay Jaffe both take great looks at Beltre's case and while they both agree that he's not there just yet, he still has plenty of time to erase the doubts. James Shields draws the misfortune of facing Beltre tonight while Yu Darvish will start for the Rangers.
Stephen Strasburg starts: Washington's ace is on the clock, but no one is quite sure when GM Mike Rizzo will flip the giant shutdown to cause Strasburg's body to fall limp on the mound until next spring. (Note: The shutdown may play out differently, but we're hoping for something with a lot of drama given the magnitude of the situation and all the attention that has been paid to it.)
At any rate, Strasburg is still contributing to the Nationals right now and will get a chance to halt the team's four-game losing streak against Ricky Nolasco and the Miami Marlins. He's riding a streak of 27 straight scoreless innings against Miami and boasts an overall record of 4-0 with a 1.50 era in August.
Steve Pearce is batting fourth for the Yankees: As MLB Network's Moses Massena points out, it's not every Aug. 28 that you can write such a thing about a team that boasts a payroll of $220 million. Oh, and Russell Martin is hitting fifth in tonight's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Phil Hughes will face Ricky Romero.
Jose Bautista needs surgery: Jays manager John Farrell announced before the game that his home run slugger will undergo surgery on his left wrist and is done for the season.
Medlen magic: Atlanta's Kris Medlen is 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA since moving into the Braves rotation five starts ago. He's currently working on a 21-inning scoreless streak, but he faces a big challenge at Petco Park against San Diego. No, really. The Padres have won eight straight games as their starters have posted a 1.73 ERA over that span.