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.
Rays at White Sox, 8:11 ET Let's call this one the battle of the resurrected. Both Tampa Bay and Chicago looked cooked after slow starts, but recent runs have put the the 2008 ALDS opponents back into the mix in their respective divisions. Each team will need solid second half performances from tonight's starters — David Price(notes) and Gavin Floyd(notes) — to challenge the teams ahead of them and this series seems like a good place to start.
The South Side vibes are good coming into the series with the reactivation of slugger Carlos Quentin, but the Pale Hose should be careful. Last weekend's mashup of a AL Central-AL East heavyweight ended with a Yankees' sweep of the Tigers.
Required Reading: "Who's been most valuable for the Rays?" [Rays Index]
Cubs at Phillies, 7:05 Both teams enter the 2008 NLCS-that-might-have-been riding winning streaks, though it's debatable if the Cubs' four-game sweep of Washington should be counted as such. Chicago will have to overcome a revitalized Jimmy Rollins(notes) (.397, 8 doubles, 8 RBI in last 14 games) if they want to add a quality win to their road trip resume, but they'll get the presumable benefit of facing starter Rodrigo Lopez(notes), who had some shoulder trouble before the break. The Cubs' only All-Star, Ted Lilly(notes), gets the nod from Lou Piniella (as well as the chance to make Charlie Manuel wish he should have used him heavily while managing him on the NL squad in St. Louis).
RR: "Other trade options for Roy Halladay" [Phillies Nation]
Giants at Braves, 7:10 San Francisco doesn't have every good young NL starter in its rotation, it only seems that way. Tonight, Atlanta's Tommy Hanson(notes) looks to keep his loss total at zero when he goes up against Jonathan Sanchez(notes), who will be making his first start since throwing a no-hitter at AT&T Park on July 10. Though Hanson's line of 4-0 and 2.85 appears stellar, everyone's waiting to see how the 22-year-old will respond after a bad outing in Colorado and some All-Star Break work with Atlanta's single-A affiliate.
RR: "Sanchez looks to build on no-hitter" [MLB.com]
Red Sox at Rangers, 8:05 Hey everyone, the band's getting back together as '90s Braves mainstays John Smoltz(notes) and Kevin Millwood(notes) face off down in Arlington. Neither team is coming in on a high note with Boston's two-game losing streak paling in comparison to Texas' run of four straight defeats. It's usually a fun one, though, when these two teams meet as last season's 19-17 contest showed. (Someone put the scoreboard operator on notice.)
RR: "What should the Red Sox do with Clay Buchholz?" [Extra Bases]
Angels at Royals, 8:10 While Texas tangles with invading Red Sox Nation, the Halos will get a chance to extend their three-game AL West lead with a leisurely trip to the City of Fountains. And, wow, how far things have fallen in Kansas City — from fashionable AL Central picks and owners of the world's best ace to losers of six straight, winners of only 19 in their last 62 and a 10-9 record in Zack Greinke(notes) starts. Things aren't all bad, though, as long as the Indians and Nats are around. Right?
RR: "Life's not fair — Royals Edition" [Joe Blog]