Description: Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy went 2-for-4 with the go-ahead single in seventh as the Orioles held on to beat the Rays, 5-4.
Insight: Hardy was slumping a bit coming into the game, hitting .211 in the last week. This game should get the shortstop back on track. He is batting .282 with 36 extra-base hits and 45 RBI this season.
Description: Oakland closer Sean Doolittle (intercostal) has not resumed baseball activities.
Insight: Manager Bob Melvin did say his closer was feeling better. The club is hopeful that Doolittle, who went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, will be ready to pitch again when the 15 days are over.
Description: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is set to catch five innings in a rehab start with Double-A Springfield on Thursday and then drive back to St. Louis to rejoin the big league club according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Insight: Apparently the new Cardinals owner is Rachel Phelps from Major League since Molina is driving about 220 miles back to St. Louis from Springfield, MO rather than flying. Either way, if Molina does not suffer a set back in his five innings catching at Double-A, he could be activated for Friday's game against the Cubs.
Molina is set to catch five to six innings Wednesday in his first rehab start at Double-A Springfield. He will be wearing support on his surgically-repaired right thumb, but it's not expected to affect his hitting or throwing. If St. Louis wants, they can wait until Monday to move Molina up from the minors because the roster expands on September 1, but if he is ready this weekend, the Cardinals need every offensive boost they can get.
Molina had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb on July 11. He'll participate in a full workout Tuesday and if he clears the hurdle will be sent to Double-A Springfield. The team is hoping to have him back by Sept. 1, if not sooner.
Description: Mets general manager Sandy Alderson indicated Thursday that Bartolo Colon is probably not going to be traded this month according to ESPN's Adam Rubin.
Insight: Can't say this is surprising as the three clubs that were rumored to be interested in Colon (Angels, Dodgers, Royals) all downplayed their interest. Colon would have to be traded by Sunday to be eligible for a playoff roster.
Description: Indians manager Terry Francona said Thursday that Yan Gomes (concussion) is set to be activated on Friday.
Insight: Gomes suffered a concussion when a foul ball hit him in the mask last Thursday. The catcher has been symptom-free for a while, but he will go through some pre-game tests before the official decision is made. In 109 games, Gomes is hitting .284 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI this season.
Description: Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy will undergo an MRI on his hurt right calf.
Insight: Murphy left Sunday's game with soreness in his right calf and has not returned to the lineup since then. At this point, it looks likely he will end up on the disabled list, but the MRI will confirm whether that's necessary. Wilmer Flores is playing second base for the Mets in Murphy's absence.
Description: Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated after Thursday's game that he plans to go with a closer by committee for the rest of the season.
Insight: Casilla earned his 12th save of the season on Thursday, but Bochy said he nearly used Casilla in the eighth and considered taking him out in the ninth after he issued a leadoff walk. Casilla has just one blown save since taking over the closer role, but he has allowed five runs in his last 11 appearances. Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affledt and Casilla could all get save opportunities.
has locked down the closer role since he replaced Sergio Romo in late June. He's thrown 9 1/3 innings, struck out nine, allowed one run on five hits and gone 8-for-8 in save chances since he took the job.
Description: Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit started on Thursday in place of Tim Lincecum. Petit came into the game having retired his last 38 batters over the course of seven relief appearances. Petit retired the first eight batters to set a new major league record of 46 straight hitters retired.
who has thrown 12 1/3 perfect innings in a row while striking out 16 batters in that span, will replace Tim Lincecum in the rotation.
Insight: Petit went on to pitch six innings and gave up one run in the Giants victory. Despite breaking the record, Petit is not guaranteed to start again, so his fantasy value remains limited. We expect that he will get at least one more chance to start, but check back in the next few days to make sure.
Description: Anthony Ranaudo is scheduled to start for the Red Sox on Friday against the Rays.
Insight: Ranaudo allowed four earned runs over six innings in a spot start on August 13. He is a risky play on Friday, but if you are in a pinch, there are worse options. The 24-year-old has a 2.61 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 111 strikeouts and 54 walks in 138 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket this season.
Description: Mets third baseman David Wright is back in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Braves.
Insight: The plan was for Wright to return Thursday, so this isn't a surprise. The third baseman has been sidelined since Sunday with neck spasms and has been dealing with a shoulder injury most of the season. He is hoping to finish the season even though he is less than 100 percent.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis is not in Thursday's starting lineup.
Insight: Gerald Laird will get the start. Laird is a solid backstop, but not much of a fantasy value with a .219 batting average. Gattis has struggled since he returned from a bulging disk in his back, but his second consecutive 20 home run season makes him a top fantasy backstop.
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta wasn't at his best Thursday, yielding six runs to the Reds in four innings.
Insight: Arrieta has pitched very well this season and even after this poor outing still owns a 2.88 ERA. He's yielded four earned runs or more in just three of 21 starts this season, so ignore this start until it becomes a trend.
Description: Former Chicago White Sox starter, Dylan Axelrod, has pitched well in two spot starts for Cincinnati.
Insight: Axelrod got the win Thursday, going five innings and striking out eight while yielding just two hits and no runs. He also started a game on Aug. 17 going six innings and giving up two earned runs, but striking out seven. The high strikeout total should interest fantasy owners (15 Ks in 11 IP).
Description: Reds 3B/1B Todd Frazier stole two bases to go along with two more hits and a couple of RBI.
Insight: Frazier's sore back must be feeling a lot better. He's about to become a member of the 20-20 club. He's already hit a career high 22 home runs and is one stolen base short of 20 with today's two swipes.
Description: Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton went 2-for-2 with a double and his 51st steal of the season Thursday against the Cubs.
Insight: Fantasy owners were a bit scared back in March that Hamilton would be able to hit enough to make his speed worthwhile. That hasn't turned out to be a problem. He's batting .267 with 25 doubles, seven triples, six homers and 69 runs scored in addition to the steals.
Description: Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford is not in Thursday's starting lineup.
Insight: Crawford has batted just .197 in August after posting a .173 batting average in July, meanwhile he's already set a personal mark for strikeouts (112). I'd be avoiding him even if he were in the lineup.
Description: Mariners outfielder Chris Denorfia is questionable for Friday's game against Washington due to a stiff neck.
Insight: Denorfia (.242, 1 HR, 19 RBI) doesn't get many plays by fantasy owners. His one redeeming fantasy value is that he's one of the few guy who can actually hit Clayton Kershaw. Since the Mariners aren't facing the Dodgers, this injury doesn't mean much.
Description: Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis is a career .407 hitter with two home runs versus Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson.
Insight: Davis is proving he was a bad bet to repeat last season's fantasy 53-HR, 138-RBI production. He can't get his batting average over .200 and he's hit just 23 long balls this season, so he may not be ready to take advantage of this favorable matchup.
Description: Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is 5-for-12 (.417) with a pair of home runs versus Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda.
Insight: The two-time MVP has a seven-game hitting streak despite nursing a sore ankle. He's batting .307 with 17 home runs, 90 RBI and an .872 OPS this season. Good for most players, but a bit of a disappointment for Cabrera owners. He's got a nice matchup Thursday.
Description: Detroit right fielder Torii Hunter is not in Thursday's starting lineup.
Insight: No injury, just a matchup problem. Hunter is 0-for-10 against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. Hunter has four consecutive multi-hit games to raise his average to .278 with 15 HR and 71 RBI.
Description: Los Angeles outfielder Scott Van Slyke left Wednesday's game in the bottom of the fourth inning with an apparent ankle injury. He twisted his ankle while chasing a ball in left center field but walked off under his own power.
Insight: With a career .438 average, four home runs and five RBI versus Arizona starting pitcher Wade Miley and a 1.042 OPS against southpaws this season, Van Slyke was a great fantasy option Wednesday. He went 1-for-2 with a solo homer before leaving.
Description: Cuban right fielder Jorge Soler went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in his Major League debut Wednesday at Cincinnati.
Insight: The 22-year-old Cuban batted fifth and started in right field. Soler hit .340 with a .432 on-base percentage, 15 home runs and 57 RBI at Double-A and Triple-A this year and is a must-add in all leagues.
Description: Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel tied Francisco Rodriguez and Trevor Rosenthal for the NL lead with 39 saves Wednesday against the Mets.
Insight: Kimbrel had a 2.45 ERA after blowing a save on June 20, but he's allowed just two runs on nine hits in his last 21 2/3 innings. He has a 1.73 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 52 innings this season.
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward went 1-for-4 with a solo homer Wednesday.
Insight: Heyward has batted an impressive .336 over his last 38 games, but with just three homers during that span. On the season, he's hitting .270 with 11 homers, 53 RBI, 66 runs, 14 steals and a .742 OPS.
Description: Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson has batted 24-for-140 (.171) with two homers and six RBI since the All-Star break.
Insight: Granderson wasn't great before the break, but he was much better than this. He hit .237 with 14 homers, 43 RBI, 46 runs and a .768 OPS but is down to .217 with 16 homers, 49 RBI and 59 runs after going 0-for-3 Wednesday.
Description: Braves starter Julio Teheran has allowed three runs on 11 hits over 18 1/3 innings his last three starts, winning all three.
Insight: Teheran allowed 11 runs on 18 hits in 13 1/3 innings his first two starts this month. The right-hander gave up one run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings Wednesday in a win over the Mets. He's 13-9 with a 2.90 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and 160 strikeouts in 189 innings this season.
Description: Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis went 1-for-3 with a solo homer Wednesday against Tampa Bay.
Insight: Davis was pretty bad in the first half, batting .199 with 15 homers, 48 RBI and a .700 OPS, and he's been worse since the All-Star break. In 120 at-bats, he has 20 hits (.167), eight homers and 14 RBI.
Description: Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman ended August on a positive note Wednesday against Boston after going 0-3 with a 8.66 ERA in his first four starts this month.
Insight: Stroman gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out six over 7 2/3 innings to win his eighth game of the year. The rookie has a 3.88 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and 85 Ks in 99 2/3 innings this season.
Description: Tigers starter David Price didn't make it out of the third inning Wednesday against the Yankees.
Insight: Price allowed four men to reach base in the first two innings but escaped without giving up a run. Everything unraveled in the third, as Price allowed nine consecutive hits to start the inning before getting removed. He ended up allowing 12 hits and eight runs.
Description: Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor went 1-for-4 with a grand slam Wednesday at Seattle.
Insight: The 20-year-old Odor was called up from Double-A out of necessity due to the failure of Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy to fill in after Jurickson Profar's injury and he probably wasn't ready for the big leagues. Odor has batted .248 with six homers, 32 RBI, 26 runs and two steals in 290 at-bats.
Description: Los Angeles first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is not in the lineup Wednesday at Arizona. Justin Turner is starting at first base and Miguel Rojas is at third. UPDATE: Gonzalez is dealing with back stiffness, according to Ken Gurnick of mlb.com.
Insight: Gonzalez is batting .325 with 19 RBI and a .892 OPS in August, but he's hitting just .185 with a .512 OPS against lefties this season and is 4-for-18 (.222) against Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley.
Description: Reds starter Homer Bailey's return this season is in doubt after his MRI results Wednesday did not give him the green light to resume throwing, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Bailey is dealing with a strained flexor mass tendon in his right forearm and has been out since Aug. 8. He had a PRP injection to help speed the healing process, but it hasn't worked as hoped.
Description: Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford is not in the lineup Wednesday at Arizona.
Insight: Crawford is batting .338 with 14 runs and seven steals in August, but he'll get a day off with lefty Wade Miley on the mound. Scott Van Slyke, who has eight doubles, seven homers and 17 walks in 102 plate appearances against lefties this season, is starting in left field.
Description: Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (concussion) has been cleared to return to the lineup Saturday, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
Insight: Bogaerts was hit in the helmet by a pitch on Aug. 22. The shortstop is 7-for-66 (.106) in August and 97-for-435 (.223) on the season. Believe it or not, he was actually hitting .299 with an .839 OPS on June 7, but he's gone a pitiful 31-for-214 (.145) since then.
Description: Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario (wrist) has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 23.
Insight: Rosario missed the last four games due to left wrist soreness. Michael McKenry, who has hit .319 with five homers in 116 at-bats this season, will become the full-time starter behind the plate.
Description: Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler will make his major league debut on Wednesday, batting fifth in the Cubs lineup.
Insight: Soler batted .340 with a .432 on-base percentage, 15 home runs, and 57 RBI at Double-A and Triple-A this year. The outfielder signed a nine-year, $30 million deal in 2012 after defecting from Cuba.
Description: Cardinals starter Michael Wacha (shoulder) will make his first rehab start Sunday at Double-A Springfield according to CBS Sports' Brian Stull.
Insight: Wacha threw a successful simulated game on Wednesday and is ready for live action. The 23-year-old could be back in the St. Louis rotation by the middle of September. Wacha has been out with a stress reaction in his throwing shoulder since June 22.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is still out of the starting lineup on Wednesday against the Reds due to lower back tightness.
Insight: Manager Rick Renteria downplayed the injury after Tuesday's game. Chris Valaika replaced Rizzo on Tuesday and will start at first base on Wednesday. Rizzo hit his 30th home run of the season against the Reds before leaving Tuesday's game.
Description: Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday hit a solo home run in the third inning of Wednesday's loss to the Pirates.
Insight: The solo shot was the only run the Cardinals scored on Wednesday. The home run extended Holliday's hitting streak to eight games. During that stretch, Holliday is hitting .313 with three doubles and eight RBI.
Description: Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke won his second straight game, pitching into the eighth inning, allowing just one run on six hits, striking out three and walking two as the Pirates beat the Cardinals, 3-1.
Insight: The outing (7 1/3 IP) was Locke's longest since July 6. The only run Locke allowed was a solo home run to Matt Holliday in the third inning. Over his last five starts, the 26-year-old is 4-0 with a 2.90 ERA.
Description: Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright lost to the Pirates on Wednesday, 3-1, and admitted afterwards he has been suffering from a 'dead arm' according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold.
Insight: With the loss, Wainwright finished August 2-4 with a 5.17 ERA. Over those six starts, his season ERA has gone up from 1.92 to 2.59. The good news is Wainwright believes he is getting over the dead arm and is ready for September. Hopefully, he is ready for your playoff run too.
Description: Pirates first baseman Ike Davis hit a massive home run to right-center field for the second day in a row.
Insight: With Pedro Alvarez banged up, Davis got the start at first base and hit a towering home run off a speaker in right-center field at PNC Park. Davis finished the day 1-for-3. The sudden burst of power is very encouraging for the 27-year-old that has been struggling this year. Perhaps, he will have a big September though now manager Clint Hurdle has the difficulty of find both the streaking Alvarez and Davis at-bats (when both are healthy).
Description: Boston first baseman Mike Napoli went 2-for-5 with a mammoth three-run homer Tuesday against the Blue Jays after going 1-for-20 in his previous five.
Insight: Despite hitting .206 with 25 strikeouts in 68 at-bats this month, Napoli has also blasted four homers, driven in 14 runs and recorded a .779 OPS. He's been dealing with back spasms lately but has been in the lineup for five straight games, including Wednesday's.
Description: Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez has batted .380 (19-for-50) with five doubles, two homers and seven RBI in his last 12 games.
Insight: Martinez hit .193 with two homers and eight RBI in his first 83 at-bats after the All-Star break, but he's back on track. The former Houston Astros outfielder has come out of nowhere to hit .312 with 17 homers, 58 RBI and a .912 OPS in just 321 at-bats.
Description: Los Angeles outfielder Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer and went 2-for-4 with a walk Tuesday at Arizona.
Insight: Kemp has batted .295 with eight homers, 26 RBI, three steals and a .915 OPS in 129 at-bats since the All-Star break after hitting .269 with eight homers, 35 RBI, three steals and a .760 OPS before the break.
Description: Angels starter Matt Shoemaker has given Los Angeles exactly what it needs in the wake of Garrett Richards' season-ending knee injury.
Insight: In his last two starts, Shoemaker has thrown 14 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out 15 and allowed three hits. He's won four straight games and is 13-4 with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 108 Ks in 110 2/3 innings this season.
Description: Pirates right fielder Travis Snider left Wednesday's game against the Cardinals with an apparent leg injury.
Insight: Snider tweaked something after beating out a bunt single in the third inning. Jose Tabata picnh-ran for Snider and would probably be his replacement if Snider is out for an extended period. The Pirates are also supposed to recall Gregory Polanco on Monday when the roster expands.
Description: Braves third baseman Chris Johnson is a 2-for-17 (.118) career hitter against Mets starter Zack Wheeler.
Insight: Overall, Johnson has had a disappointing season after hitting .321/.358/.457 last year. The third baseman is hitting .271 with nine home runs this year. He also has just one hit in his last 10 at-bats.
Description: Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is a lifetime .204 hitter (11-for-54) against Tigers pitcher David Price. He does, however, hit for some power against Price, as Teixeira has three home runs and seven RBI.
Insight: Teixeira returned to the lineup on Tuesday and went 0-for-4. He has 20 home runs in 347 at-bats, but is hitting .233.
Description: Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is a career .412 hitter (7-for-17) against Rangers starter Colby Lewis.
Insight: Seager is hitting .357 with four runs and two RBI in his last four games. He also has a steal. This year, Seager is hitting .275 with 19 home runs and 80 RBI, which is second among third baseman in the league.
Description: Los Angeles first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is a lifetime .222 hitter (4-for-18) against Arizona starter Wade Miley.
Insight: Gonzalez continued his hot August with a single, RBI and two runs on Tuesday. This month, he is batting .325 with 19 RBI and a .892 OPS. He is also 6-for-9 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI in the last three games. With those numbers, it might be hard to sit him, but be aware of his lack of success against Miley.