The All-Star Break is in the rear-view mirror while the 31 July non-waiver trade deadline is rapidly approaching, meaning that teams are asking themselves whether they are in the play-off race or not.
Sometimes a hot or cold streak during this little period can be the deciding factor on whether a team adds an extra player or two or decides to look ahead to next season.
We can also see probable pitchers suddenly change as a player scheduled to take the mound for one team gets moved onto another.
Looking at the pre-midnight starts this working week, the two names that jump out are the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They are currently scheduled to start for Chicago on Wednesday and Friday respectively, but they may find themselves on another team by that point. James Shields has also been touted as a potential trade chip if the Rays feel a pressing need to upgrade their offence before the window shuts, so he may or may not be facing Baltimore in the BBC 5 Live Sports Extra game this Thursday.
Here is the full list of MLB games scheduled to start before midnight U.K. time this working week. Wednesday looks to be a particularly promising day with Stephen Strasburg, Jake Peavy, Jered Weaver and Tim Lincecum (who has looked a bit more like his old self in his previous two starts against the Astros and Phillies) set to start for their respective teams.
All times are in BST.
Monday 23 July
No early games
Tuesday 24 July
No early games
Wednesday 25 July
17.10. Washington at NY Mets (Strasburg – Hefner)
17.35. Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh (Dempster – Correia)
17.40. Atlanta at Miami (Hanson – Nolasco) *ESPN America
18.05. Milwaukee at Philadelphia (Estrada – Worley)
19.10. Minnesota at Chicago White Sox (Blackburn – Peavy) *MLB.com Free Game of the Day
20.35. Kansas City at LA Angels (Hochevar – Weaver)
20.40. NY Yankees at Seattle (Nova – Iwakuma)
20.45. San Diego at San Francisco (Marquis – Lincecum)
Thursday 26 July
17.35. Tampa Bay at Baltimore (Shields – Tillman) *BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, ESPN America
17.37. Oakland at Toronto (Milone – Laffey)
18.45. LA Dodgers at St. Louis (Capuano – Westbrook)
Friday 27 July
19.20. St. Louis at Chicago Cubs (Lynn – Garza) *ESPN America
All of these games are available to watch live via the MLB.TV subscription at MLB.com. The early games being shown on ESPN America are highlighted above, while the full ESPN/ESPN America schedule can be found on their website. BBC 5 Live Sports Extra can be found on digital radio, digital TV and on the BBC.co.uk website (coverage on the website is only available to UK residents). The complete schedule for this week’s MLB games can be found on MLB.com.