Thursday brings us a nearly full 14-game slate of big league action — the Angels and Diamondbacks are enjoying an off-day, which is pretty much the only way to cool down Mike Trout right now — with several afternoon contests on the schedule. Here is everything you need to know about Wednesday’s MLB action.

Wednesday’s scores

Wacha exits with injury for Cardinals

The Cardinals have been hit by injuries this season, and, on Wednesday, they lost another key player. Right-hander Michael Wacha exited his start with the trainer in the fourth inning.

The good news: Wacha’s arm is OK. He’s had some arm issues in recent years, most notably a stress fracture in his shoulder. The bad news: An oblique injury can still be pretty bad. Depending on the severity, he may miss several weeks. Obliques are very tricky. They’re easy to reinjure if not given enough time to properly heal.

The Cardinals currently have seven players on the disabled list, six of whom are pitchers: Matt Bowman (blisters), Paul DeJong (hand), Luke Gregerson (knee), Dominic Leone (nerve irritation), Tyler Lyons (elbow), Alex Reyes (lat), and Adam Wainwright (elbow). Wacha figures to make it eight Cardinals on the disabled list.

Wacha allowed three runs (one earned) in 3 2/3 innings before being removed with the injury Wednesday. He went into the start with an 8-2 record and a 3.24 ERA in 14 starts and 80 2/3 innings this season, putting him in position for an All-Star Game selection.

Fulmer melts down in the sixth again

The third time through the lineup has proven to be an issue for Michael Fulmer so far this season. The Tigers ace went into Wednesday’s start with a .219/.290/.355 opponent’s batting line the first two times through the lineup, and a .324/.398/.500 opponent’s batting line thereafter. Ouch.

On Wednesday, the Reds went 2 for 16 (.125) with a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and six strikeouts the first two times through the lineup against Fulmer. After that? They went 3 for 5 with a double, two homers, and a walk. Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez hit back-to-back homers in the sixth inning.

Fulmer didn’t make it out of the sixth inning after cruising through the first five frames. On the season he now has a 3.44 ERA in innings 1-5 and a 9.19 ERA thereafter. Ouch. Once the lineup turns over, Fulmer has had a real problem getting outs this season. Surely potential trade partners have noticed.

Indians pound White Sox again

The Indians-White Sox intradivision rivalry has been very one-sided this season. Cleveland blew the ChiSox out Wednesday afternoon for their eighth win in 10 head-to-head games this year. Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis both swatted three-run homers and Corey Kluber fanned seven in seven innings.

As noted, the Indians are 8-2 against the White Sox this season, and they’ve outscored them 61-25. Geez. A one-sided AL Central rivalry this has been.

Rangers make history with starting battery

The Rangers are in last place and they will almost certainly be sellers at the trade deadline, so the Texas faithful don’t have much to root for aside from good trades and the pure joy of baseball. Fitting into the latter category is this fun piece of name history the club will make Wednesday night:

Kiner-Falefa is an infielder by trade but he did catch some in the minors, most notably 33 games in 2016 and another 33 games in 2017. Wednesday will be his first big league start behind the plate. Bibens-Dirkx will be making his ninth MLB start.

Dodgers, Cubs wrap up wild series

Been an interesting few days at Wrigley Field. Tuesday’s series opener between the Dodgers and Cubs was rained out — trouble with the lights contributed to that as well — then, on Wednesday, Los Angeles mounted a ninth inning comeback to steal the first game of the doubleheader. The Cubbies rebounded with a 10th inning walk-off in the nightcap.

The 2017 NLCS rematch concludes Wednesday afternoon and surely both teams are hoping for a more comfortable victory. The Cubs are a half-game behind the Brewers in the NL Central while the Dodgers are 1 1/2 games behind the D-Backs in the NL West. Both teams came into the season as prohibitive division favorites, though we’re still waiting for them to make that charge to the top of the standings.

The Dodgers are sending breakout right-hander Ross Stripling (6-1, 1.76 ERA) to the mound in Wednesday’s afternoon’s series finale. Stripling joined the rotation full-time a few weeks ago due to injuries, and he’s been lights out since.

Chicago will counter with veteran leftballer Jon Lester (8-2, 2.28 ERA).

Mariners trying to avoid third straight loss

At 46-27, the Mariners own baseball’s fourth best record at the moment, yet it still feels like we’re trying to figure out exactly how good this team is. Seattle is 23-10 in one-run games — the Brewers (17) are the only other team with more than 14 one-run wins — which means they’ve been eking out close games. Those wins count! But at some point it would be nice to see the Mariners win a few games more handily.

The Mariners are currently in a gut check 10-game stretch that will see them play 10 straight games against the Red Sox and Yankees, two of the three teams ahead of them in the American League (the Astros are the other). Seattle split four games with the BoSox in Safeco Field over the weekend and one of those wins was a 1-0 victory in which journeyman southpaw Wade LeBlanc threw the game of his life.

On Tuesday, the Mariners dropped the three-game series opener at Yankee Stadium because their offense couldn’t keep pace with New York’s power bats. Seattle is 2-3 five games into this 10-game stretch against the Yankees and Red Sox. After this three-game set in the Bronx concludes, the Mariners will head up to Fenway Park for three games.

Wednesday night the Mariners will send Felix Hernandez (6-6, 5.44 ERA) to the mound as the team looks to avoid their third straight loss. Once upon a time, King Felix in Yankee Stadium was an automatic win. He is 6-1 with a 1.44 ERA all-time in the current incarnation of Yankee Stadium. Those wins came behind peak Felix Hernandez, however, not the current version. 

The Yankees will counter Wednesday with rookie righty Jonathan Loaisiga (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who will be making his second career big league start. He skipped Triple-A entirely.

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