Because he's pitching Sunday night, Adam Wainwright likely won't play in the All-Star game. That start, though, gives the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander the chance to end the first half as the NL's only 13-game winner when the Cards close out a series in Chicago at 8:05 p.m.
While seeking that victory and his first against the Chicago Cubs in nearly three years, Wainwright will also try to help St. Louis regain sole possession of the NL Central lead before the break.
The Cardinals (56-36) changed their pitching schedule to give Wainwright two starts before the end of the first half, but starting Sunday will at least limit him in Tuesday's Mid-summer classic at New York's Citi Field. The latest collective bargaining agreement gives pitchers who start on Sunday the option of throwing in the All-Star game but no more than one inning.
Wainwright (12-5, 2.30 ERA) has said he would ideally like to give his spot to Cardinals closer Edward Mujica. Should he choose to opt out, however, the choice of his replacement would fall to San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy (see full preview).
Red Sox at Athletics, 4:05 p.m.
The 40-year-old Bartolo Colon has been sensational in his 16th big league campaign.
He appears to be just as surprised as the rest of us.
Colon caps off a remarkable first half Sunday as the Oakland Athletics conclude a three-game set against the visiting Boston Red Sox in a matchup of division leaders.
Colon (12-3, 2.69 ERA) has been especially good over his last 10 starts, going 9-1 with a 1.48 ERA to climb within one win of tying Matt Moore and Max Scherzer for the most in the majors. He received his third All-Star nod, with the previous two coming in 1998 and 2005 (see full preview).
Giants at Padres, 4:05 p.m.
A four-game set with the San Diego Padres has the San Francisco Giants getting untracked heading into the All-Star break.
They've added some history along the way.
The Giants try to build on Tim Lincecum's no-hitter as they look to sweep this series with the spiraling Padres on Sunday.
San Francisco (43-50) has won the first three games of this series, matching its total over the previous 19 contests.
The Giants' recent turnaround at the expense of the Padres (41-54) showed few signs of slowing down Saturday, when Lincecum tossed his first no-hitter in a 9-0 victory (see full preview).