LEADING OFF: Ortiz, Red Sox try again to clinch in New York
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz laughs during a press conference before the first baseball game of a three-game series against the New York Yankees in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
A look at what's happening all around the majors Wednesday:
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David Ortiz and the playoff-bound Red Sox get their second chance to clinch the AL East title at Yankee Stadium. A victory over New York or a Toronto loss to Baltimore would do the trick. Boston's party was put on hold Tuesday night, when Big Papi came up uncharacteristically small in the clutch during a 6-4 defeat that snapped Boston's 11-game winning streak. Beginning his final series in the Bronx, Ortiz went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts and stranded seven runners. He ended the game by whiffing with two on against Tyler Clippard.
Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (18-7, 2.85 ERA) gets what likely will be his last full tuneup for the playoffs when Chicago visits Pittsburgh. Last year's NL Cy Young Award winner figures to slot in as the team's No. 3 postseason starter behind Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. With veteran Miguel Montero back to catching him, Arrieta struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings last time out against St. Louis.
Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.84 ERA) faces Blue Jays lefty Francisco Liriano (8-13, 4.88) in the second game of their AL wild-card showdown. Toronto won the opener Tuesday night and is closing in on a playoff berth, leading the wild-card standings by two games over Baltimore with five to play. Manny Machado and the Orioles are still ahead of Detroit and Seattle for the league's final postseason spot. Tillman is 2-6 with a 7.51 ERA in 12 career starts at Toronto. Liriano pitched six shutout innings against the Yankees last Friday.
One night after Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hit his 20th home run since coming up from the minors Aug. 3, Detroit pitcher Michael Fulmer (11-7, 2.95 ERA) gets perhaps his final chance to boost his own case for AL Rookie of the Year. With the Tigers still in the wild-card chase, Fulmer faces the AL Central champion Indians. Sanchez, meanwhile, matched Wally Berger in 1930 as the fastest major league player to 20 homers (51 career games).
Sonny Gray (5-11) will come off the disabled list to make his first start in nearly two months for Oakland. The 26-year-old righty hasn't pitched in a game since Aug. 6 because of a strained forearm. He is expected to be limited to one or two innings against the Angels.