LEADING OFF: Dodgers try to clinch NL West, Verlander rolls
A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:
DODGER STADIUM DELIGHT
Los Angeles can clinch its fifth straight NL West title with either a win at Dodger Stadium over San Francisco or a loss by second-place Arizona to Miami. The Dodgers still own the best record in the majors in the race for home-field advantage throughout the postseason, but just by a game over Cleveland after losing 20 of 26. Rich Hill (10-8, 3.60 ERA) starts the potential clincher for LA. The Dodgers also will see how third baseman Justin Turner is feeling, a day after he sustained a bruised right thumb. Turner is hitting a team-leading .321 with 21 homers and 70 RBIs.
Justin Verlander has been dominant since being traded from Detroit to Houston. The veteran righty is 3-0, allowing just two earned runs in 21 innings and striking out 26 over three starts for the AL West champion Astros. He tries to keep up the string when he faces the visiting Angels.
CLEVELAND (STILL) ROCKS
The record-setting Indians have more history in their sights as they open a series at Seattle. Cleveland has won 27 of 28, a first in the majors since the 1884 Providence Grays, who went 28-1 before the Detroit Wolverines – defunct for 129 years – ended their run. The Indians have reeled off five straight victories since ending a 22-game winning streak, with Trevor Bauer getting their only loss since Aug. 24. Bauer (16-9, 4.41) takes the ball in the opener against Mariners righty Erasmo Ramirez (5-6, 4.56).
Red Sox righty Rick Porcello tops the majors with 17 losses, a season after he posted 22 wins and took the AL Cy Young Award. With the playoffs nearing, AL East-leading Boston hopes to see him regain his form. He pitched 7 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run in his last start at Tampa Bay, and now faces the Reds at Great American Ball Park.