LEADING OFF: Happ goes for 20th win, Giants visit Dodgers
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) turns his back to the plate as Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman runs the bases after hitting a third-inning solo home run in a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
THE BIG 2-0
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Toronto lefty J.A. Happ goes for his 20th win when he starts at Seattle in a game between teams competing for the two AL wild cards. Before this season, Happ's career high for wins was 12 with Philadelphia in 2009. The 33-year-old Happ (19-4, 3.27 ERA) starts against 35-year-old Mariners righty Hisashi Iwakuma (16-11, 3.87).
After tempers flared again between Madison Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig in the series opener, Rich Hill and the Dodgers try to move closer to an NL West crown when they host Johnny Cueto and the second-place Giants. Cueto (16-5, 2.86 ERA) pitched a five-hitter and retired his final 17 batters last Thursday in a clutch performance against St. Louis. Hill is 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA in four starts for Los Angeles since arriving in a trade with Oakland.
ZEROS FOR THE O'S
Kevin Gausman (8-10, 3.43 ERA) looks for another dominant outing against the Red Sox while the Orioles try to gain ground in the AL East. The 25-year-old outpitched Cy Young Award contender Rick Porcello over eight innings in a 1-0 win last Wednesday and has held opponents scoreless in four of his past five starts. Eduardo Rodriguez (2-7, 4.98) has a 3.25 ERA in 11 starts since a returning from a midseason demotion to Triple-A.
A LIFT FROM LESTER
Cubs lefty Jon Lester (17-4, 2.40 ERA) has thrown 17 consecutive scoreless innings, a streak he'll try to stretch against the Reds. Last time out, Lester pitched eight innings in a 7-0 win over the Cardinals. The 32-year-old All-Star has forced his way into the NL Cy Young Award conversation by going 8-1 with a 1.02 ERA over his past nine starts for playoff-bound Chicago.
TOUGHER THAN THEY LOOK
Though it might seem the wild card-contending Mets have an easy opponent in last-place Atlanta, they've actually got their hands full. Pitching for the Braves is All-Star righty Julio Teheran, who threw a one-hit shutout at Citi Field on Father's Day. He ran his scoreless streak against New York to 29 2/3 innings before giving up Curtis Granderson's home run Sept. 9.
The Mets also must deal with longtime nemesis Freddie Freeman, who went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs during Atlanta's victory over Noah Syndergaard in the series opener Monday night. Freeman has a 23-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in 39 straight.
James Shields is 0-5 with a 9.37 ERA in his past nine starts for the White Sox. He is a combined 5-17 for San Diego and Chicago going into this outing at Philadelphia.