LEADING OFF: Tigers chase Tribe; M's go for 9th straight
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
NOW OR NEVER
Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers open a three-game series in Cleveland, perhaps their last chance to get back in the AL Central race. The Indians hold a six-game lead with 16 to play, and their magic number for clinching the division title is 11. There's a marquee matchup on the mound, with Rookie of the Year favorite Michael Fulmer (10-6, 2.76 ERA) and the Tigers facing Cy Young Award contender Corey Kluber (16-9, 3.05). Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes, on the disabled list since July 18, could be activated before the game.
NOT DONE YET
Making a fierce charge in the wild-card race, the Mariners go for their ninth consecutive victory when they send ace Felix Hernandez (11-5) to the mound against AL West rival Houston. Hernandez is 7-1 with a 4.22 ERA in his last 11 starts since returning from the disabled list July 20. Collin McHugh (10-10) seeks his fourth straight win for the Astros. He is 8-3 in his career against Seattle, including 3-0 this season with a 1.50 ERA.
San Francisco hosts St. Louis in the second game of a pivotal, four-game series between NL wild-card contenders. On the mound for the Giants is left-hander Matt Moore, who is 3-4 in eight starts since he was acquired from Tampa Bay at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. Rookie right-hander Luke Weaver (1-2) pitches for the Cardinals. He has 39 strikeouts and eight walks in six major league starts covering 31 innings.
WIN OR LOSE, WE PARTY
One day after wrapping up the NL Central crown, the Cubs plan to celebrate following their Wrigley Field matinee against Milwaukee. It might be a bit anticlimactic, but they took all the drama out of the division race long ago. ''This is just the first step,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''I mean, we have much larger baseball fish to fry in our skillet.''
Chicago (93-53) wasted a chance to clinch on its own Thursday night, losing 5-4 to the Brewers. But about 90 minutes later, St. Louis' 6-2 loss in San Francisco completed the Cubs' season-long dominance of the division. Wrigley Field was just about empty when the final out was made on the West Coast, yet a loud cheer and chants went up in the neighborhood around the iconic ballpark. Several people honked their car horns.
The defending World Series champions are fading fast. Kansas City was just outscored 43-12 at home during a four-game sweep by an Oakland team that was running last in the AL West when it arrived in town. Ian Kennedy (11-9) tries to get the Royals back on track when they host Chris Sale (15-8, 3.03 ERA) and the White Sox. Kennedy is 5-0 with a 2.16 ERA since the start of August.
Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke (12-6) gets another shot at the NL West-leading Dodgers. Greinke was rocked by his former teammates for eight runs and nine hits – including five homers – the last time he faced them in Los Angeles.