BC-AP Sports Preview Digest

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Friday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EDT:

– ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers can clinch their first AL West title in four seasons with a win over the Los Angeles Angels or a loss by Houston.. Game starts 8 p.m.

– PHOENIX – The Houston Astros, ahead by a game in the race for the second AL wild card, send 19-game winner Dallas Keuchel to the mound against the Diamondbacks. Game starts 9:40 p.m.

– MINNEAPOLIS – The Twins play the Royals, with Minnesota trailing by a game in the race for the second AL wild card and Kansas City pursuing the best record in the league. Game starts 8:10 p.m.

– NHL teams hoping to make the playoffs walk a fine line in playing their best goaltender enough to keep him sharp while not wearing him out during the season. How much is too much?

– With Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in the NFL, running backs have replaced quarterbacks in the early race for the Heisman Trophy. The current crop of draft-eligible quarterbacks is not all that strong.

– CLEMSON, S.C. – No. 6 Notre Dame plays No. 12 Clemson on Saturday night in a showdown of quarterbacks linked by first names – the Irish’s DeShone Kizer and the Tigers’ Deshaun Watson.

– ATHENS, Ga. – No. 13 Alabama, whose quarterbacks have looked shaky at times, is 3-1 and basically in a must-win situation Saturday when it faces No. 8 Georgia.

– The NFL’s massive ratings are undeterred by constant interruptions: commercials, replays and penalties. And if it seems as if the yellow flag has been popping up more than ever this season, well, it has.

– IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys return to the scene of perhaps the worst defensive performance in team history. They hope the trip to New Orleans offers a bounce-back after a poor showing against Atlanta.

– PHILADELPHIA – A defense that was supposed to be a weakness for the Philadelphia Eagles has been the bright spot through three games.

– DOVER, Del. – The field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup is cut by four following Sunday’s race. This is the third of 10 races in the playoff. Matt Kenseth, last week’s winner at New Hampshire, leads the standings.

– PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Jordan Spieth is voted PGA Tour player of the year, giving him a sweep of all the significant awards. The tour does not disclose how many votes Spieth received from the players.

– The NBA wants to make serious inroads in Canada, where hockey rules the sports landscape. The league begins its Canada series Sunday, the first of four preseason games played across the country.

– CLEVELAND – Tristan Thompson, a backup power forward who helped key the Cavaliers’ run to the NBA Finals, will be considered a holdout if he doesn’t show at practice Friday.