Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Thursday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EDT:
– KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The reigning AL champion Kansas City Royals begin their pursuit of another World Series appearance when they face the Houston Astros in the opener of their division series. Game starts 7:37 p.m.
– TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jay hang their AL East championship pennant from the Rogers Centre rafters then look to up the ante as they host the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the division series. It’s the Jays’ first appearance in the postseason in 22 years. Game starts 3:37 p.m.
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– HOUSTON – The Colts’ top two quarterbacks were limited in practice during the short week because of injury and illness heading into their prime-time game against Houston, which is sticking with Ryan Mallett after he was benched late in the Texans’ lopsided loss to Atlanta. Game starts 8:25 p.m.
– ZURICH – Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, the man who had been favored to take over as FIFA leader, are both suspended for 90 days, plunging soccer’s governing body deeper into crisis.
– ST. LOUIS – Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the draft, makes his much-anticipated NHL debut for the Edmonton Oilers in their season opener against the St. Louis Blues. Game starts 8 p.m.
– INCHEON, South Korea – The Presidents Cup wasn’t an hour old when International captain Nick Price looked at the scoreboard and saw it filled with American red. The opening session ended with the Americans up 4-1, and Price trying to convince his team that it’s not over.
– CHICAGO – Across the city and beyond, long-suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs can’t help themselves now that their team is in the playoffs: They are excited about the lovable losers who haven’t won a World Series since 1908 – one of the longest championship droughts in American sports history.
– LOS ANGELES – The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers both bring dominant pitching to their NL Division Series.
– LOS ANGELES – USC coach Steve Sarkisian faces his former players at Washington when Cody Kessler and the 17th-ranked Trojans (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) take on the Huskies (2-2, 0-1) in a rare Thursday night game at the Coliseum. Game starts 9 p.m.
– LINCOLN, Neb. – Football sideline crews, also known as ”chain gangs,” operate in anonymity when they’re doing their jobs right. A couple of crews received unwanted attention after making mistakes last weekend.
– Watch any of the weekend’s college football games and it’s hard to go even 30 minutes without seeing a commercial for upstart sites Draft Kings and Fan Duel. As a debate intensifies about whether the loosely regulated industry should be considered gambling and needs tighter oversight, the ads are creating an uncomfortable association for the NCAA, which has strict rules for its players on sports wagering.