LEADING OFF: Blue Jays-Indians open ALCS, Dodgers-Cubs set
A look at what's happening all around the majors Friday:
Edwin Encarnacion and the slugging Blue Jays visit Cleveland for Game 1 of the AL Championship series, with Corey Kluber starting for the Indians against Marco Estrada. Jose Bautista and wild-card Toronto hit eight home runs in their three-game sweep of Texas in the AL Division Series. Kluber was magnificent in his postseason debut, pitching three-hit ball for seven shutout innings as Cleveland swept Boston.
The Dodgers will be working out at Wrigley Field, fresh off winning the deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series in Washington. Ace Clayton Kershaw might not do a ton of throwing - he got the last two outs vs. the Nationals for his first major league save, two days after throwing 110 pitches in Game 4 on short rest.
Cubs lefty Jon Lester is all set to start the NL Championship Series opener on Saturday night against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. The rest of Chicago's rotation depends on the health of Kyle Hendricks. The righty exited in the Division Series vs. the Giants after being hit in the forearm by a comebacker. Hendricks threw a bullpen session Thursday and the Cubs are waiting to see how the major league ERA leader feels before confirming him for Game 2.
Blue Jays reliever Francisco Liriano has recovered from the concussion he received when he was struck on the back of the head by Carlos Gomez in the ALDS. The lefty is expected to be cleared in time for Game 1 vs. Cleveland.
The Giants want Madison Bumgarner to stick around. Two days after San Francisco lost to the Cubs in the NL Division Series, general manager Bobby Evans spoke with Bumgarner and told the ace's reps the team is ready to begin talks on a new contract. The lefty signed a $35.56 million, six-year deal through 2017 that includes $12 million club options for 2018 and 2019.