LEADING OFF: Kershaw tries again, Cubs launch into playoffs
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw starts the NL Division Series opener in Washington against Max Scherzer. The LA lefty has dominated hitters in recent years - except in the postseason. He's 2-6 overall in the playoffs, including 1-5 with a 5.45 ERA in his last six starts, often done in by elevated home run and walk rates. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner went 12-4 with a 1.69 ERA this year while missing more than two months because of a back injury.
Favored to win the World Series since opening day, the Cubs begin the playoffs when Jon Lester starts against the Giants. Wrigley Field figures to be packed and pulsating for Game 1 of the NL Division Series as the Cubs, who led the majors with 103 wins this year, try to get closer to ending their championship drought that dates to 1908. Johnny Cueto, who helped the Royals win the crown last year, pitches for San Francisco.
IS THIS PRICE RIGHT?
Red Sox star David Price is a five-time All-Star, a two-time ERA leader and a former Cy Young Award winner. But the Boston lefty is 0-7 as a postseason starter in his career with Tampa Bay, Detroit and Toronto. He'll try to end that 0-for-October string when he starts Game 2 of the AL Division Series at Cleveland against Corey Kluber.
Jose Bautista hit just 22 home runs this season, his lowest total 2009, as he was slowed by a knee injury. But the two-time major league homer champ has quickly regained his swing in the playoffs. The Toronto slugger connected for a solo shot in the AL wild-card win over Baltimore, then hit a three-run drive in Game 1 of the AL Division Series romp at Texas. He'll next face Yu Darvish when the Blue Jays and J.A. Happ play Game 2.
MURPHY ON DECK
Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy is expected to start in the playoff opener against the Dodgers. He's been out of the starting lineup since Sept. 17 because of a strained glute muscle. Murphy hit .347 with 25 home runs and 104 RBIs in his first season with Washington. Last year, he homered in a record six straight postseason games for the Mets.