LEADING OFF: NL teams continue series, AL arms get a rest
A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:
Justin Turner and the major league-best Dodgers try to solve nemesis Robbie Ray (15-5, 2.89 ERA, 218 Ks) and take a 2-0 lead over the Diamondbacks in their NL Division Series. Ray dominated the Dodgers during the regular season, going 3-0 in five starts with a 2.27 ERA and a whopping 53 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. He even went 5 for 12 (.417) at the plate with two RBIs. But the left-hander threw 34 pitches over 2 1/3 innings in relief Wednesday during Arizona’s wild-card win over Colorado, so it will be interesting to see how fresh he looks. Los Angeles counters with lefty Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32), who had a 2.77 ERA at home this year. He was 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA in four starts against the Diamondbacks overall.
Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs beat Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg 3-0 in a well-pitched opener Friday night. On deck, it’s a matchup of veteran left-handers in Game 2 of their NL Division Series at 5:38 p.m. EDT. Jon Lester (13-8) starts for the defending World Series champions against Gio Gonzalez (15-9) and Washington after two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer was pushed back to Game 3 because of a tender hamstring. Gonzalez said he had been preparing to pitch Monday at Wrigley Field until he was told Wednesday to get ready for Game 2. Lester won his final two starts, allowing one run over 11 innings, after compiling an 8.22 ERA in his previous five games. He is 9-7 with a 2.63 ERA in his postseason career.
TAKE A BREAK
Boston’s pitchers get a breather after being battered by the Astros in the first two games of their ALDS, and nearly all the arms need a rest in the Yankees-Indians series following Friday’s extra-inning showdown. Houston leads its best-of-five matchup 2-0 after a pair of 8-2 wins, including a three-homer outburst from Jose Altuve on Thursday and long balls from Carlos Correa and George Springer on Friday. The Red Sox and Game 3 starter Doug Fister will plot for Houston during a workout at Fenway Park before that series resumes Sunday. New York and Cleveland will get a practice day at Yankee Stadium.
Cleveland is hoping for good news on slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who left Friday’s 9-8, 13-inning win over the Yankees with a sprained right ankle. The injury looked bad — Encarnacion rolled in the infield dirt in obvious pain after going awkwardly into second base — but an MRI showed only the sprain. Indians manager Terry Francona said late Friday that Encarnacion is day to day.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball