LEADING OFF: Syndergaard and Ramos? Brewers roll, Yanks hurt
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Noah Syndergaard is set to pitch — “likely” to Wilson Ramos, manager Mickey Callaway says — when the playoff-contending Mets open a weekend series at home against Clayton Kershaw (13-5, 3.06 ERA) and the NL West champion Dodgers. Kershaw is 9-0 in 14 career starts against the Mets.
The issue of who catches Syndergaard has been a topic in New York all week, ever since it got out the big right-hander isn’t completely comfortable throwing to Ramos. Syndergaard (10-7, 4.06) has a 5.09 ERA in 15 starts with Ramos as his catcher and a 2.22 ERA with backups Tomás Nido or René Rivera.
Ramos’ bat has helped keep the Mets in the playoff picture. Coming off a four-game sweep in which they outscored Arizona 26-4, the Mets are two games behind the Cubs and Brewers for the second NL wild-card spot.
Ryan Braun and the Brewers have won seven in a row, matching their longest streak of the season, and are tied with the Cubs for the second NL wild-card spot. Braun homered Thursday at Miami while wearing injured teammate Christian Yelich’s No. 22 jersey underneath his own. Yelich is out for the year after breaking his kneecap on a foul ball this week.
Milwaukee trails the NL Central-leading Cardinals by four games, and now plays a three-game series at Busch Stadium. Adrian Houser (6-5, 3.59) starts for the Brewers against Adam Wainwright (11-9, 4.16 ERA).
The good news for the Brewers in their playoff push: After this weekend, their final 13 games are against San Diego, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Colorado. Those teams have four of the five worst records in the NL.
Beset by injuries all season, the AL East-leading Yankees have more health concerns going into the weekend. All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez is set for tests after he exited the second game of a doubleheader in Detroit because of tightness in his left groin.
Sánchez left in the fourth, an inning after he was thrown out in his first stolen base try this year. He has been on the injured list three times in the past two seasons because of groin strains.
Slugger Edwin Encarnación was forced to leave the first game with an oblique issue. J.A. Happ pitched the opener, but is dealing with left biceps tendinitis and headed back to New York for an examination.
SEE YA NEXT YEAR
Shohei Ohtani is ending his second major league season early to make sure he’s prepared to resume his two-way career in 2020.
The Los Angeles Angels slugger and pitcher will miss the rest of the season to have surgery on his left kneecap. Ohtani will put his throwing program on hold while recovering, but he should complete the throwing portion of his Tommy John rehabilitation by December. The team will wait until later to formulate a plan for Ohtani in spring training in February, when he hopes to be a two-way player again.
The 25-year-old Ohtani batted .286 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs in 106 games this season as the Angels’ designated hitter. He was the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year when he hit .285 with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs, and also went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts.
This story has been corrected to show that Brewers starter Houser’s first name is Adrian, not Adam.