LEADING OFF: Orioles and Tigers get wild; Happ vs Red Sox
A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:
SAVE US A PLAYOFF SPOT
All even for the second AL wild card, the Orioles and Tigers play again in Detroit. Both closers are a big reason their teams are in the postseason hunt. Francisco Rodriguez and Baltimore lefty Zach Britton are tied for the AL lead with 40 saves. Rodriguez closed out the series opener Friday night, when Victor Martinez’s tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning sent the Tigers to a 4-3 victory.
HELP US, HAPP
The slumping Blue Jays have hit the skids at the wrong time, losing four straight and six of seven. J.A. Happ (17-4, 3.44 ERA) hopes to right the ship against the hard-hitting Red Sox in the second game of a critical series. Boston extended its AL East lead to two games over Toronto with a 13-3 rout Friday night, when Rick Porcello became the first 20-game winner in the majors. Happ is winless in three starts since his 11-game winning streak ended Aug. 25, but won his only outing against Boston this season. Eduardo Rodriguez (2-6, 4.83) pitches for the Red Sox.
GRANDY MAN CAN
Curtis Granderson has homered in four consecutive games for the Mets, who have won six straight and 15 of 19 to match their season high at nine games over .500. Thanks to their big surge, the defending NL champions (75-66) are right in the thick of a tight race with St. Louis and San Francisco for two NL wild cards. Next up, Granderson faces rookie John Gant (1-3) and the last-place Braves in Atlanta. Gant’s only win came June 17 against the Mets, who traded him last year.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
The first-place Indians hope for good news on All-Star pitcher Danny Salazar, who left his start early as a precaution Friday night at Minnesota due to tightness in his right forearm. The right-hander was hit pretty hard and has not won in seven starts since July 19, his first after the All-Star break. Salazar (11-6) was on the disabled list for two-plus weeks in early August with elbow inflammation.
SO LONG, SEATTLE
Rangers ace Cole Hamels (14-5, 3.25 ERA) tries to get back on track when the AL West leaders visit Mike Trout and the Angels. Hamels was perhaps the leading contender for the AL Cy Young Award before getting banged around by the Seattle Mariners in his past two starts. He gave up seven earned runs over 1 2/3 innings Monday, only the second time in his career that the left-hander failed to pitch at least two innings.