LEADING OFF: Rangers can clinch, Red Sox seek 7th straight


By The Associated Press



Texas Rangers' Jonathan Lucroy (25) and Nomar Mazara, right, celebrate Mazara's two-run home run that scored Lucroy in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz (34) watches his three-run home run in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and home plate umpire Mike Everitt in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber, left, delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)


A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:

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ON THE CUSP

Texas can clinch its second consecutive AL West title with a win over the last-place Angels and a Houston loss in Oakland. With the Astros playing a day game, the Rangers should know whether to put the champagne on ice before they host Los Angeles at night.

STILL DOING IT

David Ortiz and the AL East-leading Red Sox seek their seventh consecutive victory when they continue an important series in Baltimore. Big Papi is a big reason why Boston is 11-3 in its last 14 games and a major league-best 13-5 in September. Playing his final season, the 40-year-old Ortiz broke open a tight game Tuesday night with a three-run homer in the seventh inning. He has 36 home runs and 121 RBIs.

KLUBER’S CASE

Indians ace Corey Kluber (17-9, 3.12 ERA) looks to strengthen his Cy Young Award resume against Kansas City. The 2014 winner has a sizable lead among AL pitchers with 6.4 wins above replacement, per Baseball-Reference. Rick Porcello and Chris Sale present some stiff competition, but Kluber has Cleveland closing in on its first AL Central title since 2007.

NEED SOME MOORE

The last time San Francisco lefty Matt Moore faced the Dodgers, he lost a no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning on Corey Seager’s single. The trade-deadline acquisition can give the struggling Giants a lift when they wrap a pivotal series in Los Angeles. Dodgers rookie Kenta Maeda (15-9) gets his third start against the Giants after winning his first two.

And there’s this treat, too: Vin Scully’s call from the local Dodgers broadcast will be used for the fourth inning during the national telecast on ESPN. In his 67th season with the Dodgers, the 88-year-old Scully will broadcast his final game Oct. 2.

TIRED ARMS?

Felix Hernandez (11-6, 3.79 ERA) and the Mariners take their playoff pursuit into a series finale against Toronto. Seattle’s veteran ace is limping to the finish this season, posting a 7.65 ERA over his previous four starts. Blue Jays youngster Aaron Sanchez (13-2, 3.17) has likewise struggled recently with a 5.08 ERA in six starts since the beginning of August.

BABY BIRD

The Cardinals continue their postseason push with rookie Luke Weaver (1-3, 3.21 ERA) on the mound in Colorado. Weaver allowed six unearned runs in an abrupt outing last time out against San Francisco, though he’s held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in six of his seven starts. St. Louis is tied with the Giants and Mets for the two NL wild cards.

WASTED WORKHORSE

The White Sox hope to capitalize if they get another long outing from Chris Sale (16-8, 3.03). He has pitched eight innings or more in six consecutive starts and struck out at least 10 in half of them. Despite that, Chicago is 2-4 in those games and 3-9 in Sale’s last 12 assignments. The left-hander gets a favorable matchup against Philadelphia, batting just .243 with a .652 OPS versus southpaws this season.

BEGINNING AND THE END

Trying to jump over four teams in the crowded AL wild-card race, the Yankees hope to get center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury back from a bruised right knee. They could use more power from rookie slugger Gary Sanchez and retiring star Mark Teixeira, too. Both homered Tuesday night in a win over Tampa Bay. That gave Sanchez 17 homers in 42 games this season, and Teixeira’s 407th career home run tied Duke Snider for 54th place in major league history.

Texas Rangers’ Jonathan Lucroy (25) and Nomar Mazara, right, celebrate Mazara’s two-run home run that scored Lucroy in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_112578526-35556887659c4658be2c9fc57744a919.jpgTexas Rangers’ Jonathan Lucroy (25) and Nomar Mazara, right, celebrate Mazara’s two-run home run that scored Lucroy in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz (34) watches his three-run home run in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and home plate umpire Mike Everitt in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_112578526-8ca29f9b5fc04332af1bdac2e2f99cb7.jpgBoston Red Sox’s David Ortiz (34) watches his three-run home run in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and home plate umpire Mike Everitt in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber, left, delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_112578526-17198bcb63f34afbb6448c67980cda96.jpgCleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber, left, delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

By The Associated Press

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