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LEADING OFF: Blue Jays-Yanks, Padres Go for 9th Straight

September 15, 2020

A look at what's happening around the majors today:

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PLAYOFF PURSUIT

Second place in the AL East is up for grabs when Toronto opens a critical three-game series at Yankee Stadium. Cavan Biggio and the Blue Jays are a half-game ahead of New York — the top two teams in each division qualify for the postseason this year without needing a wild card. Prized rookie Deivi García (1-1, 3.06 ERA) pitches for the Yankees, who have won five straight following a 5-16 slide. Taijuan Walker (3-2, 2.95) goes for Toronto. Both clubs are chasing Tampa Bay. New York expects to get third baseman Gio Urshela and right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga back from the injured list. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman also could hear back on his appeal of a three-game suspension.

WILD WEST

The surging San Diego Padres go for their ninth straight victory and try to close within a half-game of the West-leading Dodgers when the NL's top two teams square off again at Petco Park. Trent Grisham added some spice to the rivalry when he hit a tying home run Monday night off Clayton Kershaw in San Diego's 7-2 win and said something to the Los Angeles dugout as he headed for home. The Dodgers have won seven consecutive division crowns. The young Padres are closing in on their first playoff berth since 2006.

TOUGH ASSIGNMENT

Clinging to an American League wild-card spot, the Cleveland Indians attempt to stop a six-game losing streak when they face Yu Darvish (7-2, 1.77 ERA) and the first-place Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. On the mound for the Indians is Carlos Carrasco (2-4, 3.12), who has allowed no more than one run in each of his past three starts.

IN LIKE A LION

Jake Lamb got off to a great start with Oakland and looks to keep it going for the AL West leaders at Colorado. Lamb homered and doubled in his Athletics debut Monday, a 9-0 victory at Seattle that gave his new team a doubleheader split. The 29-year-old Lamb, an All-Star in 2017, was designated for assignment last week by Arizona. Oakland signed him after losing Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman last week to a strained right hip that's expected to require surgery. Lamb had just five hits in 43 at-bats with the Diamondbacks this season for a .116 batting average. 

"I just saw this was a good opportunity for me. A chance to come in and get some ABs and hopefully contribute to a winning team in a playoff mode," Lamb said. "This is a great fit for me."

HOUSE OF PAIN

Following a 14-1 loss Monday night, the NL East-leading Braves make another bid for their first victory at Camden Yards since June 12, 2009. Atlanta hasn't won a series in Baltimore since 2004. 

START ME UP

After 242 consecutive relief appearances, Cincinnati right-hander Michael Lorenzen (1-1) makes his first start in five years when the Reds host Pittsburgh.

CHANGE AT THE TOP

The New York Mets could soon be under new ownership after billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen agreed to buy the team from the Wilpon and Katz families. The club announced the agreement on Monday. The deal is subject to the approval of Major League Baseball owners. Sportico reported Cohen will own 95% of the team, with the rest staying with the Wilpon and Katz families. The deal reportedly values the franchise at about $2.4 billion. Former major league star Alex Rodriguez and fiancee Jennifer Lopez also tried to buy the team but dropped out of the bidding last month. Cohen also entered negotiations to buy the Mets last year, but the deal fell apart in February. He bought an 8% limited partnership stake in 2012 for $40 million.

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