A look at what’s happening around the majors Thursday:
KISS IT GOODBYE
David Ortiz says so long to Yankee Stadium when the AL East-champion Red Sox finish a three-game series against their longtime rivals. New York, which is trying to hold off postseason elimination, has planned a pregame ceremony, but how will Yankees fans salute the 40-year-old slugger who has tormented their team with so many clutch hits? Will they boo him heartily one more time or give him an ovation out of respect? Big Papi, set to retire after the season, has said he’d like to be applauded by New York fans as part of his farewell. During the first two games of the series, he received mostly a mixture of boos and cheers.
The four chief contenders for the two AL wild-card spots are in action. Toronto holds the first spot and takes on second-place Baltimore at home , with Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman (9-9, 4.34) facing righty Ubaldo Jimenez (7-12, 5.71). In Detroit, Daniel Norris (3-2, 3.59) leads the Tigers into the finale of a series with AL Central-winning Cleveland. Detroit is 5-1 in Norris’ last six starts. Then in Seattle, Robinson Cano and the Mariners try to gain ground when they open a series against Oakland. Cano’s career-best 36th homer lifted Seattle over Houston on Wednesday .
In the NL, the wild card-leading Mets get a day off, giving the Cardinals and Giants a chance to gain ground. Hard-throwing rookie Alex Reyes (4-1, 1.58) makes his fifth start for St. Louis in a game against Cincinnati. Last time out, he ended his streak of 11 1/3 scoreless innings but still got the win behind five innings of three-run ball against the Cubs. In San Francisco, right-hander Johnny Cueto (17-5, 2.79) takes on Colorado’s Jon Gray (10-9, 4.54). Cueto threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers in his last start, while Gray has totaled 26 strikeouts over his previous two outings.
The Nationals are hoping for sunshine and the return of Bryce Harper in a game against the Diamondbacks. Rain cut short their game Wednesday night and also gave Washington incentive to sit Harper for a third straight game with an injured right thumb. “With the rain, you’d hate for his thumb to feel OK and then he gets hurt doing something else,” manager Dusty Baker said. The Nats are already without catcher Wilson Ramos for the rest of the season because of a torn right ACL, and second baseman Daniel Murphy has been out of the starting lineup since Sept. 20 because of a strained left buttocks.
Dodgers rookie Julio Urias (5-2, 3.53) finishes his first regular season in the majors with a start against San Diego. Despite only turning 20 in August, Urias has played a key role while NL West-winning Los Angeles has dealt with numerous pitching injuries. The lefty has 79 strikeouts, the most by a pitcher his age-19 season since Dwight Gooden had 276 in 1984.