A look at what’s going on around the majors on Friday:
WILD, IS WILD
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole starts Game 1 of a crucial three-game series at Fenway Park with the Red Sox two-game ahead of New York for AL’s top wild card. Boston took seven straight wins to build up a little cushion over the Yankees and Blue Jays.
With New York closing the season against enemies of AL East Boston, Toronto and Tampa Bay, Cole said Wednesday he was drawing inspiration from a story he was told recently about ancient warriors honing their war skills against elite fighters from neighboring towns to stay sharp.
“If they didn’t train against the best they could find, they might be surprised if a formidable army came out from somewhere and they didn’t train against elite opponents,” he said. -he declares. âSo maybe it’s similar to this situation, where we played against a lot of elite opponents.
âOf course, we lost some battles, but we still have the war ahead of us,â he added.
Cole (15-8, 3.03) will face Red Sox RHP Nathan Eovaldi (10-8, 3.58) in a pitching showdown likely to receive the AL Cy Young Award.
HIGH FLIGHT BIRDS
The Cardinals are posting a 12-game winning streak in a doubles program at Wrigley Field in hopes of extending their best streak in 39 years. St. Louis solidified as a favorite for the NL’s second wild card with this push, the longest in club history since a 12-game streak in 1982. The franchise record stands at 14. established in 1935.
St. Louis left-hander JA Happ (4-2, 4.33) will face Cubs left-hander Justin Steele (3-3, 4.20) in Game 1, and Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty (9-2, 3.08) should oppose right-hander Zach Davies (6-11, 5.49) in a nightcap.
BLUE JAY FORBIDDEN
Toronto reliever Ryan Borucki appeals a three-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball for intentionally hitting Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch in the final volley of a clash between the two AL contestants East.
The MLB announced the penalty, which includes an undisclosed fine, Thursday before the Blue Jays began a four-game series at Minnesota. Manager Charlie Montoyo has also been suspended for one game and given an undisclosed fine. He served his sentence immediately.
Borucki appealed the decision of MLB Senior Vice President Mike Hill delaying discipline until the end of the process to MLB Special Advisor John McHale Jr.
Borucki was sent off from the game after placing Kiermaier in the back in the eighth inning on Wednesday. It came two days after Kiermaier retrieved a Toronto scout report that fell off receiver Alejandro Kirk’s bracelet during a home game and refused to return it.
Major League Baseball is experimenting with pre-glued baseballs in some AAA games during the latter part of the minor league season. The test could be a step towards updating the big league balls after the league cracked down on the use of illegal sticky substances used by pitchers to improve grip mid-season.
Pitchers have complained that the current major league ball is slippery and the mud rubbed on it before games is inconsistent, sometimes becoming dry and powdery.
The prototypes used in Triple-A have a substance applied to them to create a bit of stickiness. The league hopes to find a ball that will be easier for pitchers to grip, but which will not allow them to improve the rotational speed of their throws.
Only a few Triple-A teams will use the prototype balls in the last 10 games because MLB has limited supplies.
HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN
Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber is set to appear in Cleveland for the first time since June 13 after suffering a strained right shoulder. Bieber was 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 90 2/3 innings before the injury.
He will face a White Sox team that clinched their first AL Central crown since 2008 on Thursday. Dylan Cease (12-7) is the likely Chicago starter.