A look at what’s going on around the majors today:
ZACK IS BACK
Houston Astros right-hander Zack Greinke is making his first start since testing positive for COVID-19 last month.
Greinke (11-5, 2.66 ERA) is expected to pitch for Texas, the same team he lost to on the road in his last start 16 days earlier.
Greinke, 37, allowed nine hits and six runs in four innings in Texas on August 29, two days before being put on the COVID-19 injured list while the Astros were in Seattle.
Greinke had also lost his previous start to Kansas City, marking the only time in 27 starts this season that he has lost back-to-back games. AL West frontman Houston has lost five of his last six total starts.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the mighty Blue Jays are averaging 13 points per game and have won four in a row over the past three days. They will face AL East leaders Tampa Bay again after beating the Rays 17-2 in an 8-1 loss Monday night that left Toronto 12-1 in September.
Guerrero hit his 45th major-league home run, edging out two-way Angels star Shohei Ohtani. Guerrero also surpassed the season high his father set in the Hall of Fame with Montreal in 2000.
Toronto sits atop a hotly contested AL wildcard race and leads the majors with 232 home runs.
TICKETS FOR THE Playoffs
Kenley Jansen and the Los Angeles Dodgers can claim their ninth straight playoff appearance with a home win over last-place Arizona and losses to two of the following teams: Cincinnati, St. Louis, San Diego.
The defending World Series champions are 2 1/2 games behind San Francisco, first in the NL West. Rival Giants (94-50) became the first team to secure a 2021 playoff berth, beating San Diego 9-1 on Monday night for their eighth consecutive win, a season-high. They’ll try to make nine in a row when Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.33 ERA) takes on Jake Arrieta (5-12, 7.04) and the struggling Padres.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (14-7, 2.78 ERA), pushed back due to left hamstring strain, is expected to start six days off in Baltimore.
Cole will also have a new shortstop behind him, after New York moved error-prone Gleyber Torres to second on Monday. Torres will spend the remainder of the season in second place, manager Aaron Boone said.
DJ LeMahieu moved up from second to third and Tyler Wade played the shortstop in Monday’s win over Minnesota. Boone said Gio Urshela will drop from third place and likely become the regular shortstop from Tuesday night against the worst Orioles in the major leagues.
Andrew Velazquez, an optional shortstop Sunday at Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre, could be recalled when eligible.
Torres, 24, was primarily a second baseman during his first two seasons with the Yankees in 2018 and 2019. He replaced the shortstop when Didi Gregorius was injured and was transferred there for 2020 afterwards. that Gregorius left as a free agent to sign with Philadelphia.
Torres made nine mistakes last year and has 18 this season, the second-biggest in the American League behind Torontonian Bo Bichette (24).
New York has lost 12 of its 16-game winning streak to a 13-game winning streak and is in a close race with rivals AL East Toronto and Boston for both league jokers.
HERE IS THE PITCH
As they move closer to the NL Central title, Milwaukee is looking to extend their dominant pitching streak when Freddy Peralta (9-4, 2.69 ERA) opens game one of a three-game series in Detroit.
Eric Lauer held Cleveland without a hitting in the sixth inning on Sunday in an 11-1 win – a day after Brewers ace Corbin Burnes and closest Josh Hader combined the record for a batterless ninth in the majors this season. Milwaukee allowed just seven hits in a three-game sweep against the Indians.
On Monday, the Brewers took five consecutive wins in total and their magic number is five to clinch the division crown.
Cleveland ace Shane Bieber (outstretched right shoulder) is expected to throw 40-45 shots as part of a minor league rehab mission to Triple-A Columbus. The 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner has been away since June 13.
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