SERIES TO WATCH
INDIANS AT BLUE JAYS (Sept. 6-9)
Just two years after the Indians defeated the Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series, the teams are heading in opposite directions — Cleveland is closing in on a third consecutive AL Central title while Toronto appears likely to finish fourth in the AL East for the second consecutive season. The Blue Jays won two of three in Cleveland this season.
ASTROS AT RED SOX (Sept. 7-9)
This could be a playoff preview as well as another review of their AL Division Series last season, which the Astros won in four games. When the teams played four times this season in Houston, the Astros won the first two before the Red Sox came back to take the last two and earn a split. Including the postseason, the Astros have won eight of their last 12 games against the Red Sox. Connecticut native George Springer is hitting .297 with five homers and 12 RBI in 19 career games against Boston.
PHILLIES AT METS (Sept. 7-9)
Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola and Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom share the same field for the second time in less than a month as the National League Cy Young race heads into the final stretch. Both figure to pitch in the series but most likely not on the same day. That’s what happened in midAugust in Philadelphia, where both won impressively. Nola is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts against the Mets this season, while deGrom hasn’t allowed an earned run in 18 innings over three starts against the Phillies.
YANKEES AT MARINERS (Sept. 7-9)
The series represents the challenging portion of the Mariners’ eight-game homestand — it’s sandwiched between the visits of two last-place teams, the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres. Seattle infielder Robinson Cano will face his old team for the first time this season — he was serving his suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs when the M’s were swept in June in the Bronx.
BREWERS AT CUBS (Sept. 10-12)
The NL Central rivals meet for the second consecutive week and the final time this season in a three-game series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are looking for their third consecutive division title while the Brewers are attempting to reach the postseason for the first time since 2011. The Cubs have won five of six games against Milwaukee in Chicago this season, including sweeping a fourgame series in late April while holding the Brewers to two runs.
DIAMONDBACKS AT ROCKIES (Sept. 10-13)
This has become a good rivalry. A year after meeting in the NL wild-card game, the two are vying with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West title. Much improved run prevention under new leadership has made each franchise more relevant the past two years. Arizona leads the season series 7-5 on the strength of Paul Goldschmidt’s five home runs and shortstop Nick Ahmed’s .375 batting average with six doubles, three homers and 16 RBI.