SE­RIES TO WATCH

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NFL -

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.

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