LEADING OFF: Jays, Cubs, Bucs seek sweeps; Fernandez to doc
A look at what's happening all around the major leagues today:
Troy Tulowitzki and the Blue Jays go for their eighth straight victory and a weekend sweep at Yankee Stadium that would pull them within 1 1/2 games of first-place New York in the AL East. Toronto has not swept a series of at least three games from the Yankees since May 2003. Marco Estrada (9-6) pitches for the Blue Jays against Masahiro Tanaka (8-4).
Jose Fernandez's stiff shoulder could be the latest setback for the Marlins in a disappointing season. The team awaits word on its electrifying young ace after Fernandez was sent back to Miami on Saturday to be examined by Dr. Dan Kaplan. The 2013 NL Rookie of the Year is 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA in six starts this season since returning from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow.
Jake Arrieta (12-6) tries to pitch the Cubs to a four-game sweep of San Francisco at Wrigley Field. Arrieta is 6-1 with a 1.37 ERA in his last nine starts. He faces veteran Jake Peavy (2-4), who is 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA in his past four starts. Chicago has won nine of 10 to open a 2 1/2-game lead over the Giants in the race for the second NL wild card.
Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates seek a three-game sweep at home against the Dodgers in a prime-time matchup of NL playoff contenders. McCutchen is 13 for 29 (.448) with nine RBIs and 10 runs scored in his last nine games. He has been on base in 14 of his past 18 plate appearances. Alex Wood makes his second start for Los Angeles since being acquired in a trade with Atlanta.
Max Scherzer starts for the Nationals in their series finale against visiting Colorado. He was 0-3 with a 5.48 ERA versus the Rockies while pitching for Arizona. But since leaving the NL West, the right-hander has won his only outing when facing Colorado: He threw eight shutout innings and struck out 12 for the Tigers three years ago.
Mike Fiers makes his first start for the AL West-leading Astros since being acquired from Milwaukee in the July 30 trade that also sent outfielder Carlos Gomez to Houston. Fiers gave up six earned runs over five innings of relief work in his Astros debut on Monday.
Oliver Perez is expected to join the Astros in Oakland after he was obtained from Arizona late Friday night. A starter for the first nine seasons of his big league career (2002-10), Perez has taken to his relief role as lefty specialist. He had 37 strikeouts in 48 appearances covering 29 innings for the Diamondbacks this year. Left-handed batters are hitting .183 (11 for 60) against him.