LEADING OFF: Mets host Subway Series, Pirates now minus Kang
A look at what's happening around the major leagues today:
The Mets and Yankees can derail each other's positioning in the postseason races when they renew the Subway Series at Citi Field. It's the latest they've met since the 2000 all-New York World Series. Mets rookie lefty Steven Matz (3-0), who grew up about 50 miles away on eastern Long Island, makes his fifth career start for the NL East leaders. Masahiro Tanaka (12-6) is scheduled to pitch for the AL's top wild-card team.
Swept at Texas and knocked out of the AL West lead, Houston limps back to Minute Maid Park, with Mike Fiers starting against Oakland. The Astros are a league-leading 48-24 at home and hope to end their four-game skid in a hurry.
Marcus Stroman starts for the AL East-leading Blue Jays when they host Boston. After tearing his knee in spring training, Stroman came back to win his season debut last weekend at Yankee Stadium. Toronto has put him into the rotation and bumped Drew Hutchison - 13-4, but with a 5.33 ERA - to the bullpen.
Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer figures to get a lot more playing time now that rookie Jung Ho Kang is out for the season with a knee injury. Kang was injured Thursday when the Cubs' Chris Coghlan slid into him trying to break up a double play. Mercer and NL wild card-leading Pittsburgh open a weekend series at Dodger Stadium vs. LA ace Zack Greinke.
Johnny Cueto tries to break his five-game losing streak when Kansas City visits Justin Verlander and the Tigers. The Royals own the best record in the AL, but Cueto is just 2-6 with a 5.43 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star was traded from Cincinnati in late July.
Miami righty Jose Fernandez (5-0, 2.05 ERA) makes his second straight start against the Nationals since returning from a strained biceps. Last weekend, he held them to two hits in five shutout innings, striking out seven while throwing 69 pitches. ''If he can pitch as efficiently as he did last time, then he's got a chance to stretch the number of innings and stay in there for a longer time,'' manager Dan Jennings said. Max Scherzer starts at home for Washington.