LEADING OFF: Bucs vs Cubs, Rangers vs Astros, Huddy vs Zito

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A look at what's happening around the major leagues today:



The Cubs take the field as a playoff team for the first time since 2008. Manager Joe Maddon's club clinched a postseason spot late Friday night when the Giants lost at Oakland. At Wrigley Field, Jason Hamel tries to overcome a recent rut when he starts against the Pittsburgh - the Pirates have won seven straight and are trying to catch St. Louis for the NL Central lead and hold off Chicago for the first wild-card slot.


Astros star second baseman Jose Altuve sees whether he feels well enough to play against Texas, a day after getting hurt in a collision with shortstop Carlos Correa while they chased a popup. Altuve's face and neck ached and he exited early as Houston lost its eighth in a row to the AL West-leading Rangers. The Astros' lead for the second wild-card spot is down to a half-game over the Angels.


Matt Harvey starts for the Mets, whose magic number for clinching the NL East is one over Washington. He'll be pitching at Cincinnati - he's 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts against the Reds.


As their careers come to a close, the Giants' Tim Hudson and A's Barry Zito will match up at the Coliseum, where both began as big leaguers more than 15 years ago. ''I don't know that I could have written a better ending to the story,'' said the 40-year-old Hudson, who plans to retire at year's end. ''It's very surreal. It's a storybook kind of thing.''


The Blue Jays' magic number for clinching their first postseason spot since 1993 is one, and David Price is set to pitch against former teammate and close friend Chris Archer of the Rays. Archer crashed Price's session with the media Friday, jokingly asking the Blue Jays ace, ''What will it be like to face your protege tomorrow?'' Price, who was traded from Tampa Bay to Detroit last summer and again to Toronto in July, deadpanned, ''I'm terrified, man.''