LEADING OFF: Cubs can clinch home-field; misfortunate Mets
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
OCTOBER AT WRIGLEY
The Cubs can clinch home-field advantage for the postseason with a win over the Cardinals and a loss by the Nationals. The playoffs are just around the corner for the NL Central champs, and it seems as if they are only embracing the escalating pressure of trying to end the team's 108-year title drought. ''I think pressure is what you make of it,'' said Jon Lester , one of the front-runners for the NL Cy Young Award. ''I mean we all know what the deal is around here. You can't run from it. All you can do is show up and play.''
YNOA IN A PINCH, AGAIN
Gabriel Ynoa is again being asked to fill in for the depleted Mets rotation. The right-hander made a spot start Sunday when Jacob deGrom was scratched, and now he's had his turn moved up from Saturday to replace left-hander Steven Matz, who was scratched from his scheduled turn after experiencing renewed shoulder soreness. Ynoa pitched adeptly in deGrom's absence, limiting the Twins to a run and four hits over 4 2/3 innings. Manager Terry Collins said the latest setback could make it difficult for Matz to earn a spot on the postseason roster.
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler could be cleared to play against Kansas City after missing three games this week due to a concussion. Kinsler worked out on the field before a doubleheader against Minnesota on Thursday, and Detroit was waiting to see how he felt the next day before making a decision. Kinsler was hit in the head by a pitch from Cleveland's Trevor Bauer on Sunday.
MISSING OUT ON THE FUN
Coming off a critical series sweep at Baltimore, the Red Sox can move closer to winning the AL East when they open a three-game set against the last-place Rays. Boston has closed strong despite struggles from left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-12, 3.40), who hopes to get back on track before the end of the regular season. The Sox have lost four of Pomeranz's last five starts, and the lefty has a 6.00 ERA in that time.
KAZ COMING BACK
Scott Kazmir comes off the disabled list and tries to pitch the Dodgers closer to clinching the NL West in a game against the Rockies. The left-hander has been out since Aug. 22 due to neck inflammation. He's expected to throw about 90 pitches, but Los Angeles said he'll be monitored closely.
The Angels' Alex Meyer (6-foot-9) and Astros' Doug Fister (6-8) combine for one of the tallest pitching matchups ever in the majors. It's just short of the record set when 6-10 Randy Johnson beat 6-9 Daniel Cabrera in 2009 - Johnson struck out nine for his 298th career victory as San Francisco beat Washington 11-7.