LEADING OFF: Nats, Cubs try to clinch spots in NLCS
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
ON THE CUSP
A team from the nation's capital has not won a postseason series since Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators took the 1924 World Series crown. Bryce Harper and the Nationals can end that drought and reach the NL Championship Series with a victory over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Washington leads 2-1 in the best-of-five playoff, and neither team had announced its starter for Game 4.
CHANCE TO GET EVEN
After Joe Panik's 13th-inning RBI double helped the Giants avoid elimination again Monday night, San Francisco tries to even its series with the Cubs. Chicago leads the best-of-five NLDS 2-1 but missed out on a sweep because of clutch hits from Panik and Conor Gillaspie during the Giants' 6-5 win Monday. San Francisco seeks its 11th consecutive victory when facing postseason elimination when it sends Matt Moore to pitch against John Lackey.
Cleveland will face Toronto in the ALCS after eliminating Boston on Monday, and now the Indians and Blue Jays wait until Friday to begin their series. The break interrupts a strong run for the wild-card Blue Jays, who won their sixth straight game by beating Texas on Sunday to wrap their ALDS sweep. The four-day rest was still welcome. ''Some people like to say a couple of days off might throw our timing off,'' catcher Russell Martin said Sunday. ''I really don't believe in that. At this point in the year, a couple of days off can do wonders.''
Tim Tebow has arrived in the desert and is ready to make his Arizona Fall League debut. The former NFL quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner participated in his first practice on Monday night, one day before the Scottsdale Scorpions' season opener against the Glendale Desert Dogs. Tebow homered on the first pitch of his instructional league debut in Florida, but the AFL will be a step up in competition, filled with some of the top minor league players in baseball.
Tal's Hill is coming down. The Astros began work on renovations to center field at Minute Maid Park on Monday that will remove the hill and add field-level seating. The project will bring in the center-field fence from 436 to 409 feet and be completed by opening day in 2017. Tal's Hill was a tribute to Cincinnati's Crosley Field and other old ballparks. It was named after longtime Astros executive Tal Smith.