LEADING OFF: Cubs face Kershaw, try to end Series drought
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
It's been 71 years since the Chicago Cubs reached the World Series. They can finally halt the drought with a victory at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series at 8 p.m. EDT. Anticipating a long-awaited pennant, excited fans at jam-packed Wrigley Field will certainly be on the edge of their seats.
THE MARQUEE MATCHUP
Standing in the way of a huge Cubs party is rested Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, perhaps the best pitcher in baseball. Shaking off his previous playoff struggles, the three-time Cy Young Award winner is 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance this postseason. With the Dodgers down 3-2 in the best-of-seven NLCS, will he rescue them again or flop in October once more? Game 7 would be Sunday night, if necessary.
''We've won two games in a row before,'' Los Angeles first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. ''Nothing says we can't do it Saturday and Sunday.''
Kyle Hendricks, who led the majors with a 2.13 ERA this season, gets the ball for Chicago. Kershaw beat Hendricks 1-0 in Game 2 at Wrigley Field.
ON THE MEND
All-Star starter Danny Salazar plans to throw a three-inning simulated game, and the AL champion Indians will assess his status before deciding whether to put him on their World Series roster. Salazar hasn't appeared in a major league game since Sept. 9 because of tightness in his right forearm. But he's thrown well in recent bullpen sessions and could be an option in the Fall Classic - even if that means working in relief. ''I think he's ready to pitch,'' manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland also hopes Trevor Bauer will be available after his Game 4 start in the ALCS lasted less than an inning when his stitched right pinkie opened up and he had to be replaced because of excessive bleeding. Bauer said his finger is healing and he's confident the added rest before the Series will allow him to pitch. Game 1 is Tuesday night in Cleveland.
PUT ME IN, COACH
Wild Thing is stuck in the bullpen. While actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky ''Wild Thing'' Vaughn in the movie ''Major League,'' offered to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before one of this year's World Series games, Major League Baseball said the choices were already made. A spokesman said MLB worked with the Indians to identify ''former franchise greats'' to do the honors in Cleveland. There had been a movement by fans on social media for Sheen to throw out a first pitch and be part of pregame festivities. Released in 1989, ''Major League'' is a fictional account of the Indians finishing in first place with an unconventional group of players, including Vaughn.
Detroit's new batting instructor is a familiar face in Motown. The team hired former Mariners and Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon as hitting coach and Leon Durham as assistant hitting coach on Friday. McClendon returns for his second stint with the Tigers after serving as bullpen coach in 2006 and hitting coach from 2007-13. He managed the Tigers' Triple-A affiliate in Toledo this season, guiding the team to a 68-76 record.