LEADING OFF: Glasnow, Rays try to win AL East, Bieber ready

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Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow throws a pitch to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 4.21 ERA) gets his final tuneup for the postseason when he faces Robinson Canó and the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Glasnow and the playoff-bound Rays hope to make it a special night -- they can clinch their first AL East title with a win, or a loss by the Yankees to Toronto.

“I go into it with maybe a little bit more confidence than I did last year,” Glasnow said. “Just an exciting time.”

Glasnow is pegged to start the second game of Tampa Bay’s best-of-three, first-round playoff series next week, manager Kevin Cash said. Blake Snell is lined up for the opener, and Charlie Morton would pitch a potential Game 3. All three would have two extra days of rest.

“I feel good,” Glasnow said. “It definitely is starting to feel more like, in a rhythm.”

Glasnow is 4-0 in his last five starts.


Cleveland ace Shane Bieber (8-1, 1.74 ERA) had his start pushed back a day, lining him up to open the playoffs. The Indians clinched a postseason spot Tuesday night when José Ramírez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning to beat the White Sox.

Bieber faces AL Central-leading Chicago and Lucas Giolito (4-3, 3.53 ERA). The Indians star tops the majors in ERA and strikeouts and heads the race to win the AL Cy Young Award. The White Sox are a half-game ahead of Minnesota in the division race.

Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer (1.80) is third and starts at home against the Brewers in a matchup of NL playoff contenders. Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes (1.77) starts Thursday at St. Louis.


The Dodgers, Braves and Cubs can start making some playoff plans after sealing their spots in the expanded postseason field.

Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and the Dodgers earned their eighth straight NL West title and clinched the National League's top seed with a 7-2 win over Oakland. LA owns the best record in the majors at 39-16.

Atlanta won its third straight NL East title with an 11-1 romp over the contending Marlins. After losses in 10 straight postseason appearances, the Braves are desperate to end the drought.

“If you ask me, it’s World Series or nothing,” star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. said through a translator.

The Cubs, who have a comfortable lead in the NL Central, earned their spot under rookie manager David Ross. Chicago missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014.

“It’s very rewarding for that group in there that they’ve put in a lot of hard work in a unique atmosphere that has presented a lot of challenges,” said Ross, who took over for Joe Maddon this season. “Being away from their families, being tested, it would be really easy to get outside the rules, but they stayed accountable to one another. There’s so much to be proud of from my point of view.”


The Phillies have lost in four, dropping them out of NL playoff position. After getting in a doubleheader in Washington, they’ll try to regain their winning touch when Zach Eflin (3-2, 4.28 ERA) starts against Erick Fedde (2-3, 4.36) at Nationals Park.

“We’ve dug ourselves a hole and we’ve done that before and we’ve been able to fight out of it,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “Now we have to win games and rely on other (teams).”

Star catcher J.T. Realmuto returned for the first time since Sept. 12 after missing 11 games because of a hip problem.


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