LEADING OFF: Playoffs begin, Bieber vs Cole in prime matchup

Shane Bieber ruled this 12 months for Cleveland, main the American League in wins, ERA and strikeouts

A take a look at what is taking place across the majors on Tuesday:

MARQUEE MATCHUP

Shane Bieber ruled this 12 months for Cleveland, main the American League in wins (eight), ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122). He didn’t permit a run in six of his 12 begins.

Gerrit Cole delivered for the Yankees in his first season since signing a $324 million, nine-year contract, going 7-Three with a 2.84 ERA.

Now they meet within the playoff opener at Modern Box, a vintage pitching duel within the making at the first day of the postseason.

“We’re fired up,” Bieber mentioned. “We predict this can be a just right matchup.”

For all Bieber and Cole have completed within the shortened common season, it’s going to imply little in the event that they don’t carry out smartly to begin the best-of-three collection.

WE’RE PLAYING WHO?

“It’s just like the previous days, guy, whilst you performed a crew you’ve by no means performed sooner than. It’s precisely what it’s,” mentioned Sandy Alomar Jr., the performing supervisor for the Indians. “It’s very odd.”

Seven of this week’s 8 wild-card collection are pitting golf equipment that haven’t noticed each and every different all 12 months, an ordinary quirk after the common season agenda was once staged locally amid the pandemic.

That suggests a large number of video and scouting paintings, particularly for avid gamers that haven’t been across the block. For example, Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka has best performed 72 common season video games, together with simply two in opposition to wild-card foe Cleveland. The 30-year-old mentioned New York supplied him with a trove of knowledge to peruse Monday, and he was once cross-checking all of that with video paintings.

“Need to have that further edge to expectantly provide the merit within the recreation,” he mentioned.

Higashioka will get started the opener as a substitute of Gary Sánchez. The 2-time All-Superstar hit .147 this 12 months, which might were lowest within the majors through some distance if he had sufficient at-bats to qualify. Sánchez additionally has been plagued through handed balls right through his occupation.

HEALING UP

The Twins are hoping to have 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson (calf) and middle fielder Byron Buxton (concussion) again within the lineup for the opener in their collection in opposition to Houston. Each had been injured Friday, sat out the general two common season video games as a precaution, then participated in a exercise at Goal Box on Monday.

“We simply need to be told up to we will sooner than we transfer ahead and put anything else in stone, however it was once a somewhat just right day for each guys,” supervisor Rocco Baldelli mentioned.

Minnesota has hardly had its complete lineup this season, but when Donaldson and Buxton are a cross, all the Bomba Squad will probably be to be had.

SLUMPING SOX

The White Sox sponsored into the postseason with losses in seven in their ultimate 8 video games, together with a couple of walk-off defeats. They open a wild-card collection in Oakland hoping ace Lucas Giolito can play stopper.

“It’s a contemporary get started,” shortstop Tim Anderson mentioned.

The A’s are throwing 22-year-old left-hander Jesus Luzardo regardless of Chicago’s proclivity to tee off on southpaws. The White Sox batted .285 with an .887 OPS in opposition to left-handers this season — each 2d supreme within the majors.

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Extra AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities

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