Indians can clinch
UNDATED (AP) — The Cleveland Indians can clinch their third consecutive AL Central crown Friday with a victory at home over Detroit and a Minnesota loss at last-place Kansas City.
Josh Tomlin pitches for the Indians against Matthew Boyd. All-Star right-hander Jose Berrios and the Twins face Royals rookie Jorge Lopez, who took a perfect game into the ninth inning last Saturday at Minnesota.
In other games on the Friday night schedule:
— Bryce Harper and the Nationals get what could be their final chance to make a charge in the NL East when they begin a three-game series at first-place Atlanta. Washington sits third in the division, 8½ games behind the Braves with 15 to play. Max Scherzer starts the opener against Kevin Gausman. Scherzer leads the NL in wins and is 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 27 innings this season against Atlanta.
— The NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs probably won’t have their closer when they open a three-game series at home against Cincinnati. Pedro Strop injured a hamstring while running to first on a double-play grounder yesterday at Washington, in just his second at-bat of the season. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Strop would have an MRI on Friday. Strop has served as Chicago’s closer since Brandon Morrow was placed on the disabled list July 18.
— Noah Syndergaard takes on baseball’s best team when the Mets play the Red Sox tonight at Fenway Park. Syndergaard is 5-1 over his last seven starts. Hector Velazquez gets the ball for Boston, which is closing in on a third straight AL East title. The magic number for the Red Sox is six over the second-place Yankees. Boston is the only team in the majors that has already locked up a playoff berth.
— If the plummeting Diamondbacks want to keep pace in the playoff hunt, they’ll have to do it against a first-place team. Arizona dropped two of three against NL West-leading Colorado to fall 4½ games back in the division and has lost 10 of 13 heading into a three-game series at AL West-leading Houston. The Diamondbacks also lost starter Clay Buchholz to injury during the Colorado series. Dallas Keuchel starts the opener for the Astros against left-hander Robbie Ray.