LEADING OFF: Brewers-Dodgers in possible playoff preview

National Sports
Clayton Kershaw

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

OCTOBER OPENER

Clayton Kershaw starts at Dodger Stadium against Milwaukee to begin a season-ending, three-game series in a possible playoff preview.

Christian Yelich and the Brewers already have clinched the NL Central. Max Muncy and Los Angeles are assured at least a wild-card spot — they’re trying to overtake San Francisco in the NL West.

Kershaw (10-8, 3.38 ERA) is 1-1 in three starts since missing more than two months with inflammation in his left forearm.

Lefty Eric Lauer (7-5, 2.93) starts for Milwaukee. He’s 6-0 with a 1.89 ERA in eight career starts against the Dodgers.

BIG PAIN

The Yankees enter the final weekend of the regular season jostling for a playoff spot with several stars on the mend.

First baseman Luke Voit went on the 10-day injured list Thursday with a sore left knee. He limped back to the dugout after running to first base in a pinch-hit appearance Wednesday, feeling discomfort in the same knee that was surgically repaired in March.

Infielder DJ LeMahieu was lifted in the sixth inning of a 6-2 win over the Blue Jays on Thursday with right hip soreness. It’s not clear if the two-time batting champion will be able to return to the lineup Friday.

Meanwhile, outfielder Joey Gallo didn’t start Thursday night’s game after being hit by a pitch on the left forearm a day earlier. Tests showed no fracture, and Gallo entered as a defensive replacement late in the game.

New York opens a three-game series in the Bronx against the AL East-champion Rays with a two-game wild-card lead over Boston and Seattle and Toronto three games back. The Yankees’ magic number to clinch a postseason spot is two.

OHTANI NEARS 100

Shohei Ohtani has already hit 100 mph with his fastball. Now, he needs one more RBI to reach 100.

Ohtani got his 99th RBI with his AL-leading eighth triple Thursday in the Angels’ 7-6 loss to Texas. The two-way sensation also doubled, and he flied out to the warning track in the ninth inning.

Ohtani has 45 home runs, has scored 101 times and is batting .259 going into a season-ending, three-game series at Seattle.

A leading candidate for the AL MVP, Ohtani is done pitching for the season.

ACE ADAM

No matter which team the Cardinals play in the NL wild-card game, Adam Wainwright is going to be on the mound at the start.

Wainwright will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants on the road in an all-or-nothing matchup scheduled for Wednesday night.

The 40-year-old righty is 17-7 with a 3.08 ERA, winning 10 of his last 11 decisions, and helped the Cardinals reel off a franchise-record 17-game winning streak this month that put them in the playoffs.

“He gets better as the game goes, he goes deep in games, he’s a big-game pitcher,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said Thursday.

Wainwright is 4-5 with four saves and a 2.89 ERA in 28 postseason appearances, 15 of them starts.

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