Update on the latest sports
ALDS Game 1s in Houston and New York
UNDATED (AP) – The American League Division Series begin Friday in Houston and New York.
Justin Verlander and the 107-win Astros start things off with an afternoon game at Minute Maid Park against wild-card winner Tampa Bay. Houston features a formidable rotation, with Verlander to be followed by Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke (GREHN’-kee).
The Rays often use a reliever to start for an inning or two, but they plan to throw full-time starters Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell and Charlie Morton in the first three games.
Starter Wade Miley has made Houston’s ALDS roster despite struggling for the last month. The veteran left-hander had a 16.68 ERA in five starts in September. The Astros also included rookie Jose Urquidy (ur-KEE’-dee), who along with Miley could be n ption to start Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Outfielder Kyle Tucker and speedy utility man Myles Straw are also on the roster.
At night, the two teams that hit the most home runs in history open their series at Yankee Stadium. Nelson Cruz, Max Kepler and the Minnesota Twins set the Minnesota Twins set the major league single-season record with 307 homers this year. Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez and the Yankees finished right behind with 306 home runs.
James Paxton starts for New York in his postseason debut. The 30-year-old left-hander, in his first season with the Yankees, will be followed by Masahiro Tanaka for Game 2 on Saturday and Luis Severino for Game 3 at Minnesota on Monday.
Righty Jose Berrios (beh-REE’-ohs) will start for Game 1 for the Twins after going 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 200 1/3 innings.
Game 2s in Atlanta and LA
UNDATED (AP) – The Cardinals and Braves are back in action a day after St. Louis held on for a wild 7-6 win in Atlanta. Both teams will use pitchers who excelled in the second half.
Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals went 7-2 with a 0.91 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break, the third-lowest mark in major league history over that span. Atlanta will counter with Mike Foltynewicz (fohl-tih-NAY’-vihch), who also finished strong in a definite tale of two seasons.
Since rejoining the rotation in early August after a stint in Triple-A, the 2018 All-Star is 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA.
The Braves have been granted approval to replace injured reliever Chris Martin with Julio Teheran on their NLDS roster.
In the late game, Washington star Stephen Strasburg returns from a one-day stint in the bullpen to start at Dodger Stadium as the Nationals try to pull even. Strasburg earned the win in relief with three shutout innings in a dramatic wild-card victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Clayton Kershaw starts for Los Angeles, which won the opener 6-0 behind Walker Buehler (BYOO’-lur).
Blackhawks and Flyers open their season in Prague
UNDATED (AP) – The Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers open their season Friday in the Czech Republic.
Chicago’s roster includes Czech winger Dominik Kubalik, who has waited six years for a chance to play in the NHL and never expected his debut would take place at home. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 2013 but has had to wait until now for a chance to actually play in the North American league. The Kings shipped the 24-year-old to Chicago for a fifth-round pick in January.
It’s the third straight year – and eighth overall – that the NHL returns to Europe as part of its efforts to grow the local fan base in hockey-mad countries like the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and others.
The rest of Friday’s NHL schedule features Washington at the N.Y. Islanders, Toronto at Columbus, Winnipeg at New Jersey and Vegas at San Jose.
Blues sign Brayden Schenn to 8-year, $52M contract extension
ST. LOUIS (AP) – The St. Louis Blues have signed Brayden Schenn to an eight-year contract extension worth $52 million, locking up one of their top centers after their run to the Stanley Cup championship last season.
The 28-year-old Schenn was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia in 2017 and put up a career-high 28 goals the following season and 70 points overall as he named an All-Star. Last season, Schenn had 54 points in the regular season and 12 more in the playoff run.
Schenn, a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native in his ninth full NHL season, has 154 goals and 218 assists in 588 regular-season games and eight goals and 18 assists in 50 career postseason games.