The Dodgers return to Los Angeles for their final homestand of 2017 with a chance to clinch the National League West on Friday. They can celebrate their fifth consecutive division title on Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda's 90th birthday with a win over the Giants, or a D-backs loss to the Marlins.
"That's a good birthday present for him, but you know what he really wants is that [World Series] championship," Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen said.
Southpaw Rich Hill (10-8, 3.60 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Dodgers, while right-hander Jeff Samardzija (9-14, 4.42) goes for the Giants for the 10:10 p.m. ET start.
Fans can catch this NL West bout, as well as the rest of Friday's 15-game slate -- including the red-hot Indians as they chase yet another record and a number of other contests with playoff implications -- streaming live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
More history on the line for Indians: CLE@SEA, 10:10 p.m.
Logic said that the Indians may begin to slow down after their American League-record 22-game win streak ended a week ago. But Cleveland appears too good to be derailed.
The Tribe has won five in a row since that loss, making them the first team since the 1884 Providence Grays to win 27 out of 28 games. With one more victory in Friday's series opener in Seattle, the Indians can match the Grays for the longest span of games played with just one loss MLB. 1884 featured a different brand of baseball, as Hall of Famer Old Hoss Radbourn had his famous 59-12 season, while pitching a mind-boggling 678 2/3 innings for the Grays -- more than three times the workload of current MLB innings leader Chris Sale (209 1/3) of the Red Sox.
Trevor Bauer (16-9, 4.41 ERA) is the only Indians pitcher to take a loss since Aug. 24, but he was 8-0 with a 2.26 ERA over a nine-start stretch before dropping the streak-ending, 4-3 loss to the Royals last Friday. He'll be opposed by righty Erasmo Ramirez (5-6, 4.56), who's making his first start against Cleveland since June 30, 2015.
Cubs, Brewers continue pivotal series: CHC@MIL, 7:35 p.m.
The postseason may still be 10 days away, but this weekend's series between the Cubs and Brewers at Miller Park has an October feel. Chicago's 5-3 win in Thursday's opener, a 10-inning thriller, lowered its magic number to six over the Brewers, who are 4 1/2 games back in the NL Central.
As the Cubs look to wrap up their second consecutive division title, the Brewers are in a tight NL Wild Card race. Milwaukee is one game behind the Rockies for the second NL Wild Card spot.
"There's one thing I really want to harp [on], and that's 'present tense,'" Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "You really have to stay focused in the moment."
Astros flying high again: LAA@HOU, 8:10 p.m.
How much did adding a top-line starter matter to the Astros' morale? Well, Houston went into an 11-17 tailspin after not acquiring a starter at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, and is now 13-6 after trading for Justin Verlander (13-8, 3.50 ERA) at the last minute on Aug. 31.
Verlander has been nearly untouchable in his first three starts for the Astros, allowing just two runs on 10 hits, with 26 strikeouts, over 21 innings. But a step back reveals he's been dominant for a while. The veteran's 1.99 ERA in 14 starts since July 8 is third best among MLB starters, behind Washington's Stephen Strasburg (1.19) and Cleveland's Corey Kluber (1.92), and the .154 batting average he's allowed off his high-velocity, high-spin fastball since the All-Star break is the game's lowest mark, according to Statcast™.
Verlander makes what could be his final tune-up start of the regular season against the Angels, who are in the mix in the AL Wild Card race. Garrett Richards (0-2, 2.00) is expected to pitch deeper in his fourth start back for the Halos, who are tied with the Rangers 2 1/2 games back of the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot.