What-to-Watch

What to watch tonight: Clayton Kershaw vs. Chris Sale, with Vin Scully on the mic

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Sure, some people think going out on a Friday night sounds like fun, but I’m here to offer a far more exciting alternative (assuming you have the MLB Extra Innings package or MLB.tv): Clayton Kershaw versus Chris Sale.

Not only are two of the best young pitchers in baseball facing off in some late-night, interleague, southpaw action from Los Angeles, the great Vin Scully will be announcing the game. It doesn’t get much better than that without leaving your house.

• Kershaw has followed up his Cy Young-winning 2011 campaign by throwing 88 innings with a 2.65 ERA, .213 opponents’ batting average, and 81/21 K/BB ratio at age 24.

• Sale has transitioned beautifully from the bullpen to the rotation with an AL-best 2.05 ERA and 76/18 K/BB ratio in 75 innings at age 23.

• Neither team was pegged as division favorites coming into the season, yet the Dodgers have the best record in baseball at 40-27 and the White Sox lead the AL Central at 34-29.

• And of course Scully is the greatest announcer of all time.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.