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Previewing Thursday’s meaningful baseball


Two teams clinched their playoff tickets last night: the Cubs and Twins. There’s still a bit more meaningful baseball left to be played, though. Here’s what’s on the line on Thursday.

AL East (92-66 Red Sox lead 89-69 Yankees by three games)

The Red Sox can clinch tonight with a win and a Yankees loss.

NL Wild Card (86-73 Rockies lead 83-75 Brewers by 2.5 games, 82-76 Cardinals by 3.5 games)

The Rockies are off Thursday, so they can’t clinch today. However, the Cardinals can be eliminated today with a loss to the Cubs. The Rockies will need any combination of two wins and two Brewer losses to knock the Brewers out.

AL Home Field Advantage (100-59 Indians lead 98-60 Astros by 1.5 games)

The Indians won on Thursday afternoon, so the Astros will try to keep pace tonight.

World Series HFA (102-57 Dodgers lead Indians by two games)

The Dodgers are off today and the Indians already played, so nothing will change tonight.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.