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Indians, Dodgers seek to wrap up division series today

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The Astros and Red Sox are underway at the moment, with Houston holding a 2-1 lead in the second inning. The rains are starting to make their way to Boston, however, so we may have a delay in our future. Thankfully, though, there is a wondrous bounty of playoff action today, with all eight remaining teams in action. Two of these series, however, could end today.

In New York the Indians take the field leading the Yankees two games to one. As we mentioned this morning, they’ll do with a less-rested-than-usual Trevor Bauer taking the ball against Luis Severino, who was shelled in the Wild Card game last week. Bauer, of course, allowed only two hits in six and two-thirds innings as Cleveland won 4-0 in Thursday’s Game 1. The last time Severino faced the Indians he allowed two homers to Jose Ramirez and one to Carlos Santana in a 6-2 loss to at Yankee Stadium in late August. If the Yankees win, they’ll get another crack at Corey Kluber in Game 5, who they beat up in Game 2 before the Indians came back to win it in extra innings.

Out in Arizona the Diamondbacks will pitch their ace Zack Greinke against Yu Darvish of the Dodgers. Greinke had a short outing in the Wild Card game last week, requiring manager Torey Lovullo to go to Robbie Ray in relief. That may have cut into Ray’s effectiveness in Game 2, when Ray allowed four runs in four and a third. As such, Greinke isn’t just pitching to keep the Dbacks alive in this series, he’s hoping to pitch deep into the game to help rest the bullpen in the event there is a Game 4.

Darvish has not pitched since September 25 — a 13-day layoff. He’s faced the Dbacks once this year, striking out 10 Arizona hitters in five innings of a 5-2 victory at Chase Field on August 10.  He’ll certainly be fresh for this one. The Dodgers have scored 17 runs in their two playoff games thus far, so if form holds, Darvish need not be great to help the team advance, he merely needs to not break.

If you’re able, tune in the Astros-Sox game right now. If not, that’s OK. We have about 11 more hours of baseball action in front of us on this Columbus Day. Enjoy.

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.