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What’s on Tap: Previewing Saturday’s action

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The Cubs and Rangers may have postseason spots locked down, but everyone else is still scrambling to find their place before the music stops next weekend.

Kicking things off at 1:05 PM EDT are the Tigers and Cardinals, both of whom are still alive and kicking in their league’s respective wild card races. Detroit’s Daniel Norris and his 3.70 ERA will take the hill against Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura, who is coming off of his second complete game after tossing nine innings of three-run ball to the White Sox last Monday. In Chicago, Cubs’ right-hander Jason Hammel will try to extend the club’s five-game winning streak against the Cardinals.

In the evening, another division title is up for grabs when Clayton Kershaw takes on Chad Bettis and the Rockies. Both Kershaw and the Dodgers have looked solid of late, with the former holding a 1.29 ERA and 17 strikeouts through three starts in September and the latter riding a three-game win streak against the Giants and Rockies. Winning the division this weekend would also be a fitting send-off for Vin Scully, who is broadcasting his last home series in Dodger Stadium before his retirement at the end of the season.

Of course, a division win also depends heavily on Madison Bumgarner and the Giants, who would need to drop their game against the Padres’ Jarred Cosart in order to help their rivals to a fourth consecutive NL West title.

You can find more from Saturday’s action below.

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Detroit Tigers (Daniel Norris), 1:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Alex Reyes) @ Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel), 1:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Yu Darvish) @ Oakland Athletics (Raul Alcantara), 4:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman), 4:07 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Andriese), 6:10 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray) @ Baltimore Orioles (Wade Miley), 7:05 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Joe Ross) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Ivan Nova), 7:05 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Aaron Blair) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana) @ Cleveland Indians (Cody Anderson), 7:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Taylor Jungmann), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Jhoulys Chacin) @ Houston Astros (Brad Peacock), 7:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Alec Asher) @ New York Mets (Sean Gilmartin), 7:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Ariel Miranda) @ Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey), 7:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner) @ San Diego Padres (Jarred Cosart), 8:40 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Chad Bettis) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw), 9:10 PM EDT

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.