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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

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.