Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen went 0-for-4 at the plate for the second consecutive day Thursday, lowering his batting average for the season to .332.
His performance opened the NL batting title door for Giants catcher Buster Posey, and Posey took advantage, going 2-for-4 in the team's 7-3 win over the Diamondbacks to raise his average to .333 and take claim the highest batting average in the league. (Melky Cabrera's .346 average
Posey and McCutchen each have six games remaining, but it's possible they won't play in all of them; regular season games are no longer meaningful for either team. McCutchen injured his knee while attempting a diving catch in Thursday's game and left early. Posey, too, could see rest as manager Bruce Bochy gets his starters prepared for playoffs.
McCutchen and Posey are vying for National League MVP honors along with reigning champion Ryan Braun.
World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.
Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.
The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.
Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.
Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.
Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.
Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.
Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.
Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.
Two quick runs off the best pitcher on the planet on Saturday night afforded the Cubs exactly what they needed to snap a 71-year-old drought.
Already confident after consecutive offensive outbursts in the previous two games, a two-run first inning against Clayton Kershaw had Cubs hitters in a positive frame of mind.
They rode the surprising rally and a dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The win earned the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945 and on Tuesday night they’ll seek their first World Series title since 1908 when they face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1.
“It’s huge for the confidence, the positive momentum from LA, to carry over back home,” left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “Those were the biggest moments in the game early on to help everybody keep pushing and that we got this thing -- that we’re in charge of the game early. That’s a huge momentum builder.”
The Cubs did a little bit of everything in the first inning against Kershaw, who dominated them for seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some hitters took a more aggressive approach against the three-time NL Cy Young winner while others remained patient. The one constant throughout the 30-pitch frame was that Cubs hitters took advantage whenever Kershaw made a mistake.
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