LEADING OFF: Altuve’s October, Dodgers get weary Cubs

A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:

ALTUVE’S OCTOBER

Jose Altuve was a candidate for AL MVP during the regular season and he’s been among the best players in the postseason so far, too. Houston’s 5-foot-6 dynamo had three more hits in a Game 1 win over New York on Friday night in their AL Championship Series. He is 11 for 19 (.579) in the playoffs and has the most hits in a team’s first five postseason games since Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.

BACK TO START

Returning to his usual role as a starter, Justin Verlander gets the ball for Houston in ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Verlander came out of the bullpen to win ALDS Game 4 against Boston, throwing 40 pitches over 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander will be working on four days’ rest since that outing and should be well rested, even if his routine is a little off.

Luis Severino will pitch for New York. The 23-year-old fire-baller is coming off a Game 4 win over Cleveland last round, when he struck out seven and pitched three-run ball over seven innings.

RESTED DODGERS, WEARY CUBS

Los Angeles has been waiting comfortably at home since Tuesday to begin their NL Championship Series, while Chicago enters the opener fatigued and well-traveled. The Cubs finished a 4-hour, 37-minute victory in Washington early Friday morning to clinch their NLDS, then sat on their ensuing charter flight to the West Coast for about 10 hours after a passenger’s medical problem forced a long stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After arriving around lunchtime Friday, they had to skip a scheduled workout to catch up on sleep.

”So we’re going to be tired (Saturday). Who cares?” Chicago manager Joe Maddon asked Friday. ”They’re going to be ready to play.”

CALLING ON CLAYTON

The Dodgers turn to ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1, while the Cubs are likely deciding between Jose Quintana and John Lackey but hadn’t announced a decision as of Friday night.

Kershaw won Game 1 against Arizona in the Dodgers’ NLDS despite allowing four solo homers – the left-hander got aggressive in the zone after Los Angeles spotted him a big lead early. In last year’s NLCS against Chicago, Kershaw went seven innings in a 1-0 Game 2 victory but struggled in a decisive Game 6 loss, allowing five runs in five innings to the World Series champions.

More AP baseball: Hometeaminsider.com

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