LEADING OFF: Bassitt back, Chisox try to clinch, Max starts

Sports
Chris Bassitt

Oakland Athletics pitcher Chris Bassitt speaks to reporters before a baseball game between the Athletics and the New York Yankees in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Bassitt returned to the Bay Area on Friday following facial surgery in Chicago, where he was hit with a line drive the week before. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Thursday:

___

Oakland right-hander Chris Bassitt promised to return to the mound by season’s end following a frightening 100 mph line drive to the face on Aug. 17.

He’ll get his chance in the series finale against Seattle at the Coliseum. Bassitt (12-4, 3.22) underwent facial surgery Aug. 24 to repair three cheekbone fractures after being struck by a liner off the bat of Brian Goodwin of the White Sox.

“It’s been a little bit of a torture chamber,” Bassitt said. “I’m happy to finally be back and, hopefully, help the team win.”

Immediately after he got hurt, Bassitt let manager Bob Melvin and the medical staff know he absolutely planned to pitch again this year. Bassitt was leading the American League in wins, innings (151) and starts (25) at the time of his injury.

“Knowing Chris obviously sells a little bit of that to us, to have that understanding of it,” athletic trainer Nick Paparesta said of the pitcher’s rapid comeback. “What’s Chris done this year? Chris has had a phenomenal season. He’s been an All-Star. What else does he have to prove? But I think he’s got something to prove to himself that he can go out there and he can do what he needs to do to help this team win and compete.”

The 32-year-old Bassitt returns to start a game between wild-card contenders.

“I’ve been ready,” he said. “It’s just a matter of there were a lot of boxes that needed to be checked. We finally checked them all off.”

MAX-IMUM

Almost unhittable at times, Max Scherzer has done everything the Dodgers hoped for — and more — since they got him from Washington in late July at the trade deadline.

Scherzer is 7-0 with an 0.78 ERA in nine starts for Los Angeles as it tries to overtake San Francisco in the NL West. In 58 innings, he’s allowed just 31 hits and struck out 79.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 15-4 with a major league-leading 2.08 ERA. The 37-year-old righty tries to stay unbeaten with the Dodgers when he starts against Colorado at Coors Field. The Rockies will throw lefty Kyle Freeland, 3-3 with a 5.36 ERA at home this season.

Scherzer is 11-0 with a 1.90 ERA in 17 starts since a May 30 loss for the Nationals against Milwaukee. He has not allowed an earned run over his last 36 2/3 innings.

Scherzer does hope to end another streak of his. A good-hitting pitcher for most of his career, he is 0 for 55 overall at the plate this season — not safely reaching base a single time.

WHITE SOX WRAPUP?

José Abreu, Yasmani Grandal and the White Sox look to clinch their first AL Central title since 2008, needing to win just once in a day-night doubleheader at Cleveland.

The White Sox are on the verge of reaching the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in team history.

Reynaldo López (3-3, 3.00 ERA) starts the opener for Chicago and Aaron Civale (11-4, 3.40) pitches for second-place Cleveland.

The White Sox have lost five of seven. Their magic number to clinch the division is two.

ADAM THE ACE

Adam Wainwright has won nine of his last 10 decisions, a big reason the Cardinals have been building their lead for the second NL wild-card spot.

St. Louis has won 11 in a row, its best streak since an 11-game run in 2001. The Cardinals’ longest winning string is franchise history is 14, back in 1935 when Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean starred for them.

The Cardinals hold a 4 1/2-game lead over Cincinnati and Philadelphia for the final NL wild-card slot.

The 40-year-old Wainwright (16-7, 2.89 ERA) starts against Adrian Houser (9-6, 3.43) and division-leading Milwaukee. Wainwright is second in the majors in wins behind the Dodgers’ Julio Urías and is 5-0 with a 1.51 ERA since an Aug. 17 loss to the Brewers.

TORONTO TRYING

Left-handed Steven Matz is a career-best 13-8 with a 3.84 ERA as Toronto, battling for an AL wild-card berth, opens a series at the Minnesota Twins and Michael Pineda (7-8, 3.74).

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Latest Local News

More Local News