LEADING OFF: Indians take aim at Target, Hamels rolling

Sports

Cleveland Indians’ Jason Kipnis scores as Texas Rangers’ Jeff Mathis takes the throw from Nomar Mazara during the seventh inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader in Cleveland, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

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

TARGET TIME

A couple months ago, Cleveland trailed the Twins by 11 ½ games in the AL Central and was being written off as too old and too banged-up. But by going a baseball-best 38-16 since June 4, the Indians have closed within two games of Minnesota heading into this four-game series at Target Field.

Mike Clevinger (6-2, 3.07 ERA) starts the opener for the Indians against Kyle Gibson (11-4, 4.02). Clevinger is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last three road starts.

“Guys are in a good mood, feeling good and excited to get to Minnesota,” Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis said.

HOT AS COLE

Cubs lefty Cole Hamels (6-3, 2.84 ERA) looks to stay on track against Alex Wood (1-0, 3.18) at Cincinnati. Hamels pitched five shutout innings versus Milwaukee last Saturday in his return from a five-week stint on the injured list with a strained oblique, and is 2-2 with a 1.07 ERA in his last seven starts.

Two-time All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy is expected to join the Cubs — he signed this week after being cut by the Angels.

STORY BOOKED

Rockies star Trevor Story has homered four times in five games. His 114 career home runs are the most in major league history for a shortstop’s first 500 games, surpassing Alex Rodriguez (103), Nomar Garciaparra (101) and Ernie Banks (100).

Story tries to keep his surge going when Colorado visits San Diego.

AVAILABLE

Greg Holland, a three-time All-Star who led the National League in saves in 2017 with 41, has been cut by the Diamondbacks.

The 33-year-old Holland had allowed at least one run in seven of his past 13 appearances. He’s 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA run average in 40 games.

Holland has 17 saves in 22 chances, but saw his ERA climb from 2.33 at the end of June to its current number.

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