LEADING OFF: MLB strikeout leader Ray vs Rays newcomer Baz

Sep 19, 2021, 5:32 AM | Updated: 9:26 pm
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Robbie Ray pitches in the first inning of a baseball game agains...

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Robbie Ray pitches in the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Toronto on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

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

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CY YOUNG CONTENDER VS. DEBUTING PHENOM

Toronto left-hander Robbie Ray, competing with the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole for the AL Cy Young Award, leads the majors with 233 strikeouts, tops the AL with a 2.64 ERA and is 12-5 going into this start at Tampa Bay.

Shane Baz, who will be making his major league debut after pitching for the United States at the Olympics, starts for Tampa Bay.

The Blue Jays hold the second spot in the AL wild-card race, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees. The Rays lead the AL East.

Ray is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 10 starts since a July 21 loss to Boston.

Baz, a 22-year-old right-hander, was taken by Pittsburgh with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft and became the player to be named in the 2018 trade that sent pitcher Chris Archer to the Pirates. Baz was 3-0 with a 1.76 in 10 starts following his promotion to Triple-A Durham.

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SWEET STARTS

Ranger Suárez has provided a huge boost to the Phillies since moving into a starting role, and looks to build on that success against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

After beginning the season as a reliever, the 26-year-old lefty joined the rotation in early August. Stretched out slowly, Suarez has a 1.85 ERA in nine starts, allowing just one home run in those 43 2/3 innings.

Overall, Suarez is 6-4 with a 1.50 ERA. He’s a big reason the Phillies are going into the final two weeks close to the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.

HOME BREW

Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers can clinch their first NL Central title since 2008 with even a split of their four-game series at home against St. Louis.

The Brewers’ magic number for winning the division is three. They’ve already sealed their fourth consecutive playoff berth Saturday.

Freddy Peralta (9-4, 2.69 ERA) starts the opener for Milwaukee. Jake Woodford (2-3, 4.30) pitches for the Cardinals, who hold the second spot in the NL wild-card race.

STREAKING

White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodón (12-5, 2.38) has won four straight starts for the second time this season as the AL Central leaders begin a series at Detroit.

Rodón (12-5, 2.38) is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two outings against the Tigers this year. Right-hander Matt Manning (4-6, 5.75) starts for Detroit.

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LEADING OFF: MLB strikeout leader Ray vs Rays newcomer Baz