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Friday September 25th, 2020 2:33PM

LEADING OFF: Bieber starts, Verlander limbers up, deGrom OK?

By The Associated Press
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A look at what's happening around the majors today:

NOW AND LATER

Shane Bieber (7-1, 1.53 ERA) tries to get the Indians headed in the right direction when they open a series at Detroit. Cleveland has dropped eight straight, its longest slide since June 2013. Bieber, a top contender for the AL Cy Young Award and perhaps the best pitcher in baseball this season, was beaten 3-1 in Minnesota last week for his first loss of the year. Still, he became the fastest starting pitcher since 1900 to reach 100 strikeouts in a season, hitting the milestone in 62 1/3 innings.

Bieber will face Casey Mize (0-1, 5.85 ERA), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft. Mize makes his sixth big league start and is looking for his first career win.

JUST IN TIME?

Astros ace Justin Verlander threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, who was out with a strained right forearm, threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“He looked real good, especially for his first time out ... his control was good,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Baker hopes the Astros can get Verlander back before the end of the regular season, but said they likely won’t know what’s next for him until Friday.

“We’re just going to have to see how he comes out of this,” Baker said. “Probably won’t know for a couple of days (if) he has any soreness or any discomfort or anything. So, we’ll just have to wait.”

BUMP IN THE ROAD

Jacob deGrom and the Mets are hoping he feels better fast after the New York ace exited early Wednesday night against Philadelphia with a right hamstring spasm. The right-hander was removed following a surprisingly rough two innings that could derail his bid for a third consecutive NL Cy Young Award. He allowed three runs, pushing his ERA back over 2.00 at 2.09. It was the first time this season deGrom gave up three earned runs.

TAKE A BREAK

The Oakland Athletics will finally have a day off after playing 16 games in 13 days. The stretch included four games in three cities and three different time zones over a span of nearly 57 hours.

Manager Bob Melvin welcomes a rest day. Not outfielder Robbie Grossman, though.

“All I’ll think about is getting back on the field,” Grossman said.

He may even spend the off day watching baseball.

“That’s just me. I love baseball. I can’t get enough,” Grossman said. “That’s who I am and I’m not ashamed of it at all.”

The AL West leaders will be back in action Friday night, hosting the Giants.

___

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

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