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

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Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

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


Cleveland ace Shane Bieber (7-1, 1.53 ERA) tries to get the Indians headed in the right direction when they open a series at Detroit. 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.


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.