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Rolling Guardians to host stumbling Rays

(AP Photo/Phil Long)

The Cleveland Guardians enter the postseason on quite the roll, winning 24 of their past 30 games to record the second-best 30-game, season-ending stretch in franchise history.

The American League Central champion Guardians (92-70) will look to continue their torrid run on Friday afternoon when they host the Tampa Bay Rays (86-76) in Game 1 of a best-of-three wild-card series. Tampa Bay, in turn, limps into the postseason with losses in nine of its past 11 games.

The Guardians concluded the regular season with a nine-game homestand, while the Rays ended their campaign with a nine-game trek that began in Cleveland on Sept. 27.

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Phils back in playoffs vs. Pujols, Cards

After dominating the St. Louis Cardinals during the regular season, Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler wants to capitalize on his postseason opportunity against them.

Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA) will draw his first career playoff assignment in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series Friday in St. Louis.

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Playoff drought over, Mariners face Jays

The Seattle Mariners and host Toronto Blue Jays, who entered the American League together in 1977, will meet in the postseason for the first time on Friday afternoon.

The Blue Jays will start right-hander Alek Manoah (16-7, 2.24 ERA) in the opener of the best-of-three wild-card series. The Mariners will open with right-hander Luis Castillo (8-6, 2.99).

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Star-studded Padres, Mets square off

NEW YORK (AP) For two teams that finished second fiddle in their divisions, the Padres and Mets bring an awful lot of star power into the playoffs.

Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Yu Darvish on the San Diego side.

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Tigers make changes on coaching staff

DETROIT (AP) Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and quality control coach Josh Paul won't be back with the team next season.

Hinch announced a series of staff changes Friday, two days after Detroit closed a disappointing season with a 66-96 record that extended the franchise's postseason drought to eight years.

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Mets' Showalter gets another Oct. shot

NEW YORK (AP) The last time Buck Showalter managed a playoff game, he ended up on the hot seat after an agonizing loss for Baltimore.

Six years later, a shot at redemption begins Friday with the New York Mets.

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Twins brace for possible Correa opt-out

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins came quickly out of the gate after the lockout this spring by making three bold trades and becoming the surprise landing spot for star shortstop Carlos Correa.

Their momentum lasted deep into the summer, with 108 of the 182 days in the regular season spent in first place. After their tumble down the stretch pushed them out of contention in the AL Central and stuck them with an 78-84 record, a mere five-game improvement from 2021, the Twins trudge toward winter facing one of the same big questions as last year.

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Retaining Bogaerts, Devers key for BoSox

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Red Sox want to re-sign Xander Bogaerts – and Rafael Devers, too – Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom insisted, saying things have improved since they bowed out of the bidding and traded away their last homegrown star: Mookie Betts.

“We are in a different situation and a better situation, I think, as far as how the organization is set up. So I don’t think we’re going to have the exact parallel to that situation again,” Bloom said Thursday, a day after the Red Sox finished last and headed into an offseason with their two best players in need of new deals.

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O's won 31 more games to finish 83-79

BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles surprised their own general manager with their progress in 2022.

Now they enter the offseason feeling like future contenders.

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