In Brief: Expanded field helps playoffs
PHOENIX (AP) — Ten days remain in MLB’s regular season, and playoff races are hot, particularly in a crowded National League.
The NL wild-card race has been tight for the better part of a month, with the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Marlins, Reds and Giants scrambling to claim three playoff positions.
It’s exactly the kind of drama MLB hoped for when it expanded the playoff field from 10 to 12 teams before the 2022 season.
The American League race also has some drama with the Rangers, Astros, Blue Jays and Mariners fighting for three playoff spots.
NHL GROWING ‘DOWN UNDER’
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — The National Hockey League is trying to build on its first foray into the Southern Hemisphere — two preseason games between the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyote this weekend — by expanding its street hockey program to Australia.
The program is designed for children ages 6 to 16 and will eventually be instituted into some schools in Victoria state.
The North American version has incorporated various aspects of previously successful NHL club programs in non-traditional hockey markets such as Las Vegas, Nashville and Tampa.
And Australia, despite having a domestic league with many expatriate overseas players and fledgling national teams, is definitely in the non-traditional category.
ROOKIE LEADS TIGERS IN WIN
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rookie Reese Olson won for the third time in his last four starts, combining with two relievers on a three-hitter to help the Detroit Tigers beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 late Wednesday night and avoid a sweep in the three-game series.
Olson allowed one run on two hits in six innings Wednesday. His only mistake came in the sixth inning when Max Muncy drove an elevated slider into the stands in right-center to trim the Tigers’ lead to 2-1.
The 24-year old right-hander has given up just five runs in 30 innings over his last five starts.
Will Vest worked 1 2/3 innings for his second save.