LEADING OFF: Marlins’ Marte hopes to play with broken hand

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Starling Marte, Don Mattingly

A member of the Miami Marlins staff and manager Don Mattingly, right, lead Starling Marte (6) away after Marte was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning of Game 1 of a National League wild-card baseball series against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Marte left the game with an unknown injury. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A look at what’s happening around the majors Thursday:

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GOING SHORT-HANDED?

The Marlins are hoping center fielder Starling Marte can play through a broken bone in his left hand as they try to eliminate the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Marte was hit by a fastball in the ninth inning of Miami’s 5-1 win Wednesday, and X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture in his fifth metacarpal — the bone that leads into the pinkie finger.

The team is optimistic and is still considering him day to day.

Marte started in the opener of the best-of-three series after he was hit on the front of his helmet by a fastball during Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Yankees.

“He’s been like a target almost,” manager Don Mattingly said. “But he’s been bouncing back from everything else so hopefully we get good results with everything and we’ll see where he’s at.”

Yu Darvish starts for the NL Central champion Cubs, and rookie right-hander Sixto Sánchez get the ball for upstart Miami, which is in the playoffs for the first time since 2003 and has never lost a postseason series.

WAITING GAME

Atlanta is one home win over Cincinnati from advancing in the postseason for the first time in 19 years and halting a record-tying streak of 10 straight playoff round losses.

The NL East champion Braves can sweep the best-of-three series with a victory behind 22-year-old rookie starter Ian Anderson (3-2, 1.95 ERA), the No. 3 pick in the 2016 amateur draft. To do it, the Braves might need to make a whole lot more contact at the plate than they did Wednesday while beating the Reds 1-0 in 13 innings — the first postseason game to be scoreless after 11. The teams combined for a postseason-record 37 strikeouts — 21 by the Braves. They’ll be up against Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.21), who makes his first career playoff start for the Reds. Castillo ranked sixth in the NL with 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings this season.

Atlanta hasn’t moved on in the playoffs since a 3-0 sweep in the 2001 NL Division Series against the Houston Astros — who are now in the American League.

LEFT OUT?

The White Sox have punished left-handed starters this year, going 14-0 against them in the regular season and then beating Oakland southpaw Jesús Luzardo in the playoff opener.

That’s left Athletics manager Bob Melvin with a tough choice on who to start with the season on the line in the deciding Game 3 at the Coliseum — maybe righty Mike Fiers over lefty Sean Manaea?

“I’m pretty sure we’re pretty dang confident in anyone we throw against the White Sox,” said Chris Bassitt, who won Game 2 on Wednesday. “The numbers don’t mean anything. It’s the postseason. I thought they put absurd at-bats against me, and I’m a righty.”

Chicago is still hoping Eloy Jiménez can return as the calendar turns to October. He was out for a second straight playoff game because of a sprained right foot that kept him out of the final three games of the regular season.

“Right now he’s about the same, no worse,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Hopefully that can calm down a little bit more.”

DO OR DIE

Zach Davies will start Game 2 for San Diego against St. Louis as the Padres face elimination without rotation leaders Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger. Both were left off the club’s 28-man roster for the wild-card series due to injuries that forced them out of their final regular-season starts. Chris Paddack started Game 1 but allowed six runs in a 7-4 loss.

The Padres hoped Lamet and Clevinger would be healthy enough to pitch in the series. Clevinger threw a bullpen session Tuesday and Lamet had thrown on Monday.

Davies is still a strong option. The right-hander went 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 12 starts. He’ll face Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright, who holds the Cardinals’ career marks for postseason games (27) and strikeouts (115) and is second in innings pitched (105 2/3) to Chris Carpenter (108). Wainwright closed out the Padres at Petco Park in their previous postseason appearance in 2006.

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