Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics became the first major league baseball player to kneel during the national anthem on Saturday, adopting a protest started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in response to police treatment of blacks. More players could follow — there’s been a major backlash by athletes and executives after President Donald Trump denounced protests by NFL players at a rally on Friday. The Athletics quickly voiced support for Maxwell, tweeting shortly after the anthem that they “respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression” and “pride ourselves on being inclusive.”
After playing three straight games that got decided in the 10th inning, the NL Central-leading Cubs and Brewers wrap up their series at Miller Park. Milwaukee bounced back from two losses to win Saturday 4-3 on Travis Shaw’s homer off closer Wade Davis. The Brewers moved within 4 1/2 games of the Cubs, and are even closer in the chase for the second wild-card spot. Jose Quintana starts for Chicago vs. Chase Anderson.
The Diamondbacks try again to lock up a spot in the NL wild-card game when they host the Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton helped Miami thwart Arizona’s attempt to clinch Saturday, clubbing his 57th homer in a 12-6 win. Arizona’s Patrick Corbin (14-13, 4.14) gets the ball against Dan Straily (10-9, 4.17).
Lance McCullers (7-3, 3.97) pitches for the AL West champion Astros when they host the Los Angeles Angels at night. The right-hander hasn’t pitched since he was scratched from his scheduled start on Sept. 13 because of arm fatigue. Manager A.J. Hinch said McCullers will be on a pitch count, but didn’t say exactly how many pitches they’ll let him throw. The Angels have lost six in a row and fallen back in the wild-card race.
KLUBOT IN CONTROL
Corey Kluber can improve his AL Cy Young Award resume when Cleveland faces Seattle. Kluber is 5-0 with a 1.15 ERA in his last five starts and hasn’t allowed a run in 22 innings. He is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA in three career starts against Seattle.
Jacob deGrom is expected back on the mound for the Mets after having a scheduled start pushed back because of a stomach bug. He’ll face Washington ace Max Scherzer in the last game of the season series between the teams. The Nationals may also get star outfielder Bryce Harper back soon. Harper played in a simulated game Saturday, and manager Dusty Baker says he’s “very close” to returning after hyperextending his left knee in August.