Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:08 PM EST
By The Associated Press, AP
Lakers look to take control in Game 4
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to regain control of the Western Conference finals when they face the Denver Nuggets Thursday night in Game 4. The top-seeded Lakers lead the series two games to one, but the games have been closer than Los Angeles would like.
After Los Angeles won the opener, Denver nearly rallied to win Game 2 and then took Game 3 after the Lakers repeated some of their mistakes from the previous game. LeBron James says the Lakers have to play better than that in Game 4.
The Denver Nuggets don’t seem worried. They have been behind by two games in all three of their playoff series, so they were stung but not sunk when Anthony Davis hit a 3-pointer as time expired to deny them a win in Game 2.
Cardinals and Brewers continue quest for playoff spot
UNDATED (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals return to Busch Stadium with their playoff fate still in their hands, a day after getting pummeled by out-of-contention Kansas City 12-3. They face the Milwaukee Brewers, who are also competing for an NL playoff spot.
The Cardinals (27-26) remain 3 1/2 games back of first-place Chicago in the NL Central after the Cubs lost to Pittsburgh, but their edge for the No. 2 spot in the division was nearly wiped out. The Reds (29-28) beat the Brewers (27-28) in their series finale to close within percentage points of St. Louis headed toward a pivotal final weekend.
No Brewers pitcher has won an ERA title, but Corbin Burnes could become the first. The 25-year-old righty starts Thursday night with a 1.77 ERA, barely behind Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer. Kwang Hyun Kim pitches for St. Louis, coming off the first shaky start of his rookie season.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Dallas Keuchel (KY’-kul) and the White Sox visit Zach Plesac (PLEE’-sak) and the Indians tonight in a matchup of teams already in the playoffs and trying to win the AL Central crown. Both pitchers are among the AL ERA leaders. Cleveland’s Shane Bieber tops the majors at 1.63 after a strong performance last night. The game also pairs two players at the top of the AL MVP race: Chicago slugger José Abreu (ah-BRAY’-oo) and Indians third baseman José Ramírez.
— Hyun Jin Ryu (hee-YUHN’ jihn YOO) tries to pitch Toronto closer to a playoff spot when he starts against the Yankees tonight in Buffalo. Ryu has permitted more than two earned runs in just one of his past nine starts. Jordan Mongtomery is completing his first full season following Tommy John surgery.
Jaguars host Dolphins on Thursday night
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The 1-1 Jacksonville Jaguars host the 0-2 Miami Dolphins on Thursday night.
The game features two quarterbacks known for their facial hair. Miami’s Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap. Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew has a horseshoe mustache.
The 37-year-old Fitzpatrick and the 24-year-old Minshew are both coming off good performances in close losses last week.
Fitzpatrick threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to Buffalo. He put the Dolphins ahead in the fourth quarter before Josh Allen rallied the Bills against Miami’s struggling defense. Minshew threw three TD passes for the third consecutive game, but he had two somewhat-fluky interceptions in a 33-30 loss at Tennessee.