BC-AP Sports Preview Digest,358

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Friday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EDT:

— HOUSTON — Justin Verlander looks to improve to 9-0 and help the Houston Astros avoid elimination in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees. Luis Severino pitches for New York, which is a win away from advancing to the World Series for the first time since 2009. Game starts 8 p.m.

— LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers have earned a couple days off after their 7-1 roll to the NL pennant. That's plenty of time to briefly reflect on what they've accomplished as a 104-win team that finally ended Los Angeles' 29-year World Series drought with mostly spectacular play from April to October.

— CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs' season had just ended when Anthony Rizzo made a big, bold prediction. No, he didn't promise another championship. And actually, his prediction wasn't all that bold.

— MINNEAPOLIS — Ricky Rubio was a fan favorite in Minnesota for six tough years before he was traded to Utah this summer. Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau never got on the same page with Rubio, so the two needed to part ways. They cross paths when Thibodeau's 'Wolves host Rubio's Jazz. Game starts 8 p.m.

— MILWAUKEE — Expectations are rising for the Bucks this season. After beating the Celtics on the road, Milwaukee faces another early challenge when it hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers in its home opener. Game starts 7 p.m.

— ANAHEIM, Calif. — Key defenseman Hampus Lindholm could make his season debut when the injury-plagued Anaheim Ducks return from four days off to host the Montreal Canadiens, who are off to a worrisome 1-5-1 start. Game starts 10 p.m.

— KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Qualifying could be especially crucial this week as the NASCAR playoffs trims its field from 12 to 8 with Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway. Qualifying starts 6:15 p.m.

— AUSTIN, Texas — Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton takes aim at a fourth consecutive U.S. Grand Prix victory when practice starts. Morning and afternoon practice sessions.