BC-AP Sports Preview Digest
Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Wednesday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EDT:
— CLEVELAND — It’s all or nothing when the Cleveland Indians host the New York Yankees in the decisive Game 5 of the AL Division Series. Corey Kluber, considered the favorite for the AL Cy Young Award, starts for Cleveland and tries to atone for getting hit hard in Game 2. CC Sabathia pitches for the wild-card Yankees. The winner meets Houston in the AL Championship Series, set to begin Friday. Game starts 8:08 p.m.
— CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals return to Wrigley Field for Game 4 of their NL Division Series after they were rained out on Tuesday. The Cubs send Jake Arrieta to the mound with a chance to advance to the NLCS for the third straight year, while Tanner Roark pitches for the Nationals. Game starts 4:08 p.m.
— HOUSTON — Jose Altuve hit .346 to win the American League batting title for the second straight year before batting .533 in the ALDS to help the Houston Astros eliminate the Boston Red Sox. As Houston prepares for its first ALCS since 2005 Altuve’s teammates and coaches say what’s better than his gaudy numbers is that no matter how great they are he always believes he can do better.
— GENEVA —The World Cup is truly taking shape. A dramatic day of qualifying matches ended with 23 of the 32-team lineup confirmed to play next year in Russia. Lionel Messi will be there. Cristiano Ronaldo, too. The United States will not, for the first time since 1986.
— COUVA, Trinidad — The United States will be missing when soccer gathers for the World Cup in Russia next June. A bumbling, stumbling, tumbling qualification campaign ended with a 2-1 loss to an already eliminated Caribbean nation. Now comes the fallout, which almost surely will lead to a new coach and possibly to a new head of the U.S.Soccer Federation.
— LONDON — If FIFA had spent as much money on goal-line technology as it splurges on self-indulgent meetings, the United States might be going to the World Cup. An AP sports column.
— We’ve got another enticing Thursday night NFL matchup a week after the Patriots beat the Buccaneers in a tight prime-timer. Division leaders Philadelphia and Carolina go at it in Charlotte. These two are tied with the Packers for the best record in the NFC at 4-1. The Panthers have been particularly impressive with road wins at New England and Detroit. The Eagles might be arriving a year ahead of schedule as they sit atop the NFC East.
— Twenty-two ranked college football teams will play this weekend and no one game features two of them. That rarely happens, especially this late in the season. While there are no must-see matchups on the slate, there are plenty of possibilities for upsets.
— NEW YORK — Everything is faster in the NBA this season. There is fewer practice time before games start and fewer timeouts once they do, causing adjustments even for veteran coaches.
— RIO DE JANEIRO — The arrest of Brazilian Olympic Committee President Carlos Nuzman of corruption allegations forces changes at the top with athletes calling for wholesale reform. Nuzman also headed last year’s Rio Olympics.