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Verlander vs. Strasburg, Astros tweak lineup

HOUSTON (AP) _ The starting rotations for the World Series between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are filled with former Cy Young winners and first-round draft picks. Game 2 tonight features 2011 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander who starts tonight for his second World Series with the Astros. Verlander was the second overall pick by Detroit in 2004. Stephen Strasburg pitches for the Nationals, who took him first overall in the 2009 draft.

And, Houston has made a couple of tweaks to their lineup.

A night after designated hitter Yordan Alvarez had two hits and drew a walk, Houston moved the rookie up one spot in the lineup to bat sixth. Alvarez switches places with shortstop Carlos Correa, who had a single and three strikeouts in Game 1. Robinson Chirinos is in the lineup to catch Justin Verlander.

The Nationals are going with the same lineup they had in their 5-4 victory in Game 1 as they try to maintain a lead with Stephen Strasburg on the mound before the series shifts to Washington for Game 3 on Friday.


Game 1 averages 12.1 million viewers

UNDATED (AP) _ Game 1 of the World Series narrowly averted setting a record low. Washington's 5-4 victory Tuesday night averaged 12,194,000 fans, according to national numbers from Nielsen. That just edges over the number that tuned in for San Francisco's win over Kansas City in the 2014 opener.

The numbers are down 11.4% from last year's Game 1 between the Red Sox and the Dodgers.

Game 1 this year still won the night for Fox. It was the most-watched game of the postseason, surpassing the 7.47 million who watched Saturday's Game 6 of the AL Championship Series between Houston and the New York.

According to Major League Baseball, the League Championship Series averaged 5.15 million viewers, which is down slightly from last season numbers.


Back on the floor

UNDATED (AP) _ After a 2-game opening night slate, the NBA ramps things up tonight with an 11-game schedule.

Two teams with expectations meet in Philadelphia, where the 76ers host the Celtics. The 76ers return with Al Horford and Josh Richardson but without Jimmy Butler or JJ Redick, hoping they've given coach Brett Brown the right mix around All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. For Boston, Kemba Walker is now in Kyrie Irving's former spot, and the Celtics are hoping that produces better chemistry even with a little less talent.

Irving has moved on to Brooklyn, who open the season with a visit from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Other early starts have Chicago at Charlotte, Cleveland at Orlando, Detroit at Indiana, and Memphis visiting Miami.

The New York Knicks are in San Antonio, while the Washington Wizards are opening night guests of the Mavericks in Dallas, and Utah hosts Oklahoma City.

Late starts out West have Denver at Portland, and Sacramento at Phoenix, 10 p.m. Sacramento has gone 13 seasons without a playoff appearance tied for the second-longest in NBA history.


MIAMI (AP) _ Jimmy Butler's debut for the Miami Heat will be delayed by a few days. Butler was ruled out of Miami's season-opener against Memphis on Wednesday for what the team is calling "personal reasons." Butler was with the team Wednesday morning for its game-day shootaround practice, and told the team that he wasn't going to be able to play around mid-afternoon.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says "everything's fine" and that there is no reason for concern over the Butler situation.

Butler was the big offseason acquisition for the Heat this past summer, agreeing to a four-year deal in a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia.

Miami is also without guard Dion Waiters for the opener, while he serves a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.


Quiet night in the NHL

UNDATED (AP) — Just a few days ago, the injury-riddled Pittsburgh Penguins appeared to be the hottest team in the NHL. After a couple more injuries, the Pens have now dropped two in a row, including last night against the Florida Panthers, and will be looking to straighten themselves out against Tampa Bay. Going into the season as a favorite to reach the Stanley Cup final, the Lightning haven’t had the roaring start they might have hoped for. They come in with a 4-3-1 record.

Ottawa has only managed one win so far this season. They get a visit from the 3-6 Detroit Red Wings tonight.


Avs' Rantanen listed as week to week with lower-body injury

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) _ The Colorado Avalanche say forward Mikko Rantanen is week to week with a lower-body injury. The 2019 All-Star caught an edge in the ice and awkwardly twisted his left skate during the second period of Monday night's loss in St. Louis.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Wednesday after practice that he's optimistic Rantanen won't be a "four-to-six week injury. We're hoping he's going to be back significantly sooner than that."

The right winger from Finland is tied with Nathan MacKinnon for most points on the team this season. Both have five goals and seven assists.

Rantanen, who turns 23 next week, agreed to terms on a $55.5 million, six-year contract just before the start of the season.

Colorado plays Friday in Las Vegas.


Mahomes at practice; Jets examining Mosely injury

UNDATED (AP) _ Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ') is expected to throw during practice today, raising the possibility the reigning league MVP could return sooner than expected from a dislocated kneecap.

Mahomes hurt the knee on a quarterback sneak Thursday night in Denver. He has not been ruled out for Sunday night against Green Bay, but coach Andy Reid said backup Matt Moore would prepare is if he's starting the game.

_ The New York Jets are concerned linebacker C.J. Mosley could be dealing with more than just a groin injury. Coach Adam Gase says that team doctors are doing a "really deep dive" on what's ailing the playmaking middle linebacker. Mosley played Monday night for the first time since straining his groin in the season opener, but clearly wasn't 100%.

_ The Patriots have placed receiver Josh Gordon on injured reserve. Gordon suffered the injuries during New England's win over the Giants in Week 6 and sat out Monday night's win over the Jets and did not participate during practice. Gordon is among New England's leading receivers this season. In six games he has 20 catches for 287 yards and a touchdown.

_ Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn says quarterback Matt Ryan is hopeful he'll return from a sprained ankle to play against Seattle. As expected, Ryan did not practice. Quinn says the team "will have a better sense" of the quarterback's status for Sunday's game on Friday.

_ The Arizona Cardinals have signed Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner to add depth at the banged-up running back position. Arizona's Chase Edmonds ran for a career-high 126 yards in a win over the Giants on Sunday, but the team's other two running backs, David Johnson and D.J. Foster, are dealing with lingering injuries.

_ The Detroit Lions have signed running back Paul Perkins, adding much-needed depth at the position. Detroit made the move after putting running back Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve with a knee injury.

_ New York Jets guard Kelechi Osemele says he is having surgery on his injured right shoulder Friday despite the team not yet approving the procedure. Osemele says he received a third medical opinion earlier this week and it was recommended he have the surgery on what he says is a torn labrum that has detached from the bone. The Jets have been fining Osemele for conduct detrimental to the team for not practicing. Osemele says he and his agents have filed a grievance against the Jets.

_ Left tackle Russell Okung will make his season debut for the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at Chicago. Okung has been out all season recovering from a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots. The Chargers have lost starting offensive linemen Mike Pouncey and Forrest Lamp to season-ending injuries in the past month.


Harbaugh tells players' parents he's not leaving Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh sent an email to parents of players on his team, refuting a report saying representatives are working on his departure from the school.

In an email, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, Harbaugh says the idea that he's looking to leave his alma mater is not true. He says it happens every year by unspecified "enemies" to disrupt the program and impact recruiting.

The person who shared the email did so on condition of anonymity because it was intended only for players' parents.

Harbaugh, who is 43-16 with the Wolverines, is in the fifth year of a seven-year contract


Sooner Schooner won't run for rest of season after accident

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ The University of Oklahoma says the "Sooner Schooner" will not run the rest of the season after it tipped over during a home game against West Virginia. The Schooner will be repaired and used for viewing purposes but not run. A new Schooner is under construction and should be ready to run its customary loop on the field for the Spring Game in 2020.

The miniature covered wagon circles the field after Oklahoma scores. The mishap came after a second-quarter touchdown during Oklahoma's 52-14 win Saturday. School officials says there were no injuries to the three student spirit group members riding the wagon or the horses that pull it. They said it appears the weight distribution of riders in the rear of the wagon caused the spill.


Paralympian Marieke Vervoort fulfills wish to take own life

UNDATED (AP) _ Paralympian Marieke (mah’-REE-kuh) Vervoort has ended her life by euthanasia.

Vervoort won gold and silver medals in wheelchair racing at the 2012 London Paralympics, and two more medals three years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

She had said that when the day arrived, she had signed the euthanasia papers and was prepared to end her life.

That day came Tuesday in the 40-year-old’s native Belgium. Her death was confirmed in a statement from the city of Diest (DEEST').

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