The Upper Deck

Welcome to The Upper Deck, Baseball America's daily look at the biggest stories around the game and some lighter fare.

COMING TO AMERICA

The “Babe Ruth” of Japan is coming to the United States, according to multiple reports. Shohei Otani will be posted by his Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters club at the end of the NPB season, the Japan Times, among other outlets reported Wednesday.

Otani, 23, is considered a star as a righthanded pitcher and hitter and his latest start on Tuesday was watched by at least half of MLB’s 30 teams, according to report. By coming to MLB now, Otani is giving up a larger payday. Under the new CBA, Otani cannot receive anywhere near that contract if he's posted after the 2017 or 2018 seasons.

But Fighters CEO Toshimasa Shimada told Jim Allen of Kyodo News, “He (Otani) doesn’t care about money. It’s not about the money.”


TWENTY AND COUNTING . . .

Behind Corey Kluber and Francisco Lindor, the Indians won their 20th game in a row, tying the 2002 Athletics for the longest win streak in AL history. Kluber blanked the Tigers in a 2-0 win, allowing just five hits and striking out eight to improve to 16-4, 2.44 with 243 strikeouts.


ELEVEN WAS ENOUGH

The Dodgers’ ended their 11-game losing streak, the longest since the franchise left Brooklyn, and clinched a postseason spot Tuesday with a 5-3 win over their hated rival, the Giants. Clayton Kershaw was solid over six innings as L.A.’s cut its magic number to clinch the NL West to eight.


20-20 VISION

Despite their illustrious history, the Red Sox had never had a player hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases two years in a row. But Mookie Betts reached that mark Tuesday with two homers against Oakland in an 11-1 rout. Betts, 24, now has 21 homers and 24 steals.

Only one other Red Sox player had two 20/20 seasons: Jackie Jensen, but he did it in 1954 and 1959.


CATCHING ON

As hot as Giancarlo Stanton had been since the All-Star break, no one’s been able to catch anything he’s hit. But on Tuesday, a young Phillies fan made an impressive grab of a foul ball, dodging the cotton-candy vendor at the same time.


KING RICHARD

Rookie Richard Urena helped the Blue Jays play spoiler Tuesday, hitting the walk-off RBI single against Zach Britton in Toronto’s 3-2 win over the Orioles. It was the first save attempt for Britton since Aug. 30 in what has been a down season for the lefthander, who had saved 60 games in a row from September 2015 through Aug. 23 of this year but has not been the dominant closer he was in 2016.

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