LEADING OFF: Bregman streaking, Angels hopeful about Ohtani
By The Associated Press
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Alex Bregman has homered in three straight games for Houston, part of his surge since making the All-Star team. The third baseman has reached base safely in 31 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors, and looks to extend the string at home vs. Minnesota. Bregman tops the AL West leaders with his career-high 28 home runs and has 72 extra-base hits, the most by an Astros player since Lance Berkman’s 79 in 2008.
The Angels are hopeful Shohei Ohtani will make his next start as scheduled Sunday at Chicago against the White Sox. The two-way rookie was evaluated a day after making an early exit in his return to the mound. He was pulled after 2 1/3 innings at Houston when his velocity drastically dropped — Ohtani hadn’t pitched in the majors since June 6 because of a strained right elbow.
Ohtani, who continued to be a designated hitter while his elbow recovered, wasn’t in the starting lineup Monday night at Texas. That’s been the pattern on days after he pitches.
Francisco Lindor thinks the Indians need a spark. The star shortstop said after a 5-1 loss to Kansas City on Monday that Cleveland’s “energy is down.” The Indians have lost three straight but still lead the AL Central by 14 games. Their magic number to clinch the division was trimmed to 12 after Minnesota’s loss to Houston.
“I don’t know why,” Lindor said. “Personally, my energy is down. We’re at that point in the season where guys are dragging their feet a little. We have to go back to playing the Tribe Way and not taking any pitch for granted. We’ll be fine.”
Cardinals closer Bud Norris is likely to get a day off after two straight poor outings. Norris gave up a tying home run to Bryce Harper in the ninth inning at Washington on Monday, and the Nationals won in the 10th. On Sunday, Norris was tagged for two homers and three runs in the 10th inning by the Reds in a loss at Busch Stadium. Norris is 28 for 33 on save chances.
Third baseman Rafael Devers and infielder Brandon Phillips are set to join the Red Sox in Atlanta for their game between division leaders. Devers has been on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. The 37-year-old Phillips, who went to high school in the Atlanta area, will make his Boston debut. Phillips signed with the Red Sox in late June.
Yankees lefty J.A. Happ (15-6, 4.00 ERA) pitches at Oakland in what could be next month’s matchup for the AL wild-card game. Happ is 5-0 with a 3.38 ERA in six starts since being traded from Toronto to New York in late July.
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