LEADING OFF: Padres try new pitch, Reds-Brewers, O’s skid

Sports

FILE – In this June 17, 2021, file photo, San Diego Padres pitching coach Larry Rothschild walks back to the dugout after a mound visit in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in San Diego. The slumping Padres fired Rothschild on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Derrick Tuskan, File)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

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NEW PITCH

One day after firing pitching coach Larry Rothschild, the slumping San Diego Padres begin a three-game series at home against the NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 67-year-old Rothschild had been with the Padres for the past two seasons. San Diego has lost nine of 11, falling one game behind Cincinnati for the second NL wild card.

Ben Fritz, the team’s bullpen coach, will be the interim pitching coach for the rest of the season.

After a solid start to the season, San Diego’s staff has a 4.82 ERA in August.

Three of the Padres’ main starters — Yu Darvish, Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet — are on the injured list. So is Drew Pomeranz, one of the club’s top relievers.

“With 36 games to go, we’re trying to give a different message,” manager Jayce Tingler said.

Julio Urías (13-3, 3.29 ERA) is expected to start for the Dodgers in his return from a bruised calf.

SEEING REDS

Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds visit Milwaukee in the start of a three-game series between the top two teams in the NL Central.

The first-place Brewers have a 7 1/2-game advantage over Cincinnati, which leads San Diego by one game for the second NL wild card.

“If we can go up there and sweep them, it’s going to make things real interesting,” Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson said.

Corbin Burnes (8-4, 2.13 ERA) pitches for Milwaukee against Tyler Mahle (10-4, 3.78) as the Brewers look for their 11th victory in 14 games.

Votto is batting .320 since the All-Star break and leads the majors in homers (17) and RBIs (41) during that stretch.

The 2010 NL MVP, who turns 38 on Sept. 10, has 28 home runs — his most since hitting 36 in 2017 — even though he was sidelined for most of May with a broken thumb.

“It sounds ridiculous, but I almost feel like I’ve relearned how to hit, and I’ve really, really enjoyed the fruits of that discovery,” Votto said.

ROLL ON

Riding a 10-game winning streak, Giancarlo Stanton and the New York Yankees go for a two-game interleague sweep at NL East-leading Atlanta.

Stanton homered and drove in three runs Monday night as New York cooled off the streaking Braves with a 5-1 victory before a near-sellout crowd of 39,176 that was spiced up with plenty of Yankees fans.

New York snapped Atlanta’s own nine-game winning streak in the first regular-season matchup in almost 120 years between teams that had won at least nine in a row. The Pittsburgh Pirates took a 10-game winning streak into their Sept. 7, 1901, contest against the Philadelphia Phillies, who had won nine in a row. The Phillies won 4-1, but Pittsburgh went on to capture the NL pennant.

Andrew Heaney (8-8, 5.51 ERA) makes his fifth start for the Yankees since being acquired from the Angels. He is 2-1 with a 6.55 ERA for his new team.

Charlie Morton (12-4, 3.47) tries for his third consecutive win. He is 4-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 11 career starts against the Yankees. Morton has lasted at least six innings in seven of his past eight starts.

FOR THE BIRDS

Baltimore attempts to halt an 18-game losing streak when the Orioles host Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels in the opener of a three-game series.

It’s the longest skid in the majors since Kansas City dropped 19 in a row in 2005. Only three times during the slide have the Orioles lost by two runs or fewer.

Spenser Watkins (2-5, 5.63 ERA) pitches for Baltimore against Dylan Bundy (2-9, 6.04), a first-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2011. He last pitched for them in 2019.

SHORT STORY

All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson could return to the Chicago White Sox lineup in Toronto after sitting out three straight games because of soreness in his legs.

Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos (8-6, 3.52 ERA) is 0-1 with a 5.28 ERA in his past three starts. He went 0-2 in three starts against the White Sox this season with Minnesota.

Dylan Cease (9-6, 4.06) pitches for Chicago, which has a comfortable cushion in the AL Central.

RAY MATTERS

Tampa Bay has some significant concerns heading into a two-game interleague series at Philadelphia.

The AL East leaders put designated hitter Nelson Cruz on the COVID-19 injured list Sunday before a 9-0 victory over the White Sox.

“Woke up not feeling good,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Opted to keep him away. Certainly will test and all that.”

Tampa Bay also lost starting pitcher Chris Archer and first baseman Ji-Man Choi early in the game. The Rays started the day with 16 players, including 15 pitchers, on the IL.

Archer was pulled because of left hip tightness in his first start since April 10, though he said he didn’t believe the injury was serious.

Choi exited with left hamstring tightness.

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