LEADING OFF: Scherzer vs streaking Phils, Jiménez on HR tear

AP Sports
Max Scherzer

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws to a Houston Astros batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

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

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OCTOBER ON THEIR MINDS

Max Scherzer (9-4, 2.75 ERA) makes his second start for the Los Angeles Dodgers when they visit the red-hot Philadelphia Phillies in a potential playoff preview.

Bryce Harper, his former teammate with Washington, has four home runs in his last six games and has reached base in 17 straight for the Phillies, who try for their first nine-game winning streak in 10 years. Philadelphia took over the NL East lead last weekend with a three-game sweep of the New York Mets.

Scherzer dazzled in his Dodgers debut after being acquired from the Nationals in a blockbuster deal before the July 30 trade deadline. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out 10 and allowed two earned runs over seven innings in a win against Houston.

Aaron Nola (7-6, 4.49) pitches for the Phillies in a marquee mound matchup.

REDEMPTION LIES AT HOME

After losing their AL East lead during a 2-8 road trip, the struggling Red Sox return home to Fenway Park, where they are 33-22 this season. Boston still still holds a wild-card spot, but is four games behind first-place Tampa Bay heading into the opener of a pivotal three-game series against the Rays.

The last time the teams met, the Rays won all three matchups at home from July 30 to Aug. 1 to move atop the division.

Eduardo Rodriguez (8-6, 5.33 ERA) starts for the Red Sox against Luis Patino (2-3, 4.42).

CHISOX SOCKER

Eloy Jiménez is heating up in a hurry for the AL Central-leading White Sox.

Jiménez has hit two homers with five RBIs in two straight games. He did it Sunday night in a win at Wrigley Field, then kept connecting Monday night at Target Field against the Twins.

The 24-year-old Jiménez rejoined Chicago’s lineup two weeks ago after rupturing a pectoral muscle in spring training.

Jiménez produced excellent power numbers in his first two seasons in the majors. Chicago has ranked near the bottom among AL teams in home runs this year.

LET’S PLAY TWO

George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays, who have won 10 of 12, are the home team in California for the first game of an unusual doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels.

The opener is a makeup from an April 11 rainout at the Blue Jays’ temporary home field early this season in Dunedin, Florida. In the regularly scheduled nightcap, the Angels will be the home team at Angel Stadium.

Guerrero has 35 home runs, second in the majors to Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani (37).

Springer on Monday became the first Toronto player to win consecutive AL player of the week awards.

And at Wrigley Field, the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers play a day-night doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs after Monday night’s game was rained out.

Freddy Peralta (8-3, 2.21 ERA) and Aaron Ashby are the scheduled starters for Milwaukee. The Cubs counter with Justin Steele (2-0, 2.03) and Alec Mills.

Ashby was charged with seven runs (four earned) and four hits in two-thirds on an inning during his major league debut against the Cubs on June 30 in Milwaukee.

GLEYBER GONE

The Yankees will be minus infielder Gleyber Torres for a while after he was put on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left thumb.

Torres was hurt sliding into second base on a steal try Sunday. Manager Aaron Boones said he expected Torres to be out 10 to 20 days.

Torres is hitting .253 with six home runs and 42 RBIs. An All-Star in each of his first two years, he has struggled to find his stroke over the last two seasons.

IN A RUT

Pete Alonso and the New York Mets look to get back on track following a day off as they return home to face a torn-down Washington team. The reeling Mets have lost four straight and nine of 11, dropping them from first to third place in the NL East, and totaled only 20 runs in their last nine defeats. Alonso is hitless in his past 21 at-bats.

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