LEADING OFF: Strasburg vs Bauer, Hamels returns, Manuel back


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


There’s quite a pitching matchup at Nationals Park for the series finale between Washington and Cincinnati: Stephen Strasburg vs. Trevor Bauer, two righties who are among the top strikeout artists in the majors this season.

For Bauer, it’s his third appearance for the Reds since arriving from the Indians in a three-team trade that sent Yasiel Puig to Cleveland – and came shortly after the pitcher chucked a baseball over an outfield wall when he was removed from a game. Bauer is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA for Cincinnati, and 10-8 with a 3.74 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 168 1/3 innings overall in 2019.

Strasburg leads the NL in wins at 14-5, is fourth with 181 Ks and has a 3.72 ERA. He’s also 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in his past four starts against the Reds.


Cubs lefty Cole Hamels is set to pitch at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since the Phillies traded him to Texas in July 2015.

Hamels spent 10 seasons with Philadelphia and was the MVP of the 2008 World Series and NL Championship Series. The 35-year-old Hamels (6-3. 3.09 ERA) starts for Chicago against Aaron Nola (10-3, 3.67) in a matchup of playoff contenders.


The Baltimore Orioles face the Yankees for the final time this year. No doubt, the Birds have seen too much of Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela and the Bronx Bombers.

New York has beaten the O’s in 15 straight games this year and is 16-2 against them overall.

Boosted by 13 drives from Torres, the Yankees have hit a single-season record 60 home runs off Baltimore pitching and outscored the Orioles 145-78.

Dylan Bundy (5-12, 5.04 ERA) gets the Orioles’ last chance to stop the onslaught when he starts at Yankee Stadium.


A familiar face is returning to the Phillies dugout – former manager Charlie Manuel, now the team’s new hitting coach.

The 75-year-old Manuel was set to join the club a day after he was hired Tuesday to replace John Mallee. Manuel had been working as senior adviser to general manager Matt Klentak.

Manuel is taking over the post for the rest of the season. He led Philadelphia to five straight division titles, two NL pennants and the franchise’s second World Series championship, in 2008.

The Phillies went into their series against the Cubs this week ranked 19th in the majors in runs, 24th in batting average and 23rd in home runs.


The Nationals have tried and tried to find the right mix in the bullpen, and might be ready to give Greg Holland a chance.

The 33-year-old Holland has reached agreement with the Nats on a minor league contract, pending a physical. The three-time All-Star was designated for assignment by Arizona last week – he was 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA and 17 saves in 22 chances this season and lost the job as the Diamondbacks’ closer after a blown save in late July.

Washington is leading the NL wild-card race even though its bullpen has been a problem throughout this year, particularly in the eighth inning. Its 6.05 ERA entering Tuesday was the worst in the NL.

Among the pitchers the Nats have added during the season are Fernando Rodney, Jonny Venters and three trade-deadline pickups: Daniel Hudson, Hunter Strickland and Roenis Elías, who is currently on the injured list.


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Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against New York Mets, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)