LEADING OFF: Yankees' skid at 7, Scherzer rides K streak
A look at what's happening all around the majors Wednesday:
HITTING THE SKIDS
Despite another home run by Aaron Judge, who leads the majors with 24, the Yankees lost their seventh straight game Tuesday night - their longest slide in a single season since April 2007. A week ago, New York led the AL East by four games after winning the opener of a West Coast trip. But even with the return of closer Aroldis Chapman from the disabled list, the Yankees have dropped out of first place for the first time since mid-May. Rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery (4-4, 3.78 ERA) attempts to stop the skid against Ricky Nolasco (2-8, 5.01) and the Angels. Nolasco is winless in nine starts since April 27, losing his last six.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.26) tries to extend his career-best streak of double-digit strikeout games to six when he faces Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and the Marlins. ''It's a cool accomplishment. That's not easy to do,'' Scherzer said after his most recent outing against the Mets. ''Your pitches have to be sharp every single time out.'' The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner leads the league in ERA and strikeouts (134). He has won four of his last five starts. ''You cannot let him get the lead,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''You watch his demeanor on the mound. When he starts walking around with that big, long pace that he's got, he's locked in.''
Rangers lefty Cole Hamels makes his second rehab start with Double-A Frisco, against Midland. Hamels has been out since early May with a strained muscle on his right side but could rejoin the Texas rotation next week in Cleveland. He threw three scoreless innings last Friday for Frisco. Hamels is 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA over five starts in his third season with the Rangers. He got hurt while warming up before his scheduled start May 2 at Houston.
Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija (2-9, 4.81 ERA) hopes to avoid becoming the first big league pitcher with 10 losses this season when he starts in Atlanta against Matt Kemp and the Braves. Samardzija is tied for most losses in the majors with Boston right-hander Rick Porcello, last year's AL Cy Young Award winner.
Jeff Hoffman (4-0, 2.25) can extend a dominant stretch to begin the season when the Rockies continue a surprisingly meaningful NL West series against the Diamondbacks. Hoffman, a rookie right-hander acquired from Toronto in a trade for Troy Tulowitzki in 2015, gave up seven runs in his lone appearance against Arizona last season, but he's been a different pitcher this year for contending Colorado. He'll face right-hander Taijuan Walker (5-3, 3.32), who has allowed one run in 11 innings over his past two starts.
Mariners left-hander James Paxton hasn't been the same since a left forearm strain landed him on the disabled list, and he'll try to get right in a start against Justin Verlander and the Tigers. Paxton (5-2, 3.23) had a 1.43 ERA through six starts before going on the DL, but he's given up 14 earned runs in 18 innings over four starts since. Paxton's fastball averaged just under 95 mph in his last start, down nearly 3 mph from opening day. Verlander (4-4, 4.50) hasn't won since May 20, but did throw seven innings of two-run ball against Tampa Bay last time out.
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