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LEADING OFF: Wainwright streak, Snell starts, Freeman out

September 23, 2019
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St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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

WRIGHT CALL

After completing its first four-game sweep at Wrigley Field since 1921, NL Central-leading St. Louis sends Adam Wainwright to the mound for the opener of a three-game series at Arizona. The 38-year-old Wainwright is 4-0 in September, allowing one earned run in 27 innings. The 6-foot-7 right-hander pitched seven sparkling innings in a 5-1 victory over Max Scherzer and Washington on Wednesday.

The Cardinals lead Milwaukee by three games for the division, and their magic number is one to eliminate the third-place Cubs from NL Central contention after four straight one-run victories against Chicago over the weekend.

RAYS THE EXPECTATIONS

Lefty Blake Snell starts for Tampa Bay, which goes into the final week of the regular season tied with Cleveland for the second AL wild card and two games back of Oakland for the top spot.

Snell (6-7, 4.19 ERA) faces Boston at Tropicana Field in his second start since missing almost two months after surgery to remove bone chips in his throwing elbow. The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner pitched two hitless innings in a start last Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

AILING FREEMAN

Braves star Freddie Freeman is remaining in Atlanta this week for treatment on his sore right elbow, rather than traveling with the team for its series at Kansas City.

Freeman, a MVP candidate for the NL East champions, left Sunday’s game in the eighth inning against San Francisco after a recurrence of a bone spur in the elbow. The Braves have days off on Monday and Thursday, sandwiched around the two-game series against the Royals, giving Freeman more time to recover.

Freeman is hitting .296 with 38 homers and leads the NL with 121 RBIs.

FIVE FOR FIGHTING

The Nationals can slide back ahead of the Brewers for the top spot in the NL wild-card race as they open an unusual five-game series at home against Bryce Harper and the Phillies. The clubs were originally scheduled to play four times, but an extra game was added Tuesday as part of a doubleheader to make up a postponement from June.

Washington dropped into a tie with Milwaukee on Sunday when its troublesome bullpen couldn’t hold a two-run lead against the Marlins. The Nationals have an NL-most 29 blown saves and its relievers have combined for a major league-worst 5.83 ERA. Left-hander Patrick Corbin (13-7, 3.10) will try to improve to 4-0 against the Phillies this season. He’ll start against Philadelphia right-hander Zach Eflin (9-12, 4.00).

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