LEADING OFF: Ohtani on mound, Scherzer faces hometown team

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

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SHOHEI AND THE RANGERS

Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani pitches at Texas again a month after allowing six runs over 3 2/3 innings in a 10-5 loss to the Rangers at Globe Life Field. Ohtani has been stellar on the mound since that second consecutive loss to open the season — after he lost just twice in 23 starts last year. He is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 32 strikeouts in four starts covering 24 innings since that visit to his AL West rival. Speaking of division foes, Ohtani’s 4.56 ERA against the Rangers is the second-highest of any team he has faced at least twice. The highest is Houston (4.75).

MISSOURI MAX

Mets ace and St. Louis-area native Max Scherzer (4-1, 2.66 ERA) makes his 15th career start against the Cardinals, one of three teams against which he has a losing record — he’s 4-6 with a 2.55 ERA versus his hometown club.

He got a no-decision in St. Louis last month despite striking out 10 over seven scoreless innings at Busch Stadium. He’ll face hard-throwing Cardinals right-hander Jordan Hicks (1-3, 4.15) in the third game of a four-game set.

OCTOBER CONTENDERS

Atlanta and Milwaukee, both NL division winners last season, wrap up their playoff rematch when Braves lefty Max Fried (4-2, 3.14 ERA) faces reigning Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes (1-2, 1.77) in the finale of a three-game series.

Atlanta reliever Tyler Matzek went on the injured list Tuesday, retroactive to May 14, with left shoulder inflammation — but star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. returned to the lineup in a 3-0 victory after missing five games with a sore groin.

WELCOME BACK

Blake Snell returns from a groin injury to make his first start of the season for the San Diego Padres (23-13). Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, pitches in Philadelphia against Zack Wheeler (1-3, 4.26 ERA) — runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award last year.

Snell was 7-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 27 starts last season, his first with the Padres.

Bryce Harper could return to the Phillies’ lineup — or he could miss at least one more game as he recovers from a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow. The two-time MVP is expected back Wednesday or Thursday. He is batting .305 with nine home runs, 14 doubles, 27 RBIs, and an NL-best .634 slugging percentage.

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