LEADING OFF: Dodgers fans covet Soto, Red Sox slumping

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

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DODGING THE QUESTION?

Washington star Juan Soto is sure to get asked about his near future during a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. As the Aug. 2 trade deadline approaches, there’s been increased speculation Soto could be on the move.

Soto was serenaded with chants of “Future Dodger!” during the All-Star Game last week at Dodger Stadium. The Nationals have the worst record in the majors and Los Angeles has the best.

Tony Gonsolin (11-0, 2.02 ERA) returns from his All-Star Game loss to start for Los Angeles. The Dodgers have won a season-high eight in a row overall and 11 straight at home, including a four-game sweep of the Giants over the weekend.

REELING RED SOX

Xander Bogaerts and the ailing Red Sox have lost five in a row as they begin a four-game series against Cleveland at Fenway Park.

Boston made three errors and a series of other blunders in an 8-4 loss Sunday as the Blue Jays finished off a three-game sweep that included a record-setting 28-5 romp.

“The brand of baseball we’re playing is awful,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.

“We’re not catching the ball. We’re not putting in good at-bats. We’re not throwing strikes. It’s bad. It’s really bad right now,” he said. “But we’re talented. And we can turn around quick, and it starts tomorrow.”

The Red Sox are just a half-game out of last place in the AL East. They’ve lost nine of 10 and 13 of 16.

Right-hander Zach Plesac (2-7, 4.02 ERA) starts the opener for the Guardians. Righty Nick Pivetta (8-7, 4.50) pitches for Boston.

PAYING OFF

Brewers lefty Aaron Ashby makes his first start since signing a $20.5 million, five-year contract.

Ashby (2-7, 4.57 ERA) faces Colorado’s Kyle Freeland (4-7, 4.96) in the wrapup of a four-game series at Milwaukee.

The 24-year-old Ashby made his big league debut in June 2021, and he went 3-2 with a 4.55 ERA in four starts and nine relief appearances. He is the nephew of Andy Ashby, who pitched for five major league teams from 1991-2004.

FAMILIAR FOE

Astros right-hander Jake Odorizzi pitches the opener against Oakland at the Coliseum — it’ll be his third straight start versus the Athletics.

Odorizzi (4-2, 3.56 ERA) got the win on July 10 at Oakland with seven shutout innings. He had a no-decision against the A’s in Houston on July 17, allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The AL West-leading Astros have won five straight since the All-Star break. They swept a doubleheader at home from the Yankees, who had the best record in the majors, then took three in a row at Seattle — the Mariners had a 14-game winning streak before that.

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