LEADING OFF: Plenty of LA All-Stars; Ray to face former team

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

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STAR GAZING

Los Angeles will be well represented in the July 19 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.

Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani of the Angels were elected as starters along with Mookie Betts and Trea Turner of the Dodgers.

Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk and Miami second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. were voted to start as first-time All-Stars, finishing atop their positions in the second round of fan voting.

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Ronald Acuña Jr. of the World Series champion Atlanta Braves were elected from the first round of balloting as the top vote-getters in their leagues.

The AL starting lineup includes Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, Boston third baseman Rafael Devers and Kirk behind the plate. Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees joined Judge and Trout in the outfield, while Ohtani was voted in as designated hitter.

NL starters include Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Chisholm at second, Turner at shortstop, San Diego third baseman Manny Machado and an outfield of Betts, Acuña and San Francisco’s Joc Pederson.

Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper was elected as the NL’s first DH following the expansion of the DH rule to both leagues but won’t play because of a broken left thumb. Harper earned his seventh All-Star selection, his sixth as a starter.

HELLO AGAIN

Last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray will face his former team for the first time on Saturday night when Seattle hosts Toronto.

Ray did not travel with the Mariners to Toronto when the teams met in May because Canada requires everyone entering the country to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Ray pitched in New York the day before the Mariners left for Toronto and remained behind while his teammates faced the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays will be seeing the best version of Ray so far in his brief tenure with the Mariners. Ray is 4-1 with a 0.80 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings over his past five starts. For the season, Ray is 7-6 with a 3.62 ERA. He has excelled over the past month after adding a sinking two-seam fastball to his pitch arsenal.

Ray went 13-7 with a 2.48 and 248 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings pitched last year for the Blue Jays.

Alek Manoah (9-3, 2.33), who starts for Toronto, is coming off his worst start of the season. He allowed five runs — four earned — over 5 2/3 innings in a 5-1 loss at Oakland.

BABY STEPS

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin, who led the majors in losses last season and already has 10 defeats this year, is showing signs of a turnaround.

Corbin, who takes the mound Saturday against the Braves in Atlanta, has allowed one run in each of his last two starts. He went eight innings in a win over Pittsburgh on June 28 and seven innings on July 4 against Miami, a game Washington ultimately lost in 10 innings.

The 32-year-old Corbin hasn’t been the same since he helped the Nationals win the World Series in 2019. He had an 8.69 ERA in five April starts this year and a 5.97 ERA in six May starts. But he was better in June and has won four of his last seven decisions.

SCUFFLING

Cincinnati’s Hunter Greene (3-10, 6.01 ERA) has lost three straight starts and is 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in his last five going into Saturday’s outing against visiting Tampa Bay.

Greene has allowed 22 home runs, four more than any other big league pitcher. Drew Rasmussen (5-3, 3.30) starts for the Rays.

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