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LEADING OFF: Cards move on from Matheny, skidding Braves

July 15, 2018
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FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tips his cap to the fans following the team's victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game in St. Louis. The Cardinals have fired Matheny during his seventh season with the team hovering around .500. The Cardinals announced Matheny's firing after an 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night, July 14, 2018, a defeat that dropped St. Louis to 47-46 and seven games back of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

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

ST. LOUIS STUNNER

The Cardinals will play their first game under interim manager Mike Shildt after firing Mike Matheny late Saturday night. Matheny’s stunning dismissal comes with the team 47-46 and 7 1/2 games back of the NL Central-leading Cubs. The prospect of a third straight year without a postseason berth, paired with reports of clubhouse unrest, spelled the end for Matheny, who was 591-473 and made four postseasons in 6 1/2 years on the job. St. Louis will send All-Star Miles Mikolas (10-3, 2.65 ERA) to the mound against Cincinnati.

STAR-STUDDED SLIDE

Despite boasting an NL-best four All-Stars, the Braves are freefalling going into the midsummer break. Atlanta has lost 8 of 10, including the first two games of its series against Arizona, to drop out of first place in the NL East. Julio Teheran (6-6, 4.26) tries to get the Braves a victory to close out the unofficial first half against the Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin (6-3, 3.09).

AILING ALL-STAR

Rays catcher Wilson Ramos said he’s “probably” going to the DL after experiencing left hamstring tightness Saturday and will miss next week’s All-Star Game as well. Ramos was voted the AL’s starting catcher, his second All-Star nod overall, and has hit .297 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs this season. “I worked really hard to make that team,” a disappointed Ramos said. Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes was named to the AL team in Ramos’ place.

KRAKEN SIGHTING

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez is expected to begin a rehab stint with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as he recovers from a groin strain. Sanchez has been sidelined since June 25, but has steadily improved in recent days and is ready to return to the field. New York manager Aaron Boone said that if Sanchez continues to progress, the plan is for him to start behind the plate in the club’s first game after the All-Star break — July 20 against the Mets.

KERSHAW IN FORM

It’s been a frustrating season physically for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who has made two trips to the disabled list — one because of biceps tendinitis and another with a lower back strain. The left-hander has made four starts since his latest return, and he looked like his usual dominant self in his last outing while throwing six scoreless innings in a win over San Diego earlier this week. Kershaw (3-4, 2.61) will close out the first half when he starts against the Angels.

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