LEADING OFF: Nats skidding into LA, Kikuchi under scrutiny


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


The Nationals try to stop a four-game slide in the series opener at Dodger Stadium. Washington was swept over three games in Milwaukee this week, dropping to 14-22, closer in the standings to the last-place Marlins than the first-place Phillies. Scheduled starter Patrick Corbin (2-1, 3.71) was 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in four starts against Los Angeles last season while with Arizona.


Yankees manager Aaron Boone says he is looking into what appeared to be a substance under the bill of Mariners pitcher Yusei Kikuchi’s cap during Seattle’s 10-1 win over New York on Wednesday night. Social media users spotted a greasy, brown spot on the Japanese rookie’s hat during the broadcast, making a stink while Kikuchi threw 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Boone said he was made aware in the eighth inning and will “see what we make of it” after taking a look.

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The Chicago Cubs have banned indefinitely from Wrigley Field the fan that used what appeared to be a racist hand gesture behind an African American television reporter during a game at their ballpark. The Cubs sent a letter Wednesday to the bearded man who flashed the offensive sign in back of former Cubs outfielder Doug Glanville, who was working for NBC Sports Chicago on Tuesday night. The team said it had been unable to contact the fan by phone, and didn’t publicly identify him.


Rain and snow could interrupt the Rockies’ scheduled home game against the Giants. Forecasts were calling for snow overnight that would change to rain in the afternoon. Colorado has already postponed one game this year because of projected snow, against Atlanta in early April. Kyle Freeland (2-5) is slated to face Giants’ lefty Derek Holland (1-4) if the teams do play.


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