LEADING OFF: Braves off to slow start, Alcantara sharp

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Tuesday:

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THE YEAR AFTER

As they wait for star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. to return from knee surgery, the World Series champion Atlanta Braves (7-10) are off to a slow start. Following a day off, they send left-hander Max Fried (1-2, 3.50 ERA) to the mound at home in a series opener against the Chicago Cubs.

The two-time Gold Glove winner lost his first two outings this season — at home to punchless opponents Cincinnati and Washington, no less — before rebounding last Tuesday in a homecoming at Dodger Stadium. Fried retired his first 15 batters and threw seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball with eight strikeouts in a 3-1 win.

Acuña has been hitting well in the early stages of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett and is targeting a May 6 return to the majors.

MISTER ZERO

Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara (1-0, 1.86 ERA) has pitched 14 consecutive shutout innings heading into his fourth start of the season. He faces Juan Soto and the last-place Nationals (6-12), who have dropped five straight and been outscored 100-62 this season. Josiah Gray (2-1, 3.14) goes for Washington in the opener of a three-game series.

BAY PLAY

Carlos Rodón gets his first taste of the Bay Bridge rivalry when he pitches for the Giants at home against the A’s.

An All-Star last season with the White Sox, the 29-year-old lefty is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts. He’s also struck out 29 in 17 innings.

San Francisco returns home after going 8-3 on a four-city road trip that included a 4-2 win Monday on a one-game visit to Milwaukee for a rescheduled game.

Daulton Jefferies (1-2, 1.17) starts for Oakland. Now in his third season, he’s technically still a rookie. The 26-year-old righty has allowed no more than two runs in each of his three starts this season.

WINDY CITY REVIVALS?

White Sox lefty Dallas Keuchel and Cubs newcomer Marcus Stroman hope to bounce back from rugged starts this season.

Keuchel (1-1, 15.00 ERA) was tagged 10 hits and 10 runs — seven earned — in an inning at Cleveland last week. The 34-year-old former Cy Young Award winner starts in Chicago against the Royals.

Stroman (0-2, 8.78 ERA) makes his fourth start for the Cubs when they take on Atlanta to begin a six-game road trip. LHP Max Fried (1-2, 3.50 ERA) pitches for the Braves.

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