January 17, 2019 at 03:29 #650
Aaron Nola was the man Gabe Kapler wanted on the mound with Manny Machado at the plate and the tying run on third base.
It was the right move.
Nola stuck out nine in seven splendid innings [url=http://www.authenticsminnesotavikings.com/cheap-jalyn-holmes-jersey]Jalyn Holmes Color Rush Jersey[/url] , Nick Williams hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 Wednesday to sweep a two-game interleague series.
Nola (11-2) gave up one run and seven hits to win his fifth straight decision.
He escaped a jam on his 103rd pitch when second baseman Cesar Hernandez made an outstanding, over-the-shoulder running catch on Machado’s shallow fly to right with two outs and runners on first and third.
”That’s awesome,” Nola said of the play.
Kapler, who was heavily criticized for pulling Nola after 68 pitches in the season opener at Atlanta, visited the mound before letting his ace face Machado with a 2-1 lead.
”We knew he was the best option,” the first-year manager said. ”He always makes us feel confident.”
Nola said he would’ve lobbied to stay in but didn’t have to say anything other than he felt fine.
”I want to go deep in the game,” he said. ”I want to get through that inning.”
After five consecutive losing seasons, the Phillies are on the rise under Kapler. They pulled within 1 1/2 games of NL East-leading Atlanta and moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season with a franchise-record 102 wins.
”It’s a nice milestone, one we can celebrate,” Kapler said.
Making his second career start and third appearance, Orioles right-hander Yefry Ramirez (0-2) retired 13 of his first 14 batters before running into trouble in the fifth. Ramirez gave up two runs – one earned – and one hit in five innings.
”I was really proud of Yefry. You couldn’t ask for much better,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Williams connected off David Hess in the seventh, sending a 409-foot shot into Philadelphia’s bullpen in right-center and extending the lead to 4-1.
Victor Arano tossed two scoreless innings for his first career save.
Ramirez didn’t allow a hit until Scott Kingery ripped a one-out double to left in the fifth. Williams, who walked, advanced to third on the hit.
Jorge Alfaro followed with a grounder down the first-base line. Chris Davis moved a few steps to his left, took his eyes off the ball to look at Williams running halfway down the line, and the ball knuckled under his glove. Both runners scored on the error.
Adam Jones lined an RBI double to left-center in the third, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
For the second straight day, fans clapped each time Machado was introduced. They also chanted ”We want Manny!”
The three-time All-Star is set to become a free agent after the season and the Phillies are among the teams interested in acquiring him before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 or signing him in the offseason.
Machado told reporters before the game he wants to play shortstop wherever he goes and he wouldn’t be surprised if Philadelphia aggressively pursued him. Phillies team president Andy MacPhail held the same position in Baltimore when the Orioles selected Machado No. 3 overall in the 2010 amateur draft.
Orioles: OF Joey Rickard was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to replace OF Colby Rasmus, who was placed on the restricted list before Tuesday night’s game.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff was scheduled to throw another live batting practice at Single-A Clearwater. Eickhoff has nerve issue in fingers and hasn’t pitched this season.
Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.48 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series at Minnesota on Thursday night. Cashner had a 3.21 ERA in five starts in June but didn’t earn a win.
Phillies: Nick Pivetta (5-7, 4.66 ERA) takes the mound at Pittsburgh for the start of a three-game series on Friday. Pivetta earned the win in a scoreless inning of relief in Philadelphia’s 13-inning victory over Washington last Sunday.
The general belief is there are four contenders for the Super Bowl in the NFC [url=http://www.authenticsnewyorkgiants.com/cheap-nate-solder-jersey]Nate Solder Color Rush Jersey[/url] , two in the AFC.
Let’s see if Tennessee or Jacksonville can prove that theory wrong this weekend.
Both AFC South representatives are significant underdogs, the Titans at New England on Saturday night, the Jaguars at Pittsburgh on Sunday. For weeks, it’s been presumed Steelers vs. Patriots will decide who goes to the Super Bowl from the conference.
The Titans and Jaguars want to have their say.
”They’re the champs and these are the types of teams you’ve got to beat if you want to be the champs,” says Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey, who is 0-5 against the Patriots. ”You’ve got to beat these teams at their place.”
Jacksonville already has done that, routing the Steelers at Heinz Field 30-9 in Week 5.
”We did beat them the first time, so to have all the confidence coming out of there is interesting,” Jaguars DT Malik Jackson says. ”They got a bye week, so they’re probably feeling really confident. We’ll see Sunday.”
Tennessee (10-7) at New England (13-3), Saturday
All the numbers favor the Patriots extending their record of consecutive title games reached to seven. They are, by far, the more experienced side: 14 Patriots players have played at least 10 playoff games. That’s more such players than the 11 other 2017 playoff teams combined (13). Tom Brady has a 6-1 career record against the Titans, throwing for 13 TDs and one interception. He’s 11-2 in 13 divisional-round games since 2002 and has completed 316 of 509 passes for 3,700 yards and 28 TDs in those games.
And amid reported turmoil involving Brady, owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, the quarterback isn’t likely to lose focus.
”We do what we always do. We show up to work and try to do the best we can do,” the All-Pro quarterback says. ”We know there’s a lot at stake and I think everyone’s put a lot into it. It doesn’t really matter what happened outside of this facility.”
Tennessee has lost six in a row to New England, but comes off a stirring second-half rally at Kansas City from 18 points down, the largest postseason comeback on the road in the Super Bowl era.
Jacksonville (11-6) at Pittsburgh (13-3), Sunday
Ben Roethlisberger had the worst game of his career in that October loss to the Jags. Pittsburgh lost only once after that, at home to the Patriots in a game that decided the AFC’s top seed.
While Roethlisberger probably will play far better than that [url=http://www.authenticsnewyorkgiants.com/cheap-kareem-martin-jersey]Kareem Martin Color Rush Jersey[/url] , the biggest challenge for Jacksonville could be stopping Le’Veon Bell in the running game. The Jaguars ranked first stopping the pass, but 21st against the run.
”I feel great, especially not playing these last two weeks, not going to (training) camp earlier in the year,” Bell says. ”I can’t complain. I like where I am. This is the freshest I’ve ever been going into the playoffs so we’ll see how it goes.”
Pittsburgh also gets back receiver Antonio Brown, like Bell an All-Pro this season.
Jacksonville needs far better passing from Blake Bortles. He gained more yards running than throwing vs. Buffalo in the wild-card round.
Atlanta (11-6) at Philadelphia (13-3), Saturday
Although Philly is the No. 1 NFC seed, the Falcons are favored. Part of that owes to Atlanta’s impressive work in winning at the Los Angeles Rams last week. Part has to do with the Falcons nearly winning the Super Bowl last February.
And part has to do with Nick Foles being the Eagles’ quarterback instead of the injured Carson Wentz.
Foles, though, has had some success in Philadelphia.
”It’s just going out there and playing and staying in the zone and trusting my instincts,” Foles says. ”I’ve played this game a long time. There’s a reason I’ve been able to do what I’ve been able to do. When I play my best and I’m most comfortable, I just go out there and play.”
By contrast, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has a passer rating of at least 100 in five straight postseason games, tied for the second-longest streak in league history. Only Joe Montana had a longer string with eight.
New Orleans (12-5) at Minnesota (13-3), Sunday
Minnesota easily handled New Orleans in the season opener, eons ago in NFL terms. The Vikings had a different quarterback then in Sam Bradford. Case Keenum has put together a superb stretch of games since replacing the injured Bradford.
The Saints’ RB tandem of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara wasn’t quite in place yet, either. And the New Orleans defense didn’t come to fruition until Week 3.
Minnesota’s D is balanced from front to back, so how Drew Brees deals with it could be the decider here.
”There’s no doubt about it,” Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards says, ”you have a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback that does an excellent job of going out and executing their game from week to week. Our work will be cut out for us keeping them contained and hopefully giving them some things that can cause them some problems.”
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