Saturday, September 19, 2020

MLB Game Preview: Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs - 9/19/2020 - 8:15 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs - Date: 9/19/2020 After no-hitter, Cubs' Mills back on mound against TwinsAlec Mills will make his first start since throwing a no-hitter when the Chicago Cubs host the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.Mills, 28, made history when he put zeroes on the scoreboard last Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers. He became the 16th pitcher in Cubs history to throw a no-hitter and the first since Jake Arrieta in 2016.The final out and the moments that followed were a blur, Mills said. Winning Sports Gambling. The milestone achievement came in his 15th career start and his ninth of the season.The 6-4, 205-pound right-hander marveled at his unlikely journey to the big leagues. He did not receive a college scholarship out of high school and ended up walking on to the team at University of Tennessee-Martin.In 2012, the Kansas Cit y Royals drafted him in the 22nd round. Little was promised."Never give up," Mills said. "You know, some people are going to tell you you can't do it or you're not good enough. Handicapper Directory. That's just one person. So just keep working. Just persevere." The next test for Mills (5-3, 3.93 ERA) comes against the Twins. He has yet to face them during his brief career.Minnesota will counter with right-hander Michael Pineda (1-0, 3.57 ERA), who is set to make his fourth start of the season and the 147th of his career.Pineda is coming off his bumpiest start of the season as he allowed three runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians. In his previous two outings, he allowed four runs over 13 innings for a 2.77 ERA.The fast start to the season provided confidence to the veteran known as "Big Mike." "I'm feeling very proud of myself because tha t's what we want, just trying to work longer in the game and (giving) everything I've got every five to six days," Pineda said after a 6-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in his second-to-last start. "... We try to keep it up in the game to get some rest for the relievers. Soccer Predictions. That's my focus." The 31-year-old Pineda has faced the Cubs twice in his career -- once in 2014 and then again in 2017. He is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in those starts.Chicago (31-20) has won five games in a row, including a 1-0 victory over the Twins in Friday's series opener. The Cubs have a chance to match their longest winning streak of the season if they win their sixth straight on Saturday.Each of the Cubs' past three wins have come by one run apiece.Minnesota (31-22) has lost four of its past five games, including back-to-back losses by one run. All of those four losses have come in Chicago as the Twins make an extended stay in the city with series matchups against the White Sox and Cubs.The Twins got good news Friday as catcher Mitch Garver came off the injured list. Garver went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts in the series opener, which marked his first game since Aug. 19.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox - 9/19/2020 - 7:30 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox - Date: 9/19/2020 Streaking Yankees look to continue hold on rival Red SoxTheir first trip of the season to Fenway Park was significantly tougher than expected but the Yankees rallied from four runs down. Now they seek their season-high 10th straight win Saturday night when they continue a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox.New York has won nine straight games for the third straight season and is seeking its first 10-game winning streak since June 8-18, 2012.New York outscored opponents 71-20 during the first eight games, highlighted by becoming the first team to hit at least six homers in three straight games over Toronto before heading to Boston. Free Sports Picks. The Yankees then played the toughest game of their run by pulling out a 6-5 victory Friday on DJ LeMahieu's RBI double in the 12th inning.LeMa hieu's latest hit gave him an 11-game hitting streak and a .367 batting average after he was hitless in his first four at-bats. He leads Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson by two points in the American League batting race."It was definitely a grind," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after his team completed the four-hour, 55-minute marathon. "We didn't play great but I give our guys a lot of credit for continuing to compete and really being energized in the second half of the game and just continuing to grind away, find a way back in it and coming up with a lot of big plays." Gary Sanchez drove in three runs and hit the game-tying homer while Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI double and Luke Voit hit an RBI single in the 11th."We're playing like we should be playing," LeMahieu said. "The competitiveness, everyone clicking on all cylinders. We knew what we were capable of and we're definitely playing that way right now." ; LeMahieu's clutch hit also moved the Yankees (30-21) percentage points ahead of the Minnesota Twins for fourth place in the AL and the right to host every game in a first-round series. Best Sports Handicapping Services. The Yankees also own a magic number of two to secure a playoff berth.New York also owns an 11-game winning streak over the Red Sox and a win on Saturday would match its longest winning streak in the rivalry. Sports Handicapping Services. The Yankees have won 12 straight over Boston three times and last did it from Aug. 16, 1952-April 23, 1953.The Red Sox are also 1-16 in the past 17 meetings with the Yankees since July 28, 2019. On Friday, Boston went 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position, stranded 15 runners and matched a season-high by striking out 15 times."Streaks and stuff, they don't matter to me," Boston manage r Ron Roenicke said. "We played a really good ballgame and had a chance to win." Christian Arroyo drove in four runs and Christian Vazquez had three hits but J. D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, and Michael Chavis were a combined 0-for-17 with eight strikeouts.The Yankees used six relievers Friday and are hoping lefty J. A. Happ (1-2, 3.96 ERA) can continue his string of strong performances of late.Happ has a 2.45 ERA over his last five starts and allowed one run in five innings in a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday.The veteran left-hander is 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 26 appearances (25 starts) against the Red Sox. He beat the Red Sox Aug. 16 when he allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings.Chris Mazza (1-1, 5.57 ERA), who has allowed 10 runs in 14 1/3 innings over his first four starts, will start for Boston. Mazza's last start was Sept. 8 in Philadelphia when he allowed two runs in five innings for his first win.The right-hander made two appearances against t he Yankees last month. In his lone start, he opposed Happ and allowed four runs on eight hits in three innings.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Chicago White Sox vs. Cincinnati Reds - 9/19/2020 - 7:07 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Chicago White Sox vs. Cincinnati Reds - Date: 9/19/2020 Keuchel, Bauer set to duel in White Sox-Reds rematchDallas Keuchel is a big reason the Chicago White Sox are headed to the postseason for the first time in 12 years. Free Sports Picks Daily. Trevor Bauer, meanwhile, has played a major role as the Cincinnati Reds have charged into contention for a playoff spot.Two of the majors' top pitchers are scheduled to square off when the host Reds aim for a seventh straight win on Saturday night against the AL Central-leading White Sox.Chicago obviously knew the star it was getting when it signed Keuchel (6-2, 2.19 ERA), the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, to a three-year deal in December.Keuchel is coming off the injured list after dealing with back spasms. Before he was sidelined, the left-hander did not allow an earned run in 10 innings over his previou s two starts, and he is 4-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his past five. His most recent start came on Sept. 6.Keuchel, who has posted a 3.21 ERA without a decision in two starts versus Cincinnati, has helped the White Sox (33-18) clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2008. Best Sports Picks Today. Their focus now is on winning the AL Central and bouncing back from a 7-1 loss to the Reds on Friday."This is a game, as we say all the time, of, 'What have you done for me lately?' So, we've got to just continue to play and try to play well," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.Chicago will likely be in for another serious challenge against Bauer (4-3, 1.71 ERA), who is the majors' ERA leader and is tied for fifth with 83 strikeouts. After going 0-3 with a 4.08 ERA in three starts from Aug. 24-Sept. 4, the right-hander has yielded a run, seven hits and fanned 22 with two walks over 14 inning s to go 1-0 in his past two starts.Bauer yielded that lone run over 6 1/3 innings of a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. Sports Handicapping. There's talk the Reds could go to a four-man rotation over the final week of the regular season, meaning Bauer might get two more starts following this one.Cincinnati (26-26) sits at .500 for the first time since Aug. 3 and is tied for second in the NL Central. The top two teams in each division qualify for the postseason.Pitching every fourth day is "certainly something I'm open to," Bauer said. "I think we need to get through this weekend series, obviously, and see what the landscape looks like and make decision from there."Mainly, at this point of the year, it's whatever I can do to help the team and get (in the postseason), is where my head's at." Bauer saw plenty of the White Sox during his days in Cleveland, going 8-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 20 games, including 18 career starts.Chicago's Yoan Moncada is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two home runs against Bauer. Teammate Tim Anderson is 5-for-27 (.185) versus Bauer but is in the mix for a second consecutive batting title with his .365 average, trailing only the Yankees' DJ LeMahieu (.367).Joey Votto, who had three hits and one of Cincinnati's four home runs on Friday, is 0-for-6 lifetime versus Keuchel. Teammate Nick Castellanos, however, is 6-for-16 with a homer.Castellanos clubbed his 13th homer of the season on Friday. He is 5-for-12 with that home run and two doubles over the past three contests.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: St Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - 9/19/2020 - 7:05 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: St Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - Date: 9/19/2020 Cardinals look to go above .500 as they face PiratesA .500 record might not seem like a huge thing, but in this season -- and for the St. Louis Cardinals -- it means a lot.The Cardinals will take a 24-24 record into their Saturday night road game against the Pittsburgh Pirates after sweeping a doubleheader Friday.St. Louis is in a tight race for second place, and therefore a playoff spot, in the National League Central. No Cardinals team has made the postseason with a sub-.500 record after Sept. 16, and only three teams in major league history have prior to this season, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.The two wins Friday, by 6-5 and 7-2 counts, came after St. Louis went 2-4 in the first six games of a 10-day, 13-game road trip, including a loss in the first game of the five-game series in Pittsburgh.If the Cardinals can catch a spark from Friday 's sweep -- their third doubleheader in five days -- and keep winning over the final nine days of the season, they could find themselves in the playoffs."We told ourselves on this road trip we have our destiny in our hands," St. Louis reliever Ryan Helsley said after he had a dicey time in the seventh inning of the opener Friday but got the final two outs for his first career save. "How we play is where we're going to be. We can control what we can control and come out here and play every day." Pittsburgh (15-36) has little more to accomplish than some jockeying for favor for next year and for pride. Profitable Sports Handicappers. That pride got wounded in the second game Friday, when the Pirates made three errors -- including catcher's interference on Jacob Stallings -- plus an ill-advised throw in a six-run St. Louis sixth.Pittsburgh held a 2-1 lead entering that inning.In the fou rth game of the series Saturday, St. Louis left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim (2-0, 0.63 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander Mitch Keller (1-1, 5.06 ERA).Keller is one of the young pitchers the Pirates have high hopes for, even with a predicted glut of potential starters next year. Soccer Tipsters. This season, he has been limited to three starts because of an oblique injury.In his first start after coming off the injured list, Keller pitched three innings Monday at Cincinnati, giving up three runs and two hits."Just felt like I took a little bit extra to control it there, and then in the third inning, I think I really found it," Keller said. "Hopefully we keep rolling with that the next time. I feel really good." In his only time facing St. Louis, Keller started July 26 and got his only win so far. He held the Cardinals to one run and two hits in five scoreless innings.Kim has not given up a run over his past 14 innings. On Monday, in his first start since being hospitalized for a kidney problem, he posted career highs in innings (seven), strikeouts (six) and pitches (87) against the Milwaukee Brewers but did not get a decision despite giving up no runs and three hits.That would have constituted a complete game since it was part of a doubleheader, but St. Louis lost 2-1 in eight innings."I am satisfied with my performance, but unfortunately our team lost, and that's one thing I'm not satisfied with," Kim said through an interpreter.Kim has faced Pittsburgh twice in his career, including one start, and he has pitched to a 1.29 ERA. He gave up one unearned run in six innings Aug. 27 but did not get a decision. Before that, he got his first career save vs. the Pirates in his major league debut on Opening Day, July 24.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels - 9/19/2020 - 9:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels - Date: 9/19/2020 Lynn, Heaney meet up for third time as Angels host RangersLance Lynn will try to continue one of the more remarkable streaks in the majors when the Texas Rangers face the Los Angeles Angels in the second game of their four-game series on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif.The veteran right-hander has thrown at least 100 pitches in 35 consecutive starts, the longest streak in the majors since Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers hit that mark in 80 straight regular-season appearances from June 2010 to September 2012.Lynn (6-2, 2.40 ERA) isn't just eating up innings for the Rangers, but he's turning in quality performances as well, giving up two runs or fewer in nine of 11 outings this season, helping him move to the forefront of AL Cy Young Award consideration.His lone poor outing came on Sept. 3, when he gave up six runs and eight hits in six innings of an 8-4 loss in Houston."The way I see it is, when I'm out there, we win more games than we lose," he said. "That's all I care about." Lynn will be matched against Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney (4-3, 4.02 ERA) for the third time this season.Lynn was the winning pitcher in the first two meetings against Heaney, improving his overall career mark against the Angels to 4-2 with a 3.54 ERA in eight starts.Heaney, meanwhile, was the losing pitcher, falling to 2-5 in his career against the Rangers with a 5.29 ERA in 12 starts.Heaney has pitched well overall of late, however, lasting at least seven innings and allowing three runs or fewer in three of his past four starts.The lone start in which he didn't get through the seventh inning was Sept. 8 against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.Heaney lasted five innings, allowing five runs (three earned) and five hits in the 7-1 loss, which ended a five-game winning streak by the Angels and prevented the m from pulling within 3 1/2 games of the Astros for second place in the AL West.The Astros have gone 4-5 since then, but the Angels have only gone 5-4.Lynn will face some hot hitters in the Angels lineup.Taylor Ward, who doubled in his only at-bat off Lynn in his career, is playing through the hottest stretch of his major league career.Ward is 14-for-26 in his past nine games. He went 2-for-4 in the series opener on Friday, including an RBI single in his first at-bat that drove in the first run in the 6-2 victory.Ward said he has adjusted his mindset during at-bats this season."In 2018 or '19, a pitch would not go my way or I fouled off a pitch or whatever would happen, and my mindset would change, or I'd start questioning what the pitcher was going to throw, instead of sticking to my approach and what I'm looking for," he said before the game Friday. "The biggest thing I've done this year is sticking to my approach when things aren't going your way, or however it is, the entire at-bat." The Angels could be down an outfielder after Justin Upton was hit in the helmet with a pitch in the seventh inning on Friday night and left the game.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: San Diego Padres vs. Seattle Mariners - 9/19/2020 - 9:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: San Diego Padres vs. Seattle Mariners - Date: 9/19/2020 Familiar teams meet again as Mariners take on PadresDespite being in different leagues, there has long been a familiarity between the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, who continue a three-game series in San Diego on Saturday.The series was scheduled to be played in Seattle but was moved to Petco Park because of unhealthy air quality due to wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. NHL Handicappers. The Mariners will bat last as the home team.The Padres and Mariners have shared a spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz., since 1994. Also, because there are two West Division teams in the Los Angeles area and two in the Bay Area, the Padres and Mariners have become set up as rivals in interleague play.Furthermore, thanks to a pair of deals before this season's Aug. 31 trade deadline, there are sever al players who have been with both teams this season alone.The Mariners sent catcher Austin Nola and relievers Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla to San Diego on Aug. 30 for a package of infielder Ty France, catcher Luis Torrens, outfield prospect Taylor Trammell and young reliever Andres Munoz.The teams made another deal Aug. 31, with reliever Taylor Williams going to San Diego for a player to be named, which turned out to be right-hander Matt Brash."We certainly gave up a lot of good players," said Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose team has lost four consecutive games to drop to 22-29. "But having had the opportunity here the last few weeks to be around a couple of the guys we got back -- and I'm not even talking about Trammell and Munoz and what they can bring for our future -- but I'm really excited about what (France and Torrens) have brought." In 13 games since his arrival, France has batted .304 with two home runs and six RBIs. Sports Predictions. Torrens, getting his first chance to be an everyday catcher, has batted .265 with one homer and three RBIs in 11 games.The Padres (33-19), on the verge of a National League playoff berth, have also benefited.Nola has been the Padres' starting catcher, and he batted third Friday in San Diego's 6-1 victory in the series opener. He snapped an 0-for-12 slump with a ninth-inning single.Nola caught four shutouts in his first nine games with San Diego and might have had another Friday if not for Evan White's solo homer in the eighth inning.Altavilla has pitched four games in relief for San Diego, producing a 2.45 ERA on four hits and one run, four strikeouts and one walk in 3 2/3 innings.Adams is still recovering from knee surgery, and Williams made one appearance for the Padres before being sent to their alternate training site."We set a goal (to make the playoffs) during the COVID summer camp, a nd we're about to reach that goal and we're still not done with that," said Manny Machado, who homered twice Friday."Our mindset in here is we're going to keep grinding and we're going to keep playing baseball until we reach that goal. It's going to be fun to finally clinch a postseason spot, which hasn't been done for a very long time in the organization. Our mindset is still further on down the road. It's a moment." San Diego hasn't appeared in the playoffs since 2006.Left-hander Justus Sheffield (3-4, 4.06 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday for the Mariners. It will be his first time facing the Padres.San Diego is set to go with right-hander Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.10 ERA), acquired from Cleveland in another blockbuster trade at the deadline. Clevinger has no wins or losses and a 6.00 ERA in one career start against the Mariners.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies - 9/19/2020 - 8:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies - Date: 9/19/2020 Slumping Rockies need a spark against DodgersThe Colorado Rockies looked destined to reach the expanded playoff field two weeks into the season. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. They won 11 of their first 14 and were getting solid starting pitching and clutch hitting.With 10 games remaining, Colorado is staring at an early offseason after dropping its third straight Friday night. Documented Handicappers. The Rockies (22-28) have lost eight of their past 10, the last two coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the task only gets harder Saturday.Los Angeles continued rolling with a 15-6 win Friday in Denver.In the third of a four-game series, lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Dodgers w hile the Rockies counter with right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez in what has become a must-win situation for Colorado.The Rockies' struggles have come both on the mound and at the plate. Entering Friday, Colorado had scored just 12 runs in five games, and when it has managed some offense, the pitchers haven't been able to silence the opponents' bats.The Dodgers (37-15) have outscored the Rockies 24-9 in the first two games of the series.Despite the Rockies' inconsistent offense, manager Bud Black is sticking with his best player, Nolan Arenado, even as he struggles through a sub-par season by his standards.Arenado is a career .293 hitter who began 2020 riding a streak of five consecutive seasons with at least 37 home runs and 110 RBIs. With eight homers and 25 RBIs this year, Arenado has a slugging percentage (.441) and a batting average (.257) that are at their lowest points since his rookie season in 2013."You want your best hitters to get the most at-bats, and that's how we are lining it up," Black said. "There's really nobody, right now, really hot. (Raimel) Tapia is holding his own, leading off, and I think he's a good fit at the top of the lineup. But I don't think there is any magic lineup or movement of lineup that will really get anybody going." Colorado needs to find some magic against Kershaw (5-2, 2.28 ERA), who has plenty of experience facing the Rockies. In 42 career starts against them, he is 23-8 with a 3.28 ERA.Kershaw likely will be throwing to catcher Austin Barnes on Saturday night, a pairing that might carry over once the playoffs start."The synergy that (Kershaw) and Austin have, I think, is real," manager Dave Roberts said. "You've got to certainly appreciate it. Free Sports Picks. They have history. This is a four-year history that they've built a relationship."They think along the same lines. ... I still believe the body of work Austin and Clayton have, there's something to it." Kershaw will add to his win total if the Dodgers keep pounding Colorado pitching, beginning with Gonzalez. The 28-year-old Florida native is taking Jon Gray's spot in the rotation after Gray was shut down for the regular season due to right shoulder soreness.Gonzalez (0-1, 8.68 ERA) has been roughed up in his two starts this season but he has had some success against Los Angeles over the years. He is 1-0 with a 2.66 ERA in four games, three starts, against the Dodgers. In his first season with Colorado in 2019, Gonzalez went 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA in three games, two starts.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles - 9/19/2020 - 7:35 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles - Date: 9/19/2020 Rays aim to keep picking on OriolesThe Tampa Bay Rays took another step toward the American League East title Friday with a win over the host Baltimore Orioles. Now, they want to keep going.A 2-1 victory over Baltimore lowered the Rays' magic number to five heading into another matchup with the Orioles on Saturday night. Free Picks Against the Spread. The contest will be the fourth of an unusual five-game series, and Tampa Bay has taken the first three.Rays right-hander Charlie Morton (1-2, 5.14 ERA), looking for his first win since returning from the injured list, will make the start against Orioles right-hander Jorge Lopez (2-0, 5.23).Morton was sidelined for three weeks due to shoulder inflammation before coming back Sept. 2. In his subsequent three starts, he went two innings, five innings a nd 4 1/3 innings, making it doubtful he will get deep into the game Friday.Morton holds a 3-2 record with a 3.38 ERA in six career games (all starts) against Baltimore. However, he has not faced the Orioles this year.Lopez is coming off his best outing of the year, when he beat the visiting Atlanta Braves in the series opener Monday. He pitched a season-high seven innings and gave up just one run on five hits and two walks. He struck out three in Baltimore's 14-1 victory.Lopez has faced Tampa Bay once this year, a scoreless, one-inning relief appearance on Aug. 26. Make Money Betting Sports. The only other time he opposed the Rays, he tossed five innings of one-run ball in 2018.The Rays received bad news on the injury front Friday when they put Austin Meadows on the 10-day injured list due to a left oblique strain. It's likely, though, that Meadows could be out much longer.Meadows left Game 1 of the Thursda y doubleheader at Baltimore when he felt the problem. After seeing Meadows was sore Friday, the Rays made the move, replacing him on the roster with left-hander Sean Gilmartin."It's pretty severe, but it could be worse," said Meadows, who is hitting .205 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. "We'll see what these next few weeks hold and go from there." Manager Kevin Cash acknowledged that Meadows will be sidelined an extended period."We're going to have to play really, really well to see him at any point the rest of the (year)," manager Kevin Cash said.Meadows said, "I don't want to rush. I want to make sure I'm good to go when I'm able to get back. I don't have a timeframe for it. Hopefully, I can get back this year." For the Orioles, the pitching has been much better lately, but the hitting has failed. Baltimore scored one run or none in seven of the past 10 contests, failing to come up with big hits at the rig ht time.All the Orioles' offense Friday came on an Austin Hays solo homer in the fourth inning. Hays also sees the struggles and wants the team to break out of its funk."Hitting is contagious," he said. "We all know that. I think some of the games, we're just one swing or one play away." --Field Level Media

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