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LOS ANGELES — A four-time All-Star who has finished in the top five of the Cy Young Award voting three times Miguel Andujar New York Yankees Jersey , Jon Lester looks to be getting even better in his 13th major league season.
And it leaves the Chicago Cubs with no better pitcher to stop a losing streak that was extended to five games Monday with a 2-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lester will try for his sixth consecutive victory when he faces the Dodgers on Tuesday night in the second game of the four-game series. He will square off against the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling, who had his own six-game streak come to an end last week in Chicago
The Lester-Stripling matchup is the second one in a span of six days.
Lester not only has a 1.64 ERA over his five-start win streak, he has pitched at least six innings in seven consecutive starts and has a 1.67 ERA over his last 12 outings.
“(Lester) is just slowing the game down,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before Monday’s game in L.A. “He has gone to another level of maturation pitching-wise so I have really been enjoying watching him go about his business.”
Stripling is only in his third major league season, but he has shown an increased maturity level on the field as well this year. With the Dodgers in need of somebody to step up in the wake of a number of injuries to the starting staff, the right-hander made an easy transition from a bullpen role to rotation workhorse.
Stripling (6-2, 1.99) was not terrible in his outing against the Cubs last week, Lester was just better. The right-hander gave up three runs to the Cubs on eight hits with seven strikeouts over six innings. He sounded eager for a rematch.
“We’ve faced these guys in the playoffs the last two years, and it’s a lineup we’re really familiar with, and they’re familiar with us,” Stripling said after Wednesday’s defeat, according to mlb.com. “We’re right there with this team Alex Colome Seattle Mariners Jersey , and we know that.”
Lester (9-2, 2.10) held the Dodgers to just five hits in his scoreless outing Wednesday as the Cubs closed out a series victory. It is the only series the Dodgers have lost since the middle of May when they were in Miami.
Not only are the Dodgers 16-5 in June, they have 48 home runs in the month after hitting two Monday and nine in their past two games. Since a May 17 victory in Miami, the Dodgers are 26-9.
As good as the Cubs have been since the start of the 2015 season, winning at Dodger Stadium has proved difficult. They are just 2-8 in L.A. in that time, while going a baseball-best 334-226 in that same stretch. They did go 2-1 in L.A. while winning the 2016 National League Championship Series.
The Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez has three home runs in two games and has six in his last 13 games. He is expected to be in the starting lineup Tuesday against the lefty Lester. Hernandez, the Dodgers’ super-utility player, has a career .874 OPS against left-handed pitching.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.聽鈥?New coach. New weapons. New systems. Everything sounds and feels new in Giants training camp. Even some familiar old faces.聽 聽 聽 聽The New LeaderIt's summer in New Jersey, and Odell Beckham Jr. is running routes and catching passes. He's practicing at full speed, and Beckham at full speed is fuller than anyone else. He isn't taking part in every drill, which is to be expected for a veteran superstar coming off a major injury.But wait http://www.texansauthorizedshops.com/authentic-martinas-rankin-jersey , Beckham is also fielding kickoffs. He's dribbling footballs like soccer balls and horsing around with Sterling Shepard between reps. He's even taking time to kick a short field goal during a lull between drills last week.Beckham looks like the world's happiest camper. And he sounds that way, too.New York Giants @GiantsFriendship goals. #GiantsCamp@OBJ_3 @saquon https://t.co/ZX2FOJHAPx"I remember not being able to walk at all," Beckham said while meeting with the press for the first time since he severely fractured his ankle in October. "Being able to be back on the field doing what I love is truly an amazing thing."聽Beckham spoke about tuning out the noise, letting his contract situation "work itself out"聽(he's in the final year of his rookie deal), getting on the same page with new head coach Pat Shurmur and the new Giants coaching staff and changing his mindset as a result of last year's injury. Even with his agent watching practices from the shade of Giants headquarters last week and reports about what the Giants may soon be offering him,聽he was all about the football, not the drama or the money.If you've ever heard a State of the Union-style press conference by a controversy magnet like Beckham, then you've heard it all before.But seeing Beckham is believing."He's very engaged," Shurmur said Thursday. "He's very energetic. And he practices very hard.""He's hungry, man," Shepard said. "He's like a different animal."Beckham might even be acting a little, just a little http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dj-chark-jersey , like a team leader."He's helping everybody out," said Khalid Raymond, a practice squad lifer who suddenly has a chance to make the squad (via聽Matt Lombardo聽of NJ Advance Media). "He might not be in the front of the room, but he's given me at least 10-15 tips this summer."In a league where Julio Jones reportedly threatens a holdout with three years left on his contract, Dez Bryant is rage-tweeting instead of running routes and even Kelvin Benjamin feels empowered to take shots at his former quarterback, Beckham has suddenly become Employee of the Month.Plus, he's still uncoverable. And he's far from the only weapon Giants opponents will have to worry about this year.聽 聽 聽 聽The New 'Receiver'Saquon Barkley is in the backfield. No, wait鈥攈e motions out of the backfield and splits wide left as a receiver. He runs a slant route and beats veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins for an easy catch.聽Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, moves like a wide receiver when releasing from the line and hauling in the pass. Except wide receivers normally don't weigh 230 pounds and finish fourth in Heisman Trophy voting as a running back.Matt Lombardo @MattLombardoNFLJust another way the #Giants can use Saquon Barkley as a receiving threat. #NFL https://t.co/mcJcyxVUFkIf the Giants' best cornerback is having trouble with Barkley, which opposing defender is going to cover him when he slips out of the backfield? And if Barkley is drawing opponents' best defenders in coverage, who is going to handle Beckham? And if some team finds a way to cope with both Barkley and Beckham Authentic James Washington Jersey , there are some fellows named Shepard and Evan Engram to worry about."It disrupts a lot of the defensive plan," Engram said of Barkley sliding from the backfield to wide receiver. "A safety could be over me. Then when [Barkley] goes out wide, they might bump the safety out and a linebacker might be lined up on me. I'm pretty happy right there."Giants fans, fantasy football owners and anyone who loves watching football teams score touchdowns have been dreaming of the Beckham-Barkley potential since the draft. But training camp has a way of tempering expectations, because NFL coaches have a knack for forcing versatile new weapons into conventional, predictable roles.That hasn't happened in East Rutherford this summer. Barkley, like Beckham, has taken limited reps as coaches try to avoid overwhelming the rookie. But the reps he has taken reveal that the Giants didn't draft the all-purpose mismatch nightmare thinking: Let's run him off tackle 25 times with some swing passes sprinkled in for "creativity."The new offense also has the players on their toes."It's a lot more responsibility," Engram said. "A lot more versatility, which I like, which the whole tight end room can appreciate. I'm asked to be in a lot more different spots.""You have to know what to do at every position," Shepard said. "You're not just a slot receiver. You have to know every route."There was lots of optimism about the Giants offense last offseason as well Authentic Nate Solder Jersey , with the team coming off a playoff appearance, Engram and Brandon Marshall new to the fold and Beckham making brief practice cameos between injuries and聽intrigues. But the Giants offense proved shockingly easy to contain at the start of last season, and by Thanksgiving, Tavarres King, Roger Lewis and Orleans Darkwa were in the starting lineup. And that was before the Geno Smith fiasco.This year, the Giants have more to be optimistic about than new faces and formations.聽聽 聽 聽 聽 聽聽The New WorkplaceShurmur takes a moment during practice to engage with Beckham and Shepard during one of their lighthearted chat sessions. A Giants head coach and Beckham (plus Shepard), casually communicating like any other supervisor and indispensable employee around the water cooler? Who could have imagined it?Pat Shurmur has shown an ability to connect with his players in his second go-round as a head coach.Julio Cortez/Associated Press"It's great to have a coach who's gonna meet up with the players and who'.
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