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NEW YORK — The Atlanta Braves have fared well against teams with winning records so far this season and this week will test their success.
The first stop for the Braves will be a visit to Yankee Stadium for the opener of a three-game interleague series with the New York Yankees on Monday night.
Atlanta (48-34) heads to New York after completing a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 6-5 victory on Sunday.
Mike Foltynewicz pitched five one-hit innings and the Braves improved to 30-19 against teams with winning records [url=http://www.clevelandindiansteamshops.com/authentic-mike-napoli-jersey]Authentic Mike Napoli Jersey[/url] , which is the best mark in the National League. Only the Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros are performing better against winning opponents.
Atlanta begins a stretch of 16 of 18 games against teams with winning records. After visiting Yankee Stadium for the first time since June 2012, the Braves visit Milwaukee for four games next weekend and host the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 13-15.
Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer Sunday. He is 9-for-52 (.173) in his last 12 games.
“It’s coming,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker told reporters after Freeman hit his 16th homer of the season. “Somebody’s going to pay. It’s just one of those things that everybody goes through.
“He’s working, and we still have unbelievable confidence in him and what he brings. You feel like he’s going to do something special every time he goes up there.”
The Yankees also will get their first looks at rookie outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and second baseman Ozzie Albies.
Acuna went 4-for-13 in the weekend series after missing a month with a mild ACL sprain and contusion in his left knee and also a lower back contusion. The 20-year-old is batting .269 with six homers and 15 RBIs in his first 32 games.
Albies enters with a .275 average and on an 11-game hitting streak. During the longest streak of his career, he is batting .431 (22-for-51).
The Yankees own the best home record in the majors at 31-12 and are 26-7 in their last 33 home games. New York also has slugged 77 of its major league-leading 137 homers at home after setting a season high with six in Sunday’s 11-1 rout of the Boston Red Sox.
Aaron Hicks hit three homers and Aaron Judge belted his 22nd, rookie Gleyber Torres hit his 15th and Kyle Higashioka delivered his first as the Yankees roughed up David Price.
Anibal Sanchez, who is 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts), gets the ball for the Braves. He’s hoping to avoid his third straight loss after allowing six runs and 10 hits in 9 2/3 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds.
Sanchez exited his last start on Tuesday with right calf cramps after throwing a pitch to Cincinnati’s Joey Votto.
Sanchez is making his 271st career start. The first start of his career occurred June 25, 2006, at old Yankee Stadium when he allowed seven hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the Miami Marlins against a lineup featuring Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.
Including his major league debut, Sanchez is 4-1 with a 3.79 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees. He last faced New York on Aug. 1 with the Detroit Tigers and held the Yankees to two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings in a 4-3 win at Yankee Stadium. It also was his last win with the Tigers.
If Sanchez gives the Braves a chance for a save opportunity in the ninth inning [url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/hayden-hurst-jersey]Wholesale Hayden Hurst Jersey[/url] , Arodys Vizcaino could close it out. Vizcaino was placed on the disabled list June 24 with shoulder inflammation, took a rest day Sunday after throwing a side session Saturday and could be activated for the opener.
Vizcaino last pitched June 17. Before going on the DL, he posted a 1.82 ERA, converted 15 of 17 save opportunities and struck out 33 in 29 2/3 innings in 30 appearances.
Jonathan Loaisiga will make his fourth start since being inserted into the rotation for Masahiro Tanaka (hamstrings). Loaisiga is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first three starts.
Two of those starts were scoreless outings as he threw a combined 10 1/ 3 scoreless innings, allowed four hits and fanned 14 in wins over Tampa Bay on June 15 and at Philadelphia last Monday. His other start was June 20 when he allowed three runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 7-5 win over the Seattle Mariners decided on a walk-off homer by Stanton.
“He was a lot more assertive, a lot more aggressive with his fastball and challenging the strike zone with it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We saw a number of really good breaking balls. We saw some good changeups. When he got in some putaway counts, I felt like he did a better job of making it look like a strike out of the hand, which is something you’ve got to be better at here in the big leagues.”
Monday will be the 30th regular-season meeting between the teams, who met in the 1996 and 1999 World Series. The Yankees are 17-12 all-time against the Braves.
The odds are longer than a Stephen Curry 3-pointer, Kevin Durant’s wingspan or Draymond Green’s catalog of technical fouls.
LeBron James and the Cavaliers are being given little – or no – chance of winning their fourth straight NBA Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors, who have been installed by Las Vegas bookmakers as the heaviest favorites in the past 16 years.
The Warriors are 12-point favorites to win Thursday’s Game 1, the largest spread in a Finals game since 1991, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue isn’t blinking.
”We’re all focused on winning a championship [url=http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-logan-woodside-jersey]Authentic Logan Woodside Jersey[/url] ,” Lue said Tuesday before the team flew to California. ”We played our best basketball going into the playoffs. We’ve gotten better and better throughout the course of the playoffs. Our main focus and our main objective is to win a championship, so we can’t worry about what the outside guys are saying and who’s being picked. We know what we have here and what we’re trying to do.”
Cavs vs. Warriors, Part IV: an expected conclusion to an unpredictable season.
Lue said All-Star forward Kevin Love remains in concussion protocol and his status for the series opener is in question. Love sat out Cleveland’s Game 7 win at Boston on Sunday after suffering a head injury when he and Celtics rookie forward Jayson Tatum accidentally banged heads during the opening minutes of Game 6.
Love was replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Jeff Green, who stepped up and scored 19 points as the Cavs completed their comeback after trailing 2-0 and 3-2 in the series.
Love is expected back for the Finals, and Lue needs his experience against the Warriors, who like the Cavs rallied to win the Western Conference finals by taking Game 7 on the road.
There was a moment when it looked as if both Cleveland and Golden State could miss the Finals.
It disappeared quickly,
”They’ve been tested. We’ve been tested,” Lue said. ”They’ve been to Game 7s. We’ve been to Game 7s. We’ve won championships and they’ve won championships, so they understand what it takes and they knew what it took.”
Since the playoffs opened, Cleveland has embraced the ”Whatever It Takes” mantra that began as a catchy organizational slogan and morphed into a way of survival.
The Cavs have twice been pushed to seven games, overcome injuries and gotten much-needed contributions to ease the burden on James from role players Green, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
However, in this series when every possession will be magnified, Lue will count on four players who have been around since the Cavs first met the Warriors in the 2015 Finals.
And because they won a championship in 2016 together [url=http://www.vikingscheapstore.com/customized-cheap]Cheap Customized Minnesota Vikings Jerseys[/url] , the core four of James, Love, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson share something special.
”Just having these guys here who have been through it, been through the tough times, been through the great times as well, this is a bond that can’t be broken,” Lue said. ”Just reminds me a lot of guys I played with back in the day when you see Horace Grant, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, just something about winning a championship with those guys that you will never forget, and it’s a bond that can’t be broken.”
While Love has been solid, Smith and Thompson haven’t always come through this season for Cleveland.
One of the streakiest shooters in the league, Smith has had prolonged slumps. Thompson, who missed time with a severe calf injury [url=http://www.giantsfootballauthentic.com]New York Giants Jerseys Womens[/url] , wasn’t a factor until Lue started him in Game 7 of the Indiana series.
Lue never lost faith in either player. It’s a trust that can’t be measured.
”I’m always going to stick behind my guys,” Lue said. ”Even when they’re struggling, I just have confidence and a belief that when we need those guys, and we call on those guys, they’ll be ready and they’ll produce. You’ve seen that throughout the course of the playoffs this year and you’ve seen it the last three years, that those guys are up for the challenge. They rise to the occasion. And just because a guy is not playing well, you can’t give up on a guy.
”You gotta give those guys a chance, especially when you’ve been there before with them and you know who they are.”
Unlike the past three Finals, Lue won’t have Kyrie Irving, traded to Boston last summer.
The All-Star point guard was Cleveland’s not-so-secret weapon, the one the Cavs turned to in order to spell James and keep the Warriors off-balance.
”He allowed us to go one on one against the mismatches and can’t nobody stop him one on one,” Lue said. ”We’re gonna miss that, but we’re just going to have to play a different style of basketball without him being here.”
Now that’s a safe bet.
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