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|Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:48:50 am Post subject: the time. Line coach Paul Alexander was let go on Wednesday.
|The Baltimore Orioles go for their first series sweep of the season against an unlikely opponent.
The O’s Adidas Nazem Kadri Jersey , who entered the weekend with the worst record in the American League, will try to take three straight from the Atlanta Braves, who began the series tied for the best record in the National League. Atlanta has been swept only once this season.
Baltimore will send right-hander David Hess (2-3, 4.82 ERA) against Atlanta’s Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 4.89) on Sunday at SunTrust Park.
Baltimore has found its offense in Atlanta, scoring 17 runs in the first two games. Mark Trumbo had a grand slam Saturday and Chris Davis returned from an eight-game hiatus to hit a home run Friday and drive in three runs Saturday.
“I feel a lot better,” said Davis, who entered the series hitting .150. “I feel like I’m getting there, starting to get that calm and easy feel. It feels good to contribute to two wins.”
Baltimore had lost eight of its last 10 games entering the series, but their two losses in the previous series against Washington had been by three or fewer runs.
“We have been playing better, more like we need to play and how to play,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m happy that they are getting their turn. The mood and the effort, that’s been on-going, but how much of that can you take? You worry about that because nobody is happy about losing.”
Hess will be making his eighth start and has made quality starts in four of them. He’s received an average of 4.10 runs in support. But his last victory came on May 25 against Tampa Bay.
The rookie will be making his first career start against Atlanta. He has started seven games this season and has struggled in the last two outings.
He allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings against Washington on Tuesday and five runs in 3 1/3 innings against Boston on June 12. His last four starts have reaped two losses and two no-decisions.
McCarthy was on the verge of losing his spot in the rotation, but received a reprieve when rookie Mike Soroka had to be placed on the disabled list for the second time with shoulder soreness. Otherwise, he would likely have been moved to the bullpen.
McCarthy threw 5 2/3 innings in his last start against San Diego on June 15 and allowed two runs. In 14 starts Adidas Brock Boeser Jersey , McCarthy has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 10 games.
McCarthy has made 10 career appearances (eight starts) against Baltimore and compiled a 2-2 record with a 4.28 ERA. He has not faced the Orioles since 2014.
Atlanta would like to see McCarthy pitch deeper in the game in order to give the bullpen a break. Luke Jackson, Sam Freeman and Peter Moylan have pitched the last two days and are likely unavailable. Concern remains about closer Arodys Vizcaino, who has complained of right shoulder soreness and hasn’t pitched in six days.
Vizcaino has suffered shoulder issues this season and had a cortisone injection this week.
“It’s one of those spots in the year with him,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We went through it a couple times with him last year. There are times he’s going to have to be down, just to get him through the year.”
When Bill Lazor looks at the Bengals’ playbook, he sees the imprint of three coordinators. He’s getting a chance to try to pull it all together and resurrect the NFL’s least-productive offense – a shocking statistic for a talented unit.
Coach Marvin Lewis’ first big decision after getting another contract extension was offering Lazor the chance to stay as coordinator and give the offense a major overhaul. The Bengals finished last in the league in offense and had the worst running game in their history, averaging only 85 yards.
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will be back, along with running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. The playbook could be noticeably different – Lazor said some things need to be done ”totally differently.”
”There are times when each of us, in order to grow, need to be pushed and need to be made uncomfortable,” Lazor said. ”Andy wants to be great, so he’ll accept that challenge if we make him uncomfortable at times.”
Dalton has worked with four offensive coordinators during his seven seasons in Cincinnati.
Jay Gruden helped Dalton and Green get grounded as rookies in 2011, the start of five straight postseason appearances and first-round losses. When Gruden left after the 2013 season, Hue Jackson replaced him, brought a different creativity to the game plan, and led Dalton to his best season – he led the AFC in passer rating in 2015.
Ken Zampese was elevated when Jackson went to the Browns after the 2015 season Adidas Daniel Sedin Jersey , and he took the West Coast offense in some different directions. It didn’t work – he was fired after the Bengals failed to score a touchdown in their first two games into this season. Lazor took over but was confined to working from Zampese’s playbook for the rest of the season and tweaking things gradually.
Now Lazor gets to analyze the offense, overhaul it, and put his imprint on it.
”If I look at the call sheet of what the plays are called here, I’d probably see things that were brought from three different coordinators,” he said.
His biggest challenge will be restoring a comfort level on the offense. The Bengals would play well for a few series or a half, then totally collapse and go long stretches without as much as a first down.
”We just have to be consistent,” Dalton said. ”Everybody’s got to be on the same page. That’s what the offseason will be for, to look at everything.”
Much of the focus will be on the line, which lost left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right guard Kevin Zeitler in free agency a year ago. They were replaced with inexperienced tackles who struggled – the running backs found few holes and Dalton was running to avoid the rush much of the time. Line coach Paul Alexander was let go on Wednesday.
Getting the line fixed is the top priority. Until the running backs get more room and Dalton gets more time, the offense will remain stuck in place.
”We have an amazing group of threats at wide receiver, and we have to capitalize on that,” Lewis said. ”We have to get our quarterback to be the guy we expect him to be day-in and day-out, and lead the football team that way. That means we have to keep him from getting jostled around.”