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A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
The Nationals could use a spark before the July 4 fireworks go off in D.C. Washington is at risk of falling below .500 for the first time since May 2 as it continues a series against Boston at 11 a.m. EDT. The Red Sox thumped the Nationals 11-4 on Tuesday [url=http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com/b.j.-hill-jersey]Authentic B.J. Hill Jersey[/url] , giving Washington its fourth straight loss and 16th in 21 games to fall to 42-42. That slide has the preseason NL East favorites chasing the Braves and Phillies in the division. Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00) tries to stop Washington’s skid against Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (9-3, 4.11).
THE SHO GOES ON
Shohei Ohtani is back from the disabled list, albeit without full use of his electric right arm. The Japanese two-way sensation has been cleared to hit and was in the Angels’ lineup as a designated hitter Tuesday night, but he won’t be pitching anytime soon due to a Grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament suffered more than three weeks ago. Ohtani has received stem cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection on his right elbow, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to return to the mound this year. For now, Los Angeles welcomes him as a hitter. He entered Tuesday batting .289 with a .907 OPS and six homers in 114 at-bats.
Gerrit Cole (9-2) will pitch on regular rest for the Astros after a slight tweak to their rotation. Lance McCullers Jr. was initially scheduled to start at Texas, but Cole will pitch instead. Justin Verlander (9-4) will follow Thursday at home against the White Sox and McCullers goes Friday. Manager A.J. Hinch said the switch keeps Cole and Verlander pitching every fifth day, and provides extra rest for McCullers (9-3) and Charlie Morton (10-2). The reset rotation means likely All-Star selection Verlander is scheduled for the final game before the break. ”This is always going to be the priority [url=http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com/kyle-lauletta-jersey]Authentic Kyle Lauletta Jersey[/url] ,” said Hinch, the All-Star manager who then won’t have Verlander available to pitch for the AL team on July 17 in Washington D.C.
Trevor Bauer tries to carry over an outstanding June when the Indians play at Kansas City. Bauer (7-6, 2.45) was 3-3 with a 2.18 ERA last month, striking out 62 batters in 41 1/3 innings. He gets probably his easiest test of the year against the Royals, who scored a major league-low 58 runs in June – the second-lowest output was Tampa Bay at 87.
The Cincinnati Bengals and their coach, Marvin Lewis, don’t like major changes.
Neither does Teryl Austin, which makes him a good fit as the team’s new defensive coordinator.
”We wanted to stay within our structure,” Lewis said Thursday during Austin’s introductory news conference. ”With the personnel we have returning [url=http://www.newyorkjetsteamonline.com/chris-herndon-jersey]Authentic Chris Herndon Jersey[/url] , we didn’t have to make drastic changes. We didn’t want the players to have to re-learn the wheel.”
Austin, 52, spent the past four seasons as Detroit’s defensive coordinator, but his future was in doubt after the Lions fired coach Jim Caldwell last week. He inherits a defense that was 18th in the NFL in total defense and produced 14 takeaways this past season. The Lions finished ninth in total defense with 32 takeaways.
”It’s more about the players than us,” said Austin, who replaces Paul Guenther. ”We wanted to keep things similar, terminology-wise. We’ll make some changes, but nothing drastic.”
Lewis said, ”He has ties to a lot of people on our staff here.”
Guenther left Cincinnati after spending 13 seasons with the Bengals [url=http://www.newyorkjetsteamonline.com/nathan-shepherd-jersey]Authentic Nathan Shepherd Jersey[/url] , the last four as defensive coordinator, for the same job with the Oakland Raiders.
Austin, who interviewed for Detroit’s coaching vacancy last week, preferred joining a team that he felt didn’t need a lot of work.
”One thing I wanted was to go somewhere and not have to overhaul things,” he said. ”The Bengals have good personnel. We’ll try to do what they were doing, but just do it better. There’s good talent here. Every year, you try to add to that talent. My job is to make sure they perform on the field.
”We’re going to try to play on (the opponent’s) side of the line of scrimmage and play without fear – physical and strong. We’re not going to sit back and let the other teams dictate what we do.”
That includes forcing turnovers, he said.
”It’s like anything you coach,” Austin said. ”You get what you emphasize.”
In 2014 [url=http://www.oaklandraidersteamonline.com/arden-key-jersey]Authentic Arden Key Jersey[/url] , the Lions became the ninth team in NFL history to finish the season allowing fewer than 70 yards rushing per game. Detroit lost Ndamukong Suh off that team and slipped defensively after that.
Austin previously was a secondary coach for the Baltimore Ravens and also has coached defensive backs for the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.
Lewis, who was brought back by the Bengals after a 7-9 season, has sent five assistants on to NFL head coaching jobs, but Austin said that wasn’t part of his decision-making process.
”I think the bigger selling point is the chance to work with some quality people and a quality team,” he said. ”The other stuff can take care of itself.”
Lewis added, ”Hopefully, he’ll have great success immediately and he has that opportunity.”
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