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Postby hongwei28 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:06 am
The Atlanta Braves , tied for the best record in the National League, return home from their brief two-game road trip to host the Baltimore Orioles, the team with the worst record in baseball.

The three-game interleague series begins on Friday at SunTrust Park.

Baltimore will start right-hander Alex Cobb (2-9, 7.14) against Atlanta left-hander Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70) in the series opener.

The Braves (43-30) split two games at Toronto and return home having won seven of their last 10 games. Atlanta has a three-game lead over Washington in the National League East.

The Orioles (21-52) have lost eight of their last 10 games. They dropped two of three games at Washington, although all of the games were within three runs.

Newcomb has made enjoyed a breakthrough season in his second year in the majors. Newcomb has posted two scoreless starts over his last three appearances, most recently on June 16 against San Diego. He struck out seven and allowed two hits in that six-inning start, which he won. That was a bounce-back for the southpaw, who had allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings against Los Angeles in his previous start.

“After you have a good one, you’ve got to be able to clear it and look forward to the next one,” Newcomb said. “You’ve got to treat each start as kind of a new thing, whether you had a good one or a bad one. That allows you to go out fresh every time.”

Newcomb leads the team in wins and has allowed two or fewer runs in ten of his 14 starts. He has never faced the Orioles.

“It’s good to see that maturity and confidence in him now,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “There’s no panic. I love how he stays pitch-to-pitch during a game. It’s just a young pitcher who is confident in what he’s doing and has faith in himself.”

Cobb has made five quality starts in 12 previous outings but has not pitched well in his last two starts, both losses. He allowed five runs in seven innings against Miami on June 16 and was rocked for nine runs in 3 2/3 innings against Toronto in June 10.

“Being out there and feeling comfortable is such a thing you take for granted,” Cobb said. “I’m just really comfortable where I’m at. I’m able to execute a high amount of pitches. That’s going to lead to some success.”

He has one career start against the Braves in 2012. He allowed two runs in seven innings and struck out six in earning the victory.

With the series in Atlanta, Baltimore will not be able to use a designated hitter. That may be OK with Mark Trumbo , who is hitting .349 (15-for-43) in 13 games playing in the field, compared to hitting .233 in 27 games as the DH.

Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman has been among the league leaders all season. He leads the National League total bases (162) and is second in on-base percentage (.420) and slugging percentage (.579). His 93 hits are tied with teammate Nick Markakis for the league lead. His .332 batting average is second only to Scooter Gennett’s .336 mark.

The Orioles are expected to get slugger Chris Davis back in the lineup on Friday. He has missed eight games while making offensive adjustments after hitting .150 with 86 strikeouts in 57 games.

“I’m really looking forward to getting him back on the field,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m really looking forward to getting the impactful player he’s capable of being.”

Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito jogged off the practice field Wednesday, started signing autographs for kids and then declined all interview requests.

Incognito’s version of what happened during a wild-card game at Jacksonville earlier this month remains unclear.

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue accused Incognito of using ”weak racist slurs” during the game. They ended up as Pro Bowl teammates this week, and Ngakoue said Wednesday they cleared the air and are good to go.

Ngakoue declined to get into specifics about their conversation at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex, preferring to move on.

Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson provided more insight, saying he saw Ngakoue and Incognito talking before practice.

”That was really cool, you know,” Jackson said. ”We have a huge respect for each other, and sometimes the heat of the moment can get to you and you can say things you might not really mean or do things you might not really mean and be apologetic for it.

”I think it shows the true character of a man to come and apologize and/or talk about it to clear the air.”

Ngakoue called out Incognito on Twitter hours after Jacksonville’s 10-3 victory on Jan. 7. Ngakoue repeatedly has declined to disclose what Incognito said.

”I just felt like people needed to know what happened,” Ngakoue said the next day. ”He knows what he said. I don’t got to repeat it.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday the exchange ”remains under review.”

Here are some other things of note from the first day of Pro Bowl practice:

BELL’S CONTRACT: Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell says he and the team are making progress on a contract extension . Pittsburgh has presented an initial offer, and Bell says ”we are a lot closer than we were last year.”

The 25-year-old back turned down a long-term contract in 2017, skipped training camp and then signed a one-year, $12 million franchise tender. The Steelers could franchise him again in March, a move Bell told ESPN would force him to consider retiring or sitting out the 2018 season. A second tag would be worth around $14.5 million.

”I think we’ll get something done and it will be exciting for both sides, for the fans and everybody ,” said Bell, who led the NFL in touches (404) this past season.

LAWRENCE’S DEAL: Cowboys defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence is also in for a huge payday after finishing with 14+ sacks. Lawrence said following NFC practice that he would welcome the franchise tag , which would guarantee Lawrence around $17 million in 2018.

”It will get done eventually, so I’m not worrying about my contract,” Lawrence told NFL.com. ”I’m trying to have a good time with this group of guys and my family while I’m here. … Franchise not bad. Contract not bad. So, like I said, I’m not worrying about nothing. I’ll leave it up to my agent. He’ll take care of me.”

STILL REELING: Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye said he and his four Pro Bowl teammates are still trying to get over losing to New England in the AFC championship game.

”It’s only going to motivate me to go harder and motivate our team,” he said. ”I already see the hunger. We’re even talking about it here in Orlando. I know we’ve got to watch the (Super Bowl). But we’ll be there next year. We’re going to find a way.”

TRASH KING: Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey might be the NFL’s best trash-talker. He upset Baltimore’s Steve Smith in 2016 and agitated mild-mannered Cincinnati’s A.J. Green so much in November that Green choked and body-slammed Ramsey . Ramsey doesn’t plan on quieting down much, if at all, this week.

”I don’t know if anybody out here is on my level with the trash talk yet. But, throughout the week, we’re going to find out,” Ramsey said.

”I’m going to cool it a little bit. But at the end of the day, I’m me. I’m always going to be me (and I’m) here in full effect this week.”

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