The Baltimore Orioles go for their first series sweep of the season against an unlikely opponent.
The O’s Authentic Sampo Ranta 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 Youth Baker Mayfield Jersey , 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, 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 http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/au ... ley-jersey , 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.”
Alex Ovechkin heard the chants loud and clear.
”We want 50! We want 50!”
He didn’t need that extra encouragement. Ovechkin scored twice to finish with an NHL-leading 49 goals and played almost the final two minutes of the Washington Capitals‘ 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night in each team’s regular-season finale trying to reach 50 for the eighth time in his career.
The Russian superstar will have to settle for his seventh Maurice ”Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal-scorer and hopes his recent run continues in the playoffs, where the Metropolitan Division-champion Capitals will open against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
”Effort was there, and you can see I’m ready for playoffs in pretty good shape,” Ovechkin said after a playing 6:04 of the final 8:10. ”Still have a pretty good chance at the end. It is what it is. Whatever. The most important thing ahead of us, and second season right now starts in a couple days.”
Washington won 12 of its final 15 games, and Ovechkin strengthened his Hart Trophy case with nine goals and six assists over that time. At 32, he’s the oldest player to lead the NHL in goals since Phil Esposito in 1974-75.
Ovechkin became the 13th player and first since Mike Gartner in 1990-91 to score exactly 49 goals in a season. His teammates did their best trying to get him to 50 Gleyber Torres New York Yankees Jersey , and Ovechkin attempted 18 shots and got eight on net in pursuit of the milestone.
”We look for him a little bit more than usually, but I don’t know,” said center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who assisted on Ovechkin’s 48th goal to reach 56 for the season. ”I don’t think he’s sad about he didn’t get 50, but 49 is still a good number.”
Losing in regulation sends New Jersey to the Atlantic bracket in the Eastern Conference to face the division champion: either the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s the Bruins if they beat Florida on Sunday night, and the Lightning if they don’t.
”We like our matchup against anybody,” Devils center Brian Boyle said. ”I think we match up well against anyone. We believe in what we got going on here. We earned the right to be in. It’s been a good season. The fun starts now.”
The Devils didn’t go all-out to try to move up in the standings, resting MVP front-runner Taylor Hall, first-line winger Kyle Palmieri Sylvester Williams Color Rush Jersey , top-six center Travis Zajac, No. 1 defenseman Sami Vatanen and starting goaltender Keith Kinkaid with an eye toward the playoffs. Trade-deadline pickup Patrick Maroon had a goal and two assists, and rookie Nico Hischier and Miles Wood each scored for New Jersey.
”There’s a reason that you got here,” coach John Hynes said. ”You have to have a strong identity, which we do. You have to be able to play to that.”
The Capitals’ identity is coming into focus as they go into the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season feeling good about their game. Nicklas Backstrom, Michal Kempny and Andre Burakovsky also scored against New Jersey, and Braden Holtby stopped 23 of the 26 shots in his final chance to show he deserves to be Washington’s Game 1 starting goaltender over Philipp Grubauer.
Holtby is 14-2-2 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in his career against Columbus, which lost to Nashville in its final game while resting stars Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones and Zach Werenski and two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
”They’re a good young team and they have a great goaltender http://www.panthersauthorizedshops.com/ ... mas-jersey , but for me it doesn’t matter against who you play,” Kuznetsov said. ”It’s just like a fun time. You prepare all year for this moments.”
NOTES: The Capitals rested RW T.J. Oshie, who has been dealing with a lower-body injury. C Jay Beagle missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. … With the primary assist on Kempny’s goal, Capitals F Shane Gersich picked up his first NHL point in his third game. … Ovechkin, Capitals D Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson and Hischier played all 82 games this season.
Devils: Open at the Bruins or Lightning in their first playoff appearance since 2012.
Capitals: Host the Blue Jackets to start the first round.