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Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer

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Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer

EntradaAutor: linzhihong18 Data: dv. ago. 10, 2018 6:02 am

Jake Arrieta and Gio Gonzalez should be happy to see the calendar flip to July.

They’ll hope to put a rough June behind them when they face off Sunday in the finale of a four-game set between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals. The Phillies will try to win the series in the 1:35 p.m. matinee.

Arrieta (5-6 http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-m.j.-stewart-jersey , 3.54 ERA) had a 6.66 ERA in five June starts. Opponents hit .305 with a .907 OPS against him in the month, and the veteran right-hander allowed at least three earned runs in each outing.

In his last start, Arrieta gave up six runs (three earned) in five innings against the New York Yankees on nine hits, two of which were homers.

“The ball is getting hit, that’s it. Making mistakes, too many mistakes,” Arrieta told MLB.com after the start. “I was throwing quality breaking balls early in the count and then when I needed to go back to a similar spot or a little bit lower in the strike zone or out of the strike zone, I just put it too much in the zone and they hit it. It’s a pretty simple explanation.”

Arrieta had a 0.90 ERA in five starts during May, and he gave up just one run and two hits in six innings against the Nationals on May 6. Arrieta is 1-2 with a 5.02 ERA in 10 career starts against the Nationals.

Gonzalez (6-5, 3.68) had an even worse June. The 32-year-old lefty had an 8.44 ERA in five starts during the month. In three of those outings http://www.redskinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-derrius-guice-jersey , Gonzalez gave up at least four earned runs and failed to pitch more than four innings.

Gonzalez had his worst start of 2018 the last time he took the mound. He gave up six runs and walked five batters in one inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

“It wasn’t my night. I couldn’t get a strike,” Gonzalez, who missed the strike zone with 33 of his 62 pitches, told reporters after the outing. “Sometimes it happens. It’s part of the game.”

Gonzalez will be facing the Phillies for the 25th time in his 11-year big league career. He is 11-7 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP against the Nationals’ divisional rival. Gonzalez threw five scoreless innings against Philadelphia on May 4.

The Phillies, who are 5-4 against the Nationals this season, have won two of the first three games against their divisional foe in the series. At 44-37, they are two games ahead of Washington for second place in the National League East. The Phillies were 28-53 through 81 games a season ago.

The Phillies hope Odubel Herrera’s bat heats up. The center fielder homered in Saturday’s 3-2 victory after going 2-for-28 in his previous seven games. Herrera is hitting .286 on the season with 14 homers and 46 RBIs.

The Nationals, meanwhile, went 9-16 in June and are 42-39 at the halfway mark of the season.

Paul George can count.

That’s what we forgot.

Everyone knows that the lure of home is strong for George, a Los Angeles kid who took countless jumpers as a youngster while pretending to be Kobe Bryant and wearing purple and gold. And players tend to go home: Paul Pierce played in LA toward the end of his career Taven Bryan Color Rush Jersey , Dwyane Wade briefly played in Chicago, Chauncey Billups had stints in Denver.

So while diving into the magnitude of the numbers in George’s soon-to-be-official deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder – four years at an average of $34 million a season, a contract that sure seems like it will help push the OKC payroll and luxury tax bills for next season alone to perhaps well over $200 million – there was one number that seems to have mattered most.

It is 28.

His age.

He’s still a young man, even by NBA standards. Consider this: George might not even be at his NBA peak yet. Barring an extension, which is possible, he could exercise his option to become a free agent again in the summer of 2021 – and even then he’ll just be 31. Los Angeles will still be there, calling, winking, tugging at his heartstrings the way it clearly has for years.

That’s a sure thing.

Another sure thing: That the Thunder, while not a Super Team per se Dalton Schultz Color Rush Jersey , have super pieces.

George shared the stage at a party in Oklahoma City on Saturday night with Russell Westbrook, which was fitting since they shared the basketball stage flawlessly in their first season together. All those questions – mostly variations of ”how will this work?” – got answered when the Thunder went 40-22 in the final 62 games of the regular season, George got his numbers (nearly 22 points per game) and Westbrook got his again as well (averaging a triple-double).

They speak with great respect for one another. They are not the same guy: Westbrook loves fashion and flash, George would rather go fishing. But it worked, on the court and off, and that bond is necessary if the Thunder are going to challenge Golden State and Houston for Western Conference supremacy anytime soon.

It’s not just those two. The Thunder have a good big man in Steven Adams. They’re getting Andre Roberson back, probably in time to start next season after this past season ended prematurely because of a ruptured patellar tendon. They’re keeping Jerami Grant for $27 million over three years, which in this NBA seems like a bargain. They have a good coach in Billy Donovan and by all accounts, it’s a happy locker room.

George kept dropping hints all spring. When asked about his future, he raved about how much he liked being in Oklahoma City. The more he said it http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-hayden-hurst-jersey , the more it seemed like he wasn’t just spewing the company line. It seemed real, and now, the realness has been proven.

The Thunder have some issues, mainly what to do with Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony doesn’t want to come off the bench, he’s going to cost the Thunder something like $70 million – the luxury tax is going to be incredibly punitive – if they keep him, and his best days are behind him. Having a high-priced deal isn’t Anthony’s fault; blame it on the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson, the ones who orchestrated that contract. But it’s now something that the Thunder will have to manage.

That’s as close as it gets to bad news in OKC right now.

George could have left, gone to the Lakers to join LeBron James, and no one would have complained. It would have been the easiest thing. Staying in OKC was the power move, though Hernan Perez Milwaukee Brewers Jersey , both for George and Thunder general manager Sam Presti. George took the stage at that party, grabbed a microphone and delivered four words that shocked many.

”I’m here to stay,” he said.

Stay is a relative word in the NBA. Nothing is forever, except the lure of home.

LA will still be there in three or four years, if he wants to still play there. George was smart enough to see that. And the Thunder were smart enough to not let him get away.



Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)ap.org



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