The Los Angeles Angels were 4 1/2 games behind the Seattle Mariners when they opened a three-game series three weeks ago. When the Angels return to Seattle on Tuesday to begin another three-game set Youth Joseph Noteboom Jersey , they’ll be 11 games behind the Mariners for the second wild card from the American League.
The Mariners (54-31) swept the Angels the last time they were in town, and Seattle expanded that cushion by going 7-0 last week for their longest winning streak of the season.
The Angels (43-42) are 6-14 since pulling within 3 1/2 games of the Mariners on June 9. They lost to the Minnesota Twins the following day before getting swept June 11-13 in Seattle. Los Angeles has already played six games at Safeco Field this season but has yet to host the Mariners in Anaheim.
If the Angels drop the series opener, they’ll own a .500 record for the first time since the second game of the season.
The scheduled starting pitchers for Tuesday were also matched up on June 11.
Los Angeles left-hander Andrew Heaney (4-5, 3-95 ERA) gave up five runs and seven hits in three innings of the 5-3 loss.
Seattle left-hander Wade LeBlanc (3-0, 3.38) gave up two runs and four hits in five innings in his only career appearance against Seattle.
LeBlanc, who made 10 appearances for the Angels in 2014, including three starts, hasn’t experienced a defeat in 11 starts this season, and the Mariners are 8-3 in those games.
The Mariners have also found something special in closer Edwin Diaz, who became the second pitcher in major league history with at least 30 saves and 70 strikeouts before the All-Star break. The other is former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne.
“We’ve had a lot of valuable players on our team,” Seattle manager Scott Servais told reporters after a 1-0 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. “But winning the close games, it creates the type of atmosphere that’s going on at Safeco Field right now and the city and getting our fan base psyched again.”
Heaney also struggled in his most recent outing, allowing six runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 9-6 loss on Wednesday at the Boston Red Sox, but he did not absorb the loss.
He’s 1-2 in four career starts against the Mariners with a 4.42 ERA.
The Angels lost two more pitchers to injury on their current road trip.
Jake Jewell sustained a broken right fibula against the Red Sox on Wednesday. The rookie right-hander was making his third major-league appearance when he fell awkwardly while trying to cover home plate on a wild pitch. He had surgery on Friday in Los Angeles.
On Saturday, the Angels announced left-hander John Lamb would undergo Tommy John surgery, the fourth pitcher for Los Angeles to have the season-ending surgery this year.
Los Angeles could soon be adding some offensive punch, however.
Shohei Ohtani, the rookie two-way player who is also out with an elbow injury, has been taking live batting practice and running the bases recently, putting him on pace to resume designated hitter duties this week.
“He’s starting to do get through that progression,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told FOX Sports West on Sunday.
Angels first baseman/designated hitter Jefry Marte is also close to returning from a left wrist injury.
Colin Kaepernick’s first two ”protests” drew scant attention. He sat on the bench, out of uniform, virtually unnoticed. His third got some buzz after a reporter tweeted a picture of the 49ers bench that had nothing to do with the quarterback but caught him in the frame, sitting during the national anthem.
Meanwhile, the killing of a 12-year-old boy by police and the light it shined on the Black Lives Matter movement helped draw a reluctant LeBron James into the world of using sports as a vehicle for social change. But once he got there, James stayed disciplined both about the message he sends and the way he sends it.
Despite their vastly divergent methods Youth Brian Allen Jersey , Kaepernick and James helped set a stake in the ground, declaring to athletes across all sports that their platforms could be – should be – used for more than fun and games in the 21st century.
Kaepernick’s message – ”organic” to some, ”disorganized” to others – started a movement that has essentially linked the NFL with kneeling in a dramatic string of events that will play out for a final time this season, Sunday at the Super Bowl. James has also made an imprint thanks to the power of his own brand. Whose method worked better? The answer to that question figures to guide the direction of sports protests for the foreseeable future.
”Kaepernick didn’t go into it knowing what was going to happen. He was doing what he thought was right but this was not something he expected,” said professor Danielle Coombs of Kent State, who specializes in the politics of sports. ”On the other hand, you have athletes, like LeBron James, who make sure they do it in a way that lets the message rise to the top.”
Coombs and David Casillo co-authored a paper in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues centered on James, whose precise, calculated brand of activism pressed for change, but in a way that would not negatively affect the bottom line.
Two years before Kaepernick, and two decades after the seemingly apolitical Michael Jordan once reportedly said Republicans buy shoes, too, James found himself in the middle of a firestorm in the wake of the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
James said very little about the killing, which occurred only miles from his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He took heat for his reluctance. But over the ensuing years, he branched out slowly and cautiously, and sometimes with others at his side. He joined Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade at the 2016 ESPYs and gave a well-received speech calling for an end to gun violence.
The speech was a well-thought-out, well-organized message timed for maximum impact, as was Steph Curry’s impassioned defense of the stance that Kaepernick and others had taken on issues ranging from sitting during the national anthem, to the importance of showing team unity to foregoing White House visits.
”If I’m going to use my platform, I don’t want to just be noise,” Curry wrote in a Veterans Day blog on The Players’ Tribune website. ”I want to talk about real issues that are affecting real people.”
The methods Curry and James use for getting out the message were almost the exact opposite of Kaepernick’s. Turns out, Kaepernick made more headlines Youth John Kelly Jersey , but also became more vulnerable to his message getting lost or distorted due to the timing and some of his own self-inflicted sideshows .
Some may say that by not being calculating and by playing from the heart, Kaepernick sent a truer message. He also backed it up by raising $1 million for charity – much coming in $10,000 increments from celebrities and sports stars.
But was it more effective? Can it be repeated?
”One of the keys for athletes is that they pick moments in time to make sure their message resonates,” said marketing expert Joe Favorito. ”Certainly, it has become easier for people to start a process. But it’s become more difficult to follow through with it. These days, unless you have the biggest stage, you’re competing against thousands of other people. It’s not necessarily athletes. It can be anyone.”
The NFL was unprepared for the protests, though a five-page memo in 1966 written by a young black league executive to then Commissioner Pete Rozelle predicted this could happen. The memo, which can be read in its entirety on theundefeated.com , warned that a team releasing a black player who’d been outspoken on civil rights issues could spark major protests.
Now even more than then, few platforms grab as many eyeballs as that of the NFL. And no league drapes itself in the American flag quite like the NFL. That’s two reasons Kaepernick’s gesture had legs.
When President Donald Trump took on the league this season, criticizing those who followed Kaepernick’s lead, the debate became multipronged, with players, and even some owners, banding together to show they would not be pushed around by the president.
Meanwhile, TV ratings remained flat. Some fans tuned out and stayed away, enraged by what they perceived as disrespect to the flag, the military and American values.
Kaepernick’s original message got mixed in with several others. Regardless, midway through the season, the NFL realized it had to do something. After multiple meetings with player representatives, the league announced it was funneling $90 million into social justice issues that are important to players. Just last week, it launched Let’s Listen Together , an initiative designed to address some of the players’ most urgent concerns.
The launch came mere days before the Super Bowl, where ”The Star-Spang
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