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NEW YORK — Hours before the Atlanta Braves took the field at Yankee Stadium Authentic Denzel Ward Jersey , as an air conditioning vent blew cold air inside a sweltering third base dugout, manager Brian Snitker admitted he did not think the youth would come together so quickly this season.
Snitker thought the Braves would do well but not necessarily possess the best record in the National League.
About 6 1/2 hours later, the Braves wrapped up another win due to some youthful contributions and on Tuesday they can become the first team in the National League to reach 50 victories when they continue a three-game series with the New York Yankees.
The Braves are on a four-game winning streak and 31-19 against opponents with winning records after Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning off David Robertson to give Atlanta a 5-3 victory.
“We’re ahead of where we thought we’d be,” Snitker said before the Braves upped the NL’s best record to 49-34. “Going into the season, I don’t think we expected to be sitting here on July 2 in first place.
“We all felt we were going to do really good. In all honesty with where we were with our club and are, we’ve kind of surpassed what everybody thought the first of March where we’d be. We’re a probably a better team than what we thought we were.”
Among the youthful players is Acuna, who at 20 years, 196 days is the youngest Atlanta rookie to hit a game-winning homer in extra innings since Andruw Jones (20 years, three days) did it April 26, 1997, against the San Diego Padres.
Acuna is batting .274 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 33 games. He also owns six RBIs in extra innings, second most behind 21-year-old Ozzie Albies. The Braves also are 9-3 when he drives in a run.
“I’m never really nervous in those situations, my adrenaline kind of helps out,” Acuna said through an interpreter before adding he could never remember feeling nervous on the field.”
The Yankees (54-28) are 4-6 in their last 10 games after going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and striking out 12 times.
“We want to put them out there more often than not Authentic Connor Williams Jersey ,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “More often than not we’ll come through in those situations.”
Aaron Judge hit his 23rd homer and walked twice but also couldn’t complete the leaping catch on Acuna’s homer.
“I felt it hit my glove,” Judge said. “It didn’t go in. They got two runs. It was a tough play.”
Judge and the Yankees have only lost a series three times since April 19 and are 45-19 in their last 64 games. They will attempt to do so after extensive use of their bullpen trying to win Monday’s game.
Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Chad Green and Jonathan Holder combined for seven innings and threw 114 pitches.
“Obviously we went through a lot of guys tonight, threw a lot of pitches,” Boone said. “It’ll be a little bit of a challenge tomorrow, but we’ll work through it.”
Tuesday’s pitching matchup will feature young pitchers experiencing differing degrees of success of late as Sean Newcomb starts for Atlanta against Domingo German.
After going 4-9 in 18 starts last season, he is 8-2 with a 2.71 ERA in 16 starts in his second campaign.
Newcomb is coming off two straight no-decisions in home starts against the Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds. He has allowed three runs or less in all but two starts and allowed one run or less in eight outings, including six scoreless starts.
“He’s a lot more competitive than I was ever led to believe,” said Snitker while noting how Newcomb’s changeup has developed into an effective pitch. “I didn’t know him a lot. I hadn’t seen him a lot in the minor leagues and once he came here, he’s a quiet guy, he doesn’t show a lot of emotion on the mound but he’s very competitive.”
German will make his 10th start and it might be viewed as an audition to stay in the rotation until Masahiro Tanaka returns from a hamstring injury. German will pitch one day before Tanaka makes a rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
German is 2-3 with a 5.88 ERA in nine starts and has shown some flashes but also struggled. He followed up a three-start stretch where he fanned 28 in 19 innings against the New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays Authentic Bradley Chubb Jersey , and Seattle Mariners by struggling immensely in a 7-6 loss at Tampa Bay on June 24.
In his last start, German tied a career worst by allowing six runs on a career-worst nine hits in three-plus innings. He threw 64 pitches to 19 hitters and was pushed back, though he pitched a scoreless relief inning Wednesday at Philadelphia.
German’s only previous start against a National League team occurred June 9, when he allowed three runs on five hits in six innings in a 4-3 win at the Mets.
The Minnesota Vikings are working through a quarterback quandary this offseason, with three pending free agents.
They have ample space under the salary cap, around $50 million, and an unfulfilled desire to produce a long-term answer at the position after years of questions.
Coach Mike Zimmer expressed caution about the strategy of spending their way out of the uncertainty.
”I think it’s really, really important that we understand that we’ve won 40 games in the last four years and we’ve done this by being pretty good on defense for the most part,” Zimmer said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. ”This year the offense was much better. Part of the reason we’ve been winning games is because we’ve been staying in games on defense, we’ve been a smart team, all those things.”
About half of the quarterbacks in the league are making an annual average of $20 million, and the standard prices will only increase this month with Kirk Cousins leading the list of soon-to-be free agents. Zimmer, for his part, pumped the brakes on the notion of trying to win such a bidding contest.
”I want to be really careful about taking away from our strength … because of financial reasons Authentic Frank Ragnow Jersey ,” Zimmer said.
Staying in step with what general manager Rick Spielman said Wednesday, Zimmer told reporters the Vikings are still assessing the pros and cons of Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater with the market set to open on March 14. Zimmer said all three quarterbacks are ”definitely” under consideration.
Breaking with the guarded style of his boss, Zimmer pushed the candor button at the podium. He acknowledged the realities and reservations of each of the three players he’s had as the primary starter over the past three years.
”It’s important for myself and Rick and the organization to pick the right guy that is going to help us continue to move forward,” Zimmer said. ”If we don’t do that, then I’ll probably be fired.”
Keenum took over after Bradford hurt his knee following the season opener and enjoyed a career-best performance, helping the Vikings reach the NFC championship game. Before 2017, he’d just been a backup. Several times during the year, Zimmer hinted at mild skepticism about Keenum’s ability to keep up such success.
”Is he the guy when he was at Houston or the Rams, or is he the guy who played for us?” Zimmer said, repeating a similar line of questioning for Bradford, who didn’t experience much success early in his career with St. Louis.
Bradford’s biggest issue is the knee, which Zimmer described as a ”degenerative” problem. There’s clearly no perfect answer for the Vikings in this complicated situation.
”At the end of the day, it’s a guess and a hunch Authentic Jaire Alexander Jersey ,” Zimmer said.
Bridgewater presents the least-expensive option but also the least-known, considering he last started a meaningful game more than two years ago. The amount of time he missed while rehabilitating his knee injury has made it difficult to evaluate his ability to lead the team for the next decade, as the Vikings originally intended when they drafted him in the first round in 2014.
”It’s really hard to evaluate just in practice. We have to go back a lot with Teddy on what he’s done in the past, him as a person, his work ethic, all those things. Him not playing for two years and not being able to see him play in live situations, that’s concerning a little bit,” Zimmer said. ”But I love the guy. He’s a great kid, great competitor, a winner.”