Friday, July 1, 2016

Rea welcomes Yankees in opener at Petco

Colin Rea will take the ball for the Padres on Friday at 7:40 p.m. PT in the opener of a three-game Interleague set against the Yankees, as he looks to bounce back from his last start against the Reds.
The 25-year-old right-hander has been excellent at times for San Diego this season, but his last start in Cincinnati saw him last just five innings, allow four runs and walk four batters -- which tied a season high. Rea did strike out a career-best seven batters during that game, so he'll look to build on that with just two starts remaining ahead of the All-Star break, when the Padres will begin to start limiting his innings.
"The thought process would be to push him to the back of the rotation coming off the All-Star break so he gets a longer period of time off … just to control his innings," Padres manager Andy Green said.
The most innings Rea has thrown in his professional career came in 2014, when he logged 139 for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore.
Opposing Rea will be Yankees right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (6-5, 5.19 ERA), who has allowed at least five runs in four of his past five starts. He took his third straight loss on Sunday, allowing five runs over six innings to the Twins.
Things to know about this game
• Carlos Beltran -- the Yankees' hottest hitter in June -- has played 23 games in Petco Park throughout his career, where he has hit .253/.341/.342. Beltran, however, is battling right hamstring tightness and is no lock to play on Friday.
• Will Myers has faced the Yankees more than any team except the Blue Jays and Rockies in his career, and has hit .304/.345/.559 in 102 at-bats against them, registering seven home runs.
• Eovaldi has fared well against Padres outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. In 20 career at-bats, Upton has mustered just four hits and one RBI.

STAMPS IN SEARCH OF THEMSELVES IN HOME-OPENER VS. BOMBERS

For the Calgary Stampeders, Saturday night’s home-opener against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is about finding their identity.
A Canada Day double-header in the CFL finishes at McMahon Stadium on Saturday, where two Western rivals are coming off losses and looking to get back in the win column.
The Bombers are hoping things are different this year while the Stamps look to continue their dominance in the wake of a 14-4 season – yet in last weekend’s 20-18 loss to the BC Lions, the Stampeders didn’t look like the Stampeders.
“Come out and create an identity. Find out what it’s gonna be,” Bo Levi Mitchell told Stampeders.com.
“Right now it’s just finding out as an offence what we’re gonna rely on and what’s gonna be that explosiveness that we had. Create that identity in the game and really just let it happen.”
The Stampeders haven’t started a season 0-2 since 2009, while the last time they lost two regular season games in a row was the first three weeks of 2012. Mitchell, 28-7 in his career as a starter including 5-1 against Winnipeg, has never lost two in a row.
Yet despite leading 17-6 with one play left in the third quarter, Mitchell and the Stamps failed to do against the Lions in B.C. what they’ve done so well the last decade or so: close out games.
The Stampeders had chances to put the game away in the first half and didn’t, and in the end a 73-yard punt return touchdown by Lions return ace Chris Rainey ended up being the difference.
The Stamps scored just twice in five red zone opportunities, turning the ball over twice and also missing a key fourth-quarter field goal.
“When you have opportunities early, take advantage of them,” said rookie head coach Dave Dickenson, who dropped to 0-1 in his coaching career. “You’ve got to extend that lead.
“They were the ones making plays in the fourth quarter. We’re onto the next week, we know we’ve got a good challenge and we expect to come out here and win.”
Second-year receiver Lemar Durant will not play for the Stampeders after appearing to suffer an injury on a highlight-reel grab in the second half as he fell to his back. Meanwhile, the secondary will get some reinforcements as safety Josh Bell, the quarterback of DeVone Claybrooks’ defence, is back in his usual spot.
Cam Thorn will start at centre in place of rookie Roman Grozman as the Stamps wait for Pierre Lavertu to return from injury, but in the end it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly the Stamps need to do better.
Their defence held Jonathon Jennings pretty well in check with 248 yards on 42 passing attempts and an average of 10.3 yards per completion. Special teams allowed the game-changing touchdown in the fourth but also blocked three punts in the first half.
Some wondered why Jerome Messam had only seven carries (he rushed for 16 and a touchdown), while instead of Eric Rogers and Jeff Fuller catching all the passes like in the past, this time it was Durant and Kamar Jorden carrying the offence.
“We know the reason we haven’t dropped two in a row for a long time is we remind ourselves early on in the week to really lock in,” said Mitchell. “We always come back with a different kind of attitude after we’ve lost a game.”Against a new-look Bombers team with some added flare to its lineup, for the Stampeders Saturday night is about finishing. Above all, they need to do the things they’ve done in the past to avoid losing two in a row.
Both the Bombers and the Stamps have a different feel about them this year following an off-season of change, but the Blue and Gold can expect more of the same from the Stampeders coming off a loss.
They know things didn’t go right in game one and they know it’s only the beginning of a long season. Yet this week there’s the feel of some urgency for the Bombers, a team focused on changing the culture in 2016.
Whether it was Drew Willy or Andrew Harris, no one wearing royal blue is afraid to take responsibility for what happened in a 22-14 loss to the Alouettes in Week 1.
“I put it all on me and I hope Drew puts it all on him,” said Offensive Coordinator Paul LaPolice in an interview with BlueBombers.com. “And I hope Darvin Adams puts it all on him.
“And Andrew Harris . . .” he continued. “We talk about how we’re all responsible for everybody. Mike (O’Shea) does a tremendous job of making sure we are one team, but we all have to look internally about what we can do better.”
The Bombers got behind the eight ball early while an hour-long delay due to lightning in the area sucked some of the wind out of the team and the opening-day crowd. But in the end it was the inability to sustain drives early that allowed Kevin Glenn and the Alouettes to play keep-away, holding Winnipeg to a league-low 26:41 of possession including just 10:23 in the first half.
Losing Weston Dressler to injury in the first quarter didn’t help, but by the time the Bombers showed some life with a highlight-reel Darvin Adams touchdown in the fourth quarter it was too little too late.
They’ll be without Dressler again this week, who has been on the field for the last couple of days and appears close but could not be cleared for action.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Thomas Mayo, who had stints with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and New York Jets and bounced around the indoor game, will start in Dressler’s place.
The 6-foot-2, 204-pound Mayo brings size and athleticism to the Bombers’ receiving corps, something LaPolice and O’Shea were looking for to complement their smaller and speedy receivers from the outset of camp.
“Besides the frosted tips (in his hair)?” said LaPolice with a chuckle. “He’s such a good kid and he gets better every week. He’s fast for a big guy. He’s not afraid to go hit somebody.
“Coach O’Shea talked about it in a meeting one time,” LaPolice recalled. “We had Mayo on a screen pass to Andrew Harris for a touchdown in the pre-season. Mayo came across the field and lit up a player – just destroyed the guy. Mike says, ‘Do you know who that guy is?’ And Thomas is like, ‘I don’t know’. And it was Kyries Hebert, one of the best players in the league and Thomas goes, ‘OK, whatever’.”
Darvin Adams moves into Dressler’s old spot while Mayo bumps inside, but the Mayo-for-Dressler switch is just another change to an offensive unit trying to build some chemistry with new receivers in Ryan Smith and Jace Davis, a new left guard in Jermarcus Hardrick along with a new tailback in Harris.
Dressler took just eight snaps before his exit against Montreal (catching three passes), causing a ripple effect through the receiving corps. The silver lining this week is that Mayo has been in the attack since the first day of practice.
Harris got stronger as the game progressed in his long-awaited Bomber debut, finishing with 13 carries for 80 yards (6.2 per carry) with another 40 through the air. Adams had a game-high 105 yards on five catches including his 63-yard touchdown.
The defence was solid considering the amount of time it spent on the field, so on Saturday for the Bombers it’s about picking up a few missing pieces.
“Just overall consistency on offence,” said Willy. “Get off to a faster start, put points on the board in the first quarter. Just really go out and make sure we don’t have any mental mistakes there.”
“Clean up the mistakes,” added O’Shea. “I thought there were too many mistakes.”

Norris to make Dodgers debut vs. Rockies

Jorge De La Rosa will pitch for the Rockies against Bud Norris, who will make his Dodgers debut, stepping in for the injured Clayton Kershaw, in the series opener on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. Norris was acquired in a five-player trade with Atlanta on Thursday.
De La Rosa has faced the Dodgers 25 times in his career, opposing only the Padres, Giants and D-backs more. He has historically struggled against Los Angeles, holding a 5.22 ERA over 120 2/3 innings. However, he has a 3.90 ERA at Dodger Stadium and has a 2.87 ERA in his last five starts against the Dodgers, spanning back to August 2014.
De La Rosa seems to be finding his groove after being reinstated to the rotation on June 14. He has won all three of his starts -- posting a 2.11 ERA -- but he has not pitched past the sixth inning.
Norris is 0-2 with a 3.10 ERA in six games (five starts) at Dodger Stadium. He is 2-1 with a 6.23 ERA in 10 games (five starts) against the Rockies in his career, but 13 of the 21 earned runs came at Coors Field.
Three things to know about this game
• The Dodgers who have seen De La Rosa the most have had great success. Adrian Gonzalez is 17-for-48 (.354), Chase Utley is 7-for-21 (.333) and Howie Kendrick is 5-for-14 (.357). However, Justin Turner is 0-for-9 against him.
• Charlie Blackmon's 17 leadoff home runs since the start of 2013, his rookie season, are tied with Curtis Granderson for the most over that span. He hit his most recent one on Saturday.
• The Dodgers will likely face a disabled-list decision with outfielder Joc Pederson, who bruised his right (non-throwing) A/C joint slamming into the wall in Milwaukee on Tuesday night and hasn't been available since.

LeBlanc, Gausman set to match up at Safeco

The Mariners and Orioles will face off Friday in the second game of a four-game series in Seattle, the last series between the two teams this regular season.
Wade LeBlanc will get his second start with the Mariners. Seattle acquired the 31-year-old southpaw from Toronto on June 22 to help bolster a heavily injured starting rotation, and he made his Mariners debut on June 24. Manager Scott Servias, who knew LeBlanc from their overlapping time with the Angels, was pleased enough with the lefty's six-inning shutout performance to keep him in the starting rotation when Wade Miley and Taijuan Walker returned from injuries.
"[General manager] Jerry [Dipoto] and I had some history with him, so [we] kind of knew what to expect," Servais said. "Didn't think we'd get six shutout innings, but we'll gladly take them."
Kevin Gausman is scheduled take the mound for the Orioles. The right-hander will be looking for his second win this season. He is 1-5 in 13 starts and has a 3.93 ERA. He earned his first win in his most recent start, on June 25. Gausman only allowed four hits in 7 2/3 innings en route to a 5-0 Orioles win over the Rays.
Things to know about this game
• This will be Gausman's third career start against the Mariners, all of which have been in Seattle. He is 0-1 at Safeco Field with a 2.63 ERA.
• Before his start last week, LeBlanc had not pitched in a Major League game since 2014. He spent 2015 playing in Japan and then signed as a free agent with the Blue Jays. He started this season in Triple-A Buffalo, where he had a 1.71 ERA .
• Mariners catcher Mike Zunino could make his first Major League start since last season. Seattle recalled the 25-year-old from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday to replace Steve Clevenger, whom the Mariners placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right hand. Zunino hit .174 for the Mariners last year, but had a .282 batting average in Triple-A this season. Starting catcher Chris Iannetta is due for a day of rest; he has played in the Mariners' past five games.

Locke, Gray set to square off as Bucs hit Oakland

The Pirates and Athletics are both looking to improve their spots in the standings in what have been inconsistent seasons to date. They'll get a chance to do so when they play each other in an Interleague matchup over the weekend in Oakland, and Friday's opener provides an intriguing pitching matchup, with Pittsburgh left-hander Jeff Locke going up against A's righty Sonny Gray.
For the visiting Pirates, success might be tied to the performance of Locke, who has been excellent of late. Locke's last start was a 6-1 win over the Dodgers in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. He went seven innings in that effort, giving up one run on five hits. In his previous outing, Locke beat the Giants and ace Madison Bumgarner by pitching 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball. He did not walk a batter in either game.
Meanwhile, Gray has been rounding into form since coming back from the disabled list. The A's ace has turned in quality starts his last two games, pitching six innings of two-run (one earned) ball against the Brewers on June 21 and following it up with six innings of two-run ball against the Angels in Anaheim on June 26.
Things to know about this game
• Locke is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in one career start vs. the A's. It came on July 8, 2013, at PNC Park in a 2-1 loss.
• There's a good chance Gregory Polanco could be back in the outfield for the Pirates. He started both games at designated hitter in the two-game series vs. the Mariners in Seattle on Tuesday and Wednesday.
• Gray has only faced the Pirates once, and it was in his Major League debut. It came on July 10, 2013, in Oakland, and the 23-year-old Gray pitched two innings of scoreless relief, giving up one hit and striking out three batters.

Cueto looks to rebound in opener vs. D-backs

The Giants and D-backs will meet for a ninth time this season when they begin a three-game divisional series at Arizona's Chase Field on Friday.
The Giants completed a four-game sweep of the D-backs the last time they were in Arizona in mid-May. The teams are 4-4 against each other in 2016, as the D-backs swept the Giants in a four-game set at AT&T Park in April.
Since the Giants' sweep of the D-backs in May, though, the teams have gone in opposite directions. The Giants own the best winning percentage (33-11) in the Majors since May 11. And it's been hard for the D-backs to keep pace, as they head into the series losers of five straight and 14 games back of the division lead.
Johnny Cueto will take the mound for the Giants. The right-hander continues to excel as the All-Star break nears, posting a 2.42 ERA with 11 wins on the season. But, his last outing was one of his worst of 2016, as Cueto surrendered six earned runs to the Phillies on Sunday.
The D-backs counter with right-hander Shelby Miller, who is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in his two starts since returning from the disabled list. He's allowed four earned runs in 7 2/3 innings against the Giants this year.
Things to know about this game
• D-Backs third baseman Jake Lamb has batted .404 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in his last 13 games. He finished June with nine home runs, the most by a D-backs player in a month since Paul Goldschmidt hit 10 in May 2015.
• The Giants' injury list continues to get crowded, as infielders Joe Panik and Ramiro Pena experienced setbacks this week. Panik was put on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion, while Pena will be sidelined due to a sprained ankle. Pena will not go on the DL, however.
• The D-backs are 13-28 at home in 2016 and just 15-18 against opponents in the NL West.
• The Giants haven't lost a series to a team in the NL West since being swept by the D-backs at home on April 21.

Brewers trying to reverse course vs. Cardinals

The Cardinals have not lost a series to the Brewers in more than two years, but Milwaukee will look to change that when it kicks off a three-game series with the Redbirds at Busch Stadium on Friday.
Since Milwaukee took two out of three on the road in April 2014, 25 of the past 38 games played between the National League Central opponents have gone St. Louis' way. In recent history, the Cardinals have taken two out of three games in both series played between the two teams this season. St. Louis is outscoring the Brewers, 38-13, across the six games.
The Cards could also regain the services of two key bats in the lineup. Stephen Piscotty bruised his left ankle on Wednesday sliding after a ball in right field and wasn't in the starting lineup on Thursday. Rookie Aledmys Diaz could return to his starting shortstop spot on Friday after fouling a ball off his right eye on Monday.
Matt Garza will take the mound for his fourth start of the season for the Brewers. The right-hander displayed good command in each of his first two starts, but he surrendered three walks, 10 baserunners and four runs over six innings while picking up the win in his last start.
Jaime Garcia is scheduled to start for the Cardinals. The left-hander gave up five runs over 5 2/3 innings in his last start and posted a 5.40 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP with a .347 batting average against over five starts in June. Garcia made his best start of the season, however, against the Brewers on April 14, when he threw a one-hit shutout.
Things to know about this game
• Garza's season-high pitch count in a game is 87 (June 14), but look for the Brewers to be willing to stretch out that total on Friday. Garza missed the first two months of the season with a right lat strain, and he said after his last start that he felt strong enough to go deeper in a game.
• Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is batting .365 with a 1.081 OPS and a 181 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers this season, but Garcia has had the six-time All-Star's number in his career. Braun is 13-for-57 (.228) with five extra-base hits, two walks and nine strikeouts against Garcia.
• Look for Jhonny Peralta to be in the St. Louis lineup Friday. In his career against Garza, he is 17-for-37 (.459) with two homers and five RBIs. In 15 at-bats against Garza, Matt Adams has a 1.429 OPS.

Perez eyes 7th straight win as Rangers face Twins

Left-hander Martin Perez puts his six-game winning streak on the line when the Rangers open up a three-game series against the Twins on Friday night at Target Field. Veteran right-hander Ervin Santana pitches for the Twins.
Perez is 6-0 with a 3.40 ERA in his last seven starts, matching the longest winning streak of his career. He is 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA in his last 11 starts.
"Just keep going and continue to do my job," Perez said. "I don't want to stop. I just want to win and help the team."
This will be Perez's first start against the Twins in almost four years. The only other time Perez faced the Twins was on July 6, 2012, in Arlington when he allowed four runs in six innings in a 5-1 loss.
The Rangers are much more familiar with Santana. He has made 30 career starts against the Rangers, fifth most among active pitchers and tied for 17th all time. The former Angels hurler is 13-11 against Texas with a 5.67 ERA, which is the fifth highest among opponents with at least 25 starts vs. the Rangers.
Santana's last two starts have been against the Yankees. He allowed three runs in 7 1/3 innings in a 7-4 victory on June 19, snapping a five-game losing streak. In his last start, he allowed one run in five innings Saturday in a game the Twins ended up losing, 2-1. The Twins are scoring 3.71 runs per nine innings for Santana, the fourth-lowest run-support average in the American League.
What to watch for
• Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has five home runs in his career off Santana, tied for the second most against him by any opponent.
• Twins first baseman Byung Ho Park is hitting .197 at Target Field, the second-lowest home batting average in the AL. But he does have eight home runs in 117 at-bats there. He has been bothered by a sore right wrist and did not start on Thursday against the White Sox.
• Joe Mauer has a career batting average of .234 against the Rangers. That's his second lowest against any AL opponent. He has a .232 average against the Astros. He also did not start on Thursday.

Fiers, white-hot Astros host White Sox

The Astros, winners of 10 of their last 11 games and 25 of their last 36, return home Friday night to face the White Sox and open a 10-game homestand that will take them to the All-Star break. The Astros will send right-hander Mike Fiers to the mound against White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez in Friday's series opener.
Fiers (5-3, 4.41 ERA) had won two consecutive decisions, allowing two runs in 12 2/3 innings, before allowing three runs and nine hits in only 4 1/3 innings Saturday in Kansas City. The Astros have won four of his last five starts.
Gonzalez (1-3, 5.17 ERA) has appeared in 11 games for the White Sox, making 10 starts. Since beating the Nationals on June 9, he's 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in three starts, allowing 22 hits and nine walks in 15 1/3 innings.
Things to know about this game
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has reached base in 32 consecutive games, which is the longest such streak by an Astros player since Lance Berkman reached in 37 games in a row in 2004. Altuve's also riding an 11-game hitting streak.
• Entering Wednesday, the White Sox had made 1,198 quality starts since 2003, second-most in the Majors behind the Mets (1,211) in that span.
• The Astros are 18-8 this month, their best June record since they were 18-10 in 1989. This year, they went 7-17 in April and 17-12 in May.

Rolling Teheran starts vs. Marlins

Julio Teheran is on a roll. The Braves' right-hander, who is drawing considerable trade interest, carries a string of 23 consecutive scoreless innings into Friday night's game against the Marlins at Turner Field.
The Marlins, meanwhile, are in the market for starting pitching, and they're looking to gain momentum in the congested playoff picture. Miami is countering with left-hander Justin Nicolino, who rejoins the rotation after a brief two-start demotion to Triple-A New Orleans.
Even in the Minors, Nicolino had stayed lined up with Miami's fifth starter spot. With New Orleans, he shed throwing his cutter and had success in two starts -- giving up three runs in 13 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts and two walks. In his previous seven starts with the Marlins before being optioned, Nicolino was 0-4 with a 6.44 ERA.
Teheran is enjoying one of his finest seasons, with 99 strikeouts to 24 walks in 106 innings. In his last 13 starts, he has a 1.72 ERA.
Things you need to know about this game
• Newly acquired reliever Fernando Rodney is expected to be in uniform and ready to pitch on Friday, a day after Miami acquired him from the Padres for prospect Chris Paddack. Manager Don Mattingly hasn't said what role in the back end of the bullpen Rodney will have, but he's available for the seventh inning and beyond.
• Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is just 4-for-27 (.148) in his career against Teheran, but two of his hits have been home runs. Marcell Ozuna, meanwhile, is 11-for-30 (.367) with a homer and four RBIs.
• The Braves don't have much history against Nicolino. Nick Markakis is 2-for-5 off the Miami lefty.

TICATS, LIONS CLAW FOR CANADA DAY VICTORY AT TIM HORTONS FIELD

Ask anyone in the Hamilton area what they have planned for Canada Day and you’ll probably get the same answer – going to the Tiger-Cats’ home opener.
Tim Hortons Field is typically a nightmare for the opposition. The stadium is always packed with loud, proud fans showing their support for their favourite tabbies. Despite having one of the louder stadiums in the league, Hamilton’s head coach Kent Austin doesn’t think that it’s only the fan support gives a team home field advantage.
“Obviously we know that the crowd’s going to be behind us,” Austin told Ticats.ca. “It’s going to be a packed stadium, they’re going to be loud, (we know) those things are consistent. That doesn’t overcome poor play. If we play well in a tough environment for the other team then you have an advantage.”
The Ticats hope to carry the momentum from their impressive 42-20 victory over the Toronto Argonauts last week at BMO Field into Week 2 against the BC Lions in the first half of a CFL Friday night double header.
The defence, led by Week 1’s Shaw CFL Top Performer Simoni Lawrence, wowed in the season opener in taking down Argos’ pivot Ricky Ray five times and Argos pivots six times in total. Lawrence collected seven tackles – including two of the six sacks – a fumble recovery, an interception and a touchdown.
“I have to pass all the credit to my teammates, of course,” said the linebacker. “In a team game like this it’s so hard to take individual awards because you know you’re depending on 11 other guys to do their jobs so you can be successful. I feel like our defence did a great job and we got this team award.”
Lawrence and the rest of his defenders will tackle a BC Lions offence that just doesn’t quit. The Lions fought hard in Week 1 to come from behind to defeat Calgary 20-18 after trailing 17-6 heading into the final play of the third quarter.
“They’re a very good team,” said Lawrence. “They know it’s our home opener and they know we’re going to be very hyped up so they’re going to come in and try to ruin our party like we did Toronto’s.”
Bryan Burnham will also be looking to make an impact after he led the Lions receivers with 88 yards on five catches, one of eight different targets for quarterback Jonathan Jennings last week. Shawn Gore had seven receptions for 67 yards and Emmanuel Arceneaux grabbed four receptions for 39 yards. Jennings ending with 24 of 42 completions for 248 and no interceptions.One of the biggest challenges for Hamilton will be containing Lions running back Chris Rainey, who had quite the game against Calgary. Rainey scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 73-yard punt return in the fourth quarter to help ensure his team a 1-0 record.
Scoring early and often will be on the forefront of the Lions’ game plan come Friday night, but most of all they’ll want to get off to a better start than they had in their home-opener against the Stampeders. Jennings and company were stymied by Calgary’s defence throughout a large chunk of the game, scoring only three points in the first half and 13 offensively all game.
And while special teams won the game in the end for the Lions, they nearly coughed it up in the first half when Richie Leone had three of his punts blocked. In their first road test of the season, the Lions will have to avoid big negative plays like that but also put points on the board to keep the Ticats’ home crowd at bay.
“Every drive you want to go out there and score,” said Gore. “We want to come out there first play and make an impact. We started out a little sluggish last week and we’re not looking to repeat that.”
Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood returns to Hamilton’s lineup after being sidelined from an injury during the pre-season. Underwood, in his second season in the black and gold, will be another option for Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to throw to when they hit the field.
“Whenever you’re playing and you have a chance to be up or start, you’re going to be excited about it,” Underwood said. “I’ve just got to put my best foot forward and help the team get a win on Friday.”
Masoli was striking in his season debut against the Argos, throwing for 318 yards on 27-of-37 passing. He also made 15 straight completions in the second half going 15-for-15 to four different receivers, Chad Owens, Luke Tasker, Andy Fantuz and Brandon Banks.
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“Right now Masoli is playing well,” Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach Mark Washington told BCLions.com. “He’s controlling the offence, he has good mastery of the offence and they’re showing a lot.
“The receivers (including) Owens are really playing hard for those guys. (C.J.) Gable is a great running back so we’re going to have our hands full. I’m sure our guys will be up for the challenge.”
Friday night will also be the fans in the Hammer’s first look at Owens, who nabbed his first touchdown in the black and gold against his former team last week.
As for the questions surrounding whether or not Brett Maher would be a good enough replacement for the CFL’s most accurate kicker Justin Medlock, who was signed by Winnipeg on the first day of free agency, Maher silenced them all in Week 1.
In his Ticat debut, Maher went 4-for-4 on his field goal attempts including a 50-yard kick, the first 50-plus yard field goal of his CFL career.
BC’s bench boss, and the CFL’s winningest active coach, Wally Buono is fully aware of the atmosphere of the enemy territory he and his lions will be prancing into and it doesn’t faze him one bit.
“It is a hostile environment, that’s what’s going to make the win hopefully that much sweeter.”

Red Sox, Angels to renew acquaintances at Fenway

Fenway Park spectators will get their annual look at superstar Mike Trout, as the Angels visit the Red Sox for a three-game series that starts on Friday night.
In 13 career games in Boston, Trout has never homered, but has a .373 average, six doubles and a .930 OPS.
Trout will be playing against the two outfielders he might be starting alongside at the July 12 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. When the latest round of balloting was announced earlier this week, Trout, Bradley and Betts ranked 1-2-3 in outfield voting.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright, who leads the American League with a 2.18 ERA, also could earn a trip to the Midsummer Classic in San Diego. The right-hander draws the assignment for the Red Sox in the series opener as he tries to bounce back from a rare subpar start. The Angels counter with righty Jhoulys Chacin.
Three things to know about this game
• Daniel Nava, who was an important player for the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox, returns to Fenway with the Angels. In five seasons with the Red Sox, Nava batted .267 with a .744 OPS in 424 games. He is a .277 hitter at Fenway with a .777 OPS.
• Hanley Ramirez has the most at-bats of any active Boston player against Chacin, going 4-for-15 with a homer. Albert Pujols has a double and a homer in five career at-bats against Wright.
• The Red Sox hope to activate left fielder Brock Holt (concussion) and catcher Ryan Hanigan (neck strain) for this series. For the Angels, third baseman Yunel Escobar should return to action over the course of the three-game set, manager Mike Scioscia said. Escobar hasn't played since Thursday against Oakland while dealing with a bone bruise in his left knee. Jefry Marte and Gregorio Petit have each started at third base in Escobar's absence.

After eight days off, Fulmer takes on Rays

Rays starter Drew Smyly will face his old team and prolific Tigers rookie Michael Fulmer will pitch for the first time in eight days when the Rays host the Tigers on Friday at Tropicana Field.
Smyly, who spent the first two and a half seasons of his big league career with the Tigers, has already pitched twice against his former team, including once this year. He's coming off a Sunday start in Baltimore where he allowed eight runs in five innings.
And like the Orioles, the Tigers are one of Major League Baseball's best home-run-hitting teams. They have 104 on the season, and five players with 12 or more. Smyly will need to find a way to keep the ball in the park to get back on track.
"Between the Orioles, the Red Sox and now these guys coming in, there are some deep lineups," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They've got guys that are capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark, guys that are proven Major League hitters."
Fulmer faced the Rays once this season and allowed just one run over seven innings -- a game he faced off against Smyly. Earlier this season, Fulmer had a 33 1/3-inning scoreless streak earlier this season. Due to his early success, a chance at making the All-Star Game isn't out of the question, even if he only has 11 big league starts under his belt.
It's been eight days since his last start, since the Tigers are trying to limit his innings during his first big league season.
"I'd be a dream come true if it did," Fulmer said of pitching in the All-Star Game. "I couldn't tell you that I'm worried about it or thinking about it at all. I'm just trying to go out and do my job, and if something like that achievement comes up, it'd be a dream come true."
Three things to know about this game
• Miguel Cabrera hit his 426th career home run on Sunday. He is now one shy of Mike Piazza for 47th on the all-time home run list.
• Smyly is 0-4 over his last seven starts, and he hasn't won since May 16. It's the longest losing streak of his career.
• Rays catcher Hank Conger is batting .444 with three homers and six RBIs on Saturdays. The other six days of the week he's batting below .200 and has only four RBIs.

NLCS rematch continues with Hammel, deGrom

The Mets and Cubs will continue their National League Championship Series rematch at Citi Field on Friday, with right-handers Jacob deGrom and Jason Hammel taking the hill.
deGrom will look to build off his most recent outing, on Saturday, in which he tossed eight shutout innings -- tying a career high -- en route to a no-decision against the Braves. The last time he faced the Cubs, in Game 3 of the NLCS, he earned the win, allowing two runs on four hits over seven innings while striking out seven.
Hammel will be making his first appearance at Citi Field since April 11, 2011, and hopes the Mets treat him better than they did in Game 4 of the NLCS, as he took the loss after allowing five runs in 1 1/3 innings at Wrigley Field. He has not fared much better against the Mets in the regular season, as he is 0-3 against them with a 4.91 ERA in five career starts. New York is one of two NL teams that he has yet to defeat, the other being the Giants.
Three things to know about this game
• First baseman James Loney was one of the Mets' best hitters in June, hitting .283 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He'll try to carry that over into July against Hammel, whom he's hit pretty well in his career. In 41 at-bats against Hammel, Loney has 13 hits, three of them home runs.
• The Mets have the Major Leagues' worst batting average with runners in scoring position, at .204. This season, Hammel has held batters to a .147 average in those situations.
• New York has not scored a run in deGrom's last three starts. On average, deGrom has received just 2.87 runs of support through 13 starts.

Hellickson, Phils looking to stay hot vs. champs

The Phillies are coming off their first series sweep since late April after taking three from the D-backs. Philadelphia's rotation leads the Major Leagues in shutouts with nine, but all eyes now are on outfielder Peter Bourjos, who has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball during the last few weeks. In his last 17 games, Bourjos is hitting .471 (24-for-51) with eight RBIs.
The Phils are back home after nine games on the road, and they face a Royals team that was 14-25 on the road entering Thursday's game against the Cardinals. Kansas City has its own sizzling hitter -- Kendrys Morales. Entering Thursday's game, Morales was 13 for his last 20 (.650), and 25 for his last 53 (.472.)
After Thursday's off-day, the Philllies will send Jeremy Hellickson, who gave up just one earned run in six innings at AT&T Park in his last start, to the mound against Ian Kennedy and the Royals on Friday in the opener of a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park.
Kennedy struck out 11 while giving up three hits, one walk and one run against the Astros in his last outing.
Things to know about this game
• Hellickson is 1-2 with a 5.45 ERA in six starts -- a span of 33 innings -- against the Royals in his career. He's struck out 25 and walked nine.
• Hellickson needs to beware of Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, who over his career is 8-for-16 vs. Hellickson.
Kennedy is 3-3 with a 3.25 ERA over his career against the Phils in eight starts. That includes a three-hit shutout in 2011.
Kennedy has had terrific success against this crop of Phillies, including Ryan Howard, who is 3-for-19, all singles.