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MANNING THE MIDDLE

 von elaine95 , 03.09.2018 09:58

The Los Angeles Angels will try to keep charging closer to an American League wild-card spot when they host the Toronto Blue Jays in the third game of their four-game series Saturday night at Angel Stadium.

The Angels (41-35) won the first two games of the series and three straight overall to move within five games of the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot in the AL. The Mariners have lost a season-high five straight games Johnthan Banks Jersey , allowing Los Angeles to make up 3 1/2 games since Tuesday.

“We still have a long ways to go,” Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols told Fox Sports West following a 2-1 victory against the Blue Jays on Friday night.

Pujols went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in Friday’s win. He produced an RBI double in the first inning to give him 630 doubles for his career, moving him within two of David Ortiz for 10th on the all-time major-league list. He is four home runs shy of 630 for career, which would tie Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth on the career list.

Marcus Stroman (0-5, 7.71 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Blue Jays (34-41) on Saturday night in his first start since May 8.

In his last outing, Stroman gave up five runs and nine hits over five innings in a 5-0 loss to the Mariners in Toronto. His counterpart, Seattle left-hander James Paxton, became the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter in the game.

Stroman went on the disabled list a day later with fatigue in his throwing shoulder.

“It just got to the point where it was so mentally and physically frustrating,” Stroman told MLB.com at the time. “I just need to take a step back for a second, put it all together and come back and be myself out there.”

Pujols and Angels center fielder Mike Trout are each 5-for-10 in their careers against Stroman.

Stroman is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in four career appearances against Los Angeles, including three starts. The 5-foot-8 right-hander threw a complete game the last time he faced the Angels, allowing two runs (one earned) and seven hits in a 6-2 win at Angel Stadium on April 23 Dontari Poe Jersey , 2017, the start of a six-game winning streak for Stroman.

He finished with a career-high 13 wins last season, but hasn’t earned a victory since Sept. 24 against the New York Yankees.

Angels rookie right-hander Jaime Barria is scheduled to make his 10th career start and first against the Blue Jays.

Barria (5-3, 3.57) is tied for the AL lead in wins among rookies this season, and ranks third in ERA among rookies with at least 40 innings pitched.

The Angels have struggled to close out games this season, but the bullpen threw two perfect innings to complete the win on Friday, and their relievers have allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings in the series.

“There’s no doubt, that as that back end of our bullpen grows, that’s going to really help our club,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after the win on Friday.

The San Francisco 49ers built around quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo early in the NFL draft, then used the rest of their nine selections to fortify defense and fill needs in their push to become a legitimate playoff contender.

After adding both a protector and deep threat for Garoppolo with their first two picks, the 49ers used each of their first four selections Saturday to grab prospects who can bolster a defense that ranked 24th in the NFL last season.

"Really feel we got better as a football team Golden Tate III Jersey ," 49ers general manager John Lynch said Saturday. "We got guys we wanted to come out of this draft with. We came out pretty well in terms of what we wanted to accomplish and are very proud of what we did."

In their first season under Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan last year, the 49ers won their final five games to finish 6-10 after acquiring Garoppolo near midseason.

San Francisco signed Garoppolo to a $137.5 million contract extension in February, then added key free agents on offense during March before drafting Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey in the first round Thursday, and moving up in the second round Friday to select Washington receiver Dante Pettis.

The 49ers then turned their focus to defense through the next four rounds, selecting BYU linebacker Fred Warner, North Carolina State end Kentavius Street, and defensive backs Tarvarius Moore of Southern Mississippi, D.J. Reed of Kansas State and Marcell Harris of Florida.

San Francisco selected another defender, Temple lineman Jullian Taylor, with its first seventh-round pick before taking Middle Tennessee State wide receiver Richie James with its final pick.

"We're in Year 2 of our program, and it's going to be tougher to make our team," Shanahan said. "It was much harder this year to pick guys on the (later) days that we thought can make our football team. We drafted guys that have a chance to do that."

Here are some other takeaways from the draft:

REDSHIRT PICKS?

The 49ers failed miserably earlier this decade with former GM Trent Baalke using several high draft picks to select prospects coming off significant injuries who never panned out after sitting out their rookie seasons. San Francisco took another chance in the fourth round Saturday on Street Jack Mewhort Jersey , who sustained a torn ACL during a pre-draft workout and had surgery earlier this month. He's unlikely to contribute this season.

"We're not trying to make popular picks, we're trying to make good picks," Lynch said. "And we're very convicted that this was just that."

Two picks later, the 49ers selected Harris, who missed the entire season last year after tearing his Achilles tendon during Florida's fall camp.

PLAYMAKER ON THE PREMISES?

On a conference call after being selected in the fifth round, Reed was describing his game to reporters when he was abruptly interrupted by the man who drafted him.

"I'm a playmaker, man." Reed said, before Lynch suddenly appeared in San Francisco's media room and blurted out, "That's what I'm talking about, D.J.!"

Reed ranked second in the Big 12 last season with four interceptions and was third in the conference with 13 passes defensed. He led the Big 12 with 19 passes defensed while earning the conference's Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors in 2016.

EXPLOSIVE AND DYNAMIC

Pettis and Reed are expected to help the 49ers in the slot on both sides of the football - Pettis as a receiver, Reed defending slot receivers - but each also brings another dynamic to the team.

They were two of the most explosive return specialists in college football last season and could add an immediate boost to San Francisco's return game.

Pettis set an NCAA record with nine career punt returns for touchdowns, averaging 14.2 yards on 90 career returns. Reed ran back a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and a punt 62 yards for a score last season Tarik Cohen Jersey , when he averaged 34.2 yards returning kicks and 14.9 yards returning punts.

MANNING THE MIDDLE

Of the six defenders selected by San Francisco, Warner could find himself making the biggest immediate impact and also filling the biggest immediate role.

That will be determined in the months to come as the 49ers await the fate of Reuben Foster, who is facing three felony charges in a domestic violence case. Foster, who finished second on the team last year in tackles despite missing six games, also could be facing a league suspension of six or more games.

STILL NEED

The 49ers entered both free agency and the draft this year with an impact edge pass rusher as perhaps their biggest need. They failed to address that, opting to pass on the premier edge prospects with their top two picks. The closest San Francisco came to adding help on the defensive edge is Street, who had 3 1/2 sacks in 13 games last season.

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elaine95
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