ATLANTA (11-6) vs. PHILADELPHIA (13-3)
Saturday Valtteri Filppula Jersey , 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC
OPENING LINE – Falcons by 2 1/2
RECORD VS. SPREAD – Atlanta 8-9, Philadelphia 10-5-1
SERIES RECORD – Eagles lead 18-14-1
LAST MEETING – Eagles beat Falcons 24-15, Nov. 13, 2016
LAST WEEK – Falcons beat Rams 26-13 in wild-card game; Eagles had bye
AP PRO32 RANKING – Falcons No. 9, Eagles No. 5
FALCONS OFFENSE – OVERALL (8), RUSH (13), PASS (8).
FALCONS DEFENSE – OVERALL (9), RUSH (9), PASS (12).
EAGLES OFFENSE – OVERALL (7), RUSH (3), PASS (13).
EAGLES DEFENSE – OVERALL (4), RUSH (17), PASS (1).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Eagles are 2-1 vs. Falcons in playoffs, including 27-10 win in 2004 NFC championship game. … Falcons were NFL’s highest-scoring team last year, but their fewest points came in loss at Philly. … Falcons were 5-1 vs. common opponents while Eagles were 4-2. … Falcons averaged 22.1 points per game and allowed 19.7. … Atlanta averaged 364.8 yards per game and allowed 318.4. … Falcons QB Matt Ryan completed 64.6 percent of passes for 4,095 yards, 20 TDs, 12 picks and 91.4 passer rating. …Ryan has passer rating of at least 100 in five straight postseason games Wayne Simmonds Jersey , tied for second-longest streak in league history. Only Joe Montana had longer streak with eight. … RB Devonta Freeman had 865 yards rushing and seven TDs. … WR Julio Jones caught 88 passes for 1,444 yards and three TDs. … DE Adrian Clayborn had 9 1/2 sacks. … LB Deion Jones had three picks. … K Matt Bryant made 34 of 39 field goals (87.2 percent) and all 35 extra-point tries. … Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson makes playoff debut as head coach. … Eagles tied franchise record with 13 wins. … Eagles finished with second-most points (463) in team history. … Eagles tied for first in NFL in point differential (plus 162), led league in rush defense (79.2 yards per game) and ranked first in NFC in turnover differential (plus 11). … Philadelphia averaged 28.6 points per game and allowed 18.4. … Eagles averaged 365.8 yards per game and allowed 306.5. … QB Nick Foles was 2-1 filling in for Carson Wentz. Foles completed 56.4 percent of passes for 537 yards, five TDs, two picks and 79.5 passer rating. … RB LeGarrette Blount had 766 yards rushing and two TDs. … RB Jay Ajayi had 873 yards rushing and one TD combined with Dolphins and Eagles. … TE Zach Ertz had 74 catches for 824 yards and eight TDs. … WR Alshon Jeffery had 57 catches for 789 yards and nine TDs. … DE Brandon Graham had 9 1/2 sacks. … CB Patrick Robinson had four picks. … K Jake Elliott made 26 of 31 field goals (83.8 percent) and 39 of 42 extra points.
With apologies to Little Orphan Annie, the sun’ll come out today.
Considering the month the Kansas City Royals just went through, and that they’re currently in often-overcast Seattle, that was no guarantee.
No team in baseball will be happier to flip the calendar than the Royals, who are coming off the worst June in their 50-year history.
“I’m ready to turn the page and start over in July,” Royals manager Ned Yost told The Kansas City Star. “It’s just kind of a reset. We’re out of there, it’s done; it’s behind us. Let’s go on to July and see what happens.”
How bad was June?
The Royals went 5-21, tied for their fewest wins in the month (and that came in 1981, when they went 5-5 as the season was interrupted by a work stoppage).
They scored four or fewer runs in all but two games, including 21 of the past 22, and never won back-to-back games.
Kansas City scored a major league low 58 runs in the month, 29 fewer than runner-up Tampa Bay (87).
They batted .193 (162-for-839), the worst month in franchise history (the 1992 Royals hit .207 in April), and had 10 hits in a game just once.
“It’s not frustration,” Yost told MLB.com of his club’s rough June. “Well, that’s a lie. We’re all frustrated. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen an offensive drought like we’ve had all month long. It’s pretty puzzling. There’s no answer for it.”
One of the few bright spots for the Royals was the performance of rookie right-hander Brad Keller (2-2 Thomas Vanek Jersey , 2.25 ERA), who is scheduled to face Mariners left-hander James Paxton (7-2, 3.65) in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field.
In his last outing Monday, Keller pitched seven innings, allowed just two hits and struck out six in a 2-0 victory against the Angels, getting his first win as a starter.
The Angels hit just one ball out of the infield against Keller and never got a runner past first base.
“It was pretty super-duper,” Yost said. “Just banging strikes, on the attack, everything that you want. Just a great pitching performance. Never was in any real trouble and had the game in total control.”
Keller became just the second Royals starter to throw at least seven shutout innings while allowing two or fewer hits within his first five major league starts. The other was Mel Stottlemyre Jr. (now the Mariners pitching coach) in 1990.
“I was able to keep the ball down, keep them off-balance,” Keller said after his last start. “Slider felt really good and made some adjustments in the bullpen prior to this game, and it felt really good.”
Paxton, who is 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA in five career starts against Kansas City, will be facing the Royals for the second time this season. He didn’t get a decision in a 4-2 Seattle road victory on April 11, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out 10.
Paxton had nearly identical statistics in his last start Tuesday in Baltimore, allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts in a 3-2 victory.
“(Paxton) came right after them, right out of the chute,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I thought he was outstanding.”
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|