LOS ANGELES — The Pittsburgh Pirates headed north by bus Sunday evening to see if the roller-coaster ride will continue.
Fresh off a series victory at San Diego Authentic Taven Bryan Jersey , capped by a 7-5 victory Sunday, the Pirates are now in Los Angeles for the first of three games Monday, having won four of their last six games.
That winning run came after a five-game losing streak. The five games before that? The Pirates won four of them.
The Dodgers have been a bit steadier of late, going 17-9 in June to keep pace with the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. But the end of June was a bit of a struggle as the Dodgers lost four of their last five before the calendar flipped. They opened July with a 6-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
Not only did the Dodgers’ offense take off in June, to the tune of 55 home runs to set a franchise record for a month, the pitching staff got healthy again … literally.
Alex Wood (4-5, 4.00 ERA) will take the mound Monday, looking and feeling much better after nagging leg cramps early in the year.
Wood went seven innings against the Chicago Cubs in his last outing Wednesday, his longest start since his season debut on March 30 when he worked eight innings against the San Francisco Giants.
An All-Star for the first time last season, Wood is once again starting to look like the pitcher who can rise to the occasion on a nightly basis.
“I’m still looking for consistency out of my sinker Raiders Cheap Jerseys , but the breaking ball was a lot better,” Wood told reporters after his most recent start. “Overall, it was pretty good.”
The Dodgers also have Clayton Kershaw back recently from a lower back injury and Rich Hill returned from a blister on his left middle finger. Both left-handers will face the Pirates this week.
Pittsburgh announced Sunday that Nick Kingham (2-3, 3.82) will start the series opener at Dodger Stadium. He will take the spot of Chad Kuhl, who is on the DL with a forearm strain.
The Pirates (40-43) know that getting some length on their current winning ways can get them to .500 soon, possibly by the All-Star break that starts in two weeks.
“We’re starting to show a little bit of resiliency here the last week or so,” Pirates infielder Josh Harrison said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “A team that (is) not making any excuses, which is refreshing because at the end of the day we know what we have to do and that’s come to show up every day.
“It’s been some ups and downs, but every team goes through ups and downs http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-connor-williams-jersey , and a lot of guys here are riding that wave of knowing that any day can be that day that we turn it around.”
Wood is 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) against the Pirates. He has not faced Pittsburgh since last season. Kingham, a rookie, has not pitched against the Dodgers in any of his first six appearances.
Several prominent players across the NFL have skipped mandatory minicamps this week, subjecting themselves to team fines out of concern for their contract status in a league where so little is guaranteed.
Everyone is accounted for in Minnesota, where good vibes from the top of the organization to the bottom of the roster can only help the Vikings in their attempt to better their NFC championship game appearance from last season.
"All these guys, they like to be around each other. So I think that's part of it," coach Mike Zimmer said. "We've got a lot of really good guys on this football team who care about not just them, but they care about each other. It's kind of just the way we do things."
Savvy salary cap management steered by executive vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski has allowed the Vikings to put the majority of their stars in mutually beneficial multi-year deals, but outside linebacker Anthony Barr, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and defensive end Danielle Hunter have all entered 2018 on expiring contracts that must be addressed soon unless the Vikings are willing to let them become free agents and potentially price the club out on the open market.
Still Cheap Sylvester Williams Jersey , all three of them have been practicing with the team this week, clearly confident enough in their future earnings to opt for full participation over mild protest. Barr, for his part, missed one week of organized team activities last month, an absence he said was to secure an insurance policy in case of a severe injury that would derail the value of his next deal. He said recently his hope was to have a new contract in place by the beginning of on-field workouts in May, but that's the closest anyone has come to even hinting about dissatisfaction.
Barr is among the 2014 first-round draft picks who've reached their first career crossroad, playing the fifth option year that the majority of teams have exercised for cost control. Then there are the post-first round 2015 picks such as Hunter and Diggs who've entered the fourth season of their rookie deals.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones Youth Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys , Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan and Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack have created headlines around the league for staying home this week from minicamp.
"My job is to come in to work, just like you come in to work the same way," Hunter said. "My job is to come in and get on this field and play football."
Clearly, he's been listening to the head coach, as have many of his teammates.
"That's one thing Zim has taught us since he's been here: No one player is more important than the team," Hunter said. "So I guess that kind of grew into the program. The team is way bigger than one person. In order to help the team, you've got to do your job. And we want to be great. We want to be where we need to be. Last year, it wasn't close to that, so we've got to work for that again."