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Claude Giroux Jersey

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CLEVELAND — Cody Allen is one of the least acclaimed yet most productive closers in the major leagues. On Friday night. when the Cleveland Indians open a three-game series with the Oakland A’s Brian Elliott Jersey , Allen will be in uniform at Progressive Field for the first time as the Indians’ career saves leader.

In pitching the ninth inning of a 3-2 Cleveland win in Kansas City on Wednesday, Allen posted his 140th career save, breaking Bob Wickman’s franchise record of 139, which had stood since 2006.

“He means so much to all of us,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of Allen. “This is a kid who was drafted in the 16th round, but through being a consummate professional, he’s now the Indians’ all-time leader. That’s pretty awesome. It’s a big accomplishment, and he’s not close to being done.”

Allen (2-3, 3.38 ERA) ranks seventh in the American League this year with 18 saves, but his year-in, year-out consistency has been his trademark. He has had at least 30 saves in each of the last three seasons. Only two other closers in the majors can say that: the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and Boston’s Craig Kimbrel.

“This is something I’m extremely proud of,” Allen said of passing Wickman as the club’s saves leader. “It’s something I get to hang my hat on for my career. It’s very cool.”

The A’s (48-39) come to Cleveland with nearly the same record as the Indians (48-37), but what a difference a division makes. The first-place Indians lead the AL Central by 11 1/2 games. The A’s are in third in the AL West, 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Houston Astros.

The A’s won two of three games from the Indians last weekend in Oakland. That was part of a longer streak in which the A’s have won eight of their last nine. Since June 16, Oakland is 14-3.

“I think we’re having a lot of fun,” A’s third baseman Matt Chapman told MLB.com, “and no matter what the score is, I don’t think we count ourselves out. There’s no panic in the dugout. We just keep playing our game. We trust that we’re a good team.”

On Friday night, the A’s will send Paul Blackburn (2-2 Claude Giroux Jersey , 6.46 ERA) to the mound. In his last start on June 29 in Oakland, Blackburn baffled the Indians, pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings and giving up just three hits in a 3-1 victory.

Blackburn has started five major league games this year. In the one against Cleveland, he is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .150. In the other four starts, he’s 1-2 with an 8.83 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .324. In two career starts against the Indians, Blackburn is 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA.

Cleveland will counter with Carlos Carrasco (8-5, 4.24), who will make his first start since June 16, a 9-3 loss to Minnesota in which he was knocked out of the game in the second inning after getting hit in the right arm by a line drive off the bat of Joe Mauer.

Carrasco was placed on the 10-day disabled list the next day with a right elbow contusion. He made one rehab start at Double-A Akron on June 30, pitching four scoreless innings and giving up one hit with four strikeouts and one walk.

Carrasco’s last legitimate start was his best start of the year, a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on June 11. In that game, he pitched seven scoreless innings and gave up two hits and one walk with 11 strikeouts.

In six career appearances, including five starts, against Oakland, Carrasco is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA.

LOS ANGELES — At 48 home runs this month and counting, the Los Angeles Dodgers are closing in fast on a franchise record that, while impressive, has not been around all that long.

In June of last season, buoyed by the arrival of slugging first baseman Cody Bellinger Ray Nitschke Jersey , the Dodgers hit 53 home runs. No Dodgers team had hit that many before the calendar turned a page, although the 1953 team did hit 49 home runs in two separate months.

Poised to slow the Dodgers’ current home run train is the Chicago Cubs‘ Kyle Hendricks, who will pitch Wednesday in the third game of the current series. It is the second series in two weeks between the participants of last year’s National League Championship Series.

If he needs a model to follow, Jon Lester’s outing Tuesday would be a good one. Lester went five innings and the Cubs did not allow a long ball to the powerful Dodgers lineup in a 9-4 victory.

The Dodgers’ power explosion has been particularly impressive considering that not too many balls were flying out of the park early in the season. The Dodgers hit 25 home runs in March/April and 31 in May. Now this.

“Our lineup is built to slug,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We have guys that can hit a homer, doesn’t matter where they hit in the lineup. But everyone is capitalizing on the mistakes and taking the pitches when they need to.”

For Hendricks, he has given up three home runs in four June starts and 14 already this season. The most he has ever given up in a season is 17 in both 2015 and 2017.

Of more concern for Hendricks is that the Cubs have lost four of his last five starts. On Thursday at Cincinnati, he lasted just 5 2/3 innings and the Cubs lost the first of four consecutive games against the Reds. The right-hander has given up 13 June runs. He is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three regular season starts against the Dodgers.

“I’ve got to stick with what I’m doing,” Hendricks said, according to MLB.com. “I felt better (Thursday). I made better pitches. I convicted the pitches. The last inning, I wasn’t repeating my mechanics, got out of it. Before that, everything was good.”

It was not that long ago when Dodgers starter Alex Wood was trying to find some consistency. But a mechanical adjustment on the club’s previous homestand, along with the resolution of leg cramps that affected some of his early-season starts have changed his fortunes.

Wood has won each of his last two starts, including an outing Friday against the New York Mets when he gave up two runs over six innings with seven strikeouts. He is 2-2 lifetime against the Cubs with a 2.93 ERA in eight games (five starts).

While the Dodgers have been slugging their way back to respectability this month, the Cubs have been in a prolonged offensive funk. But the tide appeared to turn Tuesday.

Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis held a meeting with the position players Tuesday afternoon and the club’s hitters went out and scored nine runs with 15 hits on Tuesday.

“Around the (batting practice) cage I have been talking to some of the guys and had some really good conversations,” manager Joe Maddon said. “But with Chili today, he wanted to talk to the guys about (things) specifically.”

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