The Los Angeles Angels were 4 1/2 games behind the Seattle Mariners when they opened a three-game series three weeks ago. When the Angels return to Seattle on Tuesday to begin another three-game set [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/kenny-clark-jersey-cheap]Kenny Clark Jersey[/url] , they’ll be 11 games behind the Mariners for the second wild card from the American League.

The Mariners (54-31) swept the Angels the last time they were in town, and Seattle expanded that cushion by going 7-0 last week for their longest winning streak of the season.

The Angels (43-42) are 6-14 since pulling within 3 1/2 games of the Mariners on June 9. They lost to the Minnesota Twins the following day before getting swept June 11-13 in Seattle. Los Angeles has already played six games at Safeco Field this season but has yet to host the Mariners in Anaheim.

If the Angels drop the series opener, they’ll own a .500 record for the first time since the second game of the season.

The scheduled starting pitchers for Tuesday were also matched up on June 11.

Los Angeles left-hander Andrew Heaney (4-5, 3-95 ERA) gave up five runs and seven hits in three innings of the 5-3 loss.

Seattle left-hander Wade LeBlanc (3-0, 3.38) gave up two runs and four hits in five innings in his only career appearance against Seattle.

LeBlanc, who made 10 appearances for the Angels in 2014, including three starts, hasn’t experienced a defeat in 11 starts this season, and the Mariners are 8-3 in those games.

The Mariners have also found something special in closer Edwin Diaz, who became the second pitcher in major league history with at least 30 saves and 70 strikeouts before the All-Star break. The other is former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne.

“We’ve had a lot of valuable players on our team,” Seattle manager Scott Servais told reporters after a 1-0 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. “But winning the close games, it creates the type of atmosphere that’s going on at Safeco Field right now and the city and getting our fan base psyched again.”

Heaney also struggled in his most recent outing, allowing six runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 9-6 loss on Wednesday at the Boston Red Sox, but he did not absorb the loss.

He’s 1-2 in four career starts against the Mariners with a 4.42 ERA.

The Angels lost two more pitchers to injury on their current road trip.

Jake Jewell sustained a broken right fibula against the Red Sox on Wednesday. The rookie right-hander was making his third major-league appearance when he fell awkwardly while trying to cover home plate on a wild pitch. He had surgery on Friday in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, the Angels announced left-hander John Lamb would undergo Tommy John surgery [url=http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-kevin-huber-jersey]Kevin Huber Jersey[/url] , the fourth pitcher for Los Angeles to have the season-ending surgery this year.

Los Angeles could soon be adding some offensive punch, however.

Shohei Ohtani, the rookie two-way player who is also out with an elbow injury, has been taking live batting practice and running the bases recently, putting him on pace to resume designated hitter duties this week.

“He’s starting to do get through that progression,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told FOX Sports West on Sunday.

Angels first baseman/designated hitter Jefry Marte is also close to returning from a left wrist injury.

The Detroit Lions hired Matt Patricia on Monday, doubling down on the franchise’s hope it can copy the New England Patriots’ formula for success.

 

The expected hiring of the defensive coordinator came a day after the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in the Super Bowl.

”This position comes with great responsibility, and I will commit every ounce of my energy to this football team, starting today,” Patricia said in a statement released by the team.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn made the move, reuniting with someone he worked with in New England for more than a decade.

”He has been preparing for this opportunity his entire career, and he’s ready for the responsibility and its challenges,” Quinn said.

The Lions plan to formally introduce him at a news conference Wednesday.

Quinn fired coach Jim Caldwell last month with a record eight games above .500 over four years and postseason appearances in 2016 and 2014. The Lions went 9-7 this season and missed the playoffs.

Patricia was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator for six seasons, ending with his unit giving up 41 points and 538 yards to the Eagles.

”Obviously, I didn’t do a good enough job here with the defense [url=]Tyler Boyd Jersey[/url] ,” he told reporters Sunday night.

The 43-year-old Patricia was on Bill Belichick’s staff for 14 seasons, overlapping with Quinn for many years. Quinn was a part of the Patriots’ personnel department for 16 years before Detroit gave him his first shot to be an NFL GM.

He cuts a distinctive figure on the sideline, with a bushy beard, backward ball cap and a pencil above his right ear.

Patricia earned an aeronautical engineering degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he played center and guard, and later went to the University of Massachusetts to add a master’s degree in education to his resume. While trying to figure out which career path to follow, the native of Sherrill, New York, was an aeronautical engineer for two years.

His climb includes being a graduate assistant at RPI and Syracuse and coaching the defensive line at Amherst College.

Belichick hired Patricia in 2004 as a coaching assistant, was an assistant offensive line coach the next season and worked his way up, leading linebackers and safeties, before being to defensive coordinator in 2012.

Patricia said he tries to learn something from everybody all the time, including Belichick.

”He’s been a remarkable mentor to me, not only as a football coach but also as a man and as a friend,” Patricia said. ”I have learned immensely from his detailed leadership approach to the game [url=http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-andrew-billings-jersey]Andrew Billings Jersey[/url] , which has certainly shaped me into the football coach that I am today. Quite simply, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with, who I believe, is the greatest coach in NFL history.”

Patricia’s top task in Detroit may be helping it establish a good running game.

The Lions ranked among the worst the NFL’s worst in rushing offense in each of the previous four years under coach Caldwell, who was fired last month with a 36-28 record, plus two postseason losses with the franchise.

Like Jim Leyland did as Detroit Tigers manager, Patricia made a point to connect with New England’s players before each game, usually with a handshake on the sideline.

”It just lets us know he has our back,” safety Duron Harmon has said. ”He has our back.”

While the Lions also interviewed Mike Vrabel, who was hired by the Tennessee Titans, they seemed to want Patricia from the start of their coaching search.

The feeling was apparently mutual because Patricia may have turned down a shot to lead the New York Giants after interviewing with the four-time, Super Bowl-winning franchise, to take on a challenge in a city that has experienced only one playoff win since winning the 1957 NFL title.

”Now I turn all of my attention to the Lions,” Patricia said. ”I look forward to the next chapter of my career in Detroit.”

 

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