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the playoff chance is finally

Posted by zhangzk 
the playoff chance is finally
October 11, 2018 12:51AM
TORONTO — Canadian right-hander Mike Soroka says his start Tuesday for the Atlanta Braves at the Rogers Centre will be like making a second debut.

The 20-year-old from Calgary will be making his fifth major league start Atlanta Falcons Jerseys Womens , but Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays he will be pitching against the team he grew up watching and with friends in attendance.

Soroka (2-1, 2.57 ERA) will be facing Blue Jays left-hander Jaime Garcia (2-5, 5.71), who is 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA in eight career starts against Atlanta.

It also will be a return for first-year Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who was the Blue Jays GM from October 2009 through 2015.

“Even though I’m from the other side of Canada, it’s the one team you grew up watching,” Soroka told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’ll be pretty special.”

He has pitched before at the Rogers Centre, as a 15-year-old in a tournament.

“It’s almost like a second debut of sorts,” Soroka said. “Just get out there, knowing that a bunch of friends are going to be coming there, a lot of friends who’ve been Blue Jays fans for a long time too. … I’m just going to be familiar with the Rogers Centre, so that’s going to be cool too. And I’ll be out there on a mound I’ve been on before too, so that’s pretty awesome.”

Soroka is coming off his best major league outing. After spending a month on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of a 2-0 win over the New York Mets Wednesday. He left after 6 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and one walk and adding four strikeouts.

Soroka does not expect to feel more excitement in this start Tuesday than he did in his previous four.

“There’s a certain amount of amped up you can have in the big leagues,” Soroka said. “I don’t think I’ll be any more amped up than I was my last four, especially because it’s a new thing right now. I don’t think I’m running short on adrenalin.”

The Braves (42-29) are in first place in the National League East. They have won two in a row and six of their past eight after defeating the San Diego Padres 4-1 Sunday.

The Blue Jays (33-38) have won three in a row and seven of their past 10 games after completing a three-game sweep Sunday with an 8-6 win over the Washington Nationals, who are second in the NL East.

The Blue Jays have won seven straight home games for the first time since July 2-8, 2016. After struggling at home earlier in the season, they are now 19-19 at the Rogers Centre. They are 6-2 against the NL this season.

Toronto right fielder Randal Grichuk, an early-season disappointment who also spent time on the disabled list with a right knee sprain, had two solo home runs and four RBIs Sunday in going 3-for-3 with a walk. He has hit five homers in his past 12 games.

“I feel like we’ve found a lot of consistency when we’ve been playing here lately,” Grichuk said of the Blue Jays’ recent success at home. “Obviously that (0-3) Tampa Bay series (against the Rays at Tropicana Field) threw a wrench at us, but I feel like we’re swinging the bat well, and when our pitchers go out and give us a chance to win, we’ve been doing a good job of being able to score and get some leads. Hopefully that just continues.”

Another early-season disappointment Jordan Poyer Jersey , Toronto second baseman Devon Travis was 2-for-4 with a double Sunday and is batting .345 (20-for-58) with three homers and eight RBIs in his past 19 games.

The timing of a possible return from the disabled list of third baseman Josh Donaldson (tight left calf) is not known yet.

The Braves, meanwhile, will have catcher Kurt Suzuki available for the game Tuesday. He was struck in the head on a backswing during the second inning Sunday at SunTrust Park and left the game. Tests indicated that he did not have a concussion.

“It was kind of a precautionary thing,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He got hit good. The doctors wanted to look at him and I’m sure he wanted to come back out. But something like that is not something you want to mess with.”

The last time Wayne Ellington played any meaningful minutes in a postseason game was nine years ago.

At the Final Four.

Ellington was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2009 NCAA Tournament after leading North Carolina to the national title. But since turning pro, postseasons have marked the start of vacations for Ellington, who has been in only two NBA playoff games, logging 13 1/2 minutes – all in the fourth quarters of blowouts.

That’s about to change.

Coming off a record-setting regular season, Ellington will play a vital role for No. 6 seed Miami in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series that starts Saturday in his hometown of Philadelphia against the third-seeded 76ers.

”It’s so sweet the way it’s coming,” Ellington said. ”I don’t want to get religious, but I really feel like it’s God’s plan the way that everything’s worked out, where I ended up at and where I’m headed to. I’m appreciative. After all this time, now to be here, I don’t think a player could be more grateful. You couldn’t script this.”

Ellington set Miami’s single-season 3-point record with 227, and also set an NBA record for 3-pointers by a reserve with 218 (he made nine in his two appearances as a Heat starter this season). He’s going into the postseason coming off the best game of his pro career, a 32-point night that tied the franchise mark for scoring by a reserve in a game.

As Ellington goes, Miami goes: In his two Heat seasons, they are 34-7 when he makes at least half of his 3-point tries, 43-54 when he does not.

”None of them come easy,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. ”He has to work for his shots, he really does. It is great to have a guy that has that ability. When he gets hot, there’s not much you can do about it.”

Before Wednesday’s regular-season finale victory over Toronto, which sealed the No. 6 seed for Miami, Ellington was slumping – shooting 14 for 48 from 3-point range in those games, or 29 percent. The Heat gave players Tuesday off as a needed rest day, and coach Erik Spoelstra was lured out of his office at one point by the sounds of dribbling and sneaker-squeaking on the practice floor.

It was Ellington, putting himself through a 45-minute workout with Heat assistant coach Octavio De La Grana. Their routines Colts Authentic Jerseys , whether it’s on an off day or a half-hour before game time, are always the same: cut, catch, shot, swish, over and over and over. And as he watched, Spoelstra found himself simultaneously worried and impressed.

”I almost thought it was too much on a day before a game,” Spoelstra said. ”But that’s the vision of a champion before you’re a champion, drenched in sweat, totally exhausted, empty gym with a coach, working your (butt) off.”

The result: Ellington was 8 for 12 from deep on Wednesday, leading the Heat rally to a win over the top seed in the East.

What happened Tuesday was not uncommon. The Heat didn’t make the playoffs last season, and Ellington was back in the gym about a week after the regular season ended – even though at the time, there was no guarantee he’d be back with Miami this season. He would put himself through intense workouts, sometimes to the point where De La Grana would quietly suggest he take the next day off and enjoy life.

The Heat locker room is filled with hard workers, but teammates say Ellington stands out.

”Wayne’s like my right-hand man,” rookie center Bam Adebayo said. ”He does everything that he needs to do behind closed doors. He takes care of his body, eats right, and I’m learning from him.”

And now, the playoff chance is finally here for Ellington.

He sat at his locker for a few postgame minutes after the regular season ended, his thoughts drifting back to that Final Four run and championship moment.

”Up until now, that’s been my best experience as a player,” Ellington said. ”I’m looking forward to trumping that.”

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