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    CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians will welcome first baseman Yonder Alonso back into the lineup Monday night when they host the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a three-game series at Progressive Field.

    Prior to Monday’s game [url=http://www.packersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-j_mon-moore-jersey]http://www.packersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-j_mon-moore-jersey[/url] , Alonso will be activated off the family medical emergency list. He has missed the Indians’ last three games.

    Alonso returns just in time to face one of his favorite opponents. In seven games against the White Sox this year, Alonso is hitting .400 (10-for-25), with four walks, four doubles, three RBIs and a .483 on-base percentage.

    The pitching matchup Monday night will be the identical pitching matchup from last Wednesday in Chicago: White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey vs. Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer.

    Bauer (5-5, 2.69 ERA) outpitched Covey (3-1, 2.29) in that game, even though Covey and the White Sox won the game 3-2. That was the last win by the White Sox, who have lost their last four games and were swept in a three-game series by the Detroit Tigers.

    “Overall, it wasn’t a very good series for us,” White Sox pitcher James Shields told MLB.com. “We’ve been playing some really good baseball as of late, and we’re going to try to go into Cleveland feeling positive.”

    Bauer pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with 12 strikeouts and two walks. Covey pitched seven innings giving up two runs on 10 hits, with five strikeouts and no walks.

    Bauer has struck out 10 or more batters in four consecutive starts, the longest such streak in the majors this season. The only other Indians pitchers who have had 10 or more strikeouts in four consecutive starts are Bob Feller and Corey Kluber.

    Bauer has also struck out 10 or more batters in five of his last six starts and ranks third in the American League with 121 strikeouts, trailing only Gerrit Cole (130) and Chris Sale (129). After averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings last year as a 17-game winner [url=http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dj-chark-jersey]http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dj-chark-jersey[/url] , Bauer this year is averaging 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings, which also ranks third in the league behind Cole and Sale.

    In 15 career appearances against the White Sox, Bauer is 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA.

    Covey started this season at Triple-A Charlotte where, in seven starts, he was 3-1 with a 2.33 ERA. After being recalled by the White Sox, he lost his first game but in his last five starts is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA. In three starts in June, Covey is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA.

    Cleveland’s pitching staff is in a bit of disarray after the club put two pitchers on the disabled list on Sunday. Carlos Carrasco, who was hit on the right elbow by a line drive off the bat of Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer on Saturday, was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow contusion. Right-hander Shane Bieber was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to replace Carrasco on the roster.

    The preliminary diagnosis on Carrasco is a right elbow contusion, although he’s getting an MRI on Monday.

    “Once he gets the MRI we’ll know exactly what’s going on in there,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

    The Indians also placed left-handed reliever Tyler Olson on the 10-day disabled list with a strained rib cage and recalled right-handed reliever Evan Marshall from Columbus.

    Cleveland’s struggling bullpen has gotten a major boost from left-hander Oliver Perez, who was signed as a free agent on June 2 and has pitched well. In eight appearances, he has a 1.29 ERA with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.

    “He has a lot of deception, and he has good stuff,” Francona said. “His breaking ball has a lot of bite and his velocity is good. I think we caught a break there.”

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams are trying to get to where the Atlanta Falcons were last season — the Super Bowl.

    That’s a lofty goal for the NFL’s youngest team. But Los Angeles (11-5) can take its first step in that direction when hosting the Falcons (10-6) in an NFC wild-card game Saturday night.

    In the Rams’ second year in their return to L.A. [url=http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mike-gesicki-jersey]http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mike-gesicki-jersey[/url] , they will host a playoff game at the storied Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time since the 1978 season.

    Atlanta returns to the playoffs after last season’s painful loss in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons led the New England Patriots by 25 points before succumbing, 34-28 in overtime.

    Falcons coach Dan Quinn isn’t expecting that meltdown to haunt his squad.

    “I love the resiliency and the toughness of this team,” Quinn said. “When you’ve been through some of the fire together, you come out the other side stronger as a brotherhood.”

    The Rams have done little wrong under rookie head coach Sean McVay. At 31, McVay is the league’s youngest coach and is directing its most prolific offense.

    Behind a unit averaging nearly 30 points per game, McVay helped flip a team that went 4-12 last season to NFC West champions and back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

    Quarterback Jared Goff has gone from bust to being accurate and efficient. Running back Todd Gurley churned out a league-best 2,093 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns.

    With wide receivers Sammy Watkins, Roberts Woods and rookie Cooper Kupp, there’s no shortage of targets for Goff to aim his passes.

    But the Falcons have a core of players and the motivation from that painful Super Bowl lesson tucked away. They are older and maybe wiser, but the No. 3-seeded Rams, aren’t fretting over their lack of postseason reps.

    “I don’t think it is a concern,” McVay said. “When I say that, I have a whole lot of respect for experience and what that does and the value that it provides. But I do think that we’ve got a confident group, a mature group for a young football team.”

    How Goff responds to the oversized setting is among the red flags the team’s detractors mention. But after going 0-7 in his rookie year, Goff has thrown for 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions this year in leading a balanced attack. He seems at-ease with the task at hand.

    “I think more than anything it’s a big game,” Goff said. “I think that’s what it boils down to and we do have experience with that stuff.

    “We played a big game in Seattle a couple weeks ago. We played a big game two weeks ago against Tennessee. We played a big game against the Eagles … we had a bunch of big games against top teams this year and so I think that experience will translate mostly to this game.”

    Quinn is familiar with Goff’s offensive coordinator [url=http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jerome-baker-jersey]http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jerome-baker-jersey[/url] , Matt LaFleur. He held that same position with the Falcons last year.

    “What I have been most impressed by is you have to defend the entire field,” Quinn said of LaFleur’s approach. “When you have a team that has the run, has the play-action, the quarterback-boot and stuff, it makes it real difficult and challenging to defend.”

    The sixth-seeded Falcons will lean on savvy quarterback Matt Ryan (20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions) and a deep running attack spearheaded by Devonta Freeman (865 yards, seven touchdowns).

    Although Julio Jones has had an inconsistent season, he remains dangerous with 1,444 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

    While McVay is the youthful vibe of offense, it’ll be the sage Wade Phillips, the Rams’ 70-year-old defensive coordinator doing his best to stop the Falcons.

    All of this will be played out in the historic L.A. Coliseum venue with an expected 70,000 on hand to toast the Rams return to the playoffs in L.A. The Rams left Los Angeles and relocated to St. Louis after the 1994 season, an absence that lasted until 2016.

    “It’s definitely a cool thing,” Goff said. “After football has been gone here for so long and we came back year two and being able to bring a playoff game to the Coliseum is very cool.”

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