LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles‘ recent struggles aren’t providing any comfort to the Los Angeles Rams.The NFC West champions have a few problems of their own for perhaps the first time this season.With three losses in their past five games Deandre Baker Jersey , the Eagles (6-7) are facing an uphill challenge just to earn the opportunity to defend their Super Bowl title in the playoffs. Their offense can’t get rolling, the defense can’t defend the pass, and quarterback Carson Wentz’s fractured vertebra sits atop a bulging list of injury problems.Article continues below ...But the Eagles’ gritty performance in a 43-35 win at the Coliseum last season is still fresh in most football minds in Los Angeles. The Rams (11-2) would never take the champs lightly heading into the teams’ Sunday night showdown.“I still look at them like a Super Bowl-caliber team,” Rams receiver Robert Woods said. “Still the defending champs. We get a chance to play them in prime time. We get to play at home. We get to play well and redeem ourselves from last week.”The Rams can’t spend any time thinking about the Eagles’ woes, either. Los Angeles is coming off a dispiriting 15-6 loss in chilly Chicago during which it failed to score a touchdown for the first time in coach Sean McVay’s tenure.McVay has never lost consecutive games, and no team has beaten the Rams twice during his two seasons — but Philadelphia has a chance to do both. The coach has no trouble getting his players’ attention this week with the combination of their second loss and a visit from the champs.Wentz did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and on Saturday was declared out for the Rams game. Wentz’s second NFL season ended at the Coliseum a year ago when he tore a ligament in his left knee, but Nick Foles relieved him and led the Eagles to that win over his former franchise, clinching the NFC East in the process.Along with his Super Bowl MVP award, Foles always has motivation against the Rams: He started 11 games for the team in St. Louis in 2015, but he asked to leave after the Rams drafted Jared Goff in the ensuing spring.“Doesn’t affect much, because Carson is a great football player http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-oshane-ximines-jersey , but they also were able to win a Super Bowl with Nick playing really high-level football,” McVay said.More things to watch when Mike Trout’s favorite team visits him in Southern California:DEFENDING HOMEA huge contingent of Eagles fans undoubtedly will turn out at the Coliseum, but the Rams are finally building a home-field advantage that everyone felt during their 54-51 win over the Chiefs last month. The Rams are 6-0 at the Coliseum this season after going 4-11 in their temporary arena during the first two years.HARD TO SUBOne of the overlooked challenges for defenses that have to face the Rams and their high-powered offense is the difficulty in trying to rotate defensive players into the game because Los Angeles uses the same personnel group — three receivers, one tight end, one running back — almost the entire game.“The Rams don’t substitute very often,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “Even in short yardage and goal line, they’re in the same personnel group. It does make it a little bit more difficult to sub. We’re going to have to be surgical with our substitutions, particularly on third down.”The Eagles struggled against the Saints, who also use an up-tempo offense. New Orleans beat Philadelphia 48-7 last month.“We didn’t react very well to it against the Saints. That had to do with a lot of the big plays we gave up in that game,” Schwartz said. “But we have a little bit more experience with it now. We have to do better.”GURLEY’S GAMETodd Gurley’s 28 yards rushing in Chicago were his fewest since his rookie season in 2015, and Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott edged in front of him in the NFL rushing race . McVay blamed himself for not getting the ball into the hands of his franchise running back more often Julian Love Jersey , and he seems determined to rectify that oversight.Rather than testing Fletcher Cox and the Eagles’ statistically stout run defense, the Rams may be tempted to throw excessively against the Eagles’ injury-riddled secondary, which likely means more targets for Gurley in the passing game.SPREADING IT AROUNDSince receiver Golden Tate arrived in Philadelphia, coaches have struggled to incorporate him into the offense. Tate only had one catch last week and played just 20 snaps.The offense has various options, including tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.But the Eagles traded a third-round pick for Tate, so he was expected to be a major part of the game plan each week.“It’s just trying to find the right balance and get those guys in the right position so that they can make the plays we need to help us win,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals, two diametrically opposite clubs, meet in a three-game series beginning Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
To say they are polar extremes would not be an exaggeration.
The Red Sox own the best record in the majors at 59-29. They have won eight of their past 10 and 10 of their past 13. They are 30 games over .500 for the first since they ended the 2013 season 32 games above.
Boston leads the American League with 463 runs and has outscored its opponents by 130 runs.
On the flip side, the Royals have lost six straight http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-darius-slayton-jersey , 18 of 21 and 25 of 30. They are 25-61 and are 36 games below .500 for the first time since ending the 2006 season 62-100.
Kansas City ranks last in the American League with 297 runs and has been outscored by 167 runs.
“We didn’t have opportunities to manufacture runs,” manager Ned Yost told reporters after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. “We had opportunities with runners in scoring position that we couldn’t capitalize on. And that’s been a major problem for us all year long.”
The Red Sox are 31-17 on the road. The Royals have lost 12 of their last 13 games at Kauffman Stadium and their 11-32 home record is the worst in the majors.
The Royals have not scored more than four runs in 25 of their last 26 games. They have failed to collect double-figure hits in 25 of their last 26 games and are batting .191 with 55 runs in that stretch.
And who do the Royals face in the opener of this series?
None other than dominant left-hander Chris Sale, who leads the American League with 164 strikeouts and is averaging 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Opponents own a .179 batting average versus Sale (8-4, 2.41 ERA).
“He looks like the best pitcher in the big leagues right now,” Boston manager Alex Cora said.
Sale, who ranks among the league leaders in overall ERA, owns a 2.32 road ERA and a 2.45 night ERA. He enters the game having not allowed a run in his past 15 innings. Sale is 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA in his past five starts after striking out and allowing a first-inning single to Giancarlo Stanton in seven dominant innings in an 11-0 win at Yankee Stadium over the New York Yankees on Saturday.
“He was outstanding again,” Cora said. “Fastball command and off-speed pitches, it was a great performance.”
Sale is 10-10 with a 2.92 ERA in 33 career appearances, 22 starts, against Kansas City. He held the Royals to two runs and five hits while walking two and striking out six over seven innings in a no-decision on May 1 at Fenway Park. Sale is 2-0 with a 2.87 ERA in his last four starts in Kansas City Quinnen Williams Jersey , striking out 34 and walking five.
The Royals will counter with right-hander Jason Hammel, who is 2-10 with a 5.56 ERA. He is tied for the AL lead in losses and has yielded 15 runs in his last two starts. He is 0-5 with a 4.33 ERA in seven home starts this season.
Against the Red Sox, Hammel is 3-4 with a 5.13 ERA in 16 career appearances, nine of them starts. He dropped a 10-6 decision on April 30 to Boston, allowing eight runs on eight hits, including a pair of home runs, and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.
While Sale was the AL Pitcher of the Month for June, Hammel went 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA in six starts last month after ending May with back-to-back victories.
Hammel’s biggest challenge will be Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. They rank 1-2 in the majors in slugging percentage with Betts at .669 and Martinez .642.
Betts has 21 home runs and a .338 batting average. Martinez is hitting .327 with a major league-best 26 home runs, which is more than any Boston player hit in 2017.
Betts also hit three homers at Fenway Park on May 2 and went 4-for-4 in that game.