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  • Oakland Athletics right-hander Trevor Cahill is as flummoxed as anyone by his extreme home/road splits this season.

    The veteran right-hander has a sparkling 0.87 ERA in eight starts at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum in 2018 but owns a 6.62 mark in seven road outings this season.

    “I think it’s just baseball Cheap Customized Baltimore Ravens Jerseys ,” Cahill said.

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    Athletics manager Bob Melvin doesn’t have an answer, either.

    “I haven’t seen any difference as far as his stuff goes,” Melvin said.

    Whatever the reason for the glaring discrepancy, the A’s will be counting on Cahill (5-2, 3.12 ERA) to buck the trend Thursday night when they open a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis.

    Cahill is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in six career appearances, including four starts, against Minnesota. He has not faced the Twins this year, though.

    Oakland fell one game back of the Houston Astros in the American League West race Wednesday with a 4-2 loss against the Texas Rangers. The Athletics had won two straight and four of their last five before Wednesday’s setback and have compiled a 13-5 record in August. .

    “We’ve been playing great and bringing the same attitude every day,” Melvin said of his team, which entered Wednesday’s game with a .264 collective batting average and a 2.64 ERA in the first 17 games this month.

    That level of play, as well as the A’s attitude, have propelled them into the AL playoff picture. Though they’re right behind front-running Houston in the West, they will hold a comfortable 4 1/2-game lead over Seattle for the second AL wild card when they take the field against the Twins, whose postseason dreams were dashed weeks ago.

    Minnesota is using these last few weeks to evaluate its young talent Cheap Thomas Rawls Jersey , including Thursday starter Kohl Stewart.

    Stewart posted a 4.76 ERA with Double-A Chatanooga to start the season and earned his first big league call-up after going 0-3 with a 3.98 mark in seven appearances (five starts) for Triple-A Rochester.

    He allowed three runs over 4 1/3 innings Aug. 12 in his major league debut at Detroit and allowed three more runs his next time out, but lasted just 2 2/3 innings in the latter game, a 7-5 loss to the Tigers on Saturday in Minneapolis. The 23-year-old only Stewart (0-1, 7.71) allowed three hits in that outing but walked four while throwing just 31 of his 65 pitches for strikes.

    “You just can’t fall behind guys like that, can’t walk guys,” said Stewart. “I’ve got to give my team a better chance to win. It was not acceptable. I just wasn’t getting ahead, wasn’t executing pitches. I was one pitch away there in the third, and tried to do too much and got myself in trouble.”

    Despite those struggles, manager Paul Molitor opted to leave Stewart in the rotation for another go-round after sitting down with him for a postgame chat.

    “It’s a learning experience. I just talked to him about, it’s not so much executing (or) what you’re throwing, it’s, ‘What are you feeling?'” Molitor said. “You’ve got to really be able to seize the moment in terms of controlling your emotions, and do what you do. And it just seemed like it got a little fast.”

    PITTSBURGH — There is nothing routine or stale for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they begin their quest for their third straight Stanley Cup Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers at PPG Paints Arena in a first-round playoff series opener.

    “I still pinch myself almost every day that you get to be a part of something like this,” said Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray Youth Arden Key Jersey , who won each of the past two Stanley Cups while technically a rookie under NHL rules.

    “It’s just so exciting. It’s like Christmas when you’re a kid almost. You know how much fun you had watching when you were a kid. I’ll bet you I’ll feel like that for years and years. It’s really cool that I get to be here. I’m just trying to cherish that.”

    They’re also trying hard to win it all again, while not overlooking the journey.

    “Certainly, the expectation within our room is that we have the ability to compete,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We know that it’s hard, and we know that we’ve got to go out and earn it each and every day, each and every game. That’s where our mindset is. I don’t think any of us are trying to reflect on where this team stands.”

    The Penguins finished second in the Metropolitan Division, just two points ahead of the Flyers, but seem to enter their first-round series as a bigger favorite than that margin would indicate, more than likely based on Pittsburgh’s recent postseason success.

    Philadelphia isn’t arguing that point, but the team isn’t accepting anything as a foregone conclusion, either.

    “We didn’t expect very many people to pick us to come out of this series, and that’s OK,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s a quiet belief in our dressing room. … We’re the underdog. We’re pegged that. We know that. We’re playing against a hell of a hockey team that has a lot of experience at the playoff level. We’ve got to go out and earn it, and that’s what we’ll do.”

    There are a couple more tangible reasons for Pittsburgh to be favored.

    The Penguins Chiefs Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , who have home-ice advantage in the series, were 30-9-2 at PPG Paints Arena during the regular season. They also have the most potent power play in the NHL going into the postseason, with a 26.2 percent success rate.

    And then there were the head-to-head meetings. Pittsburgh swept the four games, scoring five goals in each, with star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin combining for 14 points.

    “I know we didn’t get the points that we wanted in the games against them, but I think out of the four games, in three of them we played really well and kind of let a few games get away,” Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov told the Philadelphia Daily News. “It doesn’t matter now. It’s a clean sheet now in the playoffs and all our focus is on getting the first win.”

    Both teams have players who excelled during the regular season. Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux finished second in the league scoring race with 102 points. Pittsburgh’s Malkin was third with 98 points, while teammates Phil Kessel (92) and Crosby (89) ranked eighth and 10th.

    The last time these teams met in the playoffs, in 2012, also in the first round, Philadelphia not only upset Pittsburgh in six games but also got under the Penguins’ skins with a physical, agitating style that led to several Pittsburgh star players getting involved in fights and scrums.

    The only Penguins remaining from that team are Crosby, Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang Authentic Jason Sanders Jersey , but all three engaged in the uncharacteristic behavior in the 2012 series.

    “We’re all over 30 years old now. We’re supposed to be mature,” Letang said. “I mean, it was. … whatever it was, it was in the moment. Emotional. We have a different team, different experience, different coaching staff. Everything is different, so we don’t even look at that.”

    Philadelphia has five holdovers from that series — Giroux, Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds.

    Couturier said this time the Flyers’ motivation is to win in a more direct way.

    “I don’t think we’ve played our best game or a full 60 minutes against Pittsburgh yet,” he told the Daily News. “I like our chances if we play some good hockey and focus for 60 minutes, maybe even more.”

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