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SECOND-HALF PUSH - _FriAMCESTECEST1AugE PHOENIX — Like pitching?

The final game of the St. Louis-Arizona series Wednesday features a couple starters who have had strong seasons but also should be considered under-the-radar All-Star candidates Robert Golden Color Rush Jersey , at least for those who have not been paying close attention.

You could look it up.

Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin and St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas rank in the top 10 among NL qualifiers in ERA, WHIP, WAR and innings pitched. The only statistical difference is in strikeouts, where Corbin is tied for second and Mikolas is down the pack. Mikolas compensates by pitching to contact and getting the majority of his outs on the ground.

They are compatible in one more way — each has received below-average run support. Corbin has received the fourth-fewest, 3.65 per start. Mikolas’ support checks in under the league average.

Arizona used a three-run homer from Paul Goldschmidt to take a 4-2 victory Tuesday as the teams have split the first two games of the series. Arizona will conclude a 10-game homestand with a four-game set with San Diego beginning Thursday, when the Cardinals open a four-game series in San Francisco before finishing a nine-game trip in Chicago against the White Sox.

Mikolas, 29, has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise in the major leagues this season, signing with the Cardinals over the winter after three strong seasons for the Yomiuri Giants in the Japanese Central League. He was 3-13 with a 2.18 ERA in 62 starts in Japan after being released by Texas in November 2014.

“Obviously this season he’s been fantastic,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He should be sitting on 10 wins right now. Two of the losses he had, he had us right there. He just matched up with a pitcher we couldn’t get much going against. Miles has been very good.”

Mikolas has made 11 quality starts, tied for fourth in the league. After starting the season 6-0, he has lost three of his five decisions in June despite posting five quality starts and giving up one earned run in two of his losses.

“A guy who just attacks the strike zone Authentic Sam Darnold Jersey ,” Matheny said.

“He has very good stuff. Doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Not afraid to use his defense. He has been just an incredible surprise for us. What a great pickup for our organization and a salute to our scouts who are finding people like Miles who are out there.

“He figured something out while he was in Japan. The way he goes about his business, not just how he competes but how he prepares, you could see that being something that sticks around for awhile.”

Mikolas and Corbin are tied for second in the league in WHIP (0.99). Mikolas is sixth and Corbin ninth in ERA and innings pitched, and Mikolas is seventh and Corbin ninth in WAR.

Each has one of the five shutouts thrown in the NL this season. Washington’s Max Scherzer, Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon and Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz have the others.

Corbin, 6-3 with a 3.14 ERA, has made two straight quality starts, giving up only one run and in 13 innings, but did not receive a decision in either game. He had extra rest the last time through the rotation after pitching seven scoreless innings while striking out 12 in a no-decision at Pittsburgh, when he threw a season-high 102 pitches. He gave up one run in six innings against San Francisco on Friday, pitching on six days’ rest.

“He (gets) into trouble, doesn’t get rattled, and continues to pound the zone and get big outs. He’s done a very good job Hector Rondon Houston Astros Jersey ,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.

Jeff Mathis, one of two healthy catchers on the Arizona roster with Alex Avila on the disabled list, will catch Corbin for the third straight start.

“I like the way Jeff gets Patrick to do certain things at certain times and shows confidence in certain pitches, and helps him execute by showing that confidence,” Lovullo said. “Jeff has such respect from anyone on this staff that when he asks for something they listen.”

Corbin has received 3.65 runs per start, tied for the third fewest in the league. He is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four career starts against St. Louis and is 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 10 starts at home this sesaon.

Mikolas, who spent previous major league seasons with San Diego and Texas, has never started against Arizona and has given one run in 4 1/3 innings in two career relief appearances, a Justin Upton homer in 2012. This will be his first appearance at Chase Field.

Kevin Durant is staying put for now. So are Paul George and Chris Paul.

Meanwhile, LeBron James‘ next move remains unclear.

Durant has decided to sign a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the deal cannot become official until the league’s offseason moratorium ends on Friday. The deal comes with a player option for 2019-20, so Durant can – and likely will – become a free agent again next summer.

So much for the notion that stars would wait for James to decide his future before they would decide theirs.

Things went a very different way.

Durant, Paul and George all knew what they were going to do even before the NBA’s moratorium – and the start of free agency – officially kicked in at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Sunday. So did plenty of other players Kyle Gibson Minnesota Twins Jersey , and by the time the moratorium was 2 hours old nearly $700 million worth of deals had been agreed upon, based on figures confirmed to AP by people involved in the various decisions.

Durant’s move is a win on multiple levels for the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors. Not only do they get to keep the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP, but they also get some financial flexibility in the deal.

Durant will be paid about $30.5 million this coming season, about $5 million less than he could have commanded if the deal was structured differently. That savings will give Golden State options for other moves this summer, as the Warriors look to bolster their bench for a run at what could be a fourth title in a five-year span.

They might need the boost, because the Western Conference is going to be loaded again.

George took the stage at a party in Oklahoma City on Saturday night and announced that he will be staying with the Thunder, a move that might have been unexpected a year ago when he was traded away by the Indiana Pacers – presumably because of the belief that he was already focused on joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

That move isn’t happening.

Not now, anyway, and barring a trade not for at least three years in what will be considered a massive victory for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti. George agreed to a four-year deal that will be worth roughly $135 million, though he can opt out of the final season, according to a person familiar with the terms.

”I’m here to stay,” George told the crowd at the party.

Down in Houston, Paul has told Rockets fans the same thing.

”UNFINISHED BUSINESS http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jonathan-cooper-jersey ,” Paul wrote on Twitter at the exact moment that the calendar flipped to July 1 in the East, meaning the NBA’s free agency frenzy was officially open for the summer.

His meaning was clear. The Rockets were tantalizingly close to a trip to the NBA Finals this spring, and Paul’s coming back to get over that hump.

Houston took Golden State to seven games in the Western Conference finals back in May. Paul missed the last two games of that series with an injury, and the Rockets wasted big leads in both of those games – then had to watch the Warriors sweep Cleveland for the NBA title.

Paul averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 assists last season with the Rockets, who went 65-17 led by Paul and newly minted NBA MVP James Harden. ESPN reported he is signing a four-year deal that will be worth $160 million.

Meanwhile, James created a frenzy on Saturday without saying a word.

James spent the week vacationing in Anguilla, and hopped aboard a private Gulfstream jet in the morning to fly to the Los Angeles area. By the time he arrived around midday – after his flight plan was tracked online – reporters and at least one news helicopter were waiting for the Cleveland Cavaliers star, who decided to become an unrestricted free agent and not opt-in to a $35.6 million deal for this coming season.

The Lakers have long been mentioned as a top destination for James, and they have more salary cap space this summer than any team in the NBA. But going to L.A. on Saturday doesn’t necessarily provide any hint about his team for next season, since James has homes in Southern California.

But if James is going to be the next superstar to follow in the legacy that Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson built for the Lakers http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dontae-johnson-jersey , it’s already fairly evident that not everyone in the NBA will be thrilled by the development.

”The Lakers are FOREVER gonna be Kobe’s and Magic’s team…. Process that,” Philadelphia star Joel Embiid wrote on Twitter.

Philadelphia has been one of the teams often mentioned as a club that would pursue James this summer, and that still may be the case.

With Durant, George and Paul off the board, James is the biggest name left to decide his intentions when it comes to free agency. His agent Rich Paul was expected to meet by phone with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman early Sunday, and there has been no indication when James will announce his plans for next season and beyond.

For Dallas, persistence paid off. The Mavs finally are getting DeAndre Jordan.

Jordan agreed to sign with Dallas three years ago, then changed his mind and social media went beyond abuzz over what happened next. Former teammate Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers were part of a contingent that went to his house and stayed with him until the deal was official.

But he agreed quickly this time to a one-year, $24.1 million deal and will finally be part of the Mavericks.

Denver added to the huge night of spending out West when it got Will Barton to commit to staying in what will be a f.
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