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Jake Arrieta and Gio Gonzalez should be happy to see the calendar flip to July.

They’ll hope to put a rough June behind them when they face off Sunday in the finale of a four-game set between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals. The Phillies will try to win the series in the 1:35 p.m. matinee.

Arrieta (5-6 Bengals Cheap Jerseys , 3.54 ERA) had a 6.66 ERA in five June starts. Opponents hit .305 with a .907 OPS against him in the month, and the veteran right-hander allowed at least three earned runs in each outing.

In his last start, Arrieta gave up six runs (three earned) in five innings against the New York Yankees on nine hits, two of which were homers.

“The ball is getting hit, that’s it. Making mistakes, too many mistakes,” Arrieta told MLB.com after the start. “I was throwing quality breaking balls early in the count and then when I needed to go back to a similar spot or a little bit lower in the strike zone or out of the strike zone, I just put it too much in the zone and they hit it. It’s a pretty simple explanation.”

Arrieta had a 0.90 ERA in five starts during May, and he gave up just one run and two hits in six innings against the Nationals on May 6. Arrieta is 1-2 with a 5.02 ERA in 10 career starts against the Nationals.

Gonzalez (6-5, 3.68) had an even worse June. The 32-year-old lefty had an 8.44 ERA in five starts during the month. In three of those outings, Gonzalez gave up at least four earned runs and failed to pitch more than four innings.

Gonzalez had his worst start of 2018 the last time he took the mound. He gave up six runs and walked five batters in one inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

“It wasn’t my night. I couldn’t get a strike,” Gonzalez, who missed the strike zone with 33 of his 62 pitches Elias Lindholm Jersey , told reporters after the outing. “Sometimes it happens. It’s part of the game.”

Gonzalez will be facing the Phillies for the 25th time in his 11-year big league career. He is 11-7 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP against the Nationals’ divisional rival. Gonzalez threw five scoreless innings against Philadelphia on May 4.

The Phillies, who are 5-4 against the Nationals this season, have won two of the first three games against their divisional foe in the series. At 44-37, they are two games ahead of Washington for second place in the National League East. The Phillies were 28-53 through 81 games a season ago.

The Phillies hope Odubel Herrera’s bat heats up. The center fielder homered in Saturday’s 3-2 victory after going 2-for-28 in his previous seven games. Herrera is hitting .286 on the season with 14 homers and 46 RBIs.

The Nationals, meanwhile, went 9-16 in June and are 42-39 at the halfway mark of the season.

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Every team enters training camp with optimism. The slate is clean, no losses to tarnish the outlook, every NHL team starting at the same place.

A year ago, the Arizona Coyotes had the extra boost of playing under a new coach, system and overhauled roster, yet it didn’t work out.

Heading into the start of this year’s training camp Thursday, the Coyotes have a dash of expectations to go with the optimism.

They know what coach Rick Tocchet expects and his system. They have a boost of confidence after closing last season with a flourish. They locked down a key player to a long-term contract Authentic Customized Cowboys Jerseys , named him captain and made a series of offseason moves that should boost scoring.

After six rebuilding seasons, this may finally be the season the Coyotes trend upward from the bottom of the NHL standings.

“Everything that we’re doing in terms of developing a fan base, putting the right people in place, the right coach, the right infrastructure, the right players, we really see this as a sleeping giant,” Coyotes President and CEO Ahron Cohen said. “I think that’s starting to resonate with people. The last part of the season we really saw the steps we were taking moving forward.”

The Coyotes went into last season with a new-look roster after making major offseason moves and hiring a new coach in Tocchet, who won a pair of Stanley Cup titles as an assistant at Pittsburgh.

The optimism washed away like a desert flash flood as the Coyotes lost their first 10 games and were 9-26 through the end of December.

Some of it was adjusting to a new coach and new system. Youth also played a role. In preparing his players for the future, Tocchet put the young guys in tight spots early in the season and they didn’t initially handle it well. The Coyotes repeatedly gave up goals right after scoring and had trouble holding onto leads, often losing in the last five or six minutes of games.

But as the season wore on, Tocchet’s put-them-to-the-fire tactic paid off. Arizona’s defense tightened up and the Coyotes started winning those close games, finishing the season 17-9-3. They were still last in the Pacific Division Su'a Cravens Color Rush Jersey , but the late run showed the potential of this young team and boosted their confidence heading into this season.

“Obviously, the last half of the season, everybody’s excited about that,” Tocchet said. “Can you use last year’s success? Yeah, it helps, but we still picked fifth in the draft so we still have a long way to go.”

The Coyotes took steps this offseason to speed up that process.

One was to lock up defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson for the next eight years.

A four-time All-Star, Ekman-Larsson has taken on more of a leadership role since Shane Doan’s retirement prior to last season and is still one of the NHL’s most skilled defensemen. On Thursday, the Coyotes named him captain, the first to wear the “C” since Doan retired.

Signing Ekman-Larsson to a deal that averages $8.25 million per year gives the Coyotes stability at the blue line and for the future.

“There’s a responsibility that he wants to lead this team into the next level,” Tocchet said. “He’s also a quality person. Everyone looks at him as a hockey player, but he’s a quality person. You want quality people in the room who care and it obviously adds to your chance at success.”

So should the additions general manager John Chayka made during the offseason.

The Coyotes were busy this summer, trading Max Domi to Montreal for Alex Galchenyuk and adding speedy winger Michael Grabner, among other deals.

The 24-year-old Galchenyuk scored 30 goals three seasons ago and has at least 44 points each of the past four seasons. The 30-year-old Grabner has scored 27 goals each of the past three seasons — with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils — and has a 34-goal season on his resume.

Scoring has always been a problem for the Coyotes Authentic Robert Griffin III Jersey , so they could use the boost.

“There’s balance of scoring. If you go down the list, you go, ‘Oh jeez, this guy can score 18 or this guy can score 24,'” Tocchet said. “If you look up and down the lineup, there are guys with the potential to score these amount of goals. And when you add it all up, is there enough goals to win? Yeah, I think so.”

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