BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-JOHNSON

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Two young starters searching for consistency will try to find it Wednesday night in the rubber game of a three-game series between the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.


Padres left-hander Eric Lauer (2-4 Authentic Martinas Rankin Jersey Elite Womens Youth Big&Tall Nike Houston Texans NFL Shop Free Shipping , 6.64 ERA) is undergoing on-the-job training with mostly painful results, while Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.35) has won once in his last 10 starts, struggling to put hitters away and frequently running up high pitch counts.


The last start for each summarized their seasons. Lauer suffered a 4-0 loss Friday night in Miami, while Weaver was no-decisioned in a 7-6, 10-inning victory that same evening in Cincinnati as each failed to command the strike zone.


Lauer, who is in the majors because Bryan Mitchell (0-3, 7.08) was horribly ineffective, has allowed a whopping 81 baserunners (57 hits, 24 walks) over 39 1/3 innings in nine starts.


Seven of those walks occurred in Miami, where Lauer threw 111 pitches and gave up three runs in a five-inning stint. Lauer at least managed to minimize damage, escaping a bases-loaded spot in the fifth without ceding extra runs.


“It was a good learning experience for me,” Lauer said to MLB.com. “And a good mental sign for me that (manager Andy Green) was comfortable leaving me in in those situations and letting me get that chance to grow. Being able to work through those tough situations is something I need to do.”


Lauer was shelled in a 9-5 loss to St. Louis at Petco Park on May 11, allowing four homers and six runs over 2 1/3 innings before getting hooked.


Weaver, who pitched well over the last two months of the 2017 season, came out of the gate strong in 2018 with two wins in his first three starts. But Weaver has lasted seven innings just two times in his last 10 outings, taxing a bullpen that hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency.


The Reds touched Weaver for seven hits, five walks and four runs in five-plus innings on Friday, but only a blown save by Bud Norris in the ninth prevented Weaver from notching a win.


“Today was a tough one with the weather conditions and the rain, with it getting a little muddy,” Weaver said to MLB.com. “It is one of those where you have to put your stuff down and grind through it and make some good pitches.”


Weaver has stumped San Diego (32-37) in both career outings Radim Vrbata Jersey , winning both and not allowing a run over 12 innings.


The Padres evened this series Tuesday night as their bullpen checked the Cardinals (36-29) on five hits in a 4-2 victory. Matt Strahm and submarining right-hander Adam Cimber combined to retire the first 15 St. Louis hitters.


Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said the difference between Cimber and Strahm, a left-hander who touched 94 mph with his fastball, was difficult for his hitters.


“That was unique stuff from the right side,” Matheny said of Cimber. “Most of the time, he’s using the (arm) angle to hit the top of the zone. It’s certainly like an upshoot.”


A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.


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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.


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NOTE: The stories slugged Black History-Game Changers are part of AP’s coverage during Black History Month of how African-American athletes have used their platforms during the last 100 years to influence social and political change. Please see the Black History Month advisory for more details on the series.





FRIDAY, Feb. 2


BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-KAEPERNICK


Colin Kaepernick knew he was sending a message when he first refused to stand during the national anthem, before a preseason game in 2016. He probably never would’ve guessed the price he would pay. Because of the efforts of the now-unemployed quarterback, the days of excluding politics and social issues from sports appear to be over, and those who have followed Kaepernick’s lead are feeling more and more empowered to use their platform for something other than mere fun and games. By National Writer Eddie Pells. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos and video by 3 a.m. Friday.


BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-BLACK ATHLETES


Sports and race have been intertwined in America’s journey to become a more perfect union, and black athletes have often found themselves at the center of the struggle for racial progress. From Jack Johnson’s defiance outside of the boxing ring, thumbing his nose at segregation and challenging notions of black inferiority to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel silently during the national anthem ahead of NFL games that many point to as the reason he is now out of the league, black athletes have protested for generations in ways large and small in an effort to highlight injustice, expose hypocrisy and move the country forward. Often met with hate by fans uninterested in mixing sports and social issues, many have taken stances that risk their careers Cheap Customized Arizona Cardinals Jerseys , choosing race over the games they love. Where does that leave us? By AP National Writer Errin Haines Whack. UPCOMING: 1,200 words, photos and video by 1 p.m. Friday.


MONDAY, Feb. 5


OLY–SBD-SHAUN WHITE


Shaun White says there were times in the weeks after he slammed his face into a halfpipe in New Zealand and had to be helicoptered off the mountain when he wondered what was to be learned from it all. To outsiders, the answer is simple. The accident served as a jarring reminder of the hurdles White was willing to overcome to make it back to the Olympics – and this time, to leave with a third gold medal. By National Writer Eddie Pells. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday.


TUESDAY, Feb. 6


BKN–MAVERICKS-DIRK’S 20TH


DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki made peace years ago with the reality that spending his entire career with the Dallas Mavericks would likely mean little or no chance to win a second championship. The most accomplished European player in NBA history never seriously considered leaving the franchise that courted him as a teenager in Germany and drafted him five days after his 20th birthday in 1998. Now in his 20th season, Nowitzki is comfortable with the idea that he led the Mavericks to their first championship and can try to help a younger core build toward making Dallas a title contender again. By Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 3 a.m. Tuesday.


THURSDAY, Feb. 8


BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-JOHNSON


There was no more potent or more closely guarded symbol of white domination at the turn of the 20th Century than the title of heavyweight champion of the world. Then 32-year-old Jack Johnson stepped into the ring. By AP Sports Writer Kareem Copeland. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos and video by 3 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, Feb. 8.





Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.


Thanks,


AP Sports