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|NEW YORK — The Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t currently occupying a playoff spot Vinny Curry Jersey , but manager Dave Roberts spoke confidently Wednesday about playing in the postseason. New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway, on the other hand, is beginning to sound like a skipper who knows his team will be long forgotten by October.
Two teams headed in opposite directions will square off for the first time this season Friday night when the Mets host the Dodgers in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field.
Right-hander Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.82 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Mets against Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood (2-5, 4.22).
Both teams are coming off series-deciding losses. The Mets suffered their third straight defeat Thursday when they fell to the host Colorado Rockies 6-4 in the finale of a four-game set. The visiting Dodgers were off Thursday after losing to the Chicago Cubs 4-0 in the last game of a three-game series Wednesday afternoon.
The series loss was the first in 10 series for the Dodgers (38-35), who are 21-9 since dropping two of three to the Miami Marlins from May 15 to May 17. The hot streak vaulted them from fourth place in the National League West to second place during the surge and gained 5 1/2 games on the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, who hold a 2 1/2 game lead heading into Friday’s action.
In addition, Los Angeles has moved two games behind the Washington Nationals in the race for the second NL wild card.
The Dodgers did all this despite getting little to no contributions from stars such as Justin Turner, Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, all of whom have been on the disabled list for the last five weeks, and Cody Bellinger, who has struggled most of the season. No wonder Roberts sounded so confident after Wednesday’s loss.
“We’re going to be somewhere in October,” Roberts told reporters. “I can’t speak to the opponent, but we’re going to be somewhere.”
It will take a miracle for the Mets (31-41) to be anywhere but a golf course when the playoffs begin. New York Nick O'Leary Jersey , which has lost 40 of 60 since an 11-1 start, is 11 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East and 8 1/2 games back in the wild-card race.
The Mets’ slide has been marked by extreme highs and lows on both sides of the ball. They have scored 42 runs in the last six games, a span in which the pitching staff posted a 5.14 ERA.
New York scored just 42 runs in 17 games from May 28 through June 15, during which its pitchers posted a 4.13 ERA.
“There’s no magic pill or magic wand to make everything sync up at the same time,” Callaway told reporters Thursday afternoon. “I think that’s been the tale of our season so far. Even when we’re not winning games, we have a part of us that’s going good. We just have trouble getting (everything) to sync up at the same time so we can get on a good run again.”
Wheeler didn’t factor into the decision in his most recent start on Sunday, when he gave up two runs in six innings as the Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3. Wood won the last time he took the mound last Saturday when he allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in the Dodgers’ 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Wheeler lost his lone career start against the Dodgers on June 19, 2017, when he surrendered seven runs in two innings as the Mets fell 10-6. Wood is 0-3 with a 3.94 ERA in eight career starts against the Mets.
Anthony Lynn left Texas Tech in 1992 for a life in the NFL, he was only six class hours shy of earning his degree. Although he won two Super Bowl rings as a running back before beginning a coaching career that eventually put him in charge of the Los Angeles Chargers last season, Lynn never forgot about missing his college graduation.
On Saturday, the Chargers' 49-year-old head coach will take that long-delayed walk to get his diploma when he receives his bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies at UNLV.
"Football has always been my No. 1 priority, and sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad Brian Robison Jersey ," the Chargers' head coach said Friday after running a workout with their rookies and undrafted free agents. "But I chose football over education. I thought, at some point, 'No more excuses. Just go back and get it done.'"
While he led the Chargers to a 9-7 record last season, Lynn was also hitting the books. He spent the past 18 months completing his coursework while simultaneously navigating his first head coaching job.
Lynn didn't say much about his studies to his Chargers assistants or players, but he strategized like any good coach to manage his workload. With the help of a counselor, Lynn used a five-week down period in last summer's schedule to line up his daily educational goals and deadlines for the following year.
"It requires you to be a master planner," Lynn said with a grin.
He recently completed his 30-page capstone research project about the challenges and pitfalls facing athletes as they make the transition into post-competitive life. After starting out with the goal of learning more about the mental health of athletes with head injuries, Lynn eventually took 30 hours of online classes in subjects such as sociology, public health and psychology.
"Mental health is broader than what I thought," Lynn said. "Things like identity crisis. Things like boredom with athletes post-career, and how that can lead to other sicknesses that are sometimes fatal. So that's probably the biggest thing I learned."
The seeds of Lynn's return were planted in 2014 while he was on Rex Ryan's staff with the New York Jets. Dave Szott, Lynn's good friend and a former Jets lineman who became a coach and executive with the club, finished his degree 15 years after leaving Penn State with the encouragement of his own wife, Andrea.
"I remember she looked at me and said Mike Remmers Jersey , 'Coach, you should do the same,'" Lynn recalled. "'There's no reason why you shouldn't do that, no excuses.' And that just gave me a little push and inspired me to go back, or at least investigate it."
Lynn put it off for a couple of years while he moved with Ryan to Buffalo and attempted to land his own head coaching job. He eventually connected with an educational firm that has expertise in such endeavors, and he committed to his studies in earnest in 2017.
"I said, 'You know what? It's now or never,'" Lynn recalled with a smile. "And then I become a head coach."
But with the Chargers' encouragement, Lynn decided to continue his educational pursuits. He did most of his coursework remotely, but also went to UNLV recently for face-to-face discussions with his professors.
Lynn also was motivated by his highly educated children. His daughter, Danielle, is receiving her master's degree in business administration from the University of North Texas next week. His son, D'Anton, a former Penn State defensive back Russell Bodine Jersey , will miss the graduation ceremony at UNLV because he'll be at work with the Houston Texans in his new job as an assistant coach.
"They were happy," Lynn said. "I'm not the butt of the jokes anymore when I go to one of their graduations. They would always say stuff like, 'That's why you didn't graduate.' I'd talk about how hard I work. 'That's why you didn't graduate.'"
Lynn wasn't planning to participate in UNLV's graduation ceremony until he realized what it could mean to other athletes, coaches and professionals facing similar educational challenges. His mother and daughter will be in attendance in Las Vegas along with Chargers owner Dean Spanos and his wife, Susie.
"I decided to walk, because if it could inspire one person, then it's worth it," Lynn said. "Dave Szott inspired me. Maybe if I inspire one, then it's worth it."
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