CINCINNATI BENGALS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP: July 26 Zach Parise Jersey , Paul Brown Stadium
LAST YEAR: Missed playoffs for second straight season. Coach Marvin Lewis got two-year contract extension despite 0-7 playoff mark, worst in NFL history. He’s entering 16th season with Bengals, who have yet to win playoff game since 1990 season, longest active postseason drought in NFL and sixth longest in league history. Bill Lazor was promoted to interim offensive coordinator two games into season and retains role, given freedom to overhaul unit that finished last in yards. Teryl Austin was hired as defensive coordinator, replacing Paul Guenther, who joined Jon Gruden with Raiders.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Lazor, LT Cordy Glenn, C Billy Price, QB Matt Barkley Tyler Ennis Jersey , LB Preston Brown.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Vontaze Burfict (suspended for first four games for violating NFL’s policy on performance enhancers), QB AJ McCarron, C Russell Bodine, CB Adam ”Pacman” Jones, RB Jeremy Hill.
CAMP NEEDS: Getting adjusted to Lazor’s overhauled offense and getting new pieces in place on line are overriding concerns. Austin is expected to stay with similar defense, but there will be competition for spots in line rotation. Once again, Bengals will spend preseason planning for Burfict’s absence – third straight season he’s been suspended by league. Bengals took gamble and signed TE Tyler Eifert to one-year deal loaded with incentives, hoping he can add to group that was subpar last season, but he was hurt again for training camp.
EXPECTATIONS: Two straight losing seasons led to significant drop in attendance at Paul Brown Stadium and reduced expectations for a team in decline. Bengals will have slightly different look with new coordinators, but overall direction won’t change much. If offensive line isn’t significantly better Brayden Schenn Jersey , redesigned playbook won’t much matter. By keeping Lewis for 16th season despite lack of playoff win, owner Mike Brown gave fans little reason to think things will be different. Brown would rather stay with coach and coaching philosophy that are familiar.
SAN DIEGO — You could call it a homestand. But for the Padres, it’s a chance to get a fresh set of clothes before hitting the road again.
The Padres return from a 10-game road trip Tuesday to host the Oakland A’s for two games at Petco Park before hitting the road again for seven more road games until they come back home on June 29.
“We’ll learn a lot about ourselves in June,” Padres manager Andy Green said before departing San Diego for the first 10 games, which the Padres split.
The Padres are expected to send rookie left-hander Eric Lauer (3-4, 6.20 ERA) Tuesday night to face Oakland right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-1, 11.05) in a match of former first-round draft picks.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Blackburn, 24, was the 56th overall pick of the Chicago Cubs as a supplemental pick in the 2012 draft. The 6-foot-3 Youth Mikko Koivu Jersey , 227-pound Lauer, 22, was the 25th overall pick of the Padres in the 2016 draft.
Lauer and Blackburn will be facing the other team for the first time in their brief major league careers.
Lauer will be making his 11th start, with all coming this season, and tis will be Blackburn’s 13th start. He was 3-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 10 starts last year and is 4-2 overall with a 4.09 ERA.
Blackburn was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on June 7 after being out since spring training with a right forearm strain. He was 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in six games, including three starts, this spring before being placed on the 10-day disabled list March 28. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on April 5. He was activated after one rehab start.
Blackburn was the losing pitcher in his last start, a 13-5 A’s loss to Houston in Oakland. He gave up eight runs, eight hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings.
Lauer has lowered his ERA in four of his last five starts. During that span, he has allowed 12 runs Alexander Kerfoot Jersey , 32 hits and 11 walks with 22 strikeouts in 24 innings for a 4.50 ERA. Before that, Lauer had an 8.14 ERA after his first five starts.
He has blown hot-and-cold in his last five starts. On May 28, he allowed five runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Two starts ago, he issued seven walks in five innings. He didn’t walk a hitter in his most recent start.
“Lauer has to trust his fastball,” Green said recently. “It’s had better carry, better life in his past two starts than it had earlier in the year. He’s attacking better with it. Those are positives. The fastball is his main weapon. But he’s dropped in some off-speed pitches that have kept people off balance.
“His velocity has been up a little bit. He’s done a nice job preparing himself for those starts. Those are probably the biggest things I’ve seen. He’s still searching for that secondary pitch he can rely on consistently. I think when he finds that, he’s going to turn the corner and move really quickly.”
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