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ESPN announces a Cubs and Cardinals-heavy Sunday night baseball lineup

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ESPN has announced a big chunk of its early season Sunday Night Baseball schedule. It’s a press release and promo thing — and no, I have no intention of including the corporate sponsor whose name has been applied to the name of the broadcast because they ain’t paying me to promote them — but it’s a reminder that the winter which officially begins today will end and spring will take its place.

You will not be shocked to hear that the Chicago Cubs, Cardinals and the New York teams appear a whole bunch of times. ESPN is in it to score ratings and dollars, so they’re going to, naturally, go with the teams that give them the best chance at good ratings. One person’s bias is another’s smart business sense. Sorry about that.

The sked:

Apr. 2:  Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Apr. 9:  Miami Marlins at New York Mets
Apr. 16:  St. Louis Cardinals at New York Yankees
Apr. 23:  Washington Nationals at New York Mets
Apr. 30:  Chicago Cubs at Boston Red Sox
May 7:  New York Yankees at Chicago Cubs
May 14:  Houston Astros at New York Yankees
May 21:  TBD
May 28:  New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates
June 4:  St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
June 18:  TBD
June 25:  TBD
July 2:  TBD
July 9:  Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
July 16: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
July 23: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

Forgot to even mention ESPN’s clear “TBD” bias. Shameful.

Kenley Jansen’s consecutive saves streak ends at 34

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Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.

Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.

After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.

Zach Britton sets American League record with 55th consecutive save

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Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.

Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.

Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.