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hong wei Dec 6

The New York Yankees are in the midst of their longest losing streak of the season.

It’s only three losses in a row for the Yankees [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/kyler-fackrell-jersey-cheap]Kyler Fackrell Jersey[/url] , but they enter the week with an injured starting catcher and a meeting with a surging opponent.

The Philadelphia Phillies have won four consecutive series and will host the Yankees for a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park. Vince Velasquez of the Phillies will face rookie right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga of the Yankees in the series opener on Monday night.

New York was swept in a three-game weekend series on the road by the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s the first time in 2018 the Yankees have lost three consecutive games — something the team had not done since Aug. 28-30, 2017.

“As far as the losses, I look at it as a bump in the road,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told MLB.com after a 7-6 loss in the series finale. “Unfortunately, it’s bound to happen in a long season. You’ve just got to turn the page.”

The Yankees lost more than a game on Sunday. Catcher Gary Sanchez hurt his right groin/hip while running to first base in the 10th inning. Sanchez is scheduled to get an MRI on Monday, and Boone told reporters that it’s likely the 25-year-old will be placed on the disabled list.

Sanchez, in his third major league season, is hitting .190 with a .724 OPS and 14 homers through 63 games this season.

Despite being swept, the Yankees (50-25) are still tied with the Boston Red Sox for the American League East lead.

The Phillies (41-34) have won nine of their last 13 games and moved within 2 1/2 games of the Atlanta Braves for the top spot in the National League East.

Velasquez (5-7 [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/jake-ryan-jersey-cheap]Jake Ryan Jersey[/url] , 4.82 ERA) will try to make it five straight wins for the Phillies on Monday night. The right-hander has pitched into the seventh inning in three of his last four starts, including his last outing.

Velasquez struck out eight and allowed four runs against the St. Louis Cardinals last Tuesday. He allowed just four hits in the start, but two of them were homers.

Velasquez has faced the Yankees twice in his career, and both appearances came during the 2015 season when he was with the Houston Astros. He has a 3.24 ERA and 0.840 WHIP in those games.

Loaisiga (1-0, 3.12 ERA) will make just the third start of his major league career.

The 23-year-old from Nicaragua was sharp in his debut, throwing five scoreless innings against the Rays on June 15. Loaisiga had a tougher time in his second start. Facing the Seattle Mariners last Wednesday, he allowed three runs and six hits and used 84 pitches to get through 3 2/3 innings.

The Yankees and Phillies are meeting for the first time since the 2015 season. Philadelphia took two of three at Yankee Stadium from June 22 to June 24 three years ago.

Even as he sat in the back of a police car sprinting to the hospital to get a precise prognosis on his injured left calf while the Pittsburgh Steelers played on without him during a loss to New England three weeks ago, Antonio Brown always believed he’d be back.

He just needed time.

When his teammates provided it by assuring the AFC North champions of a first-round bye, Brown pushed his rehab.

By last weekend video surfaced of Brown working out in Florida with former NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

And there Brown was on Monday [url=http://www.officialbluejackets.com/...as-seth-jones-jersey]Seth Jones Jersey[/url] , going through drills with the rest of the Steelers well on track for a return on Sunday against Jacksonville in the divisional round of the playoffs.

”I never count myself out regardless of circumstances,” Brown said. ”I know playing football you’re going to have adversity. Just got to grow from it.”

While stressing he’s ”still got a lot to test,” the only unanimous selection on the 2017 All-Pro Team and the only player in NFL history with five straight seasons with at least 100 receptions appeared to be relatively close to his old self.

”AB is nice,” cornerback Joe Haden said. ”If he’s out there, I expect him to be AB. He’s not going to be out there limping around. When he was running, he looked pretty good. You never know how it’s going to feel afterward, but while he’s out there, while he’s running his routes, he looked like AB.”

Brown left in the first half against New England on Dec. 17 when his legs got tangled with a pair of Patriots defenders while trying to haul in a touchdown pass.

The Steelers lost 27-23 before rebounding to close out the regular season with wins over Houston and Cleveland.

Still [url=http://www.officialbluejackets.com/...-sonny-milano-jersey]Sonny Milano Jersey[/url] , their best chance at reaching the AFC championship game for a second consecutive season comes with Brown’s No. 84 in the lineup.

The Jaguars have one of the NFL’s top defensive backfields, though Brown still finished with 10 receptions and 157 yards on Oct. 8, the lone bright spot for the Steelers in a 30-9 loss in which Jacksonville scored the final 23 points and left Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shaken after throwing five interceptions.

Roethlisberger hasn’t shied away from talk of a rematch. That’s fine by the Jaguars.

”Be careful what you wish for,” Jacksonville cornerback AJ Bouye said. ”This is what he wanted. This is what he’s going to get.”

What the Steelers are likely to get in return is a heavy dose of Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette.

He was dominant with 181 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh in October, including a backbreaking 90-yard sprint with 1:47 left that showcased the speed and the power that makes him so dangerous. Jacksonville finished with 231 yards rushing in all, the most given up by the Steelers all season.

It was perhaps the biggest upset in the NFL season at the time. In the rearview, not so much. The Jaguars have proven they’re legit while reaching the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

Though Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey suggested Pittsburgh must feel like the loss was a ”fluke,” the Steelers insist that’s not the case.

”We don’t feel like it was a fluke,” linebacker Bud Dupree said. ”We actually saw the plays they made and everything that was going on and the mistakes that we made and … that’s what happens. We let them get a couple of explosion plays.”

Yet Steelers safety Mike Mitchell is quick to point out the blowout on the scoreboard didn’t exactly reflect what happened on the field. Even with Fournette’s closeout dash to the end zone [url=http://www.officialbluejackets.com/...zach-werenski-jersey]Zach Werenski Jersey[/url] , Pittsburgh outgained the Jaguars 373-313.

”If you watch that football game, it’s not like their offense exploited us a ton,” Mitchell said. ”I don’t think it was a dominant performance from that standpoint. I thought we played well enough to win the game. Obviously we didn’t. We’ve got to do better Sunday as a complete team to win the game.”

One of the reasons Roethlisberger wanted another shot at Jacksonville. The two-time Super Bowl winner facetiously wondered if he still ”had it” after turning the ball over repeatedly back in October.

All he did over the second half of the season was throw 18 touchdowns against five interceptions while leading Pittsburgh to a second straight division title and fourth consecutive playoff appearance.

Roethlisberger’s swagger is back. And with Brown nearing a return, the Steelers believe they’re three wins away from a seventh Lombardi Trophy regardless of who may stand in the way.

”(Got to) find a way to win this one,” Brown said, ”and then the next one and the next one.”

AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report.