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On The Fly: Extra Reason To Celebrate July 4 For MLB Division Leaders

Extra reason to celebrate July 4 for MLB division leaders

Happy Fourth of July to all, especially those teams leading their divisions in the major league races. Statistically speaking, the Nationals, Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Indians and Rangers are great favorites to win their divisions and head into the playoffs without a wild card worry in the world. That's not to say bad things don't occasionally happen; July and August are long, hot months and some wilting does occur. Like on Sunday, when the Mets closed out a four-game sweep of the Cubs behind six hits from Wilmer Flores. But if you are ahead on July 4, there's a good chance you will be on Oct. 1.

If you haven't had the chance this season, why not consider spending a summer night at New Britain Stadium to see the Bees play? The old home of the Rock Cats has been spruced up with a new paint job and other adornments since the Eastern League left for Hartford after last season. And let's face it, the Yard Goats will not be playing a game in central Connecticut until the 2017 season, so why sit home when there is a freshly grilled hot dog waiting?

Give credit to the Connecticut Sun for hanging in there. After losing three straight on their recent western road swing, the Sun stopped in Dallas on the way home on Saturday night and picked up a big win. The Sun are 4-13 and a long way from making the playoffs, but they could have easily hid behind a cloud and mailed the game in. They return home on Thursday against Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Renee Montgomery and the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday.

Former major league outfielder Nick Swisher — Swishalicious to Yankees fans — said in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday that he is stepping away from the game to spend time with his wife and two daughters. Swisher, 35, said he plans to keep training every day and "evaluate my options for next season at the appropriate time." He hasn't appeared in a major league game this season. He was released by Atlanta late in spring training and signed a minor league contract with the Yankees in April. The guy is destined for the MLB Network.

First the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw went on the disabled list, and now the Diamondbacks have placed righthander Zack Greinke on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain. Greinke departed his last start on Tuesday after two innings because of tightness in the area while batting.

While the Celtics were courting Kevin Durant, they managed to sign Al Horford, which is exactly the type of player they need to take them a step closer to the Cavaliers. … Defending champion Serena Williams earned her 300th career Grand Slam match win and moved into the fourth round at Wimbledon, overwhelming 43rd-ranked Annika Beck of Germany 6-3, 6-0 on Sunday.

jaltavilla@courant.com

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