MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Minnesota 7 Milwaukee 5

St. Louis 2 Kansas City 0

San Francisco 3 Oakland 2

Pittsburgh 10 LA Angels 7

Tampa Bay 7 San Diego 5

Houston 6 Chicago White Sox 2

Chicago White Sox 4 Houston 1

NY Yankees 8 Baltimore 3

Toronto 3 Texas 0

Boston 7 Cleveland 6 (10)

Seattle 11 Detroit 6

Washington 3 Cincinnati 1

Philadelphia 4 Chicago Cubs 2

LA Dodgers 15 Miami 1

Atlanta 5 NY Mets 3

Atlanta 9 Colorado 3

TUESDAY’S BOX SCORES: https://www.mlb.com/scores

 

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Indianapolis 6 Rochester 3

 

WNBA

Minnesota 89 New York 73

Las Vegas 94 Atlanta 90

TUESDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/wnba/scoreboard.asp?day=20190813

 

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF

Hagerstown 191 Wapahani  201

Lawrenceburg 212, East Central 222, Union County 224

 

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

NORTHEASTERN COACH WES OLER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgM5AwyQjQo

NORTHEASTERN RB/DB CADE BRAY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt3RxIYlfaE

CENTERVILLE OL/DL COLLIN SNYDER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsOSPTMP0zw

CENTERVILLE COACH RYAN DICKENSON: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wLHu_oA8kw

UNION COUNTY COACH JOEL HOFMANN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRB1imZOjVo

UNION COUNTY WR/DL JADEN BIAS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHKtRbSAoC4

UNION COUNTY RB/DB MASON WICKER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsjjBFIW294

 

 

TOP HEADLINES

Colts expect Luck to miss preseason with ankle area injury

The Indianapolis Colts believe lingering pain in Andrew Luck’s lower left leg will likely force their starting quarterback to miss the rest of the preseason.

They’re still unsure about his availability for the Sept. 8 season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Tuesday additional testing revealed Luck appears to be suffering from an injury near the front of his ankle, something his previously diagnosed strained left calf might have exacerbated.

“Honestly, I think it’s a cumulative thing through the years. Andrew’s had some issues with his left (ankle) for a while, so I think it’s really a cumulative thing,” Ballard told local reporters on a conference call. “We think we’ve found it. You hope you’ve found what the cause is. Is there a 100 percent guarantee? No, but we think we have, so we’ll move forward and try to treat it.”

The injury kept Luck out of all of the team’s offseason workouts and all but three training camp practices. He still has not participated in full team drills.

Ballard and coach Frank Reich initially described the injury as a strained calf, but when Luck continued to complain about soreness, team officials started digging deeper to get answers.

On Monday, Colts owner Jim Irsay told SiriusXM radio the team believed Luck had an injury to the os trigonum, a small, accessory bone near the back of the ankle.

But new tests, Ballard said, determined the soreness was coming from the front of the ankle.

“Most of his pain is right below the calf, kind of anklish, up a little bit. Remember, everyone kept focusing on the Achilles and it’s not the Achilles,” Ballard said. “The issue right now is the side to side stuff, the rolling of the ankle. Anything moving forward is good. It’s the moving in the pocket.”

In his most recent interview, Luck said he felt as if something was tugging at his lower left leg near the ankle when he ran.

The current diagnosis does not call for surgery, just more rehab and a different routine.

Luck did participate in individual work and some seven-on-seven drills during the first week of camp, but has been limited to working on his own and running walkthroughs since July 29.

 

Colts GM downplays Andrew Luck’s lingering ankle injury

Andrew Luck remains sidelined, an issue that has obviously caused some concern for the Colts community due to the quarterback’s recent past. Chris Ballard provided an update on this nagging lower-leg injury, which has persisted for most of the offseason.

Luck initially went in for an MRI on his calf in March, which revealed a strain. But the quarterback began experiencing ankle-area pain by May, Mike Chappell of CBS4 tweets. A test Monday revealed there is an issue in the “high ankle” area, which can be a long-running problem (Twitter link). Over the course of dealing with this calf malady, Luck encountered ankle trouble, Stephen Holder of The Athletic tweets. Ballard, however, ruled out the prospect his quarterback has Achilles trouble, per the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (on Twitter).

The Colts are now almost certain to hold Luck out of the preseason slate, Ballard said, adding that the 29-year-old passer will need a certain amount of practice time to be ready for Week 1 (Twitter links). The third-year GM, however, added “This is not 2017,” in terms of the persistent trouble with which Luck is dealing. Luck missed all 16 games that season due to a shoulder injury. He returned to play in all 16 last year.

No surgery is planned at this point, Ballard added, noting the Colts believe progress has been made (Twitter link). Given that Luck has been held out for so long, his September availability probably should be a concern. The Colts are not ready to go there yet, with Ballard not knowing Luck’s Week 1 status (per Mike Wells of ESPN.com), but they are certainly looking smart for refusing to trade Jacoby Brissett.

The Colts open their season with road games against the Chargers and Titans. They begin their Indianapolis slate in Week 3 against the Falcons.

 

Brown returns to Raiders after absence for injured feet

Antonio Brown walked onto the Oakland Raiders practice field in his familiar No. 84 jersey surrounded by cameras and received warm greetings from teammates.

His weeklong absence to deal with his frostbitten feet and a grievance with the NFL over the use of a helmet has ended and now he’s eager to get back on the field as soon as he can.

“I’m extremely grateful to be here,” Brown said during a short news conference Tuesday. “I’ve been dealing with a lot of adversity. I’m excited to be back and see my teammates and get in the groove of things.”

Brown has not participated in a full practice for the Raiders after starting training camp on the non-football injury list with injuries to his feet that reportedly came from frostbite suffered while getting cryotherapy treatment in France. Agent Drew Rosenhaus called the injuries on Brown’s feet “brutal” and Brown left camp last week to meet with a specialist.

Brown gave no timeline for when he would be healthy enough to practice, saying only to “stay tuned.”

Coach Jon Gruden said he didn’t know whether Brown would play in an exhibition game but was confident he’d be healthy enough for the season opener Sept. 9 against Denver.

“I feel a lot better working toward 100%,” Brown said. “It’s been a process with the feet. Any time you have a lot of blisters, it’s hard to change direction and run and do what I do naturally. I’ve been away getting a lot of work. I’m excited just to move forward.”

Brown also has been battling with the NFL over his helmet, losing a grievance on Monday to use a version of his helmet that is no longer certified for practice or play.

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment sets performance and test standards for equipment. Brown’s Schutt Air Advantage helmet is no longer allowed because the NFL follows the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA) rule that helmets 10 years old or older cannot be recertified.

Schutt has discontinued making the helmet because current technology had moved past it, according to the company.

Brown sent out a Tweet offering a signed Raiders helmet for a newer version of Brown’s preferred helmet. Rosenhaus said they have found a newer version and are now waiting for it to be certified.

“Hopefully we’re going to get this behind us soon,” Rosenhaus said.

 

Agent Drew Rosenhaus admits AB never considered retirement over helmet

All those rumors that Antonio Brown would rather walk away from football if he didn’t get to wear his preferred helmet weren’t rooted in reality.

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, admitted Tuesday that Brown never legitimately considered retiring or walking away from the Oakland Raiders in the midst of his helmet-related drama.

Was the threat never real or was Brown simply trying to bluff? The fact that he opted to rejoin the Raiders immediately after the NFL handed down its ruling suggests Brown figured it would end this way and was trying to bluff, but it certainly seems he and Rosenhaus wanted the rumor out there.

 

 Will the Texans deal Clowney before the season starts?

Two franchise-tagged edge defenders changed teams this offseason, with Dee Ford leaving Kansas City and Frank Clark arriving. Trades for tagged players after the July 15 extension deadline are obviously rarer, but John McClain of the Houston Chronicle expects the Texans to deal away Jadeveon Clowney before the season (Twitter link). NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo agrees but wonders (Twitter link) if the talented defender’s Houston departure will instead come in 2020.

Clowney is tethered to a $15.9M cap number, which is a point of contention for the outside linebacker’s camp because of his greater usage as a defensive end, and cannot be extended by any team until after the regular season ends. The Texans discussed a Clowney deal with the Chiefs, but they opted for a Clark deal soon after. McClain cites the team, despite drafting Tytus Howard in Round 1 and signing Matt Kalil, needing a left tackle as a reason Clowney has a better chance of being traded than suiting up for Week 1.

Clowney’s trade value will not be as high as it was before July 15, however, so the Texans would have to factor this into the equation. They could tag him again in 2020 and continue this long-drawn-out process, potentially revving up the tag-and-trade scenario at that point — when they would likely have a GM again.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

Although Tom Brady agreed to an in-name-only extension, setting him up for potential 2020 free agency, and put his house on the market, the Patriots quarterback continues to maintain he would like to continue his career until he is at least 45. That has long been the 42-year-old passer’s goal, and he reiterated it during an appearance on WEEI (via Pro Football Talk) this week. Brady’s post-2019 status, though, is murky.

The redone contract Brady agreed to will place a $21.5M cap number on the Patriots’ books, Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets. This is down $5.5M from his previous 2019 cap hold. In doing this, the Patriots, as of Tuesday, possess $15.15M in cap space (17th-most in the NFL).

We have learned plenty about the importance Antonio Brown places on in-game headgear over the past several days. Now, the Raiders receiver is enlisting the help of Twitter followers in hopes of finding a newer brand of his preferred helmet — a Schutt AiR Advantage. The NFL has given Brown the go-ahead here, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, since the NOCSAE could certify a helmet that is less than 10 years old. But it will be difficult for Brown to succeed on this front. This model was discontinued in 2009, per the Toronto Sun’s John Kryk, and a helmet-industry source (we are deep in the weeds here) said any post-production models of this helmet will likely be unavailable so many years later.

Antonio Callaway‘s failed drug test, which will cost him four games, evidently did not occur this offseason. The second-year Browns wide receiver has not failed a test since the end of last season, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Since, the 2018 fourth-round pick has been in a comprehensive drug treatment program. Callaway entered the NFL in stage 1 of the league’s drug treatment program, because of a diluted sample at the Combine — which the Florida alum admitted was an attempt to mask marijuana use — and can be tested up to 10 times per month. Several violations needed to have occurred for him to test positive, per Cabot. Callaway was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession last summer.

 

Giants WR Tate suspended 4 games for performance enhancer

New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate has had the appeal of his four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance enhancers turned down.

The decision by an independent arbiter was announced Tuesday and means the 10-year-veteran will miss the first four games of the regular season, starting with Dallas on Sept. 8.

Tate, who signed a $37.5 million contract as a free agent with the Giants in March, announced the suspension in a Twitter post on July 27. He said he intended to appeal it and felt his case had merit because he was using a fertility drug prescribed by a doctor.

The appeal was heard by a member of an independent appeals panel in New York last week.

The NFL allows players to use fertility drugs but they must obtain a therapeutic use exemption prior to using them. The league has insisted players are responsible for the drugs and supplements they take and advises them to talk to team trainers and medical personnel before using them.

“This morning I received the unfortunate news that my appeal was denied,” Tate said in a statement on Twitter. “I went into this arbitration with the understanding that due to the facts, unlike many other cases, we could be the exception to win. Unfortunately the NFL stood by their no tolerance policy, which I hope one day to help have a part in reforming, so no other player has to go through this situation.”

Certain fertility drugs can help athletes boost performance or mask doping. Some fertility drugs bought on line are not approved by the FDA.

Tate will be eligible to practice with the team until the start of the regular season.

 

Eric Reid calls out NFL over partnership with Jay-Z

Eric Reid called out the NFL on Twitter over the league’s partnership with Jay-Z.

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports formed a partnership with the NFL on entertainment and social justice matters that was announced on Tuesday. Jay-Z will help advise the NFL on music selections for some of the league’s events and work with the league on its Inspire Change initiative.

“With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas — instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”

Reid does not care for the partnership and said so on Twitter later that night. He stated that Colin Kaepernick is not part of this partnership.

Reid started kneeling alongside Kaepernick when the two were teammates on the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. Kaepernick has not played since that season. Reid went unsigned during the offseason prior to the 2018 season before the Carolina Panthers signed him in September that year. He joined Kaepernick in a collusion lawsuit against the league.

Reid now has a job, proving that he isn’t being blackballed. The public would love to know whether there was a directive throughout the league telling owners to avoid signing Kaepernick, but we may never know because Kaep and Reid took settlements from the league in exchange for their silence.

 

Report: Case Keenum the frontrunner to start for Redskins

The Washington Redskins’ quarterback situation has been one fans around the league have been watching, and we may have a frontrunner in the battle.

The Washington Post’s Rick Snider wrote a column on Tuesday saying that Case Keenum appears to be the frontrunner to start at QB for Washington. Keenum was acquired by the Redskins in a trade with Denver in March.

Keenum, 31, has more experience and success in the league than Colt McCoy, a longtime Washington backup, and Dwayne Haskins, whom the team drafted No. 15 overall this year. Keenum began OTAs by taking the first-team reps. This week, he took reps with the first-team players ahead of Washington’s second preseason game, Snider says.

Snider further adds that unless Keenum plays poorly in Thursday’s preseason game against Cincinnati, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden would be comfortable entering the season with the former Broncos QB as his starter.

Keenum has made 41 regular season starts over the past three seasons. His most success came in 2017 when he threw for 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions while leading Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game. Though he passed for a career-high 3,890 yards last year, his touchdowns dropped to 18 and his interceptions increased to 15. Washington would like to see more of the 2017 version of Keenum if they do roll with him as their starter.

 

Dolphins coach critical of Josh Rosen’s body language

Josh Rosen has seemingly been behind Ryan Fitzpatrick on the depth chart all offseason despite the Miami Dolphins giving up two draft picks to acquire him back in April, and it does not sound like that is going to change any time soon.

Fitzpatrick was listed as the starting quarterback ahead of Miami’s first preseason game last week, and he has continued to get first-team reps in practice. When asked for a Rosen update on Tuesday, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores described the former UCLA star’s performance as “OK” and said he needs to improve his body language.

The Dolphins obviously want Rosen to win the starting job, otherwise they would not have given up a second-round and fifth-round pick for him. However, he has clearly struggled at times this offseason, and Flores appears to be taking a tough love approach with him.

Rosen got more playing time than Fitzpatrick in the first preseason game, and he completed 13-of-20 passes for 191 yards with one brutal interception. Flores had some good things to say about him earlier this month, but it sounds like Rosen needs to prove he can be a better leader and show more consistency before he’s going to beat out Fitzpatrick.

 

Former NFL WR Roscoe Parrish arrested for allegedly threatening to kill someone

Roscoe Parrish had a decent NFL career that spanned eight seasons, but the former Buffalo Bills wide receiver has gotten himself into some trouble in his post-retirement life.

Parrish was arrested on Monday in Florida for allegedly threatening to kill somebody, according to a report from TMZ. Details are unclear, but the 37-year-old was booked into Broward County Jail on felony charges of aggravated stalking-domestic violence and intimidation after he made “written threats to kill.” Each charge carried a $50,000 bail, and Parrish was due to appear in court on Tuesday.

Parrish was a star receiver at the University of Miami and went on to be drafted by the Bills in the second round in 2005. He caught 134 passes for 1,502 yards and seven touchdowns over seven seasons in Buffalo.

 

ESPN reporter calls out fan for inappropriate behavior at training camp

An ESPN reporter says she was on the wrong end of some inappropriate fan behavior while covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at training camp over the weekend, and she shared her unfortunate experience on social media.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine said she was kneeling on the sideline at Bucs camp on Sunday evening when a fan came up behind her, touched her head and called her “sexy.” Laine took aim at those who said she should have taken it as a compliment.

Hopefully someone else was able to identify the fan, because he deserves to be banned from attending NFL events. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first instance we have heard of a female NFL reporter being mistreated. That type of behavior should never be tolerated.

 

Is Prescott worth $40M?

There must be something in the water in Dallas that makes players feel like they are worth more than what they actually are.  We already have Zeke holding out and he won’t be back until he gets his new contract, which is reportedly supposed to be in the same ballpark as Todd Gurley money.  Then we get the report that there were offers out for Dak, Zeke, and Amari on the table and none of them had answered yet.

Well, one of those has now been proven to be true and it’s Dak Prescott.  This one is almost laughable.  Dak Prescott turned down a deal that was worth over $30 million and his response is….wait for it… that’s he’s asking for $40 MILLION/YEAR!  Yes, you read that right.  A guy that isn’t even in the top 10 at his position is asking for $40 million a year.  Let’s look at what the other top paid quarterbacks are making before we come back and laugh at this.

Matt Ryan – $30 million/year (Better than Dak)

Carson Wentz – $32 million/year (Better than Dakota)

Aaron Rodgers – $33.5 million/year (Better than #4 and everyone else on this list)

Big Ben – $34 million/year (Better than Dak)

So, as you can see this list has something in common.  Everyone on it is better than Dak Prescott.  So now, Dak thinks that he is worth more than the highest paid QB in the NFL by $5 million!?  What is going on in this man’s head?  Dak is a glorified game manager that just happens to benefit from a top 3 RB and a top 3 O Line that makes him look better than he is.  In fact, nobody on this list has the combination of top RB and top offensive line like Dak does and I would take a pretty confident guess in saying that he would vastly underperform on any one of these rosters.  But I have to be honest here, I truly hope that Dak Prescott gets paid this money.  I hope a report comes out tomorrow that the Cowboys have inked a deal with Dak for $40 million/year.  Why?  Because I’m an Eagles fan and would love nothing more than to watch them tie up a game manager for that much of their salary cap.

I think there’s 13-15 quarterbacks that can be put in the exact same situation in Dallas that would look significantly better than Dak.  So, to watch him make that type of money would be absolutely devastating for the future of this franchise and I’m all for it.  PAY THIS MAN!

 

2019 NFL Predictions: Bears look primed for regression and here are all the reasons why

In a somewhat surprising and complete reversal of last year’s hype train, the Chicago Bears are sticking out as a major fade for multiple NFL analysts heading into the 2019 season. I’m already on the list of people who believe the Bears are a prime regression candidate in 2019 and one of the top teams that could take a step back and miss the playoffs. Not everyone is, AHEM, Bearish on Chicago — there’s at least one nutjob out there predicting Mitchell Trubisky outscores Aaron Rodgers.

This is not me beating a drum here, because it actually came up independently and unprompted in multiple conversations this week on the Pick Six Podcast — it’s our daily NFL pod and you should be subscribing to get my dulcet tones fired into your eardrums every morning — as we begin to really dive into the nitty gritty of previewing the NFL season.

Specifically, both Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders and Andy Benoit of The MMQB believe the Bears are primed to drop off some in 2019. You can hear Aaron discuss that plus much more in the player below and check out Andy breaking down all things film-related by hitting the subscribe button or navigating the podcast embed.

Part of the defensive regression will come from the Bears thriving off turnovers at a completely unsustainable rate. If you read Football Outsiders Almanac — and you should, because it’s awesome, buy your own copy right here — you’ll understand that history tells us teams who generate a lot of turnovers are likely to regress to the mean when it comes to the following year’s turnover rate.

“Chicago last year had a takeaway on 19.1 percent of defensive drives. 19.1 percent. The next highest number was the Rams at 16.5,” Schatz explained. “And the interception numbers are even crazier: 14.8 percent of drives ended with an interception. That is more than twice the NFL average. So there’s a lot of regression expected there.

“And also just the fact that defense is less consistent than offense. The average DVOA rating — our DVOA rating, that’s our main team efficiency rating — the average rating for a team that is No. 1 on defense the following year is ninth. And it’s possible the Bears are a team like that. On average I would think I’d expect their defense to be fourth or fifth. You also have to remember they’re breaking in a new defensive coordinator with a new system.

“Remember what I said [earlier in the pod], when you have a new defensive coordinator you take a step back, all things being equal. And the problem is the Chicago offense was not good enough that if they have the fourth or fifth best defense, that that’s a winning team. The Chicago offense would need to take a big step forward this year in order to be a playoff team if they have the fourth best defense instead of having one of the best defenses of all time, which is what they had last year.”

There’s actually an interesting comp of a projection from last year for Football Outsiders: the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars. (That is less interesting if you’re a Bears fan, probably, but you get the point.)

“It’s very similar to what our projection was for Jacksonville a year ago when we said basically the same thing,” Schatz continued. “The defense was fourth or fifth in the league and the offense got worse and the Jaguars completely fell apart.”

This is something I harped on in my playoff piece. If Trubisky can take a huge leap forward in Year 2 of Matt Nagy’s system, the Bears could potentially counterbalance some inevitable defensive decline with big production on offense. So how does Trubisky stack up comparatively in terms of other young quarterbacks who have taken a big step in their second year, as Trubisky did in 2018? Pretty good, but it might not matter without another massive leap.

“Well, his completion rate went way up, his number of touchdowns went way up, his yards per attempt went up, his interceptions, however, also went up. He had a good second year improvement and despite a good second year improvement, Chicago ended up 20th in our offensive ratings. So let’s say that he improves a little bit more in Year 3 and they’re like 15th or 16th. 15th or 16th on offense with like the fifth or sixth best defense is 8-8.”

So, not ideal for the Bears. As Schatz noted, the NFC North is one of the toughest divisions in football and was the hardest for FO to break down in terms of win totals and projections. Everyone could fall short of their projections and the Bears could find their way to a 9-7 season and a division record. But even that would be regression!

The stats aren’t the only concerning thing. The film is an issue too. As Benoit explained on Monday’s podcast, the difference between what Fangio runs and what Pagano runs is pretty massive. Benoit also doesn’t believe Trubisky and the offense can make up the gap.

“I think the Bears are going to take a step back, guys. I don’t think this is the same defense,” Benoit said. “The offense I don’t think is quite [capable of carrying the defense] yet and a lot of it comes down to Trubisky. It’s a big year from him. They did not ask a lot of him last year. Coaches tell you how they fell by what they ask them to do. We could also argue they didn’t need Trubisky to do a lot either. So why fill his plate when you can bring him on at a more comfortable pace? So we’ll find out this year.”

For Benoit, the biggest difference for the defense might not even the natural turnover regression or the attrition of players in free agency. Andy sees the schematic differences causing an issue with the personnel as they transition from Vic Fangio to new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, both “excellent coaches.”

“I think Fangio is the hardest coach in the NFL to play against, the hardest defensive play-caller. What he does that’s so difficult, they play two-deep, zone looks. They matchup out of the zone so it’s man-to-man principles in the zone. They have different match rules that we could get into, but we’ll get caught in the weeds if we do,” Benoit explained. “Suffice to say, it’s hard to understand the match rules on the fly but it’s two-deep zone looks. They’re very blurry so you’re not sure what kind of zone it is, because those safeties and linebackers move around just ever so much. And when you factor all that in and add in a Khalil Mack who’s getting to the quarterback quickly, that’s where you get the interceptions. The ball comes out off schedule for the offense against a blurry, unpredictable look.

“What Chuck Pagano does is try and overwhelm you with pressure. Instead of blurry zone coverage he plays man-to-man, because almost any blitz in the NFL or any blitz at any level has man-to-man principles behind it. It has to. And he’s going to bring fast pressure to you. That’s a very different style of approach. It’s not going to create as many turnovers because man-to-man defenders don’t get as many turnovers because their eyes are on the man and not the ball.”

Problematic for this is the Bears corners being guys who thrive in zone perhaps more so than they do in man coverage.

“The other thing is, I think it’s going to expose those Bears cornerbacks. Kyle Fuller is an excellent player and I think Prince Amukamara is a very good player in a matchup zone scheme where they have some help from the safety and they can keep their eyes on the quarterback more,” Benoit continued. “I don’t think they’re pure man-to-man defenders downfield, though, and that system under Pagano is going to ask them to do that and they’ll be good but not great at it.”

Making it tougher on this defense? The Bears have to play a bunch of veteran quarterbacks this season, guys who are not going to succumb to pressure the way younger QBs might. Just after the bye AND out of their division are: Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Eli Manning, Derek Carr Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes. I don’t care what you think about those guys, they’re all veteran quarterbacks and most of those teams have pretty good offensive lines and receiving weapons as well. It’s not going to be simple to overpower them.

You also need to add in Aaron Rodgers twice, Matthew Stafford twice and Kirk Cousins twice. Same stuff applies. It’s a tough year for Chicago, going from hunter to hunted.

 

2019 Heisman Trophy favorites and odds

The Associated Press’ prestigious NFL MVP honor has been awarded to a quarterback 11 of the past 12 seasons. This positional trend come award season has trickled down to the collegiate level too. Alabama running back Derrick Henry is the only non-quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy (2015) this decade and based on the 2019 preseason Heisman favorites, we should expect the pattern to continue this December.

Odds: Bovada

2 of 16 Joe Burrow

Odds: +10,000

Position: QB – senior

2018 stats: 2.894 pass yards, 16 TDs and five INTs | 399 rush yards and seven TDs

Burrow missed LSU’s first inner-squad scrimmage due to a minor injury but isn’t expected to be out long ahead of the Tigers’ season opener on Aug. 31. Although he missed the scrimmage, all eyes remain on the new-look Tigers offense, as head coach Ed Orgeron flipped the script and hired former New Orleans Saints offensive assistant Joe Brady to come in and create a run-pass option (RPO) system for Burrows and Co. With Burrows’ mobility and the fact his top four receivers return this season, the Tigers bread-and-butter run-first offense appears determined to (finally) add some flash downfield.

3 of 16 Jerry Jeudy

Odds: +4,500

Position:  WR – junior

2018 stats: 68 receptions, 1,315 receiving yards and 14 TDs

In one of its recent 2020 mock NFL Drafts, Pro Football Focus deemed Jeudy a top-five pick. While three of Alabama’s top receivers return, Jeudy led the team with 68 receptions last season, while the next closest returning target finished with 46. There’s little doubt Jeudy’s skills will translate at the next level, but unless he touches the ball 80-plus times this season, it’s hard to imagine him winning the Heisman.

4 of 16 AJ Dillon

Odds: +4,000

Position: RB – junior

2018 stats: 1,108 rush yards and 10 TDs (in 10 games)

As a freshman, Dillon rushed 300 times for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns with one lost fumble. As a sophomore, Dillon rushed 227 times for 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns with no lost fumbles despite missing two games. With that type of consistency, one should expect more of the same this season, right? Well, aside from concerns about Dillon’s heavy workload through the first two seasons, Boston College’s offensive coordinator, Scot Loeffler, left the Eagles to take Bowling Green’s head coaching gig. Former Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian assumes the OC role this season. So in addition to a new quarterback-friendly OC, Dillon’s offensive line returns only one starter from last year. If he stays healthy, this Hesiman Trophy campaign will be an uphill slog.

5 of 16 Travis Etienne

Odds: +3,000

Position:  RB – junior

2018 stats: 1,658 rush yards and 24 TDs

Etienne’s 8.13 yards per rush ranked seventh nationally last season but was trumped slightly by teammate Lyn-J Dixon’s 8.82 YPR. Granted Dixon finished with only 62 rush attempts compared to Etienne’s 204, but both should eat well this season as Clemson’s offensive line boasts four returning starters. So Entienne’s Heisman chances just come down to staying healthy, fending off Dixon for touches and, oh yeah, Trevor Lawrence turning into a pumpkin. He’s 30-to-1 for a reason.

6 of 16 Jonathan Taylor

Odds: +3,000

Position: RB – junior

2018 stats: 2,194 rush yards, 16 TDs and eight INTs

Wisconsin’s running back led the nation in rushing as a sophomore last season when he averaged 169 rush yards per game. If there’s a knock on his Heisman chances heading into the 2019 season, it’s ball security. He lost four fumbles last season and six as a true freshman. When you consider the current stranglehold quarterbacks possess on the Heisman Trophy, Taylor must limit these types of statistical blemishes. He’ll have to accomplish all of this behind an inexperienced line that returns only one starter from last season.

7 of 16 Shea Patterson

Odds: +2,500

Position: QB – senior

2018 stats: 2,600 pass yards, 22 TDs and seven INTs

Patterson’s second season with the maize and blue will look much different than his first. Michigan hired former Alabama co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis to run the Wolverines offense. His spread schemes conjure up memories of Rich Rodriguez, but a system Patterson seems to prefer. Michigan’s senior trigger will be protected by a veteran offensive line that returns all but one starter from last year’s squad. While Patterson did lose comfort of his top two running backs, his top two receivers, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, return for their junior seasons. As is often the case, Patterson’s shot at a Heisman Trophy are directly linked to a trip to the College Football Playoff, and that trip is typically linked to a win over rival Ohio State come late November.

8 of 16 D’Andre Swift

Odds: +2,500

Position:  RB – junior

2018 stats: 1,049 rush yards and 10 TDs | 297 rec. yards and three TDs

The Bulldogs backfield timeshare looked like this at the end of the season:

D’Andre Swift: 163 rush attempts and 6.4 YPR

Elijah Holyfield: 159 rush attempts and 6.4 YPR

With Holyfield now a member of the Carolina Panthers, Swift’s role will no doubt expand in the run and pass game, as he finished with the third-most receptions on the team last season. In fact, of Georgia’s top four leading receivers of a season ago, Swift is Jake Fromm’s only returning target.

9 of 16 Justin Herbert

Odds: +2,000

Position: QB – senior

2018 stats: 3,151 pass yards, 29 TDs and eight INTs

On paper and up until recently, Herbert’s offense boasted 11 other returning starters. However, senior receiver and special teams star Brenden Schooler is out until at least early October with a foot injury. The good news is three of his four leading receivers remain healthy ahead of the season opener against Auburn. Many scouts believe Herbert would have trumped Kyler Murray as the overall No. 1 draft pick had he not returned for his senior season. It’s evident that despite his receivers dropping a reported 52 passes in 13 games last season, Herbert’s NFL Draft and Heisman stock remain high.

10 of 16 Sam Ehlinger

Odds: +1,500

Position: QB – junior

2018 stats: 3,292 pass yards, 25 TDs and five INTs | 482 rush yards and 16 TDs

Texas scored 435 points last year. Via the pass and the run, Ehlinger accounted for 246 of those points,or 56.5 percent. Now if you think his Heisman Trophy chances improve because his run-pass cumulative eye-candy stats will rise as a junior, think again. The Longhorns starting quarterback missed two games last season due to injuries sustained running the rock. If his team has any aspirations of reaching the College Football Playoff, it needs Ehlinger upright for the entire regular season and, thus, may reduce his workload on the ground. This isn’t to say Ehlinger doesn’t deserve to be a Heisman favorite. It’s to say he may not produce Lamar Jackson stats this season.

11 of 16 Jake Fromm

Odds: +1,400

Position: QB – junior

2018 stats: 2,761 pass yards, 30 TDs and six INTs

Justin Fields knew who was head and shoulders above the quarterback depth chart. Fromm’s 2018 production and grasp of the offense was enough to force Georgia’s second-string quarterback to transfer to Ohio State. Heisman Trophies are great, but when one’s play on the field forces a fellow competitor to adjust his career arc, it shouldn’t be dismissed. As for 2019, Fromm has some work to do, as he lost three of his top four receivers of a year ago, and lead running back D’Andre Swift is going to want to eat more in this his junior season. In recent interviews, Fromm claims this incoming receiving corps is ready to compete on Saturdays, but it’ll likely take a trip to the College Football Playoff for this quarterback to become one of three Heisman Trophy finalists.

12 of 16 Adrian Martinez

Odds: +1,200

Position: QB – sophomore

2018 Stats: 2,617 pass yards, 17 pass TDs, eight INTs and 629 rush yards with eight rush TDs

What does Martinez have in common with seven of the past nine Heisman Trophy winners? They were known for their ability to make plays with their arm and with their legs . The Cornhuskers experienced some growing pains in Year 1 under first-year head coach Scott Frost, but if Martinez flips the script during his sophomore season and Nebraska goes from 4-8 to 8-4 or better, this quarterback will be headed to New York. While he did lose top receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. (1,004 rec. yards and seven TDs), two of his top three receivers return. Whether he remains in the Heisman conversation will come down to wins and losses AND if he continues to dazzle us with his mobility out of the pocket. At 12-to-1, I’d jump on these odds.

13 of 16 Jalen Hurts

Odds: +1,000

Position:  QB – senior

2017 stats:  2,081 pass yards, 17 TDs and one INT (last full season)

Oklahoma’s string of luck at quarterback is uncanny. First, Baker Mayfield transfers, earns the starting gig and wins a Heisman Trophy. Next, Kyler Murray transfers, earns the starting gig and wins the Heisman Trophy. This year, head coach Lincoln Riley struck gold again when former Alabama starting quarterback Jalen Hurts decided to leave the Tide for greener pastures. He was 26-2 as Alabama’s starter but joins an Oklahoma offense that returns only four starters. The good news is one of those starters is the team’s second-leading receiver, CeeDee Lamb (1,158 and 11 TDs), and another is running back Trey Sermon, who led the team with 164 carries and 13 rushing touchdowns last season. Plus — and you can’t discredit this come Heisman Trophy time — it’ll be a miracle if the Sooners fix their 130 th-ranked pass and 114th total defense in one season. So the pressure will be on Hurts to deliver all four quarters, which will only boost his Heisman stock if and when he leads the Sooners to the win.

14 of 16 Justin Fields

Odds: +900

Position: QB – sophomore

2018 stats: 328 pass yards and four TDs on 39 attempts and 266 rush yards and four TDs on 42 attempts

Two years ago Fields was a top-five national football recruit headed to Georgia. Jake Fromm has the Bulldogs starting quarterback gig on lock, which ultimately led to Fields’ transfer to Ohio State. In limited action as a true freshman, Fields lived up to the 5-star recruit hype. He now joins a new-look Buckeyes offense that returns only one starting offensive lineman. So Fields’ mobility may be tested throughout the season. That mobility may unintentionally ding running back J.K. Dobbins’ Heisman hopes as the junior tailback racked up 1,053 yards and 10 touchdowns last season while Dwayne Haskins was slinging the pigskin all over the field. In other words, Dobbins benefited from a pocket passer, where Fields is likely going to be the team’s second-leading rusher.

15 of 16 Trevor Lawrence

Odds: +275

Position: QB – sophomore

2018 Stats: 3,280 pass yards, 30 pass TDs and four INTs

This picture from Clemson’s spring game says it all: Hands off the future NFL quarterback . Dabo Swinney may have lost some talent on the defensive side of the ball, but offensively all of Lawrence’s top options return. In addition to four starting senior linemen protecting his butt, the true sophomore quarterback gets three of his top four receivers back, led by fellow sophomore Justyn Ross who racked up 1,000 receiving yards and nine scores last year. Fellow Heisman hopeful, junior running back Travis Etienne, leads a stacked backfield that should open up the passing game. Pending any injuries, Lawrence is all but a lock for a trip to the PlayStation Theater this December.

16 of 16 Tua Tagovailoa

Odds: +260

Position: QB – junior

2018 stats: 3,996 pass yards, 43 pass TDs (five rush TDs) and six INTs

Alabama’s starting quarterback was one of three 2018 Heisman finalists but finished second to Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Although it’s no consolation to losing the hardware and national championship game, with 299 first-place and 431 second-place votes, Tagovailoa became the Heisman runner-up with the most points ever. The 2019 offensive line has some holes to fill, but Tua should pick up right where he left off as his top receiver — and fellow Heisman favorite — Jerry Jeudy (1,315 and 14 TDs) returns along with the second and third leading receiver from a year ago. Behind him, junior running back Najee Harris (783 and four TDs) looks to keep defensive front sevens honest.

 

Dozier’s piggyback homer, Ross’ start help Nats top Reds 3-1

After missing three starts because of a stomach bug, Brian Dozier felt good enough to return to the Washington Nationals’ lineup, good enough to eat a postgame plate of pasta, good enough to homer – and good enough to celebrate that solo shot with a dugout piggyback ride.

After sitting out just one game with a sprained right ankle, Dozier’s teammate Juan Soto looked just fine running around the diamond after launching a drive that landed more than 400 feet away in the second deck.

“Juan hits the home run, he comes over and says: `I told you I was fine,'” manager Dave Martinez said. “I go, `Thanks.’ I didn’t want him to play. I wanted to give him a break.”

Dozier hit his 17th of the season and Soto his 25th as both were back in the batting order, Joe Ross extended his scoreless streak to 17 1/3 innings before giving up a run, and Washington beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 Tuesday night.

“Stomach’s still turning a little bit,” Dozier said. “Body aches are gone and I’m keeping stuff inside my body longer. But headache’s good. Chills are great.”

Ross (3-3) allowed one run and five hits in his 6 2/3 innings; the run came when the final batter the righty faced, Jose Iglesias, delivered an RBI single. Still, Ross now is responsible for the most consecutive innings without a run by a Nationals pitcher this season – and that’s on a staff that includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.

“I was impressed,” Reds manager David Bell said about Ross, who is 3-0 with a 0.52 ERA in his past three starts.

With closer Sean Doolittle coming off five appearances in seven games – he mentioned feeling tired after Monday’s save – Daniel Hudson got the last four outs, striking out Tucker Barnhart with men on the corners to end it as rain fell. It was Hudson’s third save of 2019 and first since joining Washington from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade-deadline deal.

 

Germán becomes majors first 16-game winner as Yanks beat O’s

From the outset, there was something different about Domingo German. His fastball zipped a little more, setting up an effective curveball and the Yankees got what they needed from their unexpected ace.

German pitched seven strong innings to become the first 16-game winner in the majors and New York beat Baltimore 8-3 on Tuesday night, running their winning streak over the Orioles to 15 games.

He allowed two runs, five hits, struck out seven, walked one and won his career-high seventh straight decision. He did so with a four-seam fastball that averaged 93.3 miles per hour and topped out at 96, up from the 88.4 mph he averaged Thursday in Toronto.

“It definitely felt a little firmer when it was coming in,” Yankees catcher Austin Romine said of German’s fastball. “It definitely had some more life to it.”

When he was not throwing fastballs, German kept Baltimore off-balance by throwing 37 curveballs. He generated 14 of his 21 swings on misses on his curveball that averaged 82.1 mph.

“You could just see the finish on his breaking ball and a little more life on his fastball too,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

German pitched seven innings for the fourth time on a night in which the Yankees deployed a 10-man bullpen in the hopes of not using key bullpen arms Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman after Monday’s doubleheader. He raised his winning percent to a major league-best .889, the second-highest of any Yankee with at least 15 decisions behind Ron Guidry .893 mark in his 25-3 season in 1978.

“We wanted to be economical out there understanding how much the bullpen has been used in the past couple of games,” German said through a translator.

German raised his innings total to 116 and while there could be an innings limit at some point, the Yankees are not ready to discuss it for someone who began the season in the rotation as a replacement for Luis Severino.

 

Boston’s Sale reaches 2,000 career strikeouts in record pace

Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale has reached 2,000 career strikeouts faster than any pitcher in history.

Sale entered Tuesday’s game against the Indians with 1,995 strikeouts. He struck out the side in the first and reached the milestone in the third when he fanned rookie Oscar Mercado.

According to information provided by the Red Sox, Sale broke Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez’s mark by getting to 2,000 in 1,626 innings. Martinez did it in 1,711 1/3 innings. Randy Johnson reached the plateau in 1,733 1/3 innings, and Max Scherzer got there in 1,784.

Sale has struggled this season. He entered his 25th start at just 6-11 with a 4.41 ERA. Still, he has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the majors since 1920.

The 30-year-old is in his third season with Boston after spending seven with the Chicago White Sox. He opened 2019 with four straight losses and didn’t get his first win until May 3.

 

Gonzalez’s blast off of Hader lifts Twins over Brewers, 7-5

As much as any two teams, the Minnesota Twins and the Milwaukee Brewers are playing in a playoff-like atmosphere, as the AL Central and the NL Central feature the tightest races in the majors for a division title.

Their interleague matchup Tuesday at Miller Park didn’t disappoint.

Christian Yelich returned to the starting lineup and sparked a late rally, but it wasn’t enough for the Brewers as Marwin Gonzalez hit a three-run home run off of Josh Hader to propel the Twins to a come-from-behind 7-5 win.

“Amazing. We fight to the end no matter who we’re facing,” Gonzalez said.

It was the fifth blown save for Hader, an All-Star for the second consecutive year. He has allowed 13 home runs in 44 appearances, after giving up 13 total in 90 appearances during his first two seasons.

“You’ve just got to repeat, repeat repeat,” Hader said. “That’s why this game is so hard, because you’ve got to repeat, you’ve got to be consistent, and right now, I’m struggling to be consistent.”

With Milwaukee trailing 4-1 in the seventh inning, Yelich hit an RBI double and scored on Yasmani Grandal’s three-run home run, his 20th of the season and his first since July 6. That gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead.

The pivotal eighth inning started with the Twins putting runners on first and second with no outs before Brewers reliever Drew Pomeranz (2-10) recorded the first out. He was replaced Matt Albers, who struck out the only batter he faced, C.J. Cron.

But then Gonzalez hit Hader’s first pitch, a 96 miles-per-hour fastball, over the wall for his 14th homer of the season.

 

Seager, Murphy combine for five homers in Mariners win

Kyle Seager left Comerica Park with the first three-homer game of his career and he had no idea how it happened.

Seager homered in the fourth, sixth and ninth innings, driving in six runs as the Seattle Mariners beat the Detroit Tigers 11-6 on Tuesday night.

“I don’t remember ever hitting three in a game at any level,” he said. “I’m not sure I’ve ever done it.”

Seager’s first two homers were routine, but he got some help on the third one. His line drive to left-centerfield didn’t have the distance to clear the fence, but centerfielder Niko Goodrum and leftfielder Brandon Dixon collided on the warning track. The ball hit Goodrum’s glove and bounced over the fence.

“I was running, so I didn’t see it,” Seager said. “Everyone told me they knocked it over, but I’m going to have to find a replay online. When I tell the story, it’s going to be a no-doubter.”

Seager and Tom Murphy hit back-to-back homers in the fourth and sixth innings, but Tigers reliever Jose Cisnero walked Murphy in the ninth. No teammates have ever hit back-to-back homers three times in one game.

“That was a lot of fun,” Murphy said. “I’ve never been a part of anything like that.”

The Mariners won for the second time in 10 games, improving to 5-0 against Detroit this season. Zac Grotz (1-0) picked up his first win with 1 2/3 innings of relief.

Detroit lost for the ninth time in 12 games and fell to 16-42 at home. They need to go 6-17 in their final 23 games at Comerica Park to avoid becoming the first team to lose 60 home games.

Matthew Boyd (6-9) allowed seven runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up four homers, and has allowed 30 this season, the third highest total in the majors.

 

J.T. Realmuto powers Phillies past Cubs 4-2

J.T. Realmuto and Roman Quinn delivered the type of hits that have been rare for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Realmuto homered and drove in the tiebreaking run with an RBI double in the seventh inning to lift the Phillies to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

The Phillies will have a familiar face in the dugout Wednesday when new hitting coach Charlie Manuel arrives. The franchise icon was hired to replace John Mallee as hitting coach earlier in the day.

“Obviously, we feel terrible we cost a guy his job,” Realmuto said. “We all love (Mallee). We’re going to miss him.”

Manuel has a lot of work to do to revive an underachieving offense that overcame 15 strikeouts for the win, but the pitching staff did the job against the NL Central leaders.

Jason Vargas allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. Blake Parker (2-2) and Mike Morin each tossed a hitless inning and Hector Neris finished for his 21st save in 25 tries. Neris retired Jason Heyward on a grounder to end the game with two runners on.

Cubs starter Jose Quintana had a career-best 14 strikeouts in six innings, allowing two runs – one earned – and five hits. Chicago fell to 23-36 on the road. No other first-place team has a losing record away from home.

“Obviously, we have to play better (on the road),” Quintana said.

Pinch-hitter Andrew Knapp led off the bottom of the seventh with a single off Kyle Ryan (3-2) and scored from first when Realmuto hit a sharp grounder down the left-field line with two outs.

Quinn’s RBI triple with two outs in the eighth gave Philadelphia an insurance run.

The Phillies entered the game hitting .229 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

 

Adam Silver’s email address, phone number inadvertently revealed on social media

Some of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s personal information was inadvertently shared on social media Tuesday.

Denver Nuggets youngster Michael Porter Jr. shared a photo on Snapchat of Silver speaking on a stage. Behind Silver on a blue screen was the commissioner’s email address, office and mobile phone numbers. The information seemed to be available for NBA players to be able to contact him. Instead, anyone who follows Porter Jr. on Snapchat also had access to Silver’s information.

Silver appeared to be speaking at the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program. Porter Jr. was drafted No. 14 overall by Denver in 2018 but was dealing with a back injury at the time and did not play last season.

We’ve seen an NBA star actually give out his phone number to fans in the past, and that didn’t go so well. Hopefully for Silver’s sake he won’t have to change phone numbers or his email address due to a deluge of messages from fans.

 

Gregg Popovich dismisses trash talk from Serbian coach

Gregg Popovich dismissed some trash talk from Serbia’s coach ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Serbia is viewed as a top challenger in the event to the favored United States. Serbian head coach Sasha Djordjevic seemed to say that the Americans needed to worry about Serbia more than the other way around.

“Let’s let them [Team USA] play their basketball and we will play ours and if we meet, may God help them,” Djordjevic said, via Eurohoops.com.

Popovich, who is the head coach for USA Basketball, was asked about Djordjevic’s comments and decided to stay above the matter.

If the quote from Djordjevic made its way to Popovich, there is a good chance the San Antonio Spurs coach will pass it along to his players as motivation.

What makes Serbia a leading contender at the World Cup? They have some strong NBA players, including Nikola Jokic, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

 

A matter of style: How eight NBA title contenders will play in 2019-2020

Extraordinary player movement this summer makes the NBA as wide open as ever. At least eight teams have a legitimate shot at the 2019-2020 championship, a welcome change for those plagued by Warriors fatigue.

Ever since Steve Kerr replaced Andrew Bogut with Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup of the 2015 NBA Finals, 29 teams have been chasing Golden State and its harmonious yet unstoppable brand of Small Ball basketball, aptly nicknamed ” The Lineup of Death.” A few teams, such as the Cavaliers and Thunder in 2016, were successful in wearing down this lineup with overwhelming athleticism and physical defense. But once Kevin Durant took his talents to the Bay Area, the healthy version of the Warriors was basically unbeatable. The only conceivable way to take them down was to beat them at their own game of Small Ball, which is what the Rockets valiantly tried and failed to do.

With Durant’s departure, it’s no longer an absolute requisite for contenders to mirror The Lineup of Death with a Small Ball lineup of their own. In fact, some teams might even be able to dictate the pace and style of play with their own brand of basketball. While Small Ball will still be popular among some contenders, and perhaps remain the most optimal basketball philosophy, other contenders will try to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy by embracing a more big man-heavy lineup. Still others will rely on their versatility and continuity from previous seasons to do the same.

This year’s contenders fit within three categories in terms of the brand of basketball they’ll play:

SMALL BALL: Spreading the court with four or even five three-point shooters and two or three ball handlers. They’ll have one rim-running, rim-protecting big man.

JUMBO BALL : These teams will still spread the court with capable three-point shooters, but instead of having multiple ball handlers, a Jumbo Ball team will use a LeBron James- or Ben Simmons-type do-it-all player as its facilitator and versatile wings and bigs elsewhere. This brand of basketball puts an emphasis on size and athleticism over speed and quickness at every position.

CONTINUITY (VERSA BALL): These teams have the versatility, depth and continuity to match up with Small Ball and Jumbo Ball lineups. They have the ball handlers and wings to space the court and go small and the facilitating big man who allow them to forgo a traditional point guard in lieu of another big or wing. Depth and continuity from last season’s team are a huge advantage for these teams as well.

Let’s examine these three philosophies and how they came to be optimal basketball strategies for contenders in 2019-20. Expect these teams to rely on these philosophies when the games really matter: in the playoffs.

Small Ball and The Lineup of Death

Small Ball wasn’t a new philosophy to the NBA in 2015. In fact, a handful of great teams (1994-95 Rockets, 2006-07 Suns, 2008-09 Magic and 2012-14 Miami Heat) used lineups with four perimeter players and one big man (four-around-one) with enormous success. What made the Lineup of Death unique was that there was no big man at all, allowing for court spacing to the extent no one had ever seen. During the Warriors’ historic 73-9 regular season, their first full season using the Lineup of Death, the team scored at a rate (114.9 ppg) the league hadn’t seen in years, averaging nearly four points per game more than any other team and 11 points per game more than the average team.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson routinely shot from as far as 35 feet, shifting the gravity of the court on offense and combining for 678 three pointers in 2015-16 alone. Draymond Green emerged as the most versatile defender in the league, protecting the rim like a big man and locking up ball handlers like an elite wing defender. Green and Iguodala’s point guard-like playmaking skills on offense created numerous layups and dunks as teams were preoccupied trying to account for Curry and Thompson. Finally, Harrison Barnes’ underrated post defense kept other big men in check and his shooting was adequate enough to keep defenses honest. (When the team replaced Barnes with Durant for the 2016-17 season, Small Ball was perfected in a way that will never be replicated.)

Not only did this playing style render traditional big men useless against Golden State, it made the Warriors better at playing four-around-one Small Ball too. The Lineup of Death was so dominant during the 2015-16 regular season that the Warriors only had to deploy it 172 total regular-season minutes because it outscored opponents by an unconscionable 40.2 points per 100 possessions . The second- and fourth-best lineups in the league that played at least 100 minutes together during that season were also Warriors lineups that merely replaced Harrison Barnes with Andrew Bogut (plus-33.3 net rating) in one and Festus Ezeli (plus-24.1 net rating) in the other.

This season, the Warriors (+1200 title odds) are suited to go with a four-around-one Small Ball lineup. (Of course this assumes that Thompson will return at some point during the regular season and be close to full strength when the playoffs start.)

The subtraction of Durant, now with the Nets,  makes this year’s squad more comparable to the 2015-16 team. While D’Angelo Russell, acquired from Brooklyn, won’t provide anywhere near the defense played by Iguodala, who’s now with Memphis, he’ll more than account for the playmaking (seven assists per game last season) and add a scoring and spacing component that Iggy never could (21 points per game on 37 percent from three). Likewise, while Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney won’t be able to space the court like Barnes did and aren’t the same type of intellectual defenders and passers as Bogut was, they can rim-run and rim-protect better than Barnes or Bogut, which will allow the Dubs to play at breakneck speeds next season.

The other title favorites, the Clippers (+333), Jazz (+1600) and Rockets (+700), will embrace four-around-one Small Ball lineups this year too. LA’s defensive potential is impressive as it has the two best wing defenders in basketball in Kawhi Leonard (two-time Defensive Player of the Year) and Paul George (2018-19 steals leader) to go with all-world irritant Pat Beverley (two-time All-Defense). They also have arguably the best pick-and-roll combination in the league with Lou Williams ( fifth-best ball handler ) and Montrezl Harrell ( third-best roll man), giving the Clippers one of the best closing lineups in basketball.

I wrote “arguably the best pick-and-roll combination” because the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell ( fourth-best ball handler ) and Rudy Gobert ( second-best roll man) were elite last season too. Utah may have lost some of the continuity that helped it finish as a top-three defense each of the past three seasons , but the Jazz replaced bricklayers Ricky Rubio and Jae Crowder with Mike Conley (career 37.5 percent from three) and Bojan Bogdanovic (42.5 percent from three). Utah’s Small Ball lineup won’t be the most entertaining, but it should be among the best in the league.

Rounding out the Small Ball contenders, the Rockets will force opponents to slow 48 minutes of relentless attacking from James Harden (36 points, seven rebounds and eight assists per game), Russell Westbrook (23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists per game) and Eric Gordon (18 points on 40 percent three-point shooting in the playoffs). If 25-year-old big man Clint Capela (17 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks per game) can improve and anchor the team’s defense along with defensive stalwart and corner-three specialist PJ Tucker, Houston will be right in the ring-chasing mix.

The Jumbo Ball Movement

In the 2016 playoffs, the Cavaliers and Thunder were able to construct the blueprint to counter the Lineup of Death. The Cavs’ most effective lineup in the Finals — Tristian Thompson, Richard Jefferson, LeBron James, JR Smith and Kyrie Irving — could match up with the Lineup of Death well enough to allow its size advantage to wear down the Dubs and destroy them on the boards, outrebounding them by 28 rebounds (307-279) for the series. Likewise, the Thunder’s best lineups -– Serge Ibaka (or Steven Adams), Kevin Durant, Andre Roberson, Dion Waiters and Russell Westbrook –- were also able to push the Warriors to the brink with overwhelming athleticism as they outrebounded the Warriors by 35 rebounds (337-302) in the Western Conference Finals.

This Jumbo Ball counter to Small Ball is making a return this year after a brief hiatus during the Hamptons Five era as the 76ers (+900) and Lakers (+400) have gone full tilt with it, eliminating the point guard altogether. In reality, Small Ball and Jumbo Ball aren’t all that different from one another: Both favor positional versatility, aim to get the team’s most talented players on the court at the same time, and attempt to maximize shot efficiency by ending as many possessions as possible in three-pointers, shots in the paint and free throws -– the most efficient possessions in basketball –- in lieu of any mid-range shots. The main difference is that Jumbo Ball favors size over speed.

Speaking of which, the Sixers will have one of the tallest starting lineups in NBA history this season, with an average height of over 6-foot-9. Having two centers -– 7-foot Joel Embiid and 6-foot-10 Al Horford -– as the best players on the team gives a whole new meaning to Jumbo Ball. It’s so rare that you must look back to the late ’90s (David Robinson and Tim Duncan) and mid-’80s (Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon) to find championship-level historical parallels. Having a 6-foot-10-point guard in Ben Simmons doesn’t hurt the Jumbo Ball movement either. With the team going all-in on size and defense, it will ironically make the other two starters (6-foot-9 Tobias Harris and 6-foot-6 Josh Richardson) the most important players on the team as both will be relied upon to make defenses honest from the perimeter (they are 40 and 36 percent three-point shooters, respectively) while defending perimeter players on the other end of the court.

The Lakers are the West Coast foil to the Sixers, sporting an average height of over 6-foot-8 in their LeBron James-Danny Green-Kyle Kuzma-Anthony Davis-DeMarcus Cousins jumbo lineup. While only Green (46 percent from three) is an elite shooter of that mix, the rest of the lineup is plenty comfortable hoisting threes to space the court as only Davis attempted less than three per game last season (2.6 per game). Expect to see this lineup used primarily in the playoffs because the Lakers won’t want to wear Green down in the regular season chasing point guards all over the court. However, when they do go jumbo with LeBron as facilitator, the team should dominate the restricted area and boards better than any team west of Philly.

Versa Ball and the Benefit of Continuity

Rounding out the title contenders, the Bucks (+500) and Nuggets (+2000) will bring back essentially the same versatile young cores from last season. Despite losing Malcolm Brogdon in free agency, Milwaukee, last year’s best regular-season team, will look to last year’s MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to make another leap to become the unquestioned best player in the league.

Giannis’ two-way versatility, combined with Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe’s defense, and Brook Lopez’s court spacing (37 percent from three) and rim protection (two blocks per game), allow the Bucks to match up with most any lineup. They can play Jumbo Ball by adding Robin Lopez or DJ Wilson to the mix. Or they can play some form of Small Ball by subbing in a veteran shooter such as Wes Matthews (career 38 percent from three), Kyle Korver (career 44 percent from three) and George Hill (career 38 percent from three).

Lastly, the Nuggets added a good three-and-D forward (Jerami Grant) and two low-risk, high-reward rookies (Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol) to what was already the deepest team in the league last season. Although the Nuggets were upset in the second round, last year’s playoff run erased any doubt that superstar Nikola Jokic could be the best player on a championship team. He averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds and over eight assists per game in 14 playoff games. Denver has the best young core in basketball , with every rotation player besides Paul Millsap younger than 30 years old. Expect  Jokic and guards Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Malik Beasley to take another step forward and compete for the best record in the NBA in 2019-20.

 

Venus Williams upsets Bertens in Ohio; Serena withdraws

Going small paid off big for Venus Williams.

Tuesday didn’t go as well for sister Serena.

On a day when back problems forced the younger Williams to withdraw before her second-round match, Venus Williams reached the third round of the Western & Southern Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4) upset of defending champion Kiki Bertens. Her key? Not going for it.

“I just tried not to go too big, because I can go so big and I have a lot of power and it’s not always easy to control it,” the 39-year-old Williams said. “So I’m trying to play smart instead of going hog wild, which is extremely easy to do.”

Hours before her match was scheduled to begin, Serena Williams withdrew, citing the same back injury that forced her to retire from the Rogers Cup final on Sunday in Toronto. The injury raises questions about Serena’s fitness ahead of the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 26.

“I came to Mason on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning, but unfortunately, my back is still not right, and I know I should not take to the court,” Serena, winner of 23 Grand Slam titles and a two-time champion at Cincinnati, said in a statement.

Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, is the oldest woman in the draw. She has made her deepest Cincinnati run since reaching the 2012 semifinals.

“It was just a second round, though,” Venus said. “For me, it’s just round-by-round. I have a third round to play. I’m ready for the next round.”

Bertens, seeded fifth, rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 5-2 in the third set to force a tiebreaker. The 2-hour, 17-minute match ended when she sailed a forehand wide.

“I didn’t do the things I was doing well coming back – playing aggressive, going for my shots,” Bertens said about the tiebreaker. “I didn’t do that anymore in the tiebreak, so there she could play her game again, which she did pretty good, I would say.”

On a star-studded day that was scheduled to include Serena and Roger Federer in the evening session, top-seeded and defending champion Novak Djokovic cruised into the third round with a 7-5, 6-1 win over wild card Sam Querrey.

Federer, the third seed who was playing for the first time since Wimbledon, needed 61 minutes – not including a 61-minute rain delay – to defeat Juan Ignacio Londerom 6-3, 6-4.

 

RECAP: Indy Eleven Downs Detroit City FC 1-0 in Road Friendly

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (Tuesday, August 13, 2019) – Indy Eleven used a second half goal by forward Eugene Starikov to notch a 1-0 victory over Detroit City FC of the National Premier Soccer League at Keyworth Stadium. Tonight’s exhibition match, contested in front of 4,350 fans, marked the first in-season friendly played away from home in Indy Eleven’s six-year history.
“We used tonight as a way to get our legs back under us after a pretty good layoff and to give some minutes to players either coming off of injury or that we’re looking to evaluate in game conditions. I think we accomplished all that and then some,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “I thought our quality was pretty sharp throughout, outside maybe being able to finish off more chances in front of goal, and the energy level of the groups in each half was what exactly what we were looking for.”
After Rennie began the match with what could easily be considered a first-choice XI, it was no surprise to see Indiana’s Team keep a stranglehold on possession and the best chances early on, starting in the fourth minute when Dane Kelly’s header from deep inside the area flashed just high. A nice interchange in the 12thminute between Tyler Pasher and Ilija Ilic put the former into DCFC’s six-yard box, but a sliding tackle by Detroit City midfielder Bakie Goodman took away Pasher’s 1-v-1 opportunity.
Ilic played provider again in the 22nd minute with a nifty backheel that put Kelly in on goal, only to see DCFC netminder Nathan Steinwascher made a kick save to keep things scoreless. Indy Eleven goalkeeper Jordan Farr didn’t have much to deal with until the 28th minute, when he came up big on his right post to deny Max Todd’s volley on a tough angle. Two minutes later Ilic received a yellow card for a tough tackle 35 yards from goal, but the resulting Detroit City free kick took one bounce through heavy traffic and fell right to Farr.
The game’s first sub, Detroit City’s Cyrus Saydee, nearly made an impact seconds after his 37th minute entrance after getting in alone on Farr, who rushed off his line to force Saydee’s hand – and force his chipped effort to go high and wide. DCFC winger Shawn Lawson caused more nervy moments three minutes later with a low shot that missed the far right post by a foot. In between those chances, Indy’s left-sided duo of Pasher and Ayoze traded long distance lashes that trailed over the crossbar.
The second half began with the newest member of the Boys in Blue, midfielder Drew Conner, taking to the field along with a trio of guest players. However, the stanza got off to a less than ideal start for Indiana’s Team, as Macauley King was sent off less than 90 seconds in for a high kick against Saydee that earned the Englishman a straight red card. Instead of playing a man down, former Indy Eleven technical staff member and current DCFC head coach and general manager Trevor James allowed Rennie to continue playing with a full squad, with Karl Ouimette putting his boots back on to reclaim a spot on the backline after initially coming off at the half.
It was another substitute, Starikov, who created some buzz after entering in the 63rd minute, the Ukrainian seeing his first minutes since March after being sidelined due to a groin injury. Starikov would put his stamp on the match soon after, following up guest player Lou Boone’s saved shot on the doorstep to put the Boys in Blue up 1-0 in the 71st minute. Starikov nearly had a second bite of the apple twice down the stretch, a bending shot from the top of the area in the 79thminute and a bold bicycle attempt in the waning moments both flashing just wide of the left post. Farr would not see his goal threatened seriously down the stretch, maintaining a clean sheet in his first action since June 29th versus Louisville City FC.
“It was great to see Eugene being really active out there tonight, taking chances well and getting his goal,” Rennie said. “His danger in and around the penalty area was evident tonight, and it’s a presence we’ll look forward to infusing back into the squad as we get into a busy stretch of games coming up.”
Indy Eleven (12W-4L-4D, 40 pts., 3rd in Eastern Conference) will return to USL Championship action with a pair of Sunday evening affairs the next two weekends against Saint Louis FC on Aug. 18 (Faith & Family Night) and Charlotte Independence on Aug. 25 (“Red Out” Summer Celebration).

 

Indy Eleven Signs Midfielder Drew Conner

INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, August 13, 2019) – Indy Eleven today added a third new player to its roster in less than 24 hours’ time with the signing of midfielder Drew Conner for the remainder of the 2019 USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval and receipt of the player’s international transfer certificate. Per club policy, terms of player contracts with Indy Eleven will not be released. Conner is expected to be available for selection as early as this Sunday’s home contest at Lucas Oil Stadium against Saint Louis FC.​
Conner joins the Boys in Blue from Czech Republic club Znojmo after making eight appearances for the squad in 2019. The native of Cary, Ill., began his professional career at the Major League Soccer level as a Homegrown signing with Chicago Fire SC. The 25-year-old Conner made 32 appearances (13 starts) and tallied one assist with the MLS side from 2016-18, in addition to making 12 appearances for Saint Louis FC while on loan with the USL Championship club in 2016.
“We are excited to add such a dynamic, versatile player to our roster at this stage of the season. He will be a very valuable asset to our team on the field and in our community,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie.
Conner spent 2012-15 playing in the USL Premier Development League with Chicago Fire U23, where scored three goals in 17 appearances. During the same period he spent his fall semesters playing collegiately with the University of Wisconsin, where he was a four-year starter and two-time captain under long-time Indiana University Assistant Coach John Trask.
“To be a part of a club that has established a winning culture, ambitious goals and one of the best fan bases in the country is something I’m truly excited and grateful for,” said Conner. “I’m ready to contribute in any way possible to help bring a trophy to Indianapolis.”

 

THIS DAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1888

Tim Keefe’s nineteen game winning streak ends when Gus Krock and the White Stockings defeat the Giants at the Polo Grounds, 4-2. The future Hall of Fame right-hander, who will amass 342 career victories, will finish the season with a 35-12 record.

1919       In a total of two hours and seventeen minutes, the Dodgers and Cubs split a doubleheader. In the opener, the Cubs blank Brooklyn 2-0, in one hour and ten minutes, and in the nightcap, it takes the Dodgers one hour and seven minutes to shut out Chicago, 1-0.

1932       Brooklyn’s 10-inning, 2-1 victory over the Giants at the Polo Grounds makes reliever John Quinn, at the age of 49, the oldest player to win a major league game. Johnny Frederick, who will have a total of only six home runs during the entire season, hits a ninth inning game-tying homer off Carl Hubbell, his fourth round-tripper as a pinch hitter, establishing a new major-league record.

1933       Jimmie Foxx hits for the cycle in the A’s 11-5 victory over the Tribe at Cleveland Stadium. The Philadelphia first baseman’s offensive output drives in nine runs to establish a new American League record.

1937       At Navin Field, the Tigers sweep a doubleheader against the visiting Browns, 16-1 and 20-7. The thirty-six Detroit runs, including the eight scored by Pete Fox, establish a new American League record for tallies in a twin bill, which will not be broken until the Rangers score 39 times in two games on August 23, 2007.

1939       In an evening event that attracts over 30,000 Windy City patrons to Comiskey Park, the White Sox beat the Browns, 5-2, in the first major league night game ever played in Chicago. Their crosstown rivals will take another 49 years before play under lights when the Cubs finally install illumination in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field under the threat of not being able to play postseason contests in their home ballpark.

1958       Vic Power, who will have a total of only three stolen bases this season, becomes the first player in seventy years to steal home twice in one game. The third baseman’s tenth-inning theft of the dish ends the game, giving the Indians a 10-9 ‘slide-off’ victory over the Tigers.

1960       Mickey Mantle is booed by the fans at Yankee Stadium and is benched by Casey Stengel for not running out a routine ground ball that results in an ‘ugly’ inning-ending double play during a 6-3 nightcap loss in a doubleheader sweep by the Senators. On the play, the team loses Roger Maris when he bruises his ribs sliding hard into second baseman Billy Gardner’s knee in an effort to break up the twin killing.

1961       The Phillies drop their seventeenth consecutive game, a 9-2 defeat to the Cubs’ Dick Ellsworth, and, for the eleventh straight time, the opposing pitcher throws a complete game against the team. The last-place club will finish the season with a 47-107 record, 46 games behind the league-leading Reds.

1962       For the third time this season, the Aaron brothers hit home runs in the same game. Tommie and Hank’s solo round-trippers in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, prove to be the difference in the Braves’ 5-4 victory over Cincinnati at Crosley Field.

1962       Al Jackson goes the distance in the Mets’ 15-inning loss to Philadelphia. The hard-luck lefty, who throws an astounding 215 pitches during the contest, gives up only six hits, but third baseman Mel Roach, who entered the game in the 11th inning as a pinch-hitter, strokes a two-run single in the fifteenth frame that proves be the difference in his 3-1 defeat at the Polo Grounds.

1964       In a battle of teenagers at Shea Stadium, 19 year-old first baseman Ed Kranepool homers twice off 18 year-old Phillies’ starter Rick Wise. The young Philadelphia right-hander will prevail to earn the victory in the team’s 6-4 decision over the Mets.

1971       Bob Gibson doesn’t allow a hit when the Cardinals beat the Pirates, 11-0, the largest margin of victory ever in franchise history for a no-hitter. The first no-hitter in Pittsburgh in 64 years, and the first in the year-old Three Rivers Stadium, is made possible thanks to outstanding defensive plays made by outfielder Jose Cruz and third baseman Joe Torre.

1981       Dave Kingman’s home run, a monstrous blast estimated to have travelled 515 feet, is, and will remain, the longest round-tripper ever hit in the 44-year history of Shea Stadium. Kong’s tape-measure home run, a solo shot over the left-center wall, comes in the fourth inning off Larry Christenson in the Mets’ 8-4 loss to Philadelphia.

1981       Jeff Burroughs hits three home runs off three different pitchers in the Mariners’ 13-3 defeat over Minnesota in the second game of a doubleheader. The M’s right fielder drives in six runs with his two-run, three-run, and solo round-trippers in the Metropolitan Stadium contest to help salvage a split of the twin bill.

1982       Phillies first baseman Pete Rose, with his 12,365th trip to the plate, passes Hank Aaron to become the all-time leader of career at-bats. The all-time hit king will end his 24-year tenure in the major leagues with an amazing total of 15,890 ABs.

1987       Mark McGwire’s 39th round-tripper breaks the major league mark for home runs by a rookie shared by Wally Berger (1930, Red Sox) and Frank Robinson (1956, Reds). The A’s freshman first baseman, who will finish the season with an American League leading 49 homers, hits his record-breaking round-tripper off future Hall of Fame right-hander Don Sutton, who gives up the freshman’s two-run sixth-inning blast in the Angels’ 7-6 loss to Oakland at Anaheim Stadium.

1993       The Yankees retire Reggie Jackson’s uniform number 44. ‘Mr. October’, recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, played as an embattled right fielder for the Bronx Bombers from 1977-81, helping the club reach the postseason four times, including winning two world championships.

1998       The A’s Rickey Henderson’s stolen base in the first inning against the Tigers makes the thirty-nine year old the oldest player to steal 50 bases in a season. The veteran outfielder will end the season with a major league-leading 66 stolen bases.

1998       In a 15-3 rout of the Indians at Jacobs Field, Chris Hoiles becomes the ninth player in major league history and the only catcher to hit two grand slams in the same game. The Orioles backstop goes yard with the bases full in the third inning off Charles Nagy and does it again in the eighth off Ron Villone.

1999       Ivan Rodriguez becomes the first catcher in major league history to compile 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in the same season. The Texas backstop reaches the milestone when he swipes second base off Brook Fordyce in the team’s 8-7 loss to the White Sox at Comiskey Park.

2001       In the top of the ninth, Boston closer Derek Lowe allows the tying run to score when he gives up three consecutive singles to the only three batters he faces in Seattle’s eventual 6-3 victory in 11 innings at Fenway Park. The Red Sox fans show their displeasure about the blown save by tearing and then throwing onto the field pieces of the giveaway they received as a promotion for attending tonight’s game, a Derek Lowe poster.

2003       Despite a massive blackout in the Northeast, the game between the Mets and the Giants at Shea Stadium is the only postponement on the major league schedule. Although Detroit, Toronto, and Cleveland were without electricity, the Tigers, Blue Jays, and Indians either had the day off or were playing on the road.

2004       The Florida State League’s Daytona Cubs will be forced to shift their home games into away contests as Hurricane Charley causes extensive damage to their historic ballpark. The facility, which was built in 1914 and renamed for Jackie Robinson to commemorate the site where the future Hall of Famer and civil rights advocate played his first exhibition game with the Montreal Royals, was also damaged by Hurricane Donna (1966) and Hurricane Floyd (1999).

2006       Matt Diaz ties a National League record and establishes a club mark by collecting a hit in ten consecutive at-bats. The Braves’ 28 year-old left-fielder, who goes 4-for-5 in Atlanta’s 10-4 victory over the Nationals at RFK, surpasses teammate Marcus Giles, who held the previous franchise mark with nine straight safeties in 2003.

2007       For the 132nd time in his career, Atlanta skipper Bobby Cox is ejected from a major league game, breaking John McGraw’s all-time ejections record. It took the Braves manager only 28 seasons to set the new mark, compared to the 42 years in which Mugsy compiled his tosses, including 14 as a player.

2007       Phil Rizzuto, the oldest-living Hall of Famer, dies in his sleep at a New Jersey nursing home from complications of pneumonia at the age of 89. Scooter, who was enshrined at Cooperstown for outstanding play as a shortstop during the Yankee dynasty years of the 1940’s and 50’s, became a popular icon in New York as a result of his unique broadcasting style of Bronx Bomber games, his appearance in numerous commercials, as well as lending his voice on Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” rock hit which won a Grammy.

2007       After being arrested for hitting two players with a bat, one-time big leaguer Jose Offerman is suspended indefinitely by the independent Atlantic League for the assault that occurred during a Bluefish and Long Island Ducks game. As a result of the incident, triggered when the former All-Star is drilled by a pitch after hitting a homer in his first at bat, Bridgeport backstop John Nathans sustains a concussion, and starter Matt Beech suffers a broken finger.

2008       In the sixth inning of a 9-2 rout of the Royals, the White Sox become the sixth team in major league history to hit four consecutive home runs in an inning. Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, and Alexei Ramirez all go deep off K.C. reliever Joel Peralta, with Juan Uribe completing the record-tying feat by taking Robinson Tejeda yard at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field.

2008       With his 5-for-5 performance, including a single, double, triple, and homer, Mark Kotsay joins Albert Hall as the only Atlanta players to hit for the cycle. The outfielder’s offensive outburst isn’t enough, as the Cubs beat the Braves, 11-7, giving Chicago their first season sweep of the Braves in franchise history, which dates back to 1876.

2010       Mike McClendon becomes the first rookie in Brewers’ history to retire the first nine batter he faces. The 25 year-old right-hander is perfect in the sixth, seventh, and eighth frames in Milwaukee’s eventual 5-4, ten-inning victory over Colorado at Coors Field.

2015       The Padres’ Matt Kemp hits a ninth-inning triple to complete the cycle, making him the first player in the 35-year history of the franchise to accomplish the feat. The San Diego outfielder’s home run in the first, single in the third, and double in the seventh contribute to the team’s 9-5 victory over Colorado at Coors Field.

 

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY– 1903

SAN FRANCISCO-James Jeffries, holder of the title of heavyweight champion of the world, made secure his claim to first place in the pugilistic world by defeating James J. Corbett, the former champion, after ten rounds of fast and fierce fighting in the Mechanics’ Pavilion here to-night. Ten thousand men seated about the arena saw the fight, the crowd representing an expenditure for seats aggregating $34,000. This was the largest crowd ever assembled at a ringside in this country, and the third largest sum in dollars and cents ever contested for. The two that exceeded it in receipts were the Corbett‚ Jeffries fight at Coney Island, $66,000, and the Corbett‚ McCoy fight at Madison Square Garden, New York, $63,000. The fight by the final four rounds:
Round 7. Corbett used his feet to good advantage at this stage. He tried to use his once lightning left, but it was a lame excuse. He came in quickly and sent his right to the heart, but Jeffries came back with a left on the body. Corbett was holding on saying: “He can’t knock me out. He can’t knock me out. Go on, Jim, see if you can knock me out.” Corbett took a left on the head, and an uppercut to the chin. Corbett was fighting faster on his feet, using his fancy boxing tactics, but they were of no use against his burly opponent.
Round 8. Corbett staggered Jeffries with a left to the nose and half a dozen lefts and rights on Jeffries’s face, which he accepted pleasantly. Corbett endeavored to stab Jeffries in the eyes, but thus far his blows had not raised a bump. Corbett fought cleverly, sending in half a dozen lefts and rights on the jaw. He seemed to improve 100 per cent, and the great crowd was in a state of wild excitement. They cheered him to the echo. This was Corbett’s round. He had changed his style and was using some of his old-time cleverness in ducking and blocking.
Round 9. Jeffries came at Corbett with a rush. Corbett’s left cheek showed a lump from one of Jeffries’s close-arm blows.
Round 10. Jeffries stood straight up and came after his man without hesitation Corbett seemed to be making a waiting fight. They exchanged lefts to the face and Jeffries made a vicious effort. Jeffries sent a left hook to the stomach and Corbett went down for nine seconds. He got up and received a left in the stomach and a right on the jaw. He went down, and after the count of seven Tommy Ryan threw up the sponge. Corbett was suffering pain and a chair was brought for him. After a minute’s rest he recovered and got up and shook hands with Jeffries.
James Jeffries held the heavyweight championship from 1899 to ’05, successfully defending it seven times. He retired as champion but came back at age 35 as the “Great White Hope” against Jack Johnson in 1910.

 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL STANDINGS

American League
East
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
NY Yankees 80 41 .661 46 – 18 34 – 23 47 – 16 14 – 12 9 – 6 8 – 2 W 4
Tampa Bay 71 50 .587 9 31 – 28 40 – 22 30 – 26 15 – 12 13 – 8 8 – 2 W 5
Boston 63 59 .516 17.5 30 – 32 33 – 27 28 – 31 18 – 9 14 – 14 4 – 6 W 1
Toronto 51 72 .415 30 24 – 36 27 – 36 21 – 33 17 – 18 11 – 10 6 – 4 W 2
Baltimore 39 81 .325 40.5 18 – 43 21 – 38 18 – 38 7 – 15 9 – 18 2 – 8 L 3
Central
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Minnesota 72 47 .605 36 – 26 36 – 21 18 – 11 28 – 16 19 – 11 5 – 5 W 1
Cleveland 72 48 .600 0.5 39 – 25 33 – 23 16 – 10 34 – 20 16 – 13 7 – 3 L 1
Chi White Sox 53 65 .449 18.5 29 – 31 24 – 34 15 – 18 26 – 24 6 – 12 6 – 4 W 1
Kansas City 43 77 .358 29.5 23 – 36 20 – 41 7 – 19 24 – 36 7 – 16 3 – 7 L 1
Detroit 35 81 .302 35.5 16 – 42 19 – 39 10 – 13 17 – 33 3 – 20 3 – 7 L 3
West
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Houston 78 42 .650 43 – 15 35 – 27 15 – 11 15 – 11 38 – 12 8 – 2 L 1
Oakland 67 52 .563 10.5 37 – 23 30 – 29 13 – 14 17 – 5 27 – 26 6 – 4 L 1
Texas 59 60 .496 18.5 35 – 22 24 – 38 7 – 8 17 – 9 26 – 32 4 – 6 L 2
LA Angels 58 63 .479 20.5 29 – 30 29 – 33 14 – 12 8 – 13 25 – 30 2 – 8 L 2
Seattle 49 71 .408 29 27 – 36 22 – 35 7 – 11 15 – 13 23 – 39 2 – 8 W 1

 

National League
East
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Atlanta 71 50 .587 33 – 25 38 – 25 31 – 20 20 – 13 14 – 12 6 – 4 W 2
Washington 64 55 .538 6 33 – 25 31 – 30 31 – 24 7 – 11 18 – 16 6 – 4 W 3
NY Mets 61 58 .513 9 34 – 21 27 – 37 29 – 26 12 – 15 10 – 13 8 – 2 L 2
Philadelphia 61 58 .513 9 35 – 26 26 – 32 26 – 26 14 – 10 13 – 17 4 – 6 W 1
Miami 44 74 .373 25.5 24 – 38 20 – 36 18 – 39 7 – 16 11 – 10 2 – 8 L 2
Central
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Chi Cubs 64 55 .538 41 – 19 23 – 36 14 – 12 27 – 23 13 – 12 6 – 4 L 1
St. Louis 62 55 .530 1 34 – 23 28 – 32 16 – 14 29 – 20 9 – 10 5 – 5 W 4
Milwaukee 62 58 .517 2.5 35 – 26 27 – 32 16 – 9 30 – 24 10 – 14 5 – 5 L 2
Cincinnati 56 62 .475 7.5 33 – 28 23 – 34 11 – 11 26 – 30 11 – 12 5 – 5 L 3
Pittsburgh 50 69 .420 14 24 – 32 26 – 37 8 – 14 20 – 35 10 – 16 2 – 8 W 2
West
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
LA Dodgers 80 41 .661 48 – 16 32 – 25 19 – 6 22 – 11 36 – 18 8 – 2 W 3
Arizona 61 59 .508 18.5 27 – 28 34 – 31 15 – 12 10 – 10 22 – 31 7 – 3 W 2
San Francisco 60 60 .500 19.5 29 – 32 31 – 28 11 – 16 12 – 10 30 – 27 5 – 5 W 3
San Diego 55 64 .462 24 28 – 33 27 – 31 12 – 17 10 – 13 24 – 27 4 – 6 L 3
Colorado 53 67 .442 26.5 29 – 29 24 – 38 11 – 15 10 – 9 24 – 33 2 – 8 L 2

 

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER STANDINGS

Eastern
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Philadelphia 26 13 6 7 48 38 10 8-3-2 5-3-5 45
Atlanta 25 13 3 9 43 30 13 10-3-1 3-0-8 42
D.C. 26 10 9 7 34 32 2 6-5-3 4-4-4 39
New York City FC 23 10 8 5 41 31 10 6-4-1 4-4-4 38
New York 25 11 4 10 43 38 5 8-1-4 3-3-6 37
New England 25 9 7 9 37 44 -7 6-2-5 3-5-4 34
Montreal 26 10 3 13 36 47 -11 6-1-4 4-2-9 33
Toronto FC 25 9 6 10 39 41 -2 6-4-4 3-2-6 33
Orlando City SC 25 8 6 11 33 34 -1 5-1-6 3-5-5 30
Chicago 26 7 9 10 38 37 1 6-6-2 1-3-8 30
Columbus 26 7 5 14 27 39 -12 5-3-6 2-2-8 26
FC Cincinnati 25 5 3 17 25 57 -32 3-1-7 2-2-10 18

 

Western
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Los Angeles FC 24 17 4 3 65 25 40 10-1-0 7-3-3 55
Seattle 24 11 6 7 38 34 4 8-3-2 3-3-5 39
Minnesota 24 11 5 8 42 35 7 7-4-1 4-1-7 38
San Jose 24 11 5 8 41 36 5 8-2-3 3-3-5 38
Los Angeles 24 12 1 11 31 36 -5 8-0-4 4-1-7 37
Real Salt Lake 24 11 4 9 35 32 3 8-1-2 3-3-7 37
FC Dallas 25 10 6 9 36 31 5 7-5-1 3-1-8 36
Portland 23 10 4 9 38 34 4 4-2-1 6-2-8 34
Houston 25 9 3 13 35 41 -6 7-3-3 2-0-10 30
Sporting KC 24 7 7 10 37 43 -6 4-3-5 3-4-5 28
Colorado 24 7 5 12 41 49 -8 6-2-6 1-3-6 26
Vancouver 26 5 9 12 26 45 -19 3-4-5 2-5-7 2

 

WNBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
  W L Pct GB Home Road Conf Last 10 Streak
Washington Mystics 17 7 .708 8-3 9-4 9-2 7-3 2 W
Connecticut Sun 16 8 .667 1.0 11-1 5-7 10-3 7-3 2 L
Chicago Sky 14 10 .583 3.0 9-3 5-7 8-4 7-3 1 L
Indiana Fever 9 16 .360 8.5 5-8 4-8 5-7 3-7 1 W
New York Liberty 8 16 .333 9.0 4-8 4-8 1-8 1-9 6 L
Atlanta Dream 5 20 .200 12.5 4-9 1-11 2-11 0-10 10 L

 

Western Conference
  W L Pct GB Home Road Conf Last 10 Streak
Las Vegas Aces 17 9 .654 11-4 6-5 8-4 7-3 2 W
Los Angeles Sparks 15 8 .652 0.5 9-2 6-6 7-4 8-2 5 W
Seattle Storm 14 11 .560 2.5 9-4 5-7 7-5 6-4 2 W
Minnesota Lynx 13 12 .520 3.5 7-5 6-7 4-6 4-6 1 W
Phoenix Mercury 11 12 .478 4.5 7-3 4-9 5-7 4-6 2 L
Dallas Wings 7 17 .292 9.0 6-6 1-11 4-9 2-8 1 W