NBA FINALS

LA Lakers 102 Miami 96

 

MLB PLAYOFFS

Houston 5 Oakland 2

Tampa Bay 7 NY Yankees 5

Atlanta 9 Miami 5

LA Dodgers 5 San Diego 1

 

BOYS TENNIS REGIONALS SEMI-FINALS

Connersville 3 Centerville 2

 

BOYS SOCCER SECTIONALS

Richmond 1 New Palestine 0

Shelbyville 2 Connersville 2 (Shelbyville wins shootout)

Richmond vs. Shelbyville Wednesday 7:15

 

Tonight:

Centerville vs. Seton

Knightstown vs. Union County

 

GIRLS SOCCER

Mt. Vernon 10 Shelbyville 1

East Central 5 Greenfield-Central 1

 

VOLLEYBALL

Centerville 3 Lincoln 0

Union County 3 Hagerstown 0

South Adams 3 Union City 0

Knightstown 3 Eastern Hancock 1

New Castle 3 Delta 0

Twin Lakes 3 Lafayette Jeff 2

McCutcheon 3 Benton Central 0

 

 

NFL WEEK 5

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears (Thu) 7:20p (CT) 8:20p FOX/NFLN/Amazon*

 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons 1:00p (ET) 1:00p FOX

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens 1:00p (ET) 1:00p CBS

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans 12:00p (CT) 1:00p CBS

Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs 12:00p (CT) 1:00p CBS

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots 1:00p (ET) 1:00p CBS

Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets 1:00p (ET) 1:00p FOX

Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00p (ET) 1:00p FOX

Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans 12:00p (CT) 1:00p CBS

Los Angeles Rams at Washington Redskins 1:00p (ET) 1:00p FOX

Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers 1:05p (PT) 4:05p FOX

Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns 4:25p (ET) 4:25p CBS

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys 3:25p (CT) 4:25p CBS

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks 5:20p (PT) 8:20p NBC

 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints (Mon) 7:15p (CT) 8:15p ESPN

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Thursday, October 8

Tulane at Houston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Friday, October 9

Louisville at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, October 10

Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas, Noon, FOX

Virginia Tech at North Carolina, Noon, ABC

Florida at Texas A&M, Noon, ESPN

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, Noon, SEC

Louisiana Monroe at Liberty, Noon, ESPNU

NC State at Virginia, Noon, ACC

Duke at Syracuse, 12:30 p.m.

The Citadel at Army, 1:30 p.m., CBSSN

Tennessee at Georgia, 3:30 p.m., CBS

Texas Tech at Iowa State, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Texas State at Troy, 3:30 p.m.

UTSA at BYU, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

Arkansas at Auburn, 4 p.m., SEC

Kansas State at TCU, 4 p.m., FOX

Pitt at Boston College, 4 p.m., ACC

Middle Tennessee at Florida International, 4 p.m., ESPNU

Florida Atlantic at Southern Miss, 4 p.m., Stadium

Alabama at Ole Miss, 6 p.m., ESPN

Temple at Navy, 6 p.m., CBSSN

East Carolina at South Florida, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Central Arkansas at Arkansas State, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Miami at Clemson, 7:30 p.m., ABC

Mississippi State at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., SEC

Florida State at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., NBC

UTEP at Louisiana Tech, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2

Marshall at Western Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., Stadium

Charlotte at North Texas, 8 p.m., ESPNU

Missouri at LSU, 9 p.m., ESPN

 

COLLEGE ASSOCIATED PRESS FOOTBALL POLL

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. Florida
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Ohio State
  7. Miami Florida
  8. North Carolina
  9. Penn State
  10. Oklahoma State
  11. Cincinnati
  12. Oregon
  13. Auburn
  14. Tennessee
  15. BYU
  16. Wisconsin
  17. LSU
  18. SMU
  19. Virginia Tech
  20. Michigan
  21. Texas A&M
  22. Texas
  23. Louisiana
  24. Iowa State
  25. Minnesota

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Others: Kansas State (142) , USC (115) , Mississippi State (112) , UCF (112) , TCU (97) , Marshall (49) , Tulsa (46) , Utah (30) , Iowa (26) , Coastal Carolina (25) , Oklahoma (20) , North Carolina State (18) , Ole Miss (18) , UAB (15) , Army West Point (14) , West Virginia (13) , Memphis (12) , Arkansas (11) , Pittsburgh (7) , Virginia (5) , Arizona State (5) , Washington (4) , Air Force (4) , Indiana (1)

 

COLLEGE  FOOTBALL COACHES POLL

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Ohio State
  7. Miami Florida
  8. Penn State
  9. North Carolina
  10. Oklahoma State
  11. Cincinnati
  12. Tennessee
  13. Auburn
  14. Wisconsin
  15. BYU
  16. LSU
  17. Oregon
  18. Virginia Tech
  19. Michigan
  20. Texas A&M
  21. SMU
  22. Texas
  23. Louisiana
  24. Iowa State
  25. Central Florida

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Others: Minnesota (120) , Mississippi State (120) , USC (112) , Kansas State (86) , TCU (58) , Oklahoma (53) , Army West Point (51) , Marshall (46) , Iowa (39) , Coastal Carolina (38) , Utah (36) , Arkansas (35) , Memphis (35) , Pittsburgh (32) , West Virginia (30) , Boise State (30) , UAB (25) , Ole Miss (24) , North Carolina State (17) , Arizona State (16) , Tulsa (15) , Air Force (13) , Kentucky (11) , Virginia (8) , Washington (8) , Boston College (5) , Nebraska (5) , California (5) , Stanford (4) , Baylor (2) , Liberty (1)

 

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL THIS WEEK

NCC/AREA

Friday, Oct. 9

Anderson at Richmond  7 pm

Harrison at Goshen 7 pm

Tech at Marion 7 pm

Lafayette Jeff at Logansport  7 pm

Muncie Central at McCutcheon  7 pm

Centerville at Union City 7 pm

Hagerstown at Tri 7 pm

Knightstown at Northeastern 7 pm

Monroe Central at Union County, 7 pm

Winchester at Lincoln 7 pm

Shenandoah at Eastern Hancock  7 pm

Wes-Del at Purdue Poly 7 pm

Batesville at Franklin County, 7 pm

Connersville at Lawrenceburg, 7 pm

East Central at Greensburg, 7 pm

South Dearborn at Rushville, 7 pm

 

AP INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL POLLS

6A

  1. Center Grove (7-0)
  2. Merrillville (5-1)
  3. Lafayette Jeff (7-0)
  4. Westfield (6-1)
  5. Brownsburg (6-1)
  6. Elkhart (6-0)
  7. Carmel (5-2)
  8. North Central (Indianapolis) (5-2)
  9. Carroll (Fort Wayne) (5-2)
  10. Lawrence North (5-2)

 

5A

  1. Indianapolis Cathedral (7-0)
  2. Valparaiso (3-0)
  3. Fort Wayne Dwenger (6-1)
  4. New Palestine (5-1)
  5. Whiteland (6-1)
  6. Decatur Central (5-2)
  7. Evansville North (5-2)
  8. Michigan City (4-1)
  9. Castle (5-1)
  10. Floyd Central (5-2)

 

4A

  1. Mount Vernon (Fortville) (7-0)
  2. Mooresville (6-1)
  3. Evansville Central (7-0)
  4. East Central (6-1)
  5. Indianapolis Roncalli (5-1)
  6. Lowell (6-0)
  7. Jasper (5-2)
  8. Leo (6-1)
  9. Hobart (4-2)
  10. Columbia City (6-1)

 

3A

  1. Indianapolis Chatard (6-1)
  2. Mishawaka Marian (6-0)
  3. Southridge (7-0)
  4. West Lafayette (6-1)
  5. Danville (5-0)
  6. Lawrenceburg (6-1)
  7. Brebeuf Jesuit (3-2)
  8. Norwell (6-1)
  9. North Montgomery (5-2)
  10. Fort Wayne Concordia (4-3)

 

2A

  1. Andrean (6-1)
  2. Eastbrook (6-1)
  3. Pioneer (6-1)
  4. Eastside (6-1)
  5. Heritage Christian (5-1)
  6. Triton Central (5-1)
  7. Tell City (6-1)
  8. Tipton (5-1)
  9. Eastern (Greentown) (7-0)
  10. South Vermillion (6-1)

 

1A

  1. South Adams (7-0)
  2. Indianapolis Lutheran (6-1)
  3. Southwood (7-0)
  4. West Washington (6-0)
  5. Covenant Christian (7-0)
  6. South Putnam (7-0)
  7. Parke Heritage (5-1)
  8. Adams Central (5-2)
  9. North Judson (6-1)
  10. Lafayette Central Catholic (1-2)

 

INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION POLLS

6A

1 Center Grove (10] 7-0 100

2 Westfield 6-1 85

3 Lafayette Jeff 7-0 76

4 Brownsburg 6-1 73

5 Elkhart 6-0 62

6 Carmel 5-2 42

Merrillville 5-1 42

8 North Central (Indpls] 5-2 23

9 Lawrence North 5-2 21

10 Homestead 6-1 19

Others receiving votes:

Carroll (Allen] 5-2 (6], Hamilton SE 5-4 (1]

 

5A

1 Indpls Cathedral (10] 7-0 100

2 Valparaiso 3-0 82

3 FW Dwenger 6-1 74

4 Whiteland 6-1 66

5 New Palestine 5-1 65

6 Decatur Central 5-2 56

7 Michigan City 4-1 40

8 Castle 5-1 29

9 Harrison 4-3 12

10 Floyd Central 5-2 10

Others receiving votes:

Zionsville 4-3 (8], Mishawaka 3-3 (3], Evansville North 5-2 (2],

Plainfield 4-3 (2], Bloomington North 3-3 (1], FW North 3-4 (1]

 

4A

1 Mt. Vernon (Fortville] (10) 7-0 100

2 Mooresville 6-1 78

3 Evansville Central 7-0 74

4 East Central 6-1 60

5 Leo 6-1 57

6 Indpls Roncalli 5-1 52

7 Hobart 4-2 46

8 Northridge 5-1 28

9 Delta 5-1 21

10 Silver Creek 7-0 10

Others receiving votes:

Jasper 5-2 (8], Columbia City 6-1 (3]

 

3A

1 Indpls Chatard (9) 6-1 99

2 West Lafayette (1] 6-1 86

3 Mishawaka Marian 6-0 80

4 Southridge 7-0 68

5 Indpls Brebeuf 3-2 55

6 Lawrenceburg 6-1 50

7 Danville 5-0 48

8 FW Concordia 4-3 29

9 Gibson Southern 4-3 13

10 Indpls Ritter 3-2 7

Norwell 6-1 7

Others receiving votes:

Tri-West 5-2 (3], Guerin Catholic 2-3 (2], Hanover Central 5-2 (2],

Brownstown Central 5-1 (1]

 

2A

1 Andrean (8] 6-1 98

2 Eastbrook (2] 6-1 90

3 Pioneer 6-1 82

4 Triton Central 5-1 62

5 Tipton 5-1 50

6 Heritage Christian 5-1 47

7 Eastside 6-1 38

8 South Vermillion 6-1 30

9 Eastern (Greentown] 7-0 18

10 Tell City 6-1 17

Others receiving votes:

Rensselaer Central 4-3 (9], Fairfield 6-0 (5], Lapel 5-2 (3],

Western Boone 4-3 (1]

 

1A

1 South Adams (7] 7-0 97

2 Indpls Lutheran (3] 6-1 93

3 Southwood 7-0 76

4 West Washington 6-0 58

5 South Putnam 7-0 50

6 Adams Central 5-2 47

Covenant Christian 7-0 47

8 Parke Heritage 5-1 29

9 Monroe Central 4-1 18

North Judson 6-1 18

Others receiving votes:

Lafayette CC 1-2 (17]

 

INDIANA VOLLEYBALL SECTIONAL DRAW

AT MT. VERNON

  1. New Castle (8)

M1: Pendleton Heights vs. Greenfield-Central.

M2: Mt. Vernon (Fortville) vs. Anderson.

M3: Yorktown vs. Muncie Central.

M4: New Castle vs. Richmond.

M5: M1 winner vs. M2 winner.

M6: M3 winner vs. M4 winner.

Championship: M5 winner vs. M6 winner.

 

AT MARION

  1. Marion (6)

M1: Marion vs. McCutcheon.

M2: Logansport vs. Harrison (West Lafayette).

M3: Lafayette Jefferson vs. M1 winner.

M4: Kokomo vs. M2 winner.

Championship: M3 winner vs. M4 winner.

 

AT LAWRENCEBURG

  1. Lawrenceburg (7)

M1: Rushville Consolidated vs. South Dearborn.

M2: Greensburg vs. Lawrenceburg.

M3: Batesville vs. Connersville.

M4: Franklin County vs. M1 winner.

M5: M2 winner vs. M3 winner.

Championship: M4 winner vs. M5 winner.

 

AT DELTA

  1. Delta (6)

M1: Norwell vs. Jay County.

M2: Muncie Burris vs. Heritage.

M3: Delta vs. M1 winner.

M4: Bellmont vs. M2 winner.

Championship: M3 winner vs. M4 winner.

 

AT EASTERN HANCOCK

  1. Eastern Hancock (7)

M1: Shenandoah vs. Eastern Hancock.

M2: Knightstown vs. Hagerstown.

M3: Centerville vs. Northeastern.

M4: Union County vs. M1 winner.

M5: M2 winner vs. M3 winner.

Championship: M4 winner vs. M5 winner.

 

AT WAPAHANI

  1. Wapahani (7)

M1: Elwood Community vs. Frankton.

M2: Wapahani vs. Lapel.

M3: Alexandria Monroe vs. Winchester Community.

M4: Monroe Central vs. M1 winner.

M5: M2 winner vs. M3 winner.

Championship: M4 winner vs. M5 winner.

 

AT BLUE RIVER

  1. Blue River Valley (7)

M1: Cambridge City Lincoln vs. Randolph Southern.

M2: Union (Modoc) vs. Blue River Valley.

M3: Tri vs. Seton Catholic.

M4: Union City vs. M1 winner.

M5: M2 winner vs. M3 winner.

Championship: M4 winner vs. M5 winner.

 

TOP AP HEADLINES

LAKERS LEAD SERIES 3-1

LeBron James woke up from his gameday nap Tuesday and decided it was time to send his Los Angeles Lakers teammates a message.

He grabbed his phone and told the Lakers they were facing a must-win game.

“I felt that vibe. I felt that pressure,” James said. “I felt like, for me personally, this was one of the biggest games of my career.”

Message delivered.

James and the Lakers are back in control of these NBA Finals, one win away from the franchise’s 17th championship. James finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Anthony Davis’ 3-pointer with 39.5 seconds left finally settled matters and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 102-96 in Game 4.

The Lakers lead 3-1 and can win the title when the series resumes Friday.

“Big-time play. Big-time moment,” James said of Davis’ 3-pointer. “Not only for A.D., but for our ballclub and for our franchise.”

Davis finished with 22 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 15 and Danny Green added 10 for the Lakers, who didn’t trail at any point in the final 20-plus minutes. The Lakers are now 56-0 this season when leading going into the fourth quarter.

Jimmy Butler scored 22 points for Miami, which got 21 from Tyler Herro, 17 from Duncan Robinson and 15 from Bam Adebayo – who returned after missing two games with a neck injury.

“I just loved seeing our guys compete. I love how they respond in between those four lines,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “This was a throwback game and there were some moments of truth there at the end, and probably the bottom line is they won those moments of truth.”

He’s right. Whenever Miami had something going, the Lakers snuffed it out.

James’ 3-pointer with 8:18 left in the third put the Lakers up 55-54 and set the tone for the way the rest of the night was going to go; L.A. leading, Miami chasing.

“Like I always say, they’re a really, really, really good team and we’ve got to play damn near perfect to beat them,” Butler said. “We didn’t do that tonight. … We’ll watch this, learn from it, but we can’t lose another one.”

The Lakers were up by seven with 2:27 left in the third after a 3-pointer by Davis; Miami scored the next six to get within one. Herro made a 3 early in the fourth to get Miami within one again; the Heat promptly fouled Markieff Morris on a 3-point try, and he made all three shots.

Butler scored inside to tie the game with 6:27 left; James scored the next five points himself, including a three-point play where he ended up flat on his back after spinning the ball perfectly off the glass for a score on a drive while taking contact.

“You have to credit our guys’ competitive spirit,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “They were flying around and just competing at an extremely high level that end of the floor.”

A bounce here, a bounce there. Those were the differences late, and the Lakers made their own breaks.

Butler had a corner 3 that would have given Miami the lead rim out with 3:05 left; Caldwell-Pope made a corner 3 at the other end seven seconds later and the Lakers were up 93-88. Miami then turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation; Caldwell-Pope scored on a drive for a seven-point lead.

James said the job isn’t done. But he knows the Lakers are on the brink.

“I love what we did tonight,” James said.

TIP-INS

Lakers: Dwight Howard nearly collided with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver while leading the Lakers out of the locker room for pregame warmups. … The Lakers were 14 for 39 on 3-pointers, making them 59 for 166 in the series. Before this year, the Lakers’ record for 3s in a finals were 43 made and 125 attempts – both of which were surpassed this year in the first three games.

Heat: Point guard Goran Dragic (torn left plantar fascia) went through an on-court workout before the game with hopes of being able to play for the first time since the first half of Game 1, but was ruled out again shortly afterward. … Robinson’s first 3-pointer Tuesday was his 50th of the playoffs, meaning he and Jae Crowder are the first duo in Heat history with 50 postseason 3s apiece. They’re the fourth teammates in NBA history to pull off that feat.

3-1 LEADS

This is the 36th time that a team has held a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Of the previous 35, the team with the lead has gone on to win the title 34 times – James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 becoming the exception when they won three straight games to defeat Golden State.

In the 3-1 Finals situation, the series has ended in five games 51.4% of the time (18 instances), in six games 40% of the time (14 instances) and in seven games 8.6% of the time (three instances).

RARE HALF

The Lakers led 49-47 at halftime. It was just the third time in the last 26 NBA Finals games that neither team reached 50 points in the first 24 minutes. Tuesday’s was the 1,140th game played this season and just the 35th occurrence of both teams scoring 49 or less by the break, which works out to 3.1% of the time.

 

ASTROS BEAT A’S FOR 2-0 SERIES LEAD

George Springer hit two homers and the Houston Astros kept making more noise in the playoffs, beating the Oakland Athletics 5-2 on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in their AL Division Series.

Martin Maldonado also went deep for Houston, which needs one win to reach its fourth straight AL Championship Series. Game 3 in the best-of-five series is Wednesday, when Houston is the home team in the neutral site matchup.

Springer put Houston ahead to stay with a two-run, two-out drive in the third on a second straight 90-degree day at Dodger Stadium.

Maldonado’s solo shot in the fifth chased loser Sean Manaea in his first appearance of this postseason. Yusmeiro Petit came in and promptly gave up Springer’s second homer of the game, extending Houston’s lead to 5-2. Maldonado yelled and raised his right arm in celebration from his seat in the dugout.

Springer’s 17 postseason homers tied Nelson Cruz and Jim Thome for most through a player’s first 54 career postseason games. Five of Springer’s postseason homers have come at Dodger Stadium, where the Astros beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.

Houston improved to 7-3 in Dodger Stadium since that World Series. Current A’s pitcher Mike Fiers last year told of his old team’s sign-stealing scandal used in 2017, a revelation that rocked baseball and drew the still ongoing ire of other players and fans.

Hot, sunny and dry conditions again created an ideal environment for the long ball. The teams combined for five homers, raising the series total to 11.

Winner Framber Valdez allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked one. The 26-year-old left-hander, making his first postseason start, retired his final 10 batters.

Valdez dazzled in his relief appearance against Minnesota in the AL wild card series opener, tossing five scoreless innings and scattering two hits to go with five strikeouts.

Enoli Paredes retired the side in the eighth. Ryan Pressly worked around Marcus Semien’s leadoff single in the ninth, Oakland’s only hit past the fourth inning, to finish a six-hitter for the save.

Oakland didn’t have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position.

Oakland got on board in the second with Khris Davis’ second-inning home run, his third of this postseason, put the A’s ahead.

After Springer’s first homer, the Astros extended their lead to 3-1 on Carlos Correa’s RBI groundout in the fourth that scored Michael Brantley, who doubled leading off.

Chad Pinter led off the bottom half with a 453-foot homer to right-center, the longest homer at Dodger Stadium this season.

For the second straight game, Oakland’s starting pitching failed to go deep. Manaea gave up four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Chris Bassitt didn’t get out of the fourth in Game 1, allowing three runs and nine hits in Wednesday’s defeat.

OFF DAY

Correa was 0 for 3 with a RBI and a strikeout after homering twice in Game 1 and becoming the first shortstop in major league history with two multi-homer games in postseason play.

UP NEXT

Both teams waited to announce their Game 3 starters.

 

BRAVES RALLY TO BEAT MARLINS IN NLDS OPENER

Ronald Acuna Jr. made history with a leadoff home run to start things off for the Atlanta Braves in their NL Division Series opener against Miami.

And another hit – once more by the Marlins, this time with Sandy Alcantara’s fastball to the left hip – fired up the Braves and fueled their comeback in a 9-5 win Tuesday.

“I think it woke us up,” said Travis d’Arnaud, who launched a tiebreaking homer during Atlanta’s six-run rally in the seventh inning . “And we took advantage of that momentum.”

D’Arnaud also doubled and singled in driving in four runs and Dansby Swanson homered during the big comeback to help power Atlanta.

After shutting out Cincinnati for 22 innings during a two-game sweep in the wild-card round, the Braves relied on their bats in this opener. Game 2 of the best-of-five series is on Wednesday in Houston.

Acuna got things going for the Braves in the bottom of the first when he sent Alcantara’s second pitch into right-center for a homer. He watched it for a second before flipping his bat and rounding the bases as he became the youngest player (22 years, 293 days old) in postseason history with a leadoff home run.

Things turned testy in the third when Acuna was nailed by a 98 mph fastball. The showy All-Star outfielder held onto his bat and walked a few steps toward the mound before umpires and Braves coaches surrounded him and directed him away from Alcantara, who had started to walk toward him.

After a short delay, featuring plenty of chirping from both dugouts, Acuna took his base. Umpires warned the teams against further trouble.

There’s already been plenty – in 2018, when Acuna was a rookie and on a big homer-hitting streak, Jose Urena nailed him with a fastball on his first pitch.

He’s become a Marlins target over the years.

“I looked over to their bench and said, `It’s been five times,'” Acuna said through a translator. “At this point I think we’ve grown accustomed to it.”

Alcantara insisted he didn’t intend to hit Acuna and that Miami’s game plan is simply to pitch inside to him, but added some trash talk after the denial.

“If he’s ready to fight, I’m ready to fight, too,” Alcantara said.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said that even though he didn’t believe this pitch was on purpose, the Marlins have hit Acuna far too many times.

“You better be good at going in and not hitting him after a homer,” Snitker said.

Acuna and his teammates quickly got revenge.

The Braves trailed 4-3 in the seventh before Austin Riley and Acuna hit consecutive singles with no outs to chase Alcantara.

“As long as we’ve got a strike left we’re pretty dangerous,” Snitker said. “These guys can score a lot of runs in a hurry.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

Yimi Garcia took over and Freddie Freeman grounded into a forceout that left runners at the corners. Marcell Ozuna lined a single to left that made it 4-all.

Then d’Arnaud, in his first season with Atlanta, belted a slider over the fence in center field for a three-run drive that made it 7-4. The shot caused the Braves dugout to erupt with Acuna jumping over the railing to celebrate.

D’Arnaud, who played for the Mets, Dodgers and Rays last year, began the day as a .169 career hitter in the postseason, striking out 27 times in 83 at-bats.

But the Braves weren’t done yet.

James Hoyt replaced Garcia with one out and Swanson sent his first pitch off the wall in center field for a two-run homer.

“The tide kind of turned,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “We get that three-run lead, and then we give two runs right back. From there, really, we got stopped all day.”

The Braves, who have long dominated the Marlins in the NL East, improved to 3-0 this postseason after sweeping the Reds in the wild-card round for their first playoff series win since 2001.

The Marlins overcame a coronavirus outbreak that sidelined more than half the team in July to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003 before sweeping their wild-card series against the Cubs.

And the scrappy Marlins, who lost 105 games in 2019, looked good early in this one, using a three-run third inning to take a 4-1 lead. But their offense stalled after that and the Braves scored two in the third to get within one before putting Miami away with their home run barrage in the seventh.

The Braves got the win despite a tough start from Max Fried, who allowed six hits and a season-high four runs in just four innings. He was picked up by a bevy of relievers who allowed just one run over the last five innings. Will Smith pitched a perfect seventh for the win.

Alcantara yielded eight hits and five runs with eight strikeouts in six-plus inning.

Atlanta’s scoreless streak in the playoffs ended early in this one when Miguel Rojas homered to the seats in left field to make it 1-all in the second.

Garrett Cooper hit a two-run double to put the Marlins up 3-1 in the third. Brian Anderson followed with an RBI single.

Ozuna doubled with two outs in the inning to score Acuna, and d’Arnaud followed with an RBI double to cut the lead to 4-3.

UP NEXT

Right-hander Pablo Lopez will make his postseason debut when he starts for the Marlins in Game 2 against Ian Anderson. Lopez was 6-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 11 starts this season.

Anderson allowed two hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings to get the win in Atlanta’s win over Reds in Game 2 of the wild card series.

 

RAYS TIE SERIES WITH YANKEES

With their pitching staff providing a record 18 strikeouts, the Tampa Bay Rays showed some pop of their own against the New York Yankees.

Randy Arozarena, Mike Zunino, Manuel Margot and Austin Meadows homered, and Tyler Glasnow struck out 10 to set a postseason record for the Rays, who beat the Yankees 7-5 Tuesday night to even their AL Division Series at one game apiece.

The Rays had enough power to overcome a huge game by Giancarlo Stanton, who had two home runs and four RBIs. His impressive power display included a 458-foot, three-run homer that landed under the giant video board in left field at Petco Park. It was reminiscent of the mammoth shots he hit in winning the Home Run Derby here in 2016.

Stanton has three homers this series and five in four postseason games. His grand slam in the ninth inning Monday night was the Bronx Bombers’ fourth homer in the 9-3 Game 1 win. The Yankees have 13 homers in five games.

Each team has hit six home runs in two games at the downtown ballpark, where the outfield once had the reputation as a place where fly balls went to die. The fences were moved in before the 2013 season.

“We had each other’s back,” Meadows said. “If a guy’s having a tough game, I feel like the next guy up really picks him up. For us, to continue to try to hit the ball hard, especially in big situations, our offense is pretty deadly when we can do that.”

Manager Kevin Cash was relieved with his team’s power display. Teams improved to 16-0 in the postseason when outhomering opponents.

“Randy, it’s unbelievable what he’s doing right now,” Cash said. “Z came up with just a big homer for us. Meadows, it’s good to see him get going; Manny just separated the game right there was good. Unfortunately we didn’t get that shutdown inning we were looking for. We needed every bit of them.”

Four Rays pitchers struck out 18, an MLB postseason record for a nine-inning game and a postseason record for Yankees batters.

“It’s a credit to our stuff,” Cash said. “And that’s saying something for that group over there because they’re selective and that’s a very talented, very deep offense. But it does speak volumes to the amount of stuff on a given night we can feature.”

DJ LeMahieu had hit an RBI single with two outs. in the ninth, and Pete Fairbanks retired Aaron Judge on a grounder with runners on the corners to end the game.

Game 3 in the best-of-five series is Wednesday night. The Rays, who won the AL East at 40-20 and are the top seed, were the home team for the first two games while the Yankees will be the home team for the next two games.

Stanton became the first Yankees player to homer in four straight games in the same postseason when he lined a shot into the home run porch in right field off Glasnow leading off the second. Stanton, who’s from Los Angeles, joined Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig as the only Yankees to homer in four straight postseason games overall.

“That was a good swing,” Stanton said of his long homer. “I was just glad to put the barrel on it. I didn’t really care how far it was going. I knew it was out. That’s all I cared about. You kind of black out sometimes on those.”

But the Rays have pop, too. Arozarena homered for the second time this series, with two outs in the first against rookie Deivi Garcia, who at 21 years, 140 days, became the youngest Yankees pitcher to make a postseason start. Arozarena’s opposite-field shot landed in the home run deck in right.

Garcia served as an opener for J.A. Happ, who surrendered Zunino’s two-run shot off the facade of the second deck in left with two outs in the second for a 2-1 lead. Happ also gave up Manuel Margot’s two-run homer to straightaway center with one out in the third that made it 5-1.

Margot played for the San Diego Padres for four seasons before being traded to the Rays for reliever Emilio Pagan

Happ, who had not pitched since Sept. 25, said he preferred to be used as a starter.

“They explained to me that it was going to be a short outing,” Garcia said. “I didn’t know exactly how many pitches, how many innings, anything like that, (but) I just went about it like a regular outing. Preparation was the same and routine was the same.

“I feel really good and healthy, but I don’t know. We’ve got to see, but ideally I could be ready to pitch tomorrow or Thursday.”

The lead was just enough to survive Stanton’s three-run shot.

Glasnow walked Aaron Hicks to open the sixth and Diego Castillo came on and struck out 2020 home run leader Luke Voit and Stanton on three pitches each before retiring Gio Urshela on a fly ball.

Glasnow allowed three hits and four runs in five-plus innings, while walking three. His 10 strikeouts surpass the previous Rays postseason record of nine, done three times. The most recent was by Blake Snell in Game 1 of the wild-card series against Toronto.

It was the Rays’ 10th straight win when Glasnow pitches. He won his fifth straight start and seventh consecutive decision.

Nick Anderson, the Rays’ third pitcher, came on with two runners on and no outs in the seventh and struck out Gary Sanchez, LeMahieu and Judge. Anderson then pitched a perfect eighth.

Tampa Bay added on with Kevin Kiermaier’s RBI single in the fifth and Meadow’s solo homer to leading off the sixth, both off Jonathan Loaisaga.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Charlie Morton (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to make his 2020 postseason debut Wednesday night for Tampa Bay, He is 4-2 with a 3.83 ERA in 10 starts against the Yankees, including 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts this season. He started against New York in Games 3 and 7 of the 2017 ALCS, going five scoreless in the deciding game to send the Astros to the World Series.

Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to go for New York. It’ll be his 10th postseason start and second of 2020. With Garcia going just an inning, that means LHP Jordan Montgomery would appear likely to go in Game 4 and if needed, ace Gerrit Cole in Game 5, which would be his first ever start on short rest.

 

DODGERS BEAT PADRES IN GAME 1

It was a walk in the new park for the Los Angeles Dodgers to start the NL Division Series.

The Dodgers had already drawn nine walks before Mookie Betts got their first hit with one out in the sixth inning, and they went ahead to stay on Corey Seager’s sacrifice fly right after that in a 5-1 win over the NL West rival San Diego Padres in the opener of the best-of-five series Tuesday night.

Mike Clevinger made it only two pitches into the second inning in his postseason debut for the Padres before leaving hurt, and their heavily worked bullpen couldn’t keep putting up zeros – or keeping runners off base, even when not giving up hits.

Game 2 of the series, which is being played in the new Texas Rangers’ ballpark, is Wednesday night.

When Chris Taylor, the No. 9 batter in the Los Angeles order, walked with one out in the sixth in a 1-1 game, it was the ninth walk through 27 batters and the Padres were already on their sixth pitcher. Betts then doubled into the left-field corner to break up the no-hitter, sending Taylor to third and setting up Seager’s sac fly.

Los Angeles added three more runs after that, on RBI singles by Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger. Another run scored on a wild pitch. The Dodgers also got their 10th walk, matching Atlanta in 1997 for the most in a nine-inning NLDS game.

Dustin May (1-0), the 23-year-old Dodgers right-hander who grew up about 30 miles away in Justin, Texas, struck out three over two perfect innings in relief of Walker Buehler.

Garrett Richards (0-1), the sixth of nine Padres pitchers, was gone after giving up the hit to Betts. And so was manager Jayce Tingler, who was ejected by plate umpire Lance Barrett when making yet another pitching change.

With injured starters Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet out for the first round, the Padres became the first team to use at least eight pitchers in three consecutive playoff games. Nine relievers combined on a four-hit shutout in the Game 3 clincher over the St. Louis Cardinals last Friday.

The nine pitchers in a nine-inning game is a postseason record, and the Padres have now done it three times in four games.

Clevinger had left his last regular-season start Sept. 23 after one inning because of an elbow impingement, but was added to the Padres’ 28-player NLDS roster earlier Tuesday, when he was named the starter for Game 1. The herky-jerky right-hander, acquired from Cleveland in a nine-player trade Aug. 31, walked two and threw a wild pitch in a scoreless first.

Tingler and a trainer visited the mound after Clevinger went 2-0 on Bellinger to start the second, and the pitcher left after a brief conversation. It was only his second start start since a two-hit shutout in a seven-inning complete game Sept. 13.

Buehler struck out eight, but the right-hander who has dealt with blisters all year needed a season-high 95 pitches to get through four innings. He walked four and allowed only two singles.

That included Austin Nola’s two-out RBI single in the fourth that drove home Wil Myers, who walked before stealing second base.

In the stadium where the Padres began their record streak of grand slams in four consecutive games, Buehler walked the bases loaded with one out in the second inning. Buehler got out of the jam with strikeouts of Jurickson Profar and leadoff hitter Trent Grisham, but finished that inning already with 53 pitches and more balls than strikes (27-26) .

The Padres had lost five in a row when they got to Texas on Aug. 17, but hit grand slams in four consecutive games against the Rangers – two at the new stadium when the roof was closed, and then the next two games played in San Diego. That was also the start of a seven-game winning streak that pushed the Padres into second place in the NL West for the rest of the season.

ROOKIE DEBUT

Padres rookie left-hander Ryan Weathers made his major league debut, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings. The 20-year-old Weathers became the second pitcher in two days to make his MLB debut in a playoff game, following Tampa Bay reliever Shane McClanahan on Monday night against the New York Yankees. Weathers was the seventh pick in the 2018 amateur draft. He was the fifth player in big league history to debut in a playoff game.

SCORELESS STREAKS

Dodgers pitchers had thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings until San Diego got on the board in the fourth. Los Angeles has only three longer streaks in the postseason, the record being 21 in a row in 2016. … Padres pitchers made it to 13 in a row, with all but one of those innings by a reliever, before the Dodgers’ unearned run in the fifth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: While Clevinger was back briefly, Lamet (right biceps tightness) was left off the NLDS roster. Lamet, who left his last regular-season start Sept. 25, has been playing catch, but hasn’t yet thrown a bullpen.

Dodgers: INF Edwin Rios was left off the NLDS roster because of a groin issue. Manager Dave Roberts said Rios tweaked his groin after making a play to his right and making a throw to first during a workout Sunday.

UP NEXT

Clayton Kershaw, who still lives in nearby Dallas where the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner grew up, pitches an MLB game in Arlington for the first time in his 13 big league seasons with the Dodgers. The Padres hadn’t announced a starter for Game 2.

 

NFL WEEK 5 PREVIEW

COMEBACKS CONTINUE, SEVERAL TEAMS OFF TO HISTORIC STARTS AS NFL ENTERS WEEK 5

Hope thrives in the NFL.

Just ask any of the teams that have erased leads of at least 16 points and won a game in 2020: the DALLAS COWBOYSTAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM or the CHICAGO BEARS, who’ve actually done it twice. This year is the first in which at least one team has overcome a deficit of 16-or-more points and won in each of the first four weeks of the season in NFL history.

And while comebacks in games are frequent of late, comebacks in seasons the year after missing the playoffs are common as well.

Six teams that missed the 2019 playoffs have started this season with three wins: the CHICAGO BEARS (3-1), CLEVELAND BROWNS (3-1), INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-1), LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-1), PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-0) and TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-1). Since 1990, at least four teams each season have qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason the year before.

The Week 5 schedule highlights two games involving those clubs. The Buccaneers travel to Chicago for a Thursday Night Football matchup (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/Amazon) while the Colts head to Cleveland on Sunday to meet the Browns (4:25 PM ET, CBS). Cleveland and wide receiver ODELL BECKHAM JR., who recorded 154 scrimmage yards (81 receiving, 73 rushing) and three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) in the Browns’ 49-38 win in Week 4, have the AFC’s top scoring offense (31.0 points per game) and lead the NFL in both takeaways (10) and turnover margin (plus six). The Colts, meanwhile, have the NFL’s top-ranked scoring defense (14.0 points allowed per game).

Only five rookie head coaches since 2009 have guided their teams to a season-opening record of 4-1 or better. Browns head coach KEVIN STEFANSKI can join that group with a win this week.

The last five rookie head coaches to open their careers 4-1 or better:

COACH TEAM YEAR RECORD
*Matt LaFleur Green Bay 2019 13-3
Dan Quinn Atlanta 2015 8-8
*Jim Harbaugh San Francisco 2011 13-3
+Jim Caldwell Indianapolis 2009 14-2
Josh McDaniels Denver 2009 8-8

+Won division and advanced to Super Bowl; *Won division and advanced to conference championship

 

The GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-0), who already this year had opened 3-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1965-66, are off to their best start in five years. Head coach MATT LAFLEUR has started his career 17-3 (.850), tied for the second-most wins in NFL annals over a coach’s first 20 regular-season games.

The head coaches with the most wins over their first 20 regular-season games in NFL history:

COACH TEAM YEARS WINS
George Seifert San Francisco 49ers 1989-90 18
Matt LaFleur Green Bay Packers 2019-20 17
Paul BrownHOF Cleveland Browns 1950-51 17
Dick Rauch Pottsville Maroons 1925-26 17
Guy ChamberlinHOF Canton Bulldogs 1922-23 17

The Packers and Browns, who with a win over the Colts would have their best season-opening stretch since beginning the 1994 season 6-1, are two of several clubs off to notable starts in 2020.

  • The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-0) are the first team in NFL history to start 4-0 in four consecutive seasons (2017-20).
  • The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-0) have been 4-0 only twice in franchise history, this year and their Super Bowl XLVIII championship season of 2013. The Seahawks can improve to 5-0 for the first time ever when they host Minnesota on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC).
  • The BUFFALO BILLS (4-0) with a win against Tennessee at Nissan Stadium Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), can mark their best start in 29 years, since opening the 1991 season 5-0 en route to a Super Bowl XXVI appearance.
  • The PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-0), who host Philadelphia on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), have an opportunity for just their third 4-0 start in franchise history, and first since 1979, when they won Super Bowl XIV.

The 10 teams this month bidding for their best starts in at least five years:

TEAM RECORD BIDS FOR BEST START SINCE…
Baltimore 3-1 Team opened 4-1 in 2012
Buffalo 4-0 Team opened 5-0 in 1991 (also 5-0 in 1980; best franchise start was 9-0 in 1964)
Chicago 3-1 Team opened 4-1 in 2012 (Bears won 7 of first 8 that year)
Cleveland 3-1 Team opened 4-1 in 1994 (Browns won 6 of first 7 that year)
Green Bay 4-0 Team opened 6-0 in 2015 (team has bye in Week 5)
Indianapolis 3-1 Team opened 4-1 in 2013
Pittsburgh 3-0 Team opened 4-0 in 1979 (also 4-0 in 1973; best franchise start was 7-0 in 1978)
Seattle 4-0 (franchise has never been 5-0; team has opened 4-0 twice, 2013 and 2020)
Tampa Bay 3-1 Team opened 4-1 in 2005
Tennessee 3-0 Team opened 4-0 in 2008 (franchise has opened 4-0 once, in 2008, and never been 5-0)

 

BILLS, TITANS RENEW MUSIC CITY RIVALRY: The TENNESSEE TITANS (3-0) host the BUFFALO BILLS (4-0) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS) in an AFC battle of first-place teams. The Titans, who are 10-3 over their last 13 games including postseason, have a plus-five turnover ratio, tied for second in the NFL. Titans running back DERRICK HENRY enters the week ranked fourth in the NFL with 319 rushing yards. Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN ranks second in the NFL in passing yards (1,326) and third in passer rating (122.7) and touchdown passes (12). The Titans also are in a 34-day stretch between road games.

BREES MEETS FORMER CLUB: The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS and LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, who square off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), have a unique history. Saints quarterback DREW BREES, who currently holds the league’s all-time marks in passing yards (78,422) and touchdown passes (555), started his career with the Chargers.

  • In five years with the Chargers (2001-05), Brees threw for 12,348 yards and 80 touchdowns.
  • On Monday Night Football, Brees ranks third all-time in both career passing yards (7,868) and passing touchdowns (57). Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (9,654 passing yards, 74 touchdowns) and BRETT FAVRE (9,068 passing yards, 69 touchdowns) rank first and second, respectively, in both categories
  • The 32nd-overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft, Brees was actually a second-round choice one year before the expansion Houston Texans first took the field as the league’s 32nd franchise.
  • The first player the Chargers selected that day, RB LADAINIAN TOMLINSON, is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tomlinson so far is one of two Hall of Famers from that 2001 draft, in addition to STEVE HUTCHINSON, selected by the Seahawks at No. 17 overall.
  • Former Chargers general manager JOHN BUTLER that year acquired the selections used to draft Tomlinson and Brees by trading away the No. 1 overall choice to Atlanta. The Falcons then drafted MICHAEL VICK.

PENNSYLVANIA PROMINENCE: The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES cross the state to meet the PITTSBURGH STEELERS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX) in a battle of the top pass-rushing defenses so far in 2020. Philadelphia leads the NFL with 17 sacks while the Steelers rank second with 15. ​

It’s the 79th installment in a venerable series between franchises that once merged to form one team. In 1943, with the nation in the middle of World War II and many players and coaches serving their country, the “Steagles” went 5-4-1 in the NFL’s Eastern Division.

  • The Pro Football Hall of Fame has 36 enshrined individuals who are Pennsylvania natives. Additionally, 35 Pro Football Hall of Famers attended high school in the state, including quarterbacks GEORGE BLANDAJIM KELLYDAN MARINOJOE MONTANAJOE NAMATH and JOHNNY UNITAS.
  • This season, Kickoff Weekend rosters included 60 players that graduated from Pennsylvania high schools, including running backs from both teams in Sunday’s game, Pittsburgh’s JAMES CONNER and Philadelphia’s MILES SANDERS.

QUARTERBACK COMPARISON: Two of those Pennsylvania quarterbacks, Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO and JOE MONTANA, once met as young stars in Super Bowl XIX, when the 49ers defeated the Dolphins, 38-16. Miami and San Francisco meet again Sunday at Levi’s Stadium (4:05 PM ET, FOX). And as they were when Marino and Montana were dominating the NFL, young quarterbacks across the league have been outstanding in 2020.​

  • This season, of the 13 quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or better, six are 25 years old or younger: the Bills’ JOSH ALLEN, the Rams’ JARED GOFF, the Chargers’ JUSTIN HERBERT, the Ravens’ LAMAR JACKSON, the Chiefs’ PATRICK MAHOMES and the Jaguars’ GARDNER MINSHEW.
  • Through four weeks, quarterbacks age 25 or younger have a combined 56 starts. And in those 56 starts, those young quarterbacks have won 24 times.
  • Cincinnati rookie quarterback JOE BURROW passed for 300 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a 92.4 rating in the Bengals’ 33-25 win over Jacksonville in Week 4, his first career victory. Burrow, who passed for 316 yards in Week 2 and 312 yards in Week 3, is the first rookie quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards in three consecutive games in NFL history.
  • Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT passed for 290 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 137.9 rating in Week 4 against Tampa Bay. Herbert, who threw touchdown passes of 72 and 53 yards, is the first rookie quarterback with two touchdown passes of at least 50 yards since DESHAUN WATSON (Week 8, 2017). Herbert has 931 passing yards this season, the second-most passing yards by a rookie quarterback in his first three career starts in NFL history. Only CAM NEWTON (1,012 in 2011) had more.

DEFENSES ON THE DEFENSIVE: NFL teams have combined to score 371 total touchdowns, 359 offensive touchdowns (passing and rushing combined) and 3,233 total points, all the most in NFL history through Week 4.

Despite those figures, five teams – the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (14.0), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (17.5), SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (17.8), BALTIMORE RAVENS (18.3) and PITTSBURGH STEELERS (19.3) – remarkably are holding opponents under 20 points per game.

  • There has been an average of 51.3 points per game scored (both teams combined), the highest total through Week 4 since 1970.
MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN FIRST

FOUR WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

  MOST OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS IN FIRST

FOUR WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON TOUCHDOWNS   SEASON OFFENSIVE TDs
2020 371   2020 359
2018 344   2018 325
2015 332   2019 304
2012 327   2015 301
2019/2013 324   2016 298

 

MOST TOTAL POINTS IN FIRST

FOUR WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

  MOST POINTS SCORED PER GAME (BOTH TEAMS)

 IN FIRST FOUR WEEKS, SINCE 1970

SEASON TOTAL POINTS   SEASON POINTS PER GAME
2020 3,233   2020 51.3
2018 3,030   2018 48.1
2012 2,986   2012 47.4
2011 2,916   2015 46.3
2015 2,914   2014 46.2

 

  • GREEN BAY (152 points) leads the NFL in total points scored through the first four weeks, followed by SEATTLE (142), DALLAS (126), CLEVELAND (124), BUFFALO (123) and NEW ORLEANS (123).
  • Through the first four weeks, eight teams are averaging at least 30 points per game, the most teams in a single season through Week 4.
THE TEAMS AVERAGING 30+ POINTS PER GAME IN 2020    SEASONS WITH THE MOST TEAMS AVERAGING 30+ POINTS THROUGH WEEK 4, NFL HISTORY
TEAMS POINTS PER GAME   SEASON TEAMS
Green Bay 38.0   2020 8
Seattle 35.5   2002 6
Dallas 31.5   1968 6
Cleveland 31.0   Many tied 5
Buffalo 30.8      
New Orleans 30.8      
Baltimore 30.5      
Tampa Bay 30.0      

 

 

TITANS EXPECT TO OPEN FACILITY WEDNESDAY

Coach Mike Vrabel says the Tennessee Titans stand by how they’ve followed the NFL’s protocols for the coronavirus pandemic and hope the league will allow the team back inside the building Wednesday.

The NFL’s first team to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak has had a couple of what Vrabel called “really good days” with testing, and the coach said they’re hoping for more good news early Wednesday.

“And then we’ll kind of see where we’re at with the league and hopeful to return and get back in the building,” Vrabel said.

One positive test could derail that timeline.

If allowed back inside the team’s headquarters Wednesday, that would keep the Titans (3-0) on target to host Buffalo (4-0) on Sunday in a matchup of two of the NFL’s six remaining undefeated teams. Vrabel says he’s working through a variety of schedules to be ready for when they can get back.

The NFL and its players union had people in Nashville meeting with the Titans to review how the team handled the outbreak and checking protocols. The Titans, and any other team with an outbreak or exposed to a team with an outbreak, now have new protocols to follow including all meetings held virtually and everyone must wear face coverings and gloves at practice.

Vrabel said the Titans followed the protocols that were in place and that both he and general manager Jon Robinson put a lot of thought into doing just that.

“We’re going to continue to do everything that we can to make sure as we enter back in this building, that things are safe and the players are comfortable and that their health and well-being is at the forefront,” Vrabel said.

The Titans’ outbreak reached 20 cases on Sunday, the team’s sixth straight day of at least one positive, with 18 returned since Sept. 29. The players testing positive include defensive captain DaQuan Jones, defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, wide receiver Adam Humphries, rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton and long snapper Beau Brinkley.

Vrabel said those players have to follow a protocol to be cleared to return to play, keeping them out of Sunday’s game with the Bills. But Vrabel is hopeful they’ll get most of the personnel affected back, and any coaches still not cleared to return won’t have a role in the game.

The Titans, who’ve won all three games by a combined six points and a made field goal inside the final two minutes of each victory, will need a long snapper. Vrabel said he and Robinson have been working through that. The NFL has extended the time teams need to bring in players for tryouts.

“I am pretty certain that they’ll allow us to have somebody in here that can snap for us,” Vrabel said. “We understand that that’s a critically important spot. Still working through some of that stuff with the league.”

The NFL and the players’ union agreed to expanded practice squads this season, and Vrabel said they’ll have enough players to make up for those who won’t be able to play.

Replacing Jones and Simmons in the middle of the defensive line won’t be easy, and Vrabel said defensive backs will have to help fill in for receivers once they practice with Adam Humphries and Cameron Batson both on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Tennessee already has had its game against Pittsburgh moved from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25 because of this outbreak, turning the missed date into an unexpected bye.

Vrabel dismissed any talk of the Titans having a competitive disadvantage.

“The only competitive disadvantage in my mind is not playing very well, and so that will all be determined on Sunday,” Vrabel said.

The Bills certainly aren’t worried about not knowing if Sunday’s game will happen as scheduled.

“I’m 4-0, man,” Buffalo safety Jordan Hoyer said. ” I’m not even thinking about that.”

The Titans’ outbreak also affected the Baltimore Ravens, who now will have a bye Week 7 instead of playing Pittsburgh. That game now will be Nov. 1.

The NFL also had to move New England’s game at Kansas City from Sunday to Monday night after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19, as did a Chiefs practice squad player.

The NFL and the players union agreed Oct. 2 to continue daily testing, and they both agreed to ramp up health and safety procedures in the wake of the Titans’ outbreak. That includes a longer process to try out free agents and a league-wide video monitoring system.

Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams Monday noting the league has disciplined violators of NFL protocols and that penalties including potential forfeits of games for violations forcing schedule changes.

 

FITZPATRICK REMAINS AS DOLPHINS STARTER

Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback for at least another week, further delaying the NFL debut of Tua Tagovailoa.

The Dolphins announced Tuesday on Twitter that Fitzpatrick will get the nod Sunday at San Francisco. The disclosure ended speculation coach Brian Flores was about to turn the offense over to Tagovailoa, drafted with the fifth overall pick as a potential franchise quarterback.

“I’ve been around Fitz for a long time, and I’ve seen him play very, very well,” said Miami offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, who was Fitzpatrick’s head coach in Buffalo. “He is capable of being very good for us.”

The 37-year-old Fitzpatrick recently described his career as a roller coaster, and that has been the case this season with Miami (1-3). In two games he has totaled four touchdown passes and no interceptions, and in the other two games – including Sunday’s loss to Seattle – he has thrown for no scores with five interceptions.

Against the Seahawks, Miami settled for field goals on five consecutive scoring drives, but Gailey declined to blame Fitzpatrick.

“If you want to point fingers, you ought to point them at me,” Gailey said, “because I could have done a better job of red-zone coaching this past week, and we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.”

Two of the four quarterbacks taken in the first round of this year’s draft – the Bengals’ Joe Burrow and the Chargers’ Justin Herbert – are already starting and played well Sunday. The other, Jordan Love of the Packers, has yet to play as Aaron Rodgers’ backup.

Tagovailoa hasn’t played since a serious hip injury ended his Alabama career last November, and the cancellation of offseason practices because of the coronavirus pandemic slowed his development. But he’s ready if needed, Gailey said.

“He’s one play away from going in to play,” Gailey said. “I feel like he’ll go in and play well.

“He’s a rookie who hasn’t played a preseason game or been in a game at all. It’ll be a new experience for him, and he’ll have to go in with eyes wide open. But I think he’s going to be ready when his time is called.”

 

NHL SAYS JAN 1 IS THE START DATE FOR NEW SEASON

Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday night the NHL is targeting a Jan. 1 start for next season.

That declaration came after recent talks between the league and NHL Players’ Association. The new date is a month after the tentative Dec. 1 start.

“It was just over a week ago that we celebrated the successful completion of our 2019-20 return to play with the crowning of the Tampa Bay Lightning as Stanley Cup champions,” Bettman said. “Based upon what we have learned and what we know and what we still don’t know, I can say that we are now focused on a Jan. 1 start for next season.”

That could mean kicking things off with the Winter Classic that has become a staple of New Year’s Day. The Minnesota Wild are scheduled to host the St. Louis Blues in that game at Target Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Twins.

The estimated start for training camps will be announced at a later date. NHL teams are expected to get camps of at least two weeks, just as they did before the expanded playoffs over the summer.

It’s still unclear what next season will look like, though Bettman has said the league hopes each team plays a full 82 games.

 

NADAL HEADED TO OPEN QUARTERS

Rafael Nadal has beaten 19-year-old Jannik Sinner of Italy in straight sets in a French Open quarterfinal that ended at nearly 1:30 a.m. in Paris.

Nadal won 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1 to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros for a record-extending 13th time.

He is a 12-time champion at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament and has a 24-0 record in the semifinals and finals so far.

He will face 12th-seeded Diego Schwartzman on Friday.

Nadal has won nine of their 10 previous matches, but Schwartzman won the most recent one, last month on clay in Rome.

 

River States Conference Player of the Week winners

IU EAST’S SHIRLEY REPEATS AS RSC VOLLEYBALL SETTER OF THE WEEK

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Indiana University East freshman Reece Shirley picked up River States Conference Volleyball Setter of the Week for Sept. 28-Oct. 4, the second week in a row getting the accolade.

The 5-10 native of Michigan City, Ind., led the Red Wolves to a 3-0 week in conference by tallying 126 assists, 27 digs and 17 kills in three matches. She averaged 11.45 assists, 2.45 digs and 1.55 kills per set.

Shirley’s big week included 29 assists, 11 kills and seven digs in a 3-0 win over Ohio Christian. She also had 54 assists and 12 digs versus WVU Tech for another double-double. Shirley finished with 43 assists, eight digs and six kills in a 3-1 victory over Rio Grande (Ohio).

IU East is 6-0, 5-0 RSC and will host Midway (Ky.) and Asbury (Ky.) this weekend Oct. 9-10.

 

IU EAST’S WIGFIELD GARNERS RSC VOLLEYBALL DEFENDER OF THE WEEK HONOR

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Indiana University East libero Samantha Wigfield handled the back row in an unbeaten week to garner River States Conference Volleyball Defender of the Week for Sept. 28-Oct. 4.

The Fort Wayne, Ind., native posted 54 digs in three matches, which were all RSC wins for the Red Wolves. She averaged 4.91 digs per set in 11 sets played on the week. She also added three service aces, served at 93.2 percent accuracy and passed at a 96.9 percentage.

Wigfield collected 22 digs and three aces in a sweep of Ohio Christian. She also had 20-plus digs when she turned in 24 in a four-set win over WVU Tech, a season high. Wigfield ended with eight digs in a 3-1 win over Rio Grande.

IU East (6-0, 5-0 RSC) will host Midway (Ky.) and Asbury (Ky.) this weekend Oct. 9-10.