INDIANA STATE BASKETBALL FINALS SATURDAY
Class A State Championship | 10 am ET
Kouts (29-2) vs. Barr-Reeve (28-2)
Class 2A State Championship | 1:30 pm ET
Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian (27-3) vs. Parke Heritage (27-3)
Class 3A State Championship | 5 pm ET
Leo (24-4) vs. Silver Creek (24-4)
Class 4A State Championship | 8:30 pm ET
Carmel (25-2) vs. Lawrence North (28-2)
PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND IN THE STATE FINALS
Hunter Kneifel, Kouts: 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 62% FG
Parker Kneifel, Kouts: 9.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 62.2 % FG, 48.7 %-3FG
Kooper Jacobi, Silver Creek: 21.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 64% FG
Christian Johnson, Parke Heritage: 16.3 points, 6.8 rebounds.
Trey Kaufman-Renn, Silver Creek: 25.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
Curt Hopf, Barr-Reeve: 19.4 points and 9.2 rebounds, 64% FG
D.J. Hughes, Lawrence North: 13.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 68.2% FG
Connor Gioia, Carmel: 6.5 points, 3.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game
Brycen Graber, Barr-Reeve: 8.0 asst., 6.6 points, 2.7 rebounds
C.J. Gunn, Lawrence North: 13.8 points, 4.6 rebounds
Blake Davison, Leo: 16.8 points, 3.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds
Riley Ferguson, Parke Heritage: 12.4 points, 2.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds
Caleb Furst, FW Blackhawk Christian: 21.5 points, 14.3 rebounds, 66.4% FG
Marcus Davidson, FW Blackhawk Christian: 12.9 points, 3.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds
Connor Davis, Parke Heritage: 14.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 64% FG
Portland 124 Detroit 101
Miami 92 Indiana 87
Dallas 113 Boston 108
Brooklyn 120 Houston 108
Minnesota 102 New York 101
Oklahoma City 113 Toronto 103
Utah 111 Memphis 107….DESMOND BANE 7PTS, 5REB, 5ASST
San Antonio 120 Sacramento 106
Milwaukee 112 LA Lakers 97
Phoenix 121 Chicago 116
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL OPENING DAY
Minnesota at Milwaukee 2:10…
- The Twins took 2-of-3 games in both series with the Brewers in 2020. The Twins and Brewers are two of the nine MLB teams that have been in the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, but they are the only two of those nine that did not win a single playoff game (Milwaukee 0-3; Minnesota 0-5).
- The Twins have won the AL Central in each of Rocco Baldelli’s two seasons as manager. The Twins have won 3+ consecutive division titles only once in franchise history — 2002-04 — Ron Gardenhire’s first three seasons as manager of the club.
- The Brewers have made the playoffs in a franchise-record three consecutive seasons. Prior to the 2018 season, the franchise had made the playoffs just four times in its first 49 years of existence.
- Since 2014, Nelson Cruz’s 260 home runs are 20 more than any other major leaguer (Mike Trout — 240), and in his two seasons with the Twins he has hit 57 home runs to go along with a .308 batting average. Cruz is one of just two players with 50+ HR and a .300+ BA over the last two seasons (Freddie Freeman).
- In his first season with Milwaukee in 2018, Christian Yelich had an OPS of 1.000, fourth best in baseball, and won the NL MVP. In 2019, he upped that to an MLB-high and franchise-record 1.100 and bagged his second All-Star selection and third Silver Slugger Award. 2020 saw his OPS fall to .786 and he struck out 76 times in just 247 plate appearances, a career-worst rate of one strikeout every 3.25 plate appearances.
- Brandon Woodruff will make his second consecutive Opening Day start. The Brewers are 16-4 in his last 20 home starts dating back to the beginning of the 2018 season. Kenta Maeda’s first season in Minnesota was very successful. Maeda was top 5 in the AL in ERA (2.70, 5th), OppBA (.168, 2nd; Shane Bieber .167), K/BB ratio (8.00, 2nd; Marco Gonzales 9.14) and WHIP (0.75, 1st in MLB).
Tampa Bay at Miami 4:10…
- The Rays have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Marlins and have won five straight in Miami. This is the first time the intrastate rivals will square off on Opening Day.
- Tampa Bay won the AL pennant in 2020, its second pennant in franchise history along with 2008. The Rays (40) and Dodgers (43) were the only teams last season to reach 40 wins in the regular season — the 40-20 (.667) record was Tampa Bay’s highest winning percentage in franchise history.
- In 2020, Randy Arozarena became the first player to hit 10 home runs in a single postseason. He finished the postseason slugging .831, third highest by an AL player in a single postseason (minimum 40 PA), behind only Rickey Henderson in 1989 (.941) and Paul Molitor in 1993 (.851).
- At 31-29, the Marlins had their first season above .500 since 2009 (87-75). It earned them their third postseason appearance in franchise history — 2020 was their first postseason trip where they did not finish as World Series champions.
- Miguel Rojas batted .304 last season, ranking sixth among MLB shortstops (minimum 125 PA). The last Marlins shortstop to hit .300 in a season was Hanley Ramirez in 2010 (.300).
- Tyler Glasnow, whose 91 strikeouts last season ranked fourth in the AL, will make his first career Opening Day start. Sandy Alcantara will make his second consecutive Opening Day start — he allowed one earned run on three hits in 6.2 innings in last year’s opener for the Marlins.
San Francisco at Seattle 10:10….
- San Francisco won all four meetings with the Mariners last season, outscoring them 31-13. The four-game streak is the Giants’ longest in the history of this interleague series, which they now lead, 19-18.
- The Giants hit 81 home runs in 60 games last season, the fourth-highest rate of homers per game in team history (1.35). They averaged more only in 2001 (1.45), 1947 (1.43) and 2000 (1.40).
- Seattle missed the playoffs for a 19th consecutive season in 2020, the majors’ longest active drought. The Mariners were just 7-18 at the 25-game mark but went 20-15 the rest of the way — best among AL West teams from August 19 to the end of the season.
- Kyle Seager had a team-high 40 RBI last year, 10th most in the AL. He hit .172 in interleague play in 2020 (11/64), including just .033 over his last 10 games against National League opposition (1/32).
- Marco Gonzales is set to make his third straight Opening Day start for the Mariners. He went 7-2 last year and is 36-24 since the start of the 2018 season — tied for the third-most wins in the majors over that span (Gerrit Cole, 42; Justin Verlander, 38; Zack Greinke, 36).
- Seven different Giants drove in at least 25 runs in 2020, tied with the Braves and Dodgers for the most such players in the majors. Mike Yastrzemski led the team with 35 RBI, including 15 in 17 interleague games.
Toronto at New York Yankees 1:05….
- The Blue Jays and Yankees split their 2020 season series, 5-5, and they combined for 13.8 runs per game, the highest between any two AL East teams in a season series all-time.
- Toronto finished 2020 above .500 (32-28) for the first time since 2016, but the Blue Jays managed just three total runs in a two-game playoff series loss to the Rays. In that series, Toronto went 3-for-25 (.120) with runners on base and 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
- The Yankees were dominant at home in the abbreviated 2020 season, going 22-9 and outscoring their opponents by 2.3 runs per game, the team’s best since 1937 (+2.8). New York did not host a playoff game, however, and lost to the Rays in five games in the ALDS.
- After giving up eight earned runs in nine innings over his first two starts with the Blue Jays, Hyun Jin Ryu had a 1.86 ERA over his last 10 regular-season starts of 2020. Ryu lasted only 1.2 innings in his playoff start against Tampa Bay, though, allowing eight hits and seven runs.
- Gerrit Cole finished third in the AL in strikeouts last season (94) but he also allowed 14 home runs, tied for second most behind Matthew Boyd’s 15. Cole was the first Yankees pitcher to finish in the league’s top three in both stats since Ralph Terry in 1962.
- Luke Voit (.610) and DJ LeMahieu (.590) combined for a .600 slugging percentage in 2020, the first pair of qualifiers to do that for the Yankees since Mickey Mantle (.687) and Roger Maris (.620) in 1961.
Cleveland at Detroit 1:10…
- The Indians won seven of the 10 meetings with the Tigers last season, including six of their seven games in Detroit. The Indians have won 14 of the 16 meetings in Detroit since the start of 2019, outscoring the Tigers by 57 runs in those 16 games (95-38).
- Cleveland has made the playoffs in four of the last five seasons but has not won a playoff game since 2017 — it was swept by the Yankees in the Wild Card round last postseason. The Indians’ eight consecutive winning seasons are the fourth-longest active streak in MLB and tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history behind a 10-year run from 1947 to 1956, a span which included their most recent World Series title (1948).
- Eddie Rosario was signed by the Indians this past offseason after spending the first six years of his career with Minnesota. Rosario has a career .282/.309/.495 slash line in 77 career games against the Tigers, including a .311/.340/.522 line with five home runs in 23 games since the start of 2019.
- Shane Bieber will start his second consecutive Opening Day after pitching six scoreless innings against the Royals last season, allowing just four hits and one walk. His 14 strikeouts in that game were the most in franchise history on Opening Day and the most by any pitcher on Opening Day since Randy Johnson struck out 14 for the Mariners in 1996.
- Since winning four straight division titles from 2011-14, the Tigers have missed the playoffs in six straight seasons, finishing last in the AL Central in four of those seasons. The Tigers’ .414 win percentage since the start of 2015 is the worst in MLB.
- Miguel Cabrera enters the 2021 season with 2866 career hits, second most among active players behind Albert Pujols (3236). Cabrera ranks third on the Tigers’ all-time home run list with 349 — only Al Kaline (399) and Norm Cash (373) have more.
Baltimore at Boston 2:10….
- These teams split 10 meetings last season, with Boston scoring seven or more runs in all five wins (9.0 per game) and four or fewer in all five losses (3.0 per game). Baltimore is an MLB-worst 61-131 (.318) in divisional games since the start of 2018.
- Baltimore ranked third in the American League with a .258 batting average in 2020, its highest AL rank since 2004 (also third). The Orioles had a higher batting average than their pitchers allowed (.246) for the first time since 2014.
- The Red Sox finished in last place of the AL East with a 24-36 (.400) record in 2020, its lowest winning percentage since 1965 (62-100, .383). The team’s 5.58 ERA was third highest in the majors and the highest in a season in franchise history.
- Since the start of the 2019 season, Rafael Devers leads the majors in doubles (70), extra-base hits (118) and total bases (471) while ranking third in hits (262), third in RBI (158) and fourth in runs scored (161).
- Anthony Santander ranked third among switch-hitters last season with 11 home runs. He hit .285 with a .948 OPS from the left side in 2020, compared to .167 with a .652 OPS batting right-handed.
- Ten of John Means’ 22 earned runs last year were surrendered in the first inning. He had a 9.31 ERA and .289 opponent batting average in the first inning, versus a 3.18 ERA and .198 average in all subsequent innings.
Texas at Kansas City 4:10….
- The Rangers won 22 of the 28 meetings with the Royals from 2016 to 2019, including nine of the 12 meetings in Kansas City in that span. Texas’ 22-6 record against the Royals since 2016 is its best record against any American League opponent in that span.
- Texas went 22-38 (.367) last season, the fourth-worst win percentage in franchise history and its worst since going 57-105 (.352) in 1973 — the franchise’s second season in Arlington. The Rangers ranked 29th in MLB in batting average (.217), on-base percentage (.285) and slugging percentage (.364) — only the Pirates ranked lower in each category.
- Khris Davis was acquired by the Rangers in a trade for Elvis Andrus after playing each of the last five seasons in Oakland. Davis ranked third in MLB with 156 home runs from 2016-19 but had just two home runs in his 30 games last season.
- The Royals finished 26-34 (.433) last season for their fifth straight non-winning season following their 2015 World Series title. That’s tied with the Angels for the second-longest active streak of non-winning seasons — only the Phillies (nine straight) have a longer run.
- Andrew Benintendi joined the Royals after playing his first five seasons with Boston. He slashed .282/.359/.447 from 2016-18, but just .255/.341/.410 over the last two seasons, though he played just 14 games last season before landing on the 60-day IL with a strained right ribcage.
- Salvador Perez has started 889 games at catcher, most in franchise history and sixth most among active catchers. Perez is slashing just .197/.214/.324 in his 37 career games against the Rangers.
Chicago White Sox at LA Angels 10:05….
- The Angels won 10 of the 14 meetings with the White Sox in 2018 and 2019. Chicago has won the season series with the Angels just once in the last decade (2015) — they had not done that prior since 2010.
- Chicago snapped its 11-year playoff drought before losing in three games to the Athletics in the Wild Card round. The White Sox’s .583 win percentage last season was their best since going 99-63 (.611) in 2005.
- Lucas Giolito will start Opening Day for the White Sox after posting a .184 opponent batting average last season, third best among AL qualifiers behind Shane Bieber (.167) and Kenta Maeda (.168). Giolito ranks fourth in the AL with 11.75 K/9 over the last two seasons (min. 200 innings); he had just 6.49 K/9 in 2018.
- Last season’s AL MVP, Jose Abreu, was the first White Sox player to win the award since Frank Thomas in 1993 and 1994. He led MLB with 60 RBI, the most by any player through 60 team games since Miguel Cabrera had 67 in 2013.
- The Angels’ 26-34 (.433) record last season was their worst since going 70-92 (.432) in 1999 and marked their third straight fourth-place finish. It also marked manager Joe Maddon’s worst win percentage since going 66-96 (.407) with the Devil Rays in 2007; the Rays won the AL pennant the following season.
- Mike Trout is slashing .320/.469/.634 in 54 career games against the White Sox — his 1.104 OPS against Chicago is the third-highest all-time against the South Siders (min. 150 plate appearances) behind Babe Ruth (1.152) and Lou Gehrig (1.106).
Houston at Oakland 10:07….
- This is the first time the Astros and A’s will open a season against each other. Houston has won eight straight Opening Day games, the longest active streak in the majors.
- The ALDS between the Astros and A’s last season was the first playoff series in MLB history in which both teams hit at least a dozen home runs. This is despite the fact that the series lasted only four games (Astros won, 3-1).
- Oakland’s .225 batting average last season was the lowest ever by an American League team that made the playoffs.
- Last season Kyle Tucker joined Mickey Mantle (1960), Mike Trout (2013) and Mookie Betts (2016) as the only players since 1960 to finish in the top 10 in the American League in triples, extra-base hits, RBI and stolen bases.
- With his start, Zack Greinke will join David Price as the only active pitchers to make an Opening Day start for three different teams. Price started on Opening Day for the Rays, Tigers and Red Sox, while Greinke has done so for the Royals, Diamondbacks and now Astros.
- Chris Bassitt posted a 0.34 ERA in September last season, the lowest ERA by any pitcher in September (minimum four starts) since Atlanta’s Greg Maddux had a 0.29 ERA in September 1995.
Pittsburgh at Chicago Cubs 2:20….
- This will mark the third time in the last 11 years that the Cubs and Pirates will square off on April Fool’s Day, with the Pirates having won at Wrigley in 2011 and the Cubs returning the favor in Pittsburgh two years later. This is the fifth straight season in which the Bucs are opening on the road.
- The Cubs enter 2021 having won three consecutive season openers. With a victory on Thursday, the North Siders would match their longest streak of season-opening wins in the last 60 years; they won four consecutive openers from 2003 through ’06.
- The Cubs went 19-14 at home last season; they started 8-1 and were 11-13 in their last 24 games at Wrigley Field. The Pirates won only 19 games total’; their .317 winning percentage (19-41) was the lowest for the franchise since 1952 (.273).
- Three Cubs ranked among the NL’s bottom 11 in batting average among qualifiers last season. Kyle Schwarber (now with Washington) hit an NL-low .188, Javier Baez had the fifth-lowest mark at .203, and Anthony Rizzo ranked 11th lowest with a .222 average.
- Ke’Bryan Hayes made his MLB debut on September 1 of last season and hit .376 with a 1.124 OPS in September. Based on a minimum of 50 plate appearances, he ranked fifth in the majors in batting average and sixth in OPS for the month.
- Since 2018, Kyle Hendricks has a 2.79 ERA in nine starts versus Pittsburgh — but his record is only 2-6. Chad Kuhl’s career record against the Cubs is also 2-6, though that mark comes with a 5.82 ERA.
Atlanta at Philadelphia 3:05….
- The Braves and Phillies split their 10 meetings last season. The Phillies took two of three meetings in the last series from August 28-30, dropping the finale by a 12-10 score.
- Atlanta has won three straight division titles, its longest streak since an MLB-record 14 straight division titles from 1991 to 2005. The Braves had won just one division title (2013) in the 12 seasons in between these streaks.
- Marcell Ozuna returns to the Braves after slashing .338/.431/.636 in 60 games last season. His .636 slugging percentage was the highest by any player in his first season with the Braves (min. 200 plate appearances) while his 1.067 OPS ranked second to Rogers Hornsby (1.130 in 1928).
- Max Fried finished last season with a 7-0 record in his 11 starts, the most wins without a loss by any pitcher last season. Fried’s 24-6 record (.800 win percentage) since 2019 is the best among pitchers with at least 30 starts in that span.
- Since winning five straight NL East titles from 2007 to 2011, the Phillies have missed the playoffs in nine straight seasons, never posting a winning record in that span (.500 in 2012 and 2019). The Phils’ nine straight non-winning seasons is the longest active streak in MLB.
- Aaron Nola is 11-6 with a 3.05 ERA in his 20 career starts against the Braves, but went just 2.2 innings in his last start against Atlanta on August 21 last season, allowing four earned runs and six hits, including two home runs. His 11 wins against the Braves since 2015 are tied for the fifth-most wins by any pitcher against a single opponent in that span.
St. Louis at Cincinnati 4:10….
- he Cardinals won six of 10 games against the Reds in 2020, including a 16-2 win on September 1 — the Cardinals’ largest win over the Reds since 1947 (17-2). St. Louis has won the season series with Cincinnati in each of the last nine seasons, the second-longest active such streak in MLB (LAD versus SD, 10).
- The Cardinals had a 17-day pause to their 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic but managed to finish with a 30-28 record, their 13th consecutive season with a winning mark. That is the second-longest active such streak in MLB (Yankees, 28) and the second longest in franchise history (15, 1939-1953).
- The Reds finished 2020 with a 31-29 record and made the postseason for the first time since 2013. Cincinnati has not won a playoff round since 1995 (defeated LA 3-0 in NLDS), the longest active such streak in MLB and the second longest in franchise history (29, 1941-1969).
- Paul Goldschmidt led the 2020 Cardinals in batting average (.304), on-base percentage (.417) and slugging percentage (.466) but did not rank in the top two in home runs (6, 3rd) or RBI (21, 5th). Eugenio Suarez led the 2020 Reds with 15 home runs and 38 RBI and his 98 total home runs since 2018 are second in MLB (Mike Trout, 101).
- Luis Castillo was 0-5 with a 4.10 ERA in July and August last season but 4-2 with a 2.13 ERA since September 1 (regular and postseason). Castillo twirled his first career complete game in a 3-1 win at St. Louis on September 11 in his only meeting with the Redbirds last season.
- Jack Flaherty allowed two earned runs over 7.0 innings against Pittsburgh on Opening Day 2020 and then did not pitch for 25 days due to the team’s pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flaherty had just two quality starts and a 4.81 ERA in his nine starts from August 19 forward (regular and postseason).
Arizona at San Diego 4:10….
- The Diamondbacks and Padres split 10 games last season. Arizona’s five wins came by an average of 1.6 runs with four one-run wins. San Diego’s five wins were by an average of 4.0 runs per game.
- The Diamondbacks finished fifth in the NL West in 2020 with a record of 25-35. It was Arizona’s first time finishing in the division cellar since 2014. The Diamondbacks have not won their division in nine consecutive seasons after winning the division title in five of their first 14 seasons.
- The Padres returned to the postseason in 2020 for the first time since 2006, which is still the last season in which San Diego won its division. The 14 consecutive seasons without a division title is one short of the longest such streak in franchise history (1969-1983, the first 15 seasons in franchise history).
- Christian Walker finished second on the 2020 Diamondbacks with seven home runs, nine behind team leader Kole Calhoun — Calhoun is injured to start the 2021 season. Over the last two seasons, only Eduardo Escobar has hit more home runs (39) for Arizona than Walker (36).
- Fernando Tatis Jr. has a career .956 OPS through 143 MLB games, the fourth-best mark by any active player through 143 career games (minimum 400 PA). Tatis has 39 career home runs and 98 RBI. No player has reached 40 career home runs or 100 career RBI with San Diego within 150 career MLB games.
- Madison Bumgarner had a 6.48 ERA in nine starts in an injury-limited first season with Arizona in 2020, the highest single-season ERA of his career. Yu Darvish had a career year with the Cubs in 2020, including a 2.01 ERA and 6.6 strikeouts per walk, both career bests. Darvish finished fourth in MLB in ERA and fifth in K/BB in 2020 (among qualifiers).
LA Dodgers at Colorado 4:10….
- The Dodgers are 22-7 (.759) against the Rockies over the last two seasons, the best record by any NL team against a divisional opponent. In the 29 games, the Dodgers have scored 7.3 runs per game, hit 69 home runs (2.4 per game), hit .292 as a team and slugged .572.
- Los Angeles is coming off its eighth consecutive division title (3rd-longest streak all-time), and its first World Championship since 1988. After sweeping the Brewers in the wild-card round, 2-0, and the Padres in the NLDS, 3-0, the Dodgers had to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS to vanquish the Braves, then were tied 2-2 thru four games of the World Series versus Tampa Bay before winning, 4-2.
- The 2020 Rockies got out to a strong 11-3 start (.786, best in MLB thru August 8), but then went just 15-31 the rest of the way (.326, worst in MLB from August 9 to the end of the season).
- Corey Seager scored 20 runs and had 20 RBI in 18 postseason games last year, something he had never done in any 18-game span in his career. The only other players in baseball history that scored and drove in 20+ runs in any 18-game postseason span (including spans across seasons) were Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.
- From August 11 to the end of the 2020 season, Raimel Tapia hit .339, fifth best in the National League (minimum 150 PA) behind only Freddie Freeman — Atl .370, Marcell Ozuna — Atl .365, Trea Turner — Wsh .363 and Manny Machado — SD .340.
- This will be Clayton Kershaw’s ninth career Opening Day start, after starting eight straight from 2011-18. Kershaw owns a career 1.05 ERA (6/51.2) in his previous eight Opening Day starts. Colorado’s German Marquez will be making his second consecutive Opening Day start. Last season, Marquez finished the year strong posting a 2.14 ERA in five September starts and holding opponents to a .211 batting average.
NY Mets at Washington 7:09…
- Washington went 6-4 against New York last season, taking three of four games in the series in September. The Mets won eight of the previous 10 games going back to 2019, averaging 6.3 runs.
- Since winning the NL pennant in 2015, the Mets have played in one postseason game, a 1-0 loss to the Giants in the Wild Card game in 2016. They finished 26-34 in their first season under Luis Rojas in 2020, their eighth season under .500 since 2010.
- The Mets made a splash in the offseason by acquiring Francisco Lindor from Cleveland. Lindor is one of five shortstops all-time to have at least 500 runs (508) and 300 extra-base hits (344) in his first six career seasons, joining Hanley Ramirez, Cal Ripken Jr., Arky Vaughan and Honus Wagner.
- After winning the 2019 World Series, the Nationals finished at 26-34 in 2020. They became the first World Series champion to finish under .500 in the next season since the 2013-14 Red Sox.
- Juan Soto led all of MLB with a 1.185 OPS last season in his age-21 season. It was the highest OPS by any qualifying player in their age-21 season or younger in MLB history.
- Opening Day between the Mets and Nats will be the seventh meeting between Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. Both have put up similar numbers in their starts against each other — Scherzer has posted a 3.58 ERA with 52 strikeouts, 10 walks and seven home runs allowed while deGrom has posted a 3.16 ERA with 57 strikeouts, 10 walks and seven home runs allowed.
Toronto 3 Winnipeg 1
Buffalo 6 Philadelphia 1
Colorado 9 Arizona 3
Los Angeles 4 Vegas 2
San Jose 4 Minnesota 2
INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL-NCC/AREA
Connersville 8 Richmond 7
Pendleton Heights 9 New Castle 7
Lafayette Central Catholic 7 Lafayette Jeff 4
Greenfield Central 10 Frankton 6
INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL-NCC/AREA
Pendleton Heights 27 Westfield 8
Shelbyville 10 Cathedral 0
AP source: Lindor, Mets agree to $341 million, 10-year deal
NEW YORK (AP) Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets have agreed to a $341 million, 10-year deal, keeping the All-Star shortstop in Queens for the long haul after acquiring him from Cleveland in the offseason, according to a person familiar with the agreement.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday night on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been announced.
Lindor was eligible for free agency after this season and said this spring he wouldn’t negotiate with the Mets on a long-term contract after opening day. Less than 24 hours before New York starts its season Thursday night in Washington, an agreement was reached.
The 27-year-old Lindor has two Gold Gloves and made four All-Star teams in six seasons with the Indians, hitting .285 with an average of 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 stolen bases per 162 games.
He was the prized pickup in new owner Steve Cohen’s first offseason, acquired from Cleveland along with right-hander Carlos Carrasco for infielders Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez and two minor leaguers. New York added Lindor knowing he could walk after the 2021 season, but the team said it would try to negotiate a long-term pact.
MLB Network was first to report on the agreement.
Lindor will retain his $22.3 million salary for 2021 before the contract kicks in for 2022.
1 Nationals player positive for COVID; 4 others quarantined
WASHINGTON (AP) A Washington Nationals player tested positive for COVID-19, and four teammates and a staff member have been quarantined after contact tracing on the eve of the regular season’s start, general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday.
Rizzo did not identify any of the six members of the organization who are involved.
“We’re still in the process of finding out exactly what their status is,” Rizzo said. “They’re certainly out for tomorrow’s game.”
The 2019 World Series champions – who finished tied for last in the NL East in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season – are scheduled to host the New York Mets on Thursday night, with Max Scherzer facing Jacob deGrom in a matchup between pitchers who own a total of five Cy Young Awards.
“We will certainly have some roster decisions to make, depending on how this all shakes out,” Rizzo said in a video conference with the media.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL SEASON PREVIEWS:
National League East Preview Capsules
2020: 35-25, first place, lost to Dodgers in NL Championship Series.
Manager: Brian Snitker (sixth season).
He’s Here: RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Drew Smyly, RHP Carl Edwards Jr., SS Ehire Adrianza, 3B Jake Lamb, 2B Jason Kipnis, OF Guillermo Heredia, OF Phillip Ervin.
He’s Outta Here: OF Nick Markakis, OF Adam Duvall, INF Charlie Culberson, RHP Mike Foltynewicz, RHP Mark Melancon, C Tyler Flowers, RHP Shane Greene, RHP Darren O’Day, RHP Jhoulys Chacin, INF Adeiny Hechavarria, LHP Cole Hamels.
Projected Lineup: CF Ronald Acuña Jr. (.250, 14 HRs, 29 RBIs, 8 SBs), 2B Ozzie Albies (.271, 6, 19), 1B Freddie Freeman (.341, 13, 53, .462 OBP, NL MVP), LF Marcell Ozuna (.338, 18, 56, .431 OBP), C Travis d’Arnaud (.321, 9, 34), 3B Austin Riley (.239, 8, 27), SS Dansby Swanson (.274, 10, 35), CF Cristian Pache (.278, 11, 53 with Double-A Mississippi in 2019).
Rotation: LH Max Fried (7-0, 2.25 ERA), RH Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.74 with Rays; 3-1, 2.70 in postseason), RH Ian Anderson (3-2, 1.95), LH Drew Smyly (0-1, 3.42 with Giants), RH Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.21), RH Mike Soroka (0-1, 3.95, likely to begin season on injured list completing recovery from torn Achilles).
Key Relievers: LH Will Smith (2-2, 4.50, 7 HRs in 16 IP), RH Chris Martin (1-1, 1.00, 1 save), LH Tyler Matzek (4-3, 2.79, 43 Ks in 29 IP), LH A.J. Minter (1-1, 0.83), RH Luke Jackson (2-0, 6.84), RH Jacob Webb (0 ERs in 10 IP), RH Bryse Wilson (1-0, 4.02, 1 save).
Outlook: Even though the rest of the NL East bulked up, the Braves show no signs of slipping after winning three straight division titles. They finally won a postseason series — two of them, in fact — to break a drought going back to 2001. Then, the Braves came within one win of the World Series, taking a 3-1 lead in the NL Championship Series before the Dodgers rallied to win the last three games. That bitter disappointment only strengthened the Braves’ resolve; this season, it’s World Series or bust. Atlanta moved aggressively to bolster its thin rotation by signing veterans Morton and Smyly to one-year contracts. When Soroka (a 13-game winner and All-Star in 2019) is fully recovered, the rotation could be one of baseball’s best. Fried was fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting, while Anderson also has the makings of a future ace after a stellar rookie campaign. The hitters are a dynamic group, as well, with MVP Freeman and Ozuna providing a powerful 1-2 punch in the middle of the lineup. If Acuña recaptures the form he showed in 2019, when he had 41 homers and 37 stolen bases, the Braves will have three of the game’s most feared offensive players. The only major question mark is the bullpen, where the Braves must find a replacement for Melancon’s 11 saves. No one in the current bullpen had more than one save in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, though Smith is a former closer for the Giants.
2020: 31-29, second place.
Manager: Don Mattingly (sixth season).
They’re Here: GM Kim Ng, OF Adam Duvall, RHP Anthony Bass, LHP Gio Gónzalez, RHP John Curtiss, RHP Adam Cimber, LHP Ross Detwiler, C Sandy Leon.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Jose Urena, RHP Brandon Kintzler, LF Matt Joyce, RHP Drew Steckenrider, C Francisco Cervelli, RHP Brad Boxberger, LHP Stephen Tarpley, RHP Robert Dugger, RHP Ryne Stanek, RHP Nick Vincent, RHP Jordan Yamamoto, RHP Johan Quezada.
Projected Lineup: CF Starling Marté (.281, 6 HRs, 27 RBIs with Diamondbacks and Marlins), LF Corey Dickerson (.258, 7, 17), 1B Jesús Aguilar (.277, 8, 34), RF Adam Duvall (.237, 16, 33, .833 OPS with Braves), 3B Brian Anderson (.255, 11, 38), 2B Jazz Chisholm (.161, 2, 6) or Isan Díaz (.182, 0, 1 in 7 games), C Jorge Alfaro (.226, 3, 16), SS Miguel Rojas (.304, 4, 20, .888 OPS).
Rotation: RH Sandy Alcantara (3-2, 3.00 ERA), RH Pablo López (6-4, 3.61, 59 Ks), RH Elieser Hernández (1-0, 3.16 in 6 starts), RH Sixto Sánchez (3-2, 3.46), LH Trevor Rogers (1-2, 6.11 in 7 starts).
Key Relievers: RH Anthony Bass (2-3, 3.51, 7 saves for Blue Jays), RH Yimi García (3-0, 0.60, 1 save), RH Dylan Floro (3-0, 2.59), RH James Hoyt (2-0, 1.23), LH Ross Detwiler (1-1, 3.20 with White Sox), RH John Curtiss (3-0, 1.80, 2 saves with Rays), RH Adam Cimber (0-1, 3.97 with Indians), LH Richard Bleier (1-1, 2.16 with Orioles and Marlins).
Outlook: After a surprising run to their first playoff berth in 17 years, the Marlins are widely projected to backslide and finish below .500 this season. They could exceed expectations if one or more of their hitting prospects breaks out. Pitching is the team’s strength, thanks to a group of eight starters all 26 or younger. Sánchez and Edward Cabrera are considered potential future aces, and 2020 first-round draft pick Max Meyer could crack the rotation later this year. Small crowds will be back at Marlins Park, with attendance initially limited to about 25% capacity, or around 9,300 spectators.
2020: 28-32, third place.
Manager: Joe Girardi (second season).
He’s Here: RHP Archie Bradley, RHP Chase Anderson, LHP Matt Moore, LHP Jose Alvarado, RHP Sam Coonrod, INF C.J. Chatham, RHP Brandon Kintzler, OF Matt Joyce, LHP Tony Watson.
He’s Outta Here: OF Jay Bruce, RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Brandon Workman, INF Phil Gosselin, RHP Heath Hembree, RHP David Phelps, RHP Blake Parker, LHP Adam Morgan, LHP Cole Irvin, OF Kyle Garlick, RHP Victor Arano.
Projected Lineup: LF Andrew McCutchen (.253, 10 HRs, 34 RBIs), 1B Rhys Hoskins (.245, 10, 26), RF Bryce Harper (.268, 13, 33, .420 OBP), C J.T. Realmuto (.266, 11, 32), SS Didi Gregorius (.284, 10, 40), 3B Alec Bohm (.338, 4, 23), SS Jean Segura (.266, 7, 25), CF Odubel Herrera (.222, 1, 16 in 2019) or Scott Kingery (.159, 3, 6).
Rotation: RH Aaron Nola (5-5, 3.28 ERA, 96 Ks in 71 1/3 IP), RH Zack Wheeler (4-2, 2.92), RH Zach Eflin (4-2, 3.97), RH Chase Anderson (1-2, 7.22 for Toronto), LH Matt Moore (6-3, 2.65 in Japan).
Key Relievers: RH Archie Bradley (2-0, 2.95, 6/7 saves for Arizona and Cincinnati), RH Hector Neris (2-2, 4.57, 5/8 saves), LH Jose Alvarado (0-0, 6.00), RH Brandon Kintzler (2-3, 2.22, 12/14 saves for Miami), LH Tony Watson (1-0, 2.50, 2 saves), RH Connor Brogdon (1-0, 3.97).
Outlook: Seeking their first winning season since 2011, the Phillies are determined to end a nine-year postseason drought. They have a strong offense that tied for fifth in scoring last season and returns everyone in the starting lineup. Harper, Realmuto and Gregorius anchor the middle of a deep batting order. Nola and Wheeler are a formidable 1-2 punch atop the rotation and Eflin is solid in the No. 3 spot. Anderson and Moore strengthen the back end with top prospect Spencer Howard providing depth. A dismal bullpen that had a 7.06 ERA is much improved with the additions of Bradley, Alvarado, Kintzler and Watson. Girardi hasn’t named a closer but has several options. If key players stay healthy, the offense lives up to expectations and the pitchers perform well, a return to October baseball is a realistic possibility. The Phillies will allow up to 8,800 fans to attend games at the start of the season.
New York Mets
2020: 26-34, tied for fourth place.
Manager: Luis Rojas (second season).
He’s Here: SS Francisco Lindor, RHP Carlos Carrasco, C James McCann, RHP Marcus Stroman, RHP Taijuan Walker, RHP Trevor May, LHP Aaron Loup, LHP Joey Lucchesi, OF Kevin Pillar, INF Jonathan Villar, OF Albert Almora Jr., RHP Jordan Yamamoto, OF/1B José Martínez, RHP Jacob Barnes, LHP Stephen Tarpley, LHP Mike Montgomery, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Sean Reid-Foley, RHP Yennsy Díaz, RHP Sam McWilliams, OF Khalil Lee, RHP Arodys Vizcaíno, LHP Jerry Blevins, INF/OF José Peraza, OF Mallex Smith, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, INF/OF Brandon Drury, SS Wilfredo Tovar, owner Steve Cohen, president Sandy Alderson, acting GM Zack Scott.
He’s Outta Here: GM Brodie Van Wagenen, 2B Robinson Canó, C Wilson Ramos, SS Amed Rosario, INF Andrés Giménez, RHP Rick Porcello, RHP Michael Wacha, LHP Justin Wilson, LHP Steven Matz, LHP Chasen Shreve, OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Brad Brach, 3B Todd Frazier, OF Yoenis Céspedes, C Robinson Chirinos, OF Guillermo Heredia, RHP Jared Hughes, INF Eduardo Núñez, C René Rivera, RHP Erasmo Ramírez, RHP Paul Sewald, RHP Hunter Strickland, RHP Ariel Jurado, C Ali Sánchez, OF Ryan Cordell, INF Jed Lowrie.
Projected Lineup: CF Brandon Nimmo (.280, 8 HRs, 18 RBIs, .404 OBP, .888 OPS), SS Francisco Lindor (.258, 8, 27, .750 OPS with Cleveland), RF Michael Conforto (.322, 9, 31, .927), 1B Pete Alonso (.231, 16, 35, .817 OPS), LF Dominic Smith (.316, 10, 42, .993 OPS), 2B Jeff McNeil (.311, 4, 23, .836 OPS), 3B J.D. Davis (.247, 6, 19, .761 OPS), C James McCann (.289, 7, 15, .896 OPS with White Sox).
Rotation: RH Jacob deGrom (4-2, 2.38 ERA, NL-high 104 Ks, 18 BBs, 68 IP), RH Marcus Stroman (did not pitch last season; 10-13, 3.22, 184 1/3 IP with Blue Jays and Mets in 2019), RH Carlos Carrasco (3-4, 2.91, 82 Ks, 68 IP for Cleveland; will miss start of season with injury), RH Taijuan Walker (4-3, 2.70 with Seattle and Toronto), LH David Peterson (6-2, 3.44 as rookie) or LH Joey Lucchesi (0-1, 7.94, 5 2/3 IP with Padres) or RH Jordan Yamamoto (0-1, 18.26, 8 HRs, 11 1/3 IP with Miami).
Key Relievers: RH Edwin Díaz (2-1, 1.75, 6/10 saves, 50 Ks, 25 2/3 IP), RH Trevor May (1-0, 3.86, 2 saves, 38 Ks, 7 BBs, 5 HRs, 23 1/3 IP with Minnesota), RH Seth Lugo (3-4, 5.15, 3 saves, 47 Ks, 10 BBs, 8 HRs, 36 2/3 IP in 16 games, 7 starts), RH Jeurys Familia (2-0, 3.71, 19 BBs, 26 2/3 IP), RH Miguel Castro (2-2, 4.01, 1 save, 38 Ks, 24 2/3 IP with Orioles and Mets), RH Dellin Betances (0-1, 7.71, 12 BBs, 11 2/3 IP), LH Aaron Loup (3-2, 2.52, 22 Ks, 4 BBs, 25 IP with Rays).
Outlook: A whirlwind offseason began with Cohen buying the franchise from the Wilpon and Katz families for $2.42 billion in November. Cohen brought back Alderson, the Mets’ general manager from 2010-18, as team president and he immediately fired Van Wagenen and several top aides. Canó was then suspended for 162 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug for the second time in his career. He’ll sit out the entire season. Following a flurry of moves, the Mets have 18 newcomers on the 40-man roster. They focused on building depth and landed a big star in Lindor as the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade with Cleveland that netted Carrasco as well. The addition of McCann also makes a dangerous lineup even longer, but the Mets need to deliver in the clutch. They ranked second in the majors in on-base percentage last year and third in OPS, yet finished 13th in runs. The defense is shaky at several spots, and questions remain in middle relief. The rotation is led by deGrom, a two-time Cy Young Award winner and one of baseball’s most dominant arms. Stroman accepted an $18.9 million qualifying offer to return for one year after missing the start of last season with a calf injury and then opting out because of coronavirus concerns. The team hopes to get starter Noah Syndergaard back from Tommy John surgery in June, but the Mets’ new depth will be tested early. Carrasco will be sidelined for a while after tearing his right hamstring in spring training — he had already been slowed in camp by elbow soreness. That could open opportunities for Lucchesi and maybe even Yamamoto. Lugo is likely out until at least May following surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. Martínez, a new bench bat, is expected to miss about four months with a knee injury. New York looks talented enough to end a four-year playoff drought, but it won’t be easy in a tough division ruled by three-time defending champion Atlanta. Expectations are high and there is pressure to win now. Lindor, Conforto, Syndergaard and Stroman can all become free agents after the season. Meanwhile, deGrom turns 33 in June and can opt out of his contract after 2022. The team is in talks with Lindor about a long-term deal, but he says he won’t negotiate during the season. Conforto could be on deck. Citi Field will welcome back fans at 20% capacity (capped at 8,492 seats) early in the season.
2020: 26-34, tied for fourth place.
Manager: Dave Martinez (fourth season).
He’s Here: 1B Josh Bell, LF Kyle Schwarber, LHP Brad Hand, LHP Jon Lester, C Alex Avila, C Welington Castillo, OF Gerardo Parra, LHP Sam Clay, 1B Ryan Zimmerman, RHP Joe Ross.
He’s Outta Here: INF Howie Kendrick, RF Adam Eaton, RHP Aníbal Sánchez, LHP Sean Doolittle, C Kurt Suzuki, CF Michael A. Taylor, 1B Eric Thames, INF Wilmer Difo, RHP Wil Crowe, RHP James Bourque, LHP Roenis Elías.
Projected Lineup: CF Victor Robles (.220, 3 HRs, 15 RBIs), RF Juan Soto (.351, 13, 37, 1.185 OPS), SS Trea Turner (.335, 12, 41, 12 SBs), 1B Josh Bell (.226, 8, 22 with Pirates), LF Kyle Schwarber (.188, 11, 24 with Cubs), 2B Starlin Castro (.267, 2, 4 in 16 games), C Yan Gomes (.284, 4, 13), 3B Carter Kieboom (.202, 0, 9).
Rotation: RH Max Scherzer (5-4, 3.74 ERA, 92 Ks, 67 1/3 innings), LH Patrick Corbin (2-7, 4.66), RH Stephen Strasburg (season-ending surgery after 5 innings in 2020; 18-6, 3.32 in 2019), LH Jon Lester (3-3, 5.16 with Cubs), RH Joe Ross (opted out in 2020; 4-4, 5.48 in 2019).
Key Relievers: LH Brad Hand (2-1, 2.05, AL-leading 16/16 saves with Indians), RH Daniel Hudson (3-2, 6.10, 10/15 saves), RH Will Harris (0-1, 3.06, 1 save), RH Tanner Rainey (1-1, 2.66), RH Wander Suero (2-0, 3.80).
Outlook: After a big step back from World Series champions in 2019 to tied for last place in the NL East in pandemic-shortened 2020, a lot of familiar faces are gone, and the Nationals are counting on their potentially best-in-baseball starting staff — if healthy — and a beefed up batting order to get them back to the postseason. The offense revolves around reigning NL batting champ Soto and Turner, both of whom Washington would love to sign to long-term deals, and the hope is the additions of — and bounce-backs by — Bell (via trade) and Schwarber (free agency) will offer help to the two holdover stars. Scherzer is entering the final season of his seven-year, $210 million deal and turns 37 in July, but still seems capable of the sort of form that earned three Cy Young Awards. Strasburg, the 2019 World Series MVP, will try to rebound after right wrist surgery; Lester is hoping the removal of a parathyroid gland in March will alleviate the sluggishness he felt in his last season with the Cubs. Hand helps the back end of a bullpen that already included a trio of potential closers in Hudson, Harris and Rainey. A big question mark is Kieboom, a first-round draft pick who has struggled at the plate in limited opportunities in the majors. Another is whether Robles can get on base enough to bat leadoff. Zimmerman, who transitions to a bench player and pinch hitter at age 36, and likely fifth starter Ross return after opting out of 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns. The D.C. city government cleared the way for 5,000 fans per game at Nationals Park; the team is hoping that number can increase at some point.
National League West Preview Capsules
Los Angeles Dodgers
2020: 43-17, first place, World Series champions.
Manager: Dave Roberts (sixth season).
He’s Here: RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Tommy Kahnle, LHP Garrett Cleavinger, RHP Corey Knebel, 3B Sheldon Neuse, RHP Gus Varland.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Pedro Báez, INF/OF Enrique Hernández, LF Joc Pederson, RHP Dylan Floro, LHP Adam Kolarek, LHP Jake McGee, RHP Josh Sborz, LHP Alex Wood, OF Terrance Gore.
Projected Lineup: RF Mookie Betts (.292, 16 HRs, 39 RBIs), SS Corey Seager (.307, 15, 41), 3B Justin Turner (.307, 4, 23), CF Cody Bellinger (.239, 12, 30), C Will Smith (.289, 8, 25), 1B Max Muncy (.192, 12, 27) or Edwin Ríos (.250, 8, 17), LF A.J. Pollock (.276, 16, 34) or Chris Taylor (.270, 8, 32), 2B Gavin Lux (.175, 3, 8) or Taylor.
Rotation: RH Trevor Bauer (5-4, 1.73 ERA, 100 Ks, 2 shutouts, NL Cy Young Award with Reds), RH Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.44), LH Clayton Kershaw (6-2, 2.16), LH David Price (opted out in 2020; 7-5, 4.28 in 2019 with Red Sox), LH Julio Urías (3-0, 3.27) or RH Dustin May (3-1, 2.57) or RH Tony Gonsolin (2-2, 2.31).
Key Relievers: RH Kenley Jansen (3-1, 3.33, 11/13 saves, 33 Ks in 24 1/3 IP), RH Brusdar Graterol (1-2, 3.09), RH Blake Treinen (3-3, 3.86), LH Víctor González (3-0, 1.33), RH Joe Kelly (0-0, 1.80), RH Tommy Kahnle (underwent Tommy John surgery with Yankees), RH Corey Knebel (0-0, 6.08 with Brewers).
Outlook: The roster boasts an enviable three MVPs and three Cy Young Award winners, making the Dodgers favorites to win a ninth straight NL West title, which would extend their franchise record. They open the season April 1 at Colorado, which starts a seven-game trip. They’ll celebrate their first World Series championship since 1988 in their home opener April 9 against Washington. It’s likely the team will be able to allow 25% capacity, or 11,000 fans, in attendance after local restrictions are eased. Price pitches for the Dodgers for the first time after opting out last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The club signed Bauer just before spring training, giving Los Angeles perhaps the best rotation in baseball and bulking up the staff for a full 162-game season after last year’s abbreviated 60-game campaign. Buehler, Kershaw and Bauer appear to be locks, with left-handers Price and Urías likely to fill out the rotation. However, Price has indicated he’s willing to do whatever is needed, including working out of the bullpen. He’s made 10 relief appearances in his career. The Dodgers shed some roster stalwarts in free agency, including Hernández, Pederson and Báez, and they re-signed Turner. The core offensive group returns, including Betts, Bellinger, Muncy and Seager, who was the NLCS and World Series MVP.
San Diego Padres
2020: 37-23, second place, lost to Dodgers in Division Series.
Manager: Jayce Tingler (second season).
He’s Here: RHP Yu Darvish, LHP Blake Snell, RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Mark Melancon, 2B Kim Ha-seong, C Victor Caratini, RHP Keone Kela, INF/OF Brian O’Grady.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Kirby Yates, INF Greg Garcia, C Jason Castro, RHP Garrett Richards, 1B Mitch Moreland, RHP Luis Perdomo.
Projected Lineup: CF Trent Grisham (.251, 10 HRs, 26 RBIs), SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (.277, 17, 45), 3B Manny Machado (.304, 16, 47), 1B Eric Hosmer (.287, 9, 36), LF Tommy Pham (.211, 3, 12 in 31 games), RF Wil Myers (.288, 15, 40), 2B Jake Cronenworth (.285, 4, 20), C Austin Nola (.273, 7, 28 with Seattle and San Diego) or Victor Caratini (.241, 1, 16 with Cubs).
Rotation: RH Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01 ERA with Cubs), LH Blake Snell (4-2, 3.24 with Rays), RH Joe Musgrove (1-5, 3.86 with Pirates), RH Chris Paddack (4-5, 4.73), LH Adrian Morejon (2-2, 4.66).
Key Relievers: LH Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 1.45, 4 saves) RH Emilio Pagán (0-1, 4.50, 2 saves), RH Mark Melancon (2-1, 2.78, 11 saves with Atlanta), RH Keone Kela (0-0, 4.50 in 3 games with Pittsburgh), RH Pierce Johnson (3-1, 2.70), RH Dan Altavilla (2-3, 5.75, 1 save with Seattle and San Diego), RH Craig Stammen (4-2, 5.63), RH Tim Hill (3-0, 4.50), RH Austin Adams (0-0, 4.50 in 3 games).
Outlook: This will be one of the most-anticipated seasons in San Diego history. Anchored by a star-studded infield featuring Tatis and Machado, the Padres ended a 13-year playoff drought and won a first-round series against St. Louis last season before being swept out of the Division Series by the rival Dodgers, who went on to win the World Series. The electrifying Tatis signed the longest contract in MLB history during spring training, a 14-year, $340 million deal. Tatis has hit full-blown superstar status on and off the field, including being selected as the cover athlete for the video game MLB The Show 21. The cover shows Tatis doing a bat flip after one of his two homers in Game 2 against the Cardinals. At 22, he’s the youngest player chosen for the cover. After running out of starting pitching in the playoffs and then losing Mike Clevinger to Tommy John surgery, general manager A.J. Preller quickly rebuilt the rotation with a flurry of blockbuster trades after Christmas that landed Darvish, Snell and local product Musgrove. It doesn’t appear Dinelson Lamet, who missed the playoffs with an arm injury, will be ready for the start of the season. He finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting. Last year’s opening day starter, Paddack, is looking for a bounce-back season. Fans will be eager to see how Kim, a slugger from South Korea, fits into the mix at second base, where Cronenworth played well enough to tie for second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting. The Padres hadn’t settled on a closer yet. Among the candidates were Pomeranz, Pagán, Melancon and Kela. Pham was stabbed during an altercation in a strip club parking lot in mid-October and required 200 stitches. San Diego re-signed Jurickson Profar, who played five positions last season.
San Francisco Giants
2020: 29-31, third place.
Manager: Gabe Kapler (second season).
He’s Here: C Buster Posey, LHP Alex Wood, RHP Anthony DeSclafani, RHP Aaron Sanchez, 2B Tommy La Stella, OF LaMonte Wade, LHP Jose Alvarez, RHP Dedniel Nunez, LHP Scott Kazmir, C Curt Casali.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Trevor Cahill, LHP Drew Smyly, LHP Tony Watson, RHP Sam Coonrod, LHP Andrew Suarez, RHP Shaun Anderson.
Projected Lineup: 3B Tommy La Stella (.281, 5 HRs, 25 RBIs with Angels and Athletics), RF Mike Yastrzemski (.297, 10, 35), 2B Donovan Solano (.326, 3, 29), LF Alex Dickerson (.298, 10, 27), C Buster Posey (sat out last season; .257, 7, 38 in 2019), 1B Brandon Belt (.309, 9, 30), SS Brandon Crawford (.256, 8, 28), CF Mauricio Dubon (.274, 4, 19).
Rotation: RH Kevin Gausman (3-3, 2.62 ERA), RH Johnny Cueto (2-3, 5.40), RH Anthony DeSclafani (1-2, 7.22 for Reds), RH Aaron Sanchez (5-14, 5.89 in 2019 for Blue Jays and Astros), LH Alex Wood (0-1, 6.39 for Dodgers).
Key Relievers: LH Jake McGee (3-1, 2.66), RH Matt Wisler (0-1, 1.07, 1 save), LH Jarlin Garcia (2-1, 0.49), LH Jose Alvarez (0-0, 1.42), RH Tyler Rogers (3-3, 4.50, 3 saves), RH Reyes Moronta (3-7, 2.86 in 2019), RH Dedniel Nunez (5-4, 4.39 at Class A in 2019 for Mets organization).
Outlook: The Giants finished one game out of a spot in the expanded playoffs during Kapler’s first season after replacing Bruce Bochy, who retired. The offense took a major step forward by scoring 4.98 runs per game, most for the Giants since Barry Bonds’ final MVP season in 2004. Alterations to their stadium led to a big scoring spree, with the Giants increasing their output by 2.1 runs per game at home. San Francisco didn’t make any major moves this offseason but will get Posey back behind the plate after he opted out of the 2020 season. The Giants hope the time off has helped Posey heal from injuries and regain the power stroke that was missing from 2018-19. San Francisco re-signed Gausman after a solid 2020 season and added Wood, DeSclafani and Sanchez to bolster the rotation. La Stella provides an upgrade as a utility player who should get time at third and second base. But the Giants have a lot of work ahead to catch the Padres and Dodgers in the NL West. The Giants were still waiting for approval from the city for fans but hope to be able to begin the season with 20% capacity.
2020: 26-34, fourth place.
Manager: Bud Black (fifth season).
Here’s Here: LHP Austin Gomber, RHP Robert Stephenson, 1B C.J. Cron, 1B Greg Bird.
He’s Outta Here: 3B Nolan Arenado, OF David Dahl, INF Daniel Murphy, OF Kevin Pillar, DH/OF Matt Kemp, RHP Jeff Hoffman, C Tony Wolters, OF Ian Desmond (opted out).
Projected Lineup: LF Raimel Tapia (.321, 1 HR, 17 RBIs), 2B Brendan Rodgers (.095, 0, 2 in 21 plate appearances) or Garrett Hampson (.234, 5, 11), RF Charlie Blackmon (.303, 6, 42, 21 multi-hit games), SS Trevor Story (.289, 11, 28, 15 SBs), 3B Ryan McMahon (.215, 9, 26), 1B Josh Fuentes (.306, 2, 17) or C.J. Cron (.190, 4, 8 with Detroit) or Bird (did not play last season), CF Sam Hilliard (.210, 6, 10), C Elias Diaz (.235, 2, 9).
Rotation: RH Germán Márquez (4-6, 3.75 ERA, 81 2/3 IP), LH Kyle Freeland (2-3, 4.33), RH Jon Gray (2-4, 6.69 in 8 starts), LH Austin Gomber (1-1, 1.86 in 14 games for St. Louis), RH Antonio Senzatela (5-3, 3.44 in 73 1/3 IP).
Key Relievers: RH Daniel Bard (4-2, 3.65, 6/6 saves), RH Scott Oberg (missed 2020 with blood clot in pitching arm), RH Mychal Givens (1-1, 3.63 with Baltimore and Colorado), RH Carlos Estévez (1-3, 7.50 in 26 games), RH Jairo Díaz (1-2, 7.65), RH Yency Almonte (3-0, 2.93), RH Robert Stephenson (0-0, 9.90 in 10 games for Cincinnati).
Outlook: The Rockies angered their fan base by trading Arenado to St. Louis. The eight-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star forced his way out of the Mile High City by sticking to his request to be dealt. He was sent to the Cardinals for Gomber and four minor leaguers in a deal that may have an impact on keeping Story in town. The two-time All-Star can become a free agent after this season. Colorado also had Desmond opt out for a second consecutive season due to coronavirus concerns. A strength of the Rockies may not be their bats, but their arms, with a rotation of Márquez, Senzatela, Gray, Freeland and Gomber. The Rockies made the playoffs in 2017 and ’18, but slid back in ’19 with a 91-loss campaign and missed the postseason again in ’20. They open the season by hosting the World Series champion Dodgers on April 1. The state recently approved Coors Field for a 42.6% capacity variance starting opening day, which means roughly 21,363 fans.
2020: 25-35, fifth place.
Manager: Torey Lovullo (fifth season).
He’s Here: RHP Joakim Soria, RHP Chris Devenski, INF Asdrubal Cabrera, RHP Tyler Clippard.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Junior Guerra, RHP Hector Rondon, OF Jon Jay, RHP Mike Leake.
Projected Lineup: RF Kole Calhoun (.226, 16 HRs, 40 RBIs), CF Ketel Marte (.287, 2, 17), 3B Eduardo Escobar (.212, 4, 20), 1B Christian Walker (.271, 7, 34, 18 doubles), LF David Peralta (.300, 5, 34), 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.242, 8, 31 with Nationals), C Carson Kelly (.221, 5, 19), SS Nick Ahmed (.266, 5, 29).
Rotation: RH Zac Gallen (3-2, 2.75 ERA), LH Madison Bumgarner (1-4, 6.48), RH Merrill Kelly (3-2, 2.59), RH Luke Weaver (1-9, 6.58), LH Caleb Smith (0-0, 2.57 with Marlins and Diamondbacks).
Key Relievers: RH Joakim Soria (2-2, 2.82, 2 saves with Athletics), RH Tyler Clippard (2-1, 2.77 with Twins), RH Stefan Crichton (2-2, 2.42), RH Taylor Widener (0-1, 4.50), RH Chris Devenski (0-1, 14.73 with Astros).
Outlook: The Diamondbacks decided to keep their roster largely intact despite a disappointing 2020. Arizona is hoping for several bounce-back seasons at the plate from guys like Escobar, Marte and Kelly. The D-backs are also optimistic that Bumgarner and Weaver will be better in the starting rotation after both had an ERA over 6.00 last year. Calhoun will likely miss the first few weeks of the season while recovering from knee surgery, opening the door for younger players like Tim Locastro or Pavin Smith to solidify a role in the outfield rotation. The addition of Cabrera gives Arizona added flexibility in the infield since he can play third, second or first. Gallen pitched like an ace for much of last season and finished ninth in NL Cy Young Award voting. The Diamondbacks hope veteran additions to the bullpen such as Soria, Clippard and Devenski can provide guidance for what otherwise will likely be a young group.
National League Central Preview Capsules
2020: 34-26, first place, lost to Marlins in first round of playoffs.
Manager: David Ross (second season).
He’s Here: OF Joc Pederson, RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Zach Davies, RHP Trevor Williams, RHP Brandon Workman, INF Eric Sogard, RHP Kohl Stewart, C Austin Romine, OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Jonathan Holder, RHP Shelby Miller, RHP Robert Stock, INF Sergio Alcántara.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Yu Darvish, OF Kyle Schwarber, LHP Jon Lester, LHP José Quintana, OF Albert Almora, Jr., C Victor Caratini, 2B Jason Kipnis, RHP Tyler Chatwood, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, OF Billy Hamilton, OF José Martínez.
Projected Lineup: CF Ian Happ (.258, 12 HRs, 28 RBIs, .866 OPS), 1B Anthony Rizzo (.222, 11, 24, .755 OPS), 3B Kris Bryant (.206, 4, 11), C Willson Contreras (.243, 7, 26, 37 runs), SS Javier Báez (.203, 8, 24), LF Joc Pederson (.190, 7, 16 with Dodgers), RF Jason Heyward (.265, 6, 22, .848 OPS), 2B Nico Hoerner (.222, 0, 13) or David Bote (.200, 7, 29).
Rotation: RH Kyle Hendricks (6-5, 2.88 ERA), RH Zach Davies (7-4, 2.73 for Padres), RH Jake Arrieta (4-4, 5.08 for Phillies), RH Alec Mills (5-5, 4.48), RH Trevor Williams (2-8, 6.18 for Pirates) or RH Adbert Alzolay (1-1, 2.95).
Key Relievers: RH Craig Kimbrel (0-1, 5.28, 2 saves), RH Brandon Workman (1-4, 5.95, 9/12 saves for Red Sox and Phillies), RH Ryan Tepera (0-1, 3.92), RH Dan Winkler (0-0, 2.95), LH Andrew Chafin (1-2, 6.52 for Diamondbacks and Cubs), RH Rowan Wick (0-1, 3.12, 4 saves), LH Kyle Ryan (1-0, 5.17, 1 save), RH Shelby Miller (1-3, 8.59 for Rangers in 2019).
Outlook: Rizzo, Bryant and Báez are coming off down years, and they are eligible for free agency after this season. The rotation took a hit when Darvish was traded to San Diego. It remains to be seen if Kimbrel can carry over his strong finish in 2020 into this season. But the rest of the NL Central isn’t exactly imposing, so it’s not hard to imagine the Cubs contending for another playoff appearance. Rizzo, Bryant and Báez struggled with the unusual circumstances surrounding last year’s pandemic-shortened season, and Bryant was hampered by injuries. A return to form for any one of them would help the Cubs improve on their .220 team batting average from a year ago. While the loss of Darvish is a big blow, Davies is coming off a strong season in San Diego. Arrieta is looking to regain the form he showed during his first stint in Chicago, and Williams was a 14-game winner with Pittsburgh in 2018. The Cubs also are hoping Kimbrel has solved the issues he had at the beginning of last season. The closer had a 1.29 ERA over his last 15 games last year, including 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his only playoff appearance.
St. Louis Cardinals
2020: 30-28, second place, lost to Padres in first round of playoffs.
Manager: Mike Shildt (third season).
He’s Here: 3B Nolan Arenado, 3B Jose Rondon.
He’s Outta Here: 2B Kolten Wong, OF Dexter Fowler, LHP Austin Gomber, RHP John Brebbia, C Matt Wieters, 1B Rangel Ravelo.
Projected Lineup: 2B Tommy Edman (.250, 5 HRs, 26 RBIs), SS Paul DeJong (.250, 3, 25), 1B Paul Goldschmidt (.304, 6, 21), 3B Nolen Arenado (.253, 8, 26 with Rockies), RF Dylan Carlson (.200, 3, 16), C Yadier Molina (.262, 4, 16), LF Tyler O’Neill (.173, 7, 19), CF Harrison Bader (.226, 4, 11).
Rotation: RH Jack Flaherty (4-3, 4.91 ERA), LH Kwang Hyun Kim (3-0, 1.62), RH Adam Wainwright (5-3, 3.15), RH Carlos Martinez (0-3, 9.90), RH Miles Mikolas (did not pitch in 2020).
Key Relievers: RH Alex Reyes (2-1, 3.20), RH Giovanny Gallegos (2-2, 3.60), LH Andrew Miller (1-1, 2.77), RHP Jordan Hicks (did not pitch in 2020), RH Ryan Helsley (1-1, 5.25), RH John Gant (0-3, 2.40), LH Tyler Webb (1-1, 2.08), RH Kodi Whitley (0-0, 1.93), RH Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-3, 4.96).
Outlook: The Cardinals thought they were missing one big piece last season and they landed it when they made a stunning late-offseason trade for Arenado to play third base. He provides protection in the order for Goldschmidt while also adding another Gold Glove winner to what could be the best defense in the National League. The rotation returns intact from last season with the exception of RHP Dakota Hudson, who had Tommy John surgery in September, and the bullpen is deep. Wainwright and Molina are back as one of the longest-tenured batterymates in baseball history, providing plenty of experience for a team that will have a relatively young outfield. Put it all together and the Cardinals believe they can make another postseason run this year.
2020: 31-29, third place, wild card, lost to Braves in first round of playoffs.
Manager: David Bell (third season).
He’s Here: INF Dee Strange-Gordon, INF Kyle Holder, OF Scott Heineman, OF Tyler Naquin, RHP Noé Ramirez.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Raisel Iglesias, RHP Anthony DeSclafani, SS Freddy Galvis, C Curt Casali.
Projected Lineup: LF Jesse Winker (.255, 12 HRs, 23 RBIs), RF Nick Castellanos (.225, 14, 34), 1B Joey Votto (.226, 11, 22), 3B Eugenio Suarez (.202, 15, 38), 2B Mike Moustakas, (230, 8, 27), CF Shogo Akiyama (.245, 0, 9) or Nick Senzel (.186. 2, 8), SS Kyle Farmer (.266, 0, 4), C Tucker Barnhart (.205, 5, 13).
Rotation: RH Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.21 ERA, 89 Ks), RH Sonny Gray (5-3, 3.70, 72 Ks), RH Tyler Mahle (2-2, 3.59, 60 Ks), LH Wade Miley (0-3, 5.65), RH Michael Lorenzen (3-1, 4.28).
Key Relievers: RH Tejay Antone (0-3, 2.80, 45 Ks), RHP Lucas Sims (3-0, 2.45), LH Amir Garrett (1-0, 2.45, 1 save), LH Sean Doolittle (0-2, 5.87 in 7 2/3 IP for Washington).
Outlook: Despite more offseason subtractions than additions, confidence is high in Reds camp. Bell believes the team was just hitting its stride last September when it won 11 of the last 14 regular-season games to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years. There are questions about pitching without Bauer, the NL Cy Young Award winner who signed a free-agent contract with the Dodgers, and Iglesias, the veteran closer who was traded to the Angels. But the Reds feel they have a solid staff. Galvis left to sign with Baltimore, leaving Farmer, Strange-Gordon and others to compete for the shortstop job. Cincinnati hit a major league-worst .212 during the 60-game 2020 season and will need better performances out of veterans like Votto, Suarez, Castellanos and Moustakas to make another run in what shapes up as a soft NL Central. Around 12,000 fans will be allowed to attend games at Great American Ball Park to begin the season.
2020: 29-31, fourth place, wild card, lost to Dodgers in first round of playoffs.
Manager: Craig Counsell (seventh season).
He’s Here: 2B Kolten Wong, CF Jackie Bradley Jr., 3B Travis Shaw, C Luke Maile, INF Daniel Robertson, RHP Jordan Zimmermann.
He’s Outta Here: OF Ryan Braun, LHP Álex Claudio, OF Ben Gamel, 1B/3B Jedd Gyorko, RHP Corey Knebel, INF Eric Sogard.
Projected Lineup: 2B Kolten Wong (.265, 1 HR, 16 RBIs, .350 OBP with Cardinals), LF Christian Yelich (.205, 12, 22, .356 OBP), 1B Keston Hiura (.212, 13, 32, NL-high 85 strikeouts), CF Lorenzo Cain (.333, 0, 2, opted out after 5 games) or Jackie Bradley Jr. (.283, 7, 22 with Red Sox), RF Avisaíl García (.238, 2, 15) or Bradley, 3B Travis Shaw (.239, 6, 17 with Blue Jays), SS Orlando Arcia (.260, 5, 20) or Luis Urías (.239, 0, 11), C Omar Narváez (.176, 2, 10).
Rotation: RH Brandon Woodruff (3-5, 3.05 ERA, 91 Ks in 73 2/3 innings, NL-leading 13 starts), RH Corbin Burnes (4-1, 2.11, 88 Ks in 59 2/3 IP), LH Brett Anderson (4-4, 4.21), RH Adrian Houser (1-6, 5.30), RH Josh Lindblom (2-4, 5.16) or LH Eric Lauer (0-2, 13.09) or RH Freddy Peralta (3-1, 3.99, 47 Ks in 29 1/3 IP) or RH Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 7.94 with Tigers).
Key Relievers: LH Josh Hader (1-2, 3.79, 13/15 saves, 31 Ks in 19 IP), RH Devin Williams (4-1, 0.33, 53 Ks, 8 hits allowed in 27 IP, NL Rookie of the Year), RH Eric Yardley (2-0, 1.54), LH Brent Suter (2-0, 3.13), RH Brad Boxberger (1-0, 3.00 with Marlins), RH Drew Rasmussen (1-0, 5.87, 21 Ks in 15 1/3 IP), RH Justin Topa (0-1, 2.35, 12 Ks in 7 2/3 IP).
Outlook: The Brewers’ chances of reaching the playoffs for a fourth straight season depend on whether they can get more offense after hitters up and down their lineup failed to meet expectations last season. The Brewers are counting on Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, to regain his All-Star form. Hiura, García and Narváez also must bounce back from disappointing seasons. Milwaukee should benefit from having Cain for a full season after he sat out most of the 2020 campaign. The additions of Bradley and Wong – both left-handed hitters and Gold Glove winners – should balance the lineup and help out the pitching staff. Woodruff and Burnes provide a solid 1-2 punch, but the Brewers must get more consistency from the rest of their rotation. Milwaukee probably won’t blow many leads with Williams and Hader anchoring the bullpen. City health officials are permitting spectators to fill 25% of American Family Field’s seating capacity at the start of the season.
2020: 19-41, fifth place.
Manager: Derek Shelton (second season).
He’s Here: INF Todd Frazier, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP David Bednar, RHP Wil Crowe, RHP Sean Poppen, RHP Miguel Yajure, C Michael Perez, INF Wilmer Difo, LHP Chasen Shreve, C Tony Wolters, OF Brian Goodwin, OF Dustin Fowler.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Jameson Taillon, RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Trevor Williams, 1B Josh Bell, RHP Keone Kela, INF/OF Jose Osuna, LHP Derek Holland, LHP Nik Turley, RHP Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP Nick Burdi.
Projected Lineup: 2B Adam Frazier (.230, 7 HRs, 23 RBIs), LF Bryan Reynolds (.189, 7, 19, 5 OF assists), 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (.376, 5, 11 in 24 games), 1B Colin Moran (.247, 10, 23, 10 2Bs), RF Gregory Polanco (.153, 7, 22), C Jacob Stallings (.248, 3, 18), SS Kevin Newman (.224, 1, 10) or Erik Gonzalez (.227, 3, 20) or Cole Tucker (.220, 1, 8), CF Brian Goodwin (.215, 6, 22 with Reds and Angels) or Dustin Fowler (.224, 6, 23 with Oakland in 2018).
Rotation: RH Mitch Keller (1-1, 2.91 ERA in 5 starts), LH Steven Brault (1-3, 3.38), RH Chad Kuhl (2-3, 4.27), LH Tyler Anderson (4-3, 4.37 with Giants), JT Brubaker (1-3, 4.94) or Wil Crowe (0-1, 1.35 in 3 games with Washington).
Key Relievers: RH Richard Rodriguez (3-2, 2.70, 4/5 saves), RH Kyle Crick (0-1, 1.59), RH Michael Feliz (0-0, 32.40 in 3 games), LH Sam Howard (2-3, 3.86), RH Chris Stratton (2-1, 3.90), RH Duane Underwood (1-0, 7.36 with Cubs), RH Cody Ponce (1-1, 3.18), LH Chasen Shreve (1-0, 3.96 with Mets), RH Trevor Cahill (1-2, 3.24 with Giants).
Outlook: The Pirates are in the midst of a massive reset as general manager Ben Cherington enters his second season on the job. Gone are familiar faces like Taillon and Bell, among others, their departures via trade part of a plan dedicated to stockpiling prospects in the hope that enough pan out down the road to return Pittsburgh to contention. While the future looks (sorta) bright, the present figures to be bumpy. The Pirates finished with the worst record in the majors in 2020 and head into 2021 with a roster that has even less major league experience. Hayes was even better than advertised during his September call-up and finished sixth in NL Rookie of the Year voting. He and Keller are the linchpins whose individual development this season could be far more important than anything that happens in the win/loss column. Bounce-back seasons from Reynolds and Polanco (likely in his final months with the team) would help the offense, but even in a division that might be the worst in the NL if not the majors, expectations are really, really low. Fans will be allowed back at PNC Park this spring, but given the lack of buzz in general the Pirates may be hard-pressed to even fill those seats after the initial “we’re glad baseball is back” crowd gets its fix.
American League Central Preview Capsules
2020: 36-24, first place, lost to Astros in first round of playoffs.
Manager: Rocco Baldelli (third season).
He’s Here: SS Andrelton Simmons, RHP Alex Colomé, LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHP Hansel Robles, RHP Shaun Anderson, OF Kyle Garlick, OF Keon Broxton.
He’s Outta Here: LF Eddie Rosario, RHP Sergio Romo, RHP Trevor May, RHP Jake Odorizzi, INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez, LHP Rich Hill, RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Matt Wisler, INF Ehire Adrianza, C Alex Avila.
Projected Lineup: RF Max Kepler (.228, 9 HRs, 23 RBIs), 2B Jorge Polanco (.258, 4, 19), 3B Josh Donaldson (.222, 6, 11 in 28 games), DH Nelson Cruz (.303, 16, 33, 33 runs, .992 OPS), 1B Miguel Sanó (.204, 13, 25, 90 strikeouts), LF Alex Kirilloff (rookie) or Brent Rooker (.316, 1, 5 in 7 games), CF Byron Buxton (.254, 13, 27 in 39 games), C Mitch Garver (.167, 2, 5 in 23 games), SS Andrelton Simmons (.297, 0, 10 in 30 games with Angels).
Rotation: RH Kenta Maeda (6-1, 2.70 ERA), RH José Berríos (5-4, 4.00), RH Michael Pineda (2-0, 3.38 in 5 starts), LH J.A. Happ (2-2, 3.47 for Yankees), RH Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.71 in 6 starts for Blue Jays).
Key Relievers: RH Alex Colomé (2-0, 0.81, 12/13 saves for White Sox), LH Taylor Rogers (2-4, 4.05, 9/11 saves), RH Tyler Duffey (1-1, 1.88, 24 strikeouts in 31 innings), RH Hansel Robles (0-2, 10.26 in 16 2/3 innings for Angels), RH Jorge Alcalá (2-1, 2.63).
Outlook: The Twins have returned largely the same team that won the last two AL Central titles, aiming to end their major league-record 18-game postseason losing streak. The pitching staff was superb during the pandemic-shortened 2020 schedule, and Happ and Shoemaker have added value and experience to the rotation with Randy Dobnak moving to a long-relief role after making 10 starts last year. Maeda and Berríos make for a solid one-two punch, but whether the pitching is deep enough for a postseason run remains to be seen. Signing away Colomé from their primary division competitor ought to pay off over the long haul, but to stay ahead of the White Sox, the offense will have to produce more like 2019 than 2020. Kirilloff made his major league debut in the playoffs after tearing up the team’s alternate training site with an otherworldly hitting display. The Twins could keep him in Triple-A to start and let Rooker, another of the organization’s top prospects, show off his bat. Garlick or Broxton could stick around for depth in the meantime. Keeping Buxton and Donaldson healthy figures to be the biggest key to success for the lineup, after a balky calf kept Donaldson from doing much in his debut with the Twins last year. The arrival of Simmons has given the infield defense a big boost and allowed the offense-oriented Polanco to move to a position that’s a more natural fit. There should be a winning team waiting for Twins fans who file back into Target Field, starting at about 25% capacity. What ultimately matters, though, after the summer fun is whether this talented club can finally win a game in the fall.
2020: 35-25, second place, lost to Yankees in first round of playoffs.
Manager: Terry Francona (ninth season).
He’s Here: OF Eddie Rosario, INF Andrés Giménez, INF Amed Rosario, RHP Bryan Shaw, OF Harold Ramirez.
He’s Outta Here: SS Francisco Lindor, RHP Carlos Carrasco, 1B Carlos Santana, LHP Brad Hand, OF Tyler Naquin, LHP Oliver Pérez, RHP Adam Cimber, OF Delino DeShields Jr., INF Mike Freeman.
Projected Lineup: 2B César Hernández (.283, 3 HRs, 20 RBIs, 35 runs), CF Óscar Mercado (.128, 1, 6 in 36 games), LF Eddie Rosario (.257, 13, 42 with Minnesota), 3B José Ramírez (292, 17, 46, 45 runs, 10 steals, .993 OPS), DH Franmil Reyes (.275, 9, 35, 69 Ks), Jake Bauers (spent 2020 season at alternate training site) or 1B Bobby Bradley (spent 2020 at alternate training site), RF Josh Naylor (.247, 1, 6 in 40 games for Padres and Indians) or Jordan Luplow (.192, 2, 8 in 29 games), C Roberto Pérez (.165 1, 5 in 32 games, won Gold Glove), SS Andrés Giménez (.263, 3, 12 in 49 games for Mets).
Rotation: RH Shane Bieber (8-1, 1.63 ERA, 122 Ks, led majors in all three categories), RH Zach Plesac (4-2, 2.28, 57 Ks in 55 1/3 innings), RH Aaron Civale (4-6, 4.74), RH Triston McKenzie (2-1, 3.24), RH Cal Quantrill (2-0, 2.28 in 18 games for Padres and Indians) or LH Logan Allen (3.38, 3 games).
Key Relievers: RH James Karinchak (1-2, 2.67, 53 Ks in 27 innings), RH Emmanuel Clase (2-3, 2.31 in 2019 for Rangers, suspended in 2020 for PEDs), RH Nick Wittgren (2-0, 3.43 in 20 games), RH Phil Maton (3-3, 4.47 in 23 games), LH Oliver Pérez (1-1, 2.00 in 21 games, .185 vs. lefties), RH Adam Plutko (2-2, 4.88), RH Bryan Shaw (1-0, 18.00 in 6 innings for Mariners).
Outlook: Expectations have fallen following Lindor’s trade this winter, but the Indians believe they have enough talent to compete for the AL Central title. They certainly have the pitching. At just 25, Bieber has become one of baseball’s best starters, and the right-hander anchors a staff with big arms but limited experience. Karinchak is the new closer following Hand’s departure, and Clase, with his 100 mph fastball, gives Francona another back-end weapon. Ramírez was more consistent than Lindor last season, and he’ll need to carry an even heavier offensive load. Eddie Rosario’s signing to a one-year contract — he pounded Cleveland pitching with Minnesota — should offset some of the power lost with Lindor and Santana leaving, and he brings needed quality to an unsettled outfield. Francona’s return after missing most of last season due to health issues is another positive for the Indians, who will probably be known by another name in 2022. Cleveland will host fans in April at 30% capacity at 34,788-seat Progressive Field.
Chicago White Sox
2020: 35-25, third place, wild card, lost to Oakland in first round of playoffs.
Manager: Tony La Russa (first season of second stint with team).
He’s Here: Manager Tony La Russa, RHP Liam Hendriks, RHP Lance Lynn, OF Adam Eaton, C Jonathan Lucroy.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Rick Renteria, DH Edwin Encarnación, C James McCann, RHP Alex Colomé, 2B Yolmer Sanchez, LHP Gio Gonzalez, CF Jarrod Dyson, RHP Dane Dunning, RF Nomar Mazara.
Projected Lineup: SS Tim Anderson (.322, 10 HRs, 21 RBIs), CF Luis Robert (.233, 11, 31), 1B José Abreu (.317, 19, 60, AL MVP), 3B Yoán Moncada (.225, 6, 24), LF Eloy Jiménez (.296, 14, 41), C Yasmani Grandal (.230, 8, 27), DH Andrew Vaughn (.278, 6, 36 at Arizona Rookie League and Class A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem in 2019), RF Adam Eaton (.226, 4, 17 with Washington), 2B Nick Madrigal (.340, 0, 11).
Rotation: RH Lucas Giolito (4-3, 3.48 ERA, 97 Ks, 28 BBs), LH Dallas Keuchel (6-2, 1.99), RH Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32, 84 IP with Texas), RH Dylan Cease (5-4, 4.01, 44 Ks, 34 BBs), LH Carlos Rodon (0-2, 8.22) or RH Reynaldo López (1-3, 6.49).
Key Relievers: RH Liam Hendriks (3-1, 1.78, 14/15 saves, 37 Ks, 3 BBs in 25 1/3 IP with Oakland), LH Garrett Crochet (0-0, 0.00, 8 Ks, 0 BBs in 5 appearances), RH Michael Kopech (1-1, 5.02 in 4 starts in 2018), LH Aaron Bummer (1-0, 0.96), RH Evan Marshall (2-1, 2.38), RH Matt Foster (6-1, 2.20), RH Codi Heuer (3-0, 1.52).
Outlook: The White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and ended a run of seven losing seasons last year. Now, they’re aiming for the biggest prize of all. Chicago loaded up in the offseason while other teams were cutting expenses, hoping to bring home its first World Series championship since 2005 and only the second since 1917. The club made an eye-opening change in the dugout when it brought back Hall of Famer and three-time champion La Russa to take over for Renteria. The move came 34 years after the White Sox fired La Russa, who went on to win a title with Oakland and two more with St. Louis. But he hasn’t filled out a lineup card since the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011. Something else to watch: How will he relate to a vibrant, fun-loving team? That wasn’t the only big move the White Sox made. They added arguably the game’s best closer when they signed Hendriks to a $54 million, three-year deal. The Australian was on the mound when Oakland knocked off Chicago in their wild-card series. The White Sox also acquired Lynn from Texas, adding a workhorse starter to go with Giolito and Keuchel. The hard-throwing Kopech is back following Tommy John surgery in 2018 that sidelined him for the following season and a decision to opt out in 2020. The lineup — anchored by AL MVP Abreu and 2019 major league batting champion Anderson — is deep. And fans will get a chance to see them in person, at least on a limited basis. The White Sox and crosstown Cubs got the green light from the city to allow spectators with capacity capped at 20% — 8,122 at Guaranteed Rate Field and 8,274 at Wrigley Field.
Kansas City Royals
2020: 26-34, fourth place.
Manager: Mike Matheny (second season).
He’s Here: LHP Mike Minor, 1B/DH Carlos Santana, OF Andrew Benintendi, RHP Wade Davis, RHP Ervin Santana, CF Michael A. Taylor, RHP Carlos Sanabria, 2B Hanser Alberto.
He’s Outta Here: LF Alex Gordon, OF Franchy Cordero, RHP Ian Kennedy, 3B Maikel Franco, RHP Glenn Sparkman, RHP Matt Harvey.
Projected Lineup: RF Whit Merrifield (.282, 9 HRs, 30 RBIs, 12 SBs), SS Adalberto Mondesi (.256, 6, 22, 24 SBs), C Salvador Perez (.333, 11, 32), DH Jorge Soler (.228, 8, 24), 1B Carlos Santana (.199, 8, 30, 47 BBs with Indians), 3B Hunter Dozier (.228, 6, 12), LF Andrew Benintendi (.103, 0, 1 in 14 games with Red Sox), CF Michael Taylor (.196, 5, 16 with Washington), 2B Nicky Lopez (.201, 1, 13).
Rotation: RH Brad Keller (5-3, 2.47 ERA), LH Danny Duffy (4-4, 4.95), LH Mike Minor (1-6, 5.56 with Rangers and Athletics), RH Brady Singer (4-5, 4.06), LH Kris Bubic (1-6, 4.32).
Key Relievers: RH Josh Staumont (2-1, 2.45), RH Scott Barlow (2-1, 4.20), RH Tyler Zuber (1-2, 4.09), LH Jakob Junis (0-2, 6.39), RH Greg Holland (3-0, 1.91, 6 saves), RH Kyle Zimmer (1-0, 1.57), RH Wade Davis (0-1, 20.77 with Rockies).
Outlook: The first wave of college arms that the Royals drafted a few years ago started to arrive last season with Singer and Bubic showing promise in the rotation. They could soon be joined by LHP Asa Lacy, the No. 4 overall pick last summer, and fellow first-rounders LHP Daniel Lynch and RHP Jackson Kowar. If all those youngsters are able to show progress on the mound, the Royals could return to .500 and perhaps compete for a playoff spot given the investment GM Dayton Moore made in the rest of the roster. He signed Santana, a longtime AL Central nemesis, to handle first base, and swung a three-team trade for Benintendi. Throw in the signings of veteran pitchers Minor and Davis, and the Royals are deeper and more talented than they have been at any point since going to back-to-back World Series in 2014 and ’15 and beating the New York Mets in 2015 to win their second championship.
2020: 23-35, fifth place.
Manager: AJ Hinch (first season).
He’s Here: Manager AJ Hinch, C Wilson Ramos, OF Nomar Mazara, OF Robbie Grossman, INF Renato Nunez, RHP Jose Urena, RHP Julio Teheran, LHP Derek Holland, RHP Wily Peralta, RHP Drew Hutchison, LHP Robbie Ross Jr., LHP Miguel Del Pozo, C Dustin Garneau, RHP Erasmo Ramirez, INF Greg Garcia.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Ron Gardenhire, C Austin Romine, RHP Ivan Nova, RHP Jordan Zimmermann, 1B C.J. Cron, 1B Brandon Dixon, RHP Anthony Castro.
Projected Lineup: LF Robbie Grossman (.241, 8 HRs, 23 RBIs with Athletics), 3B Jeimer Candelario (.297, 7, 29), 2B Jonathan Schoop (.278, 8, 23), DH Miguel Cabrera (.250, 10, 35), SS Willi Castro (.349, 6, 24), 1B Renato Nunez (.256, 12, 31 with Orioles), RF Nomar Mazara (.228, 1, 15 with White Sox) or Victor Reyes (.277, 4, 14), C Wilson Ramos (.239, 5, 15 with Mets), CF JaCoby Jones (.268, 5, 14).
Rotation; LH Matthew Boyd (3-7, 6.71 ERA), RH Spencer Turnbull (4-4, 3.97), RH Casey Mize (0-3, 6.99), LH Tarik Skubal (1-4, 5.63), RH Jose Urena (0-3, 5.40 with Marlins) or RH Michael Fulmer (0-2, 8.78).
Key Relievers: RH Bryan Garcia (2-1, 1.66, 4/6 saves), LH Gregory Soto (0-1, 4.30, 2 saves), RH Joe Jimenez (1-3, 7.15, 5/6 saves), RH Jose Cisnero (3-3, 3.03), RH Buck Farmer (1-0, 3.80).
Outlook: After missing last season while suspended in the aftermath of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, Hinch gets his opportunity to manage again with the rebuilding Tigers. He takes over a team that averaged 103 losses from 2017-19 and then finished last in the shortened 2020 season. Detroit does have a handful of highly touted prospects, including Mize and Skubal, who both pitched a bit at the big league level last year. Outfielder Riley Greene, infielder Spencer Torkelson and right-hander Matt Manning are also prospects to watch, although none of them have reached the majors yet. Cabrera is on the downside of his career, but he has a chance to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs this season. The Tigers have said they’ll consider a six-man rotation, and the lineup could change quite a bit over the course of the season. Isaac Paredes is a candidate to play third base, for example, after making his big league debut last year. A state pandemic order amended in early February said outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities could have no more than 1,000 customers gathered, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office said the state health department has had talks with the Tigers about expanding capacity limits at the ballpark.
American League West Preview Capsules
2020: 36-24, first place, lost to Astros in Division Series.
Manager: Bob Melvin (11th season).
He’s Here: RHP Trevor Rosenthal, SS Elvis Andrus, 1B Mitch Moreland, LHP Adam Kolarek, RHP Sergio Romo, C Aramis Garcia, INF Jed Lowrie, LHP Cole Irvin.
He’s Outta Here: SS Marcus Semien, RHP Liam Hendriks, OF Khris Davis, 2B Tommy La Stella, OF Robbie Grossman, RHP Joakim Soria, LHP T.J. McFarland, 3B Jake Lamb, LHP Mike Minor, OF Dustin Fowler.
Projected Lineup: CF Ramon Laureano (.213, 6 HRs, 25 RBIs), LF Mark Canha (.246, 5, 33), 3B Matt Chapman (.232, 10, 25), 1B Matt Olson (.195, 14, 42), C Sean Murphy (.233, 7, 14), DH Mitch Moreland (.265, 10, 29 for Red Sox and Padres), RF Stephen Piscotty (.226, 5, 29), SS Elvis Andrus (.194, 3, 7 for Rangers), 2B Tony Kemp (.247, 0, 4).
Rotation: RH Chris Bassitt (5-2, 2.29 ERA), LH Jesús Luzardo (3-2, 4.12), RH Frankie Montas (3-5, 5.60), LH Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50), RH Mike Fiers (6-3, 4.58) or LHP A.J. Puk (2-0, 3.18 in 10 games in 2019).
Key Relievers: RH Trevor Rosenthal (1-0, 1.90, 11/12 saves for Padres and Royals), LH Jake Diekman (2-0, 0.42), RH Yusmeiro Petit (2-1, 1.66), LH Adam Kolarek (3-0, 0.95, 1 save for Dodgers), RH Sergio Romo (1-2, 4.05, 5 saves for Twins), RH Lou Trivino (0-0, 3.86), RH J.B. Wendelken (1-1, 1.80).
Outlook: After winning their first division title in seven years, the A’s took some serious hits this offseason with Semien leaving to sign a one-year deal in Toronto after not getting a qualifying offer from Oakland, and star closer Hendriks signing with the White Sox. The A’s acquired Andrus to replace Semien at shortstop but the 32-year-old batted just .194 in limited time last season. Rosenthal was signed to take over as closer as part of what should be a very strong bullpen. There are still plenty of key pieces sticking around in Oakland, led by Chapman and Olson at the corner infield spots, along with a young rotation anchored by Montas, Manaea and Luzardo. Puk is coming off shoulder surgery but also could contribute. The A’s will be able to have fans at the Coliseum, with state rules allowing 20% capacity to start the season with a chance for that number to rise if coronavirus cases in the area drop.
2020: 29-31, second place, lost to Rays in AL Championship Series.
Manager: Dusty Baker (second season).
He’s Here: RHP Jake Odorizzi, C Jason Castro, RHP Pedro Báez, RHP Ryne Stanek, RHP Steve Cishek, OF Steven Souza Jr.
He’s Outta Here: CF George Springer, OF Josh Reddick, RHP Roberto Osuna, RHP Chris Devenski, RHP Brad Peacock, LHP Cionel Perez, RHP Cy Sneed.
Projected Lineup: 2B Jose Altuve (.219, 5 HRs, 18 RBIs), LF Michael Brantley (.300, 5, 22, 15 2Bs), SS Carlos Correa (.264, 5, 25), 3B Alex Bregman (.242, 6, 22), DH Yordan Álvarez (.250, 1, 4 in 2 games), RF Kyle Tucker (.268, 9, 42, 6 3Bs), 1B Yuli Gurriel (.232, 6, 22, 12 2Bs), CF Myles Straw (.207, 0, 8), C Martín Maldonado (.215, 6, 24).
Rotation: RH Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA), RH Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 3.93), RH Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 6.59 in 4 starts for Twins), RH Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48), RH Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.73 in 5 starts).
Key Relievers: RH Ryan Pressly (1-3, 3.43, 12 saves), RH Steve Cishek (0-0, 5.40 for White Sox), RH Joe Smith (opted out of 2020 season), RH Pedro Báez (0-0, 3.18 for Dodgers), RH Josh James (1-0, 7.27).
Outlook: The Astros seek their fourth AL West title in five seasons after keeping last year’s team that came a win shy of the World Series largely intact. They relied on a bevy of talented young pitchers to carry them in a season when ace Justin Verlander made just one start. One of those starters, Framber Valdez, broke a finger on his pitching hand in spring training and could miss significant time. That leaves McCullers, Urquidy and Javier needing to take another step forward this season with Verlander out all year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The rotation got a late boost when Houston added Odorizzi. The 2019 All-Star gives the Astros a veteran to pair with the 37-year-old Greinke and provide stability as some of the young arms develop. They’ll have a huge hole in the lineup after leadoff hitter and center fielder Springer signed a $150 million, six-year contract with the Blue Jays after spending his first seven major league seasons in Houston. The Astros brought back veteran outfielder Brantley, who signed a two-year deal to stay with the team, and their offense should get a boost with the return of Alvarez. The 2019 AL Rookie of the Year is healthy after missing all but two games last season after being diagnosed with COVID-19 before having knee surgery. His return should help make up for the loss of Springer in a lineup that also features Bregman, Altuve and Correa, who powered the offense in the playoffs with six homers and 17 RBIs. The Astros announced in January that they would allow about 10,000 fans per game at Minute Maid Park early this season. But they could increase that number before opening day in the wake of the Texas Rangers’ decision to allow 100% capacity at their ballpark after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted coronavirus restrictions in the state.
2020: 27-33, third place.
Manager: Scott Servais (sixth season).
He’s Here: LHP James Paxton, RHP Rafael Montero, RHP Keynan Middleton, RHP Chris Flexen, OF Mitch Haniger, OF Taylor Trammell, RHP Logan Gilbert.
He’s Outta Here: INF/OF Tim Lopes, INF/OF Dee Strange-Gordon, OF Mallex Smith, RHP Yoshihisa Hirano, RHP Carl Edwards Jr.
Projected Lineup: SS J.P. Crawford (.255, 2 HRs, 24 RBIs), RF Mitch Haniger (.220, 15, 32 in 63 games in 2019), CF Kyle Lewis (.262, 11, 28, .801 OPS, AL Rookie of the Year), 3B Kyle Seager (.241, 9, 40), DH Ty France (.305, 4, 23 in 20 games with San Diego and 23 with Seattle), 1B Evan White (.176, 8, 26, 84 Ks), 2B Dylan Moore (.255, 8, 17), C Tom Murphy (.273, 18, 40 in 75 games in 2019) or Luis Torrens (.257, 1, 6 in 25 games with San Diego and Seattle), LF Taylor Trammell (.234, 10, 43 at Double-A in 2019) or Jake Fraley (.154, 0, 0 in 7 games).
Rotation: LH Marco Gonzales (7-2, 3.10 ERA, 64 Ks, 7 walks in 69 2/3 innings), LH Yusei Kikuchi (2-4, 5.17), LH James Paxton (1-1, 6.64 in 5 starts with Yankees), RH Chris Flexen (8-4, 3.01 in 21 starts for Doosan in KBO), LH Justus Sheffield (4-3, 3.58 in 10 starts), RH Justin Dunn (4-1, 4.34) or LH Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57).
Key Relievers: RH Rafael Montero (0-1, 4.08, 8/8 saves with Texas), RH Kendall Graveman (1-3, 5.79), RH Keynan Middleton (0-1, 5.25 in 13 games with Angels), LH Anthony Misiewicz (0-2, 4.05).
Outlook: The Mariners believe they are on the cusp of contention and this season will be the litmus test of whether that’s accurate, or if their rebuild still has more stages to come. Lewis is the first Rookie of the Year for Seattle since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 and combined with Gold Glove winners Crawford and White gives the Mariners a solid defensive foundation. The starting rotation has potential if Paxton can rediscover his past form and if the Mariners have unearthed a gem in Flexen. Bullpen has been remade, and along with depth of the batting order, will be key in just how competitive Seattle is in 2021. There is still the pending arrivals of prospects Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert, Cal Raleigh and Julio Rodriguez on the horizon that Seattle believes could push its rebuild into being contenders. When and if they arrive in 2021 could be the difference in Seattle ending the longest playoff drought in baseball or if there will be at least one more year of waiting. The Mariners will open the season with a capacity of 9,000 fans at T-Mobile Park.
Los Angeles Angels
2020: 26-34, fourth place.
Manager: Joe Maddon (second season).
He’s Here: OF Dexter Fowler, SS José Iglesias, RHP Raisel Iglesias, LHP José Quintana, RHP Alex Cobb, C Kurt Suzuki, LHP Alex Claudio, RHP Aaron Slegers, GM Perry Minasian.
He’s Outta Here: SS Andrelton Simmons, RHP Hansel Robles, RHP Julio Teherán, RHP Keynan Middleton, RHP Cam Bedrosian, RHP Noé Ramirez, RHP Matt Andriese, GM Billy Eppler.
Projected Lineup: 2B David Fletcher (.319, 3 HRs, 18 RBIs, .376 OBP), CF Mike Trout (.281, 17, 46, .993 OPS), DH Shohei Ohtani (.190, 7, 24, .657 OPS), 3B Anthony Rendon (.286, 9, 31, .915 OPS, 10 GIDP), LF Justin Upton (.204, 9, 22, 43 Ks, .711 OPS), 1B Albert Pujols (.224, 6, 25, .665 OPS), RF Dexter Fowler (.233, 4, 15 with Cardinals), SS José Iglesias (.373, 3, 24 in 39 games with Orioles), C Max Stassi (.278, 7, 20 in 31 games).
Rotation: RH Dylan Bundy (6-3, 3.29 ERA), LH Andrew Heaney (4-3, 4.46), RH Griffin Canning (2-3, 3.99, Gold Glove), LH José Quintana (0-0, 4.50 in 4 appearances with Cubs), RH Alex Cobb (2-5, 4.30 with Orioles), RH Shohei Ohtani (0-1, 37.80 ERA in 2 starts since 2018).
Key Relievers: RH Raisel Iglesias (4-3, 2.74, 8/10 saves with Reds), RH Ty Buttrey (2-3, 5.81, 5 saves), LH Alex Claudio (0-0, 4.26, 1 save with Brewers), RH Mike Mayers (2-0, 2.10, 2 saves), RH Félix Peña (3-0, 4.05, 2 saves), RH Junior Guerra (1-2, 3.04 with Diamondbacks), RH Jaime Barria (1-0, 3.62), LH Patrick Sandoval (1-5, 5.65).
Outlook: The big-budget Angels believe they’ve got the talent and stability to end their streaks of five straight losing seasons — the franchise’s longest skid since the 1970s — and six consecutive non-playoff campaigns. Limited groups of fans at Angel Stadium next month should provide a big boost for a team that will welcome the help. With much of the AL West rebuilding or rebooting, the timing could be right for Los Angeles to get Trout’s first playoff victory. Coming off an unimpressive year by his peerless standards, Trout is back with Rendon for their first full season together. Starting pitching has been the Angels’ biggest problem for years, and new GM Minasian addressed it only by acquiring Quintana and Cobb instead of bigger-name targets. Minasian is also overhauling the Halos’ awful bullpen, starting with new closer Raisel Iglesias. While they’re talented enough to win now, this also is a transition year for the Angels, with only four players under contract past 2021 — including Ohtani, who will be a two-way player again after a rough 2020. Ohtani is hitting the cover off the ball in spring training, and the early results from his return to the mound are promising. This is also a probable farewell season for the 41-year-old Pujols, the oldest player in the majors as he hits the final summer of his 10-year contract with a fraction of his prime production.
2020: 22-38, fifth place.
Manager: Chris Woodward (third season).
He’s Here: RHP Kohei Arihara, LF David Dahl, DH/OF Khris Davis, RHP Dane Dunning, INF Brock Holt, 1B Nate Lowe, RHP Mike Foltynewicz, GM Chris Young.
He’s Outta Here: SS Elvis Andrus, RHP Jesse Chavez, LF Shin-Soo Choo, INF Derek Dietrich, RHP Corey Kluber, RHP Lance Lynn, C Jeff Mathis, RHP Rafael Montero, INF/OF Danny Santana, 2B Rougned Odor.
Projected Lineup: CF Leody Taveras (.227, 4 HRs, 6 RBIs, 8 SBs), SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa (.280, 3, 10, 8 SBs), RF Joey Gallo (.181, 10, 26), LF David Dahl (.183, 0, 9 in 24 games for Rockies), DH Khris Davis (.200, 2, 10 in 30 games for Athletics), 2B Nick Solak (.268, 2, 23), 1B Ronald Guzman (.244, 4, 9), C Jose Trevino (.250, 2, 9).
Rotation (including two likely tandem-starter spots): RH Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.35 ERA), RH Mike Foltynewicz (0-1, 16.20 in 1 start for Braves), RH Kohei Arihara (8-9, 3.80 in 132 2/3 IP for Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan Pacific League), RH Dane Dunning (2-0, 3.97 in 7 starts for White Sox), LH Wes Benjamin (2-1, 2.48), RH Jordan Lyles (1-6, 7.02), LH Kolby Allard (0-6, 7.75).
Key Relievers: RH Jose Leclerc (0-0, 4.50 in 2 games), LH Brett Martin (0-0, 3.63), LH Joely Rodriguez (0-0, 2.13), RH Ian Kennedy (0-2, 9.00 with Royals), RH Matt Bush (no MLB appearances since 2018 after Tommy John surgery), LH Taylor Hearn (0-0, 3.63).
Outlook: The Rangers are in a rebuilding mode that began last season when they finished an AL-worst 22-38 and traded away workhorse starters Lynn and Mike Minor. There is uncertainty in a rotation that might utilize seven pitchers for five starting spots, two filled by two-pitcher tandems. Leclerc, still unestablished as a closer, is coming back from a shoulder injury and Jonathan Hernandez, maybe the team’s best reliever, is shut down from throwing until at least early April because of a ligament sprain in his right elbow. Several veterans in the lineup are coming off horrendous offensive seasons, including OFs Gallo (who did win a Gold Glove in right field) and Dahl, who wasn’t even offered a new contract by Colorado over the winter after being an NL All-Star in 2019. There has been an infield shuffle, with Kiner-Falefa set to be the first opening day shortstop in 13 seasons other than Andrus. The young Hawaiian shifted over after winning a Gold Glove at third base last season. Long-struggling Odor is still in the lineup, at third base instead of second, where Solak is getting his shot to be an everyday player. With Texas now allowing businesses in the state to operate at 100% capacity, the Rangers are preparing for a potential full house of 40,518 fans for their home opener at Globe Life Field on April 5 against Toronto. They could be the first team in any major U.S.-based sports league with a full-capacity crowd since the coronavirus pandemic started altering the sports landscape more than a year ago.
American League East Preview Capsules
Tampa Bay Rays
2020: 40-20, first place, AL champions, lost to Dodgers in World Series.
Manager: Kevin Cash (seventh season).
He’s Here: RHP Michael Wacha, RHP Chris Archer, LHP Rich Hill, RHP Collin McHugh, C Francisco Mejia.
He’s Outta Here: LHP Blake Snell, RHP Charlie Morton, OF Hunter Renfroe, RHP Aaron Slegers, 1B Nate Lowe, LHP Aaron Loup, LHP Jose Alvarado, 1B Brian O’Grady, LHP Sean Gilmartin.
Projected Lineup: RF Austin Meadows (.205, 4 HRs, 13 RBIs), 2B Brandon Lowe (.269, 14, 37), LF Randy Arozarena (.281, 7, 11 in 42 regular-season games; .377, 10, 14 in 20 postseason games), 1B Ji-Man Choi (.230, 3, 16), 3B Yandy Diaz (.307, 2, 11), DH Manuel Margot (.269, 1, 11) or Yoshi Tsutsugo (.197, 8, 24), CF Kevin Kiermaier (.217, 3, 22), SS Willy Adames (.259, 8, 23), C Mike Zunino (.147, 4, 10).
Rotation: RH Tyler Glasnow (5-1, 4.08 ERA), LH Ryan Yarbrough (1-4, 3.56), RH Chris Archer (3-9, 5.19 for Pirates in 2019), RH Michael Wacha (1-4, 6.62 for Mets), LH Rich Hill (2-2, 3.03 for Twins).
Key Relievers: RH Nick Anderson (2-1, 0.55, 6/6 saves), RH Diego Castillo (3-0, 1.66, 4 saves), RH Pete Fairbanks (6-3, 2.70), RH Collin McHugh (4-5, 4.70 for Astros in 2019), LH Cody Reed (0-1, 4.50 with Reds and Rays), RH Ryan Thompson (1-2, 4.44), RH Chaz Roe (2-0, 2.89), LH Josh Fleming (5-0, 2.78 in 7 appearances, 5 starts).
Outlook: The defending AL champions hope to build on last year’s run to the World Series, where the Rays lost to the Dodgers in six games. Expectations remain high for 2021 despite having to replace their top two starting pitchers after declining a $15 million option on Morton and trading Snell, a former AL Cy Young Award winner, to San Diego. The team is counting on Glasnow to step into a leading role, with offseason acquisitions Wacha, Archer and Hill filling openings in a revamped rotation. A versatile lineup will be largely the same, with rookie Arozarena getting more playing time after a breakout postseason and Cash continuing to make liberal use of a deep bench. The offense averaged 4.82 runs per game during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, its best showing in 10 years, and could be even better if Meadows, Choi and Diaz rebound from injuries that hampered their production last year. Nevertheless, the Rays thrive on pitching and defense. A major league-high 12 pitchers earned saves last season, tying a big league record, and the bullpen — fortified by the addition of McHugh — figures to be a difference-maker again.
New York Yankees
2020: 33-27, second place, lost to Rays in Division Series.
Manager: Aaron Boone (fourth season).
He’s Here: RHP Corey Kluber, RHP Jameson Taillon, RHP Domingo Germán (returning from domestic violence suspension), RHP Darren O’Day, LHP Justin Wilson, RHP Adam Warren, RHP Jhoulys Chacín, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, LHP Lucas Luetge, C Robinson Chirinos (broken right wrist), OF-1B Jay Bruce, INF Derek Dietrich.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Masahiro Tanaka, LHP James Paxton, LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Tommy Kahnle, RHP Jonathan Holder, C Erik Kratz.
Projected Lineup: 2B DJ LeMahieu (major league-leading .364, 10 HRs, 27 RBIs, 41 runs, 1.011 OPS), RF Aaron Judge (.257, 9, 22 in 28 games), CF Aaron Hicks (.225, 6, 21), DH Giancarlo Stanton (.250, 4, 11 in 23 games), 1B Luke Voit (.277, major league-leading 22, 52), SS Gleyber Torres (.243, 3, 16), C Gary Sánchez (.147, 10, 24), LF Clint Frazier (.267, 8, 26), 3B Gio Urshela (.298, 6, 30).
Rotation: RH Gerrit Cole (7-3, 2.84 ERA, 94 Ks), RH Corey Kluber (0-0, 0.00 in 1 inning for Rangers before tearing muscle in right shoulder), RH Jameson Taillon (has not pitched since May 2019 while recovering from second Tommy John surgery), LH Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 5.11), RH Domingo Germán (has not pitched since September 2019), RH Deivi García (3-2, 4.98, 33 Ks in 34 1/3 IP as rookie), RH Luis Severino (out until June or July following Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020).
Key Relievers: LH Aroldis Chapman (1-1, 3.09, 3/5 saves), LH Zack Britton (1-2, 1.89, 8 saves; out until at least May and possibly July following elbow surgery), RH Chad Green (3-3, 3.51, 1 save, 32 Ks in 25 2/3 IP), RH Darren O’Day (4-0, 1.10, 22 Ks in 16 1/3 IP for Braves), LH Justin Wilson (2-1, 3.66, 23 Ks in 19 2/3 IP for Mets).
Outlook: A new-look rotation could include Kluber and Taillon, high-risk additions who due to injuries have combined for one inning since May 1, 2019, and Germán, who hasn’t pitched since September 2019 while serving a domestic violence suspension. They join ace Cole, García and Montgomery, with Boone saying he is likely to push people back and skip turns early in the season. New York allowed Tanaka to return to Japan after seven seasons in pinstripes and also did not re-sign Paxton or Happ. Urshela is recovering from surgery Dec. 4 to remove a bone chip from his right elbow, a procedure with an anticipated recovery time of three months. Voit had a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat plantar fasciitis in his left foot after leading the majors in home runs. LeMahieu re-signed for $90 million over six years after becoming the first player to win undisputed batting titles in both leagues. Judge and Stanton are trying yoga after both missed a majority of their second straight season due to injuries. Focus will be on Sánchez, who struggled at the plate for the third straight year, hit a career-worst .147 and was benched in favor of Kyle Higashioka for four of five Division Series games. New York is seeking to be more consistent: The pandemic-shortened season included a 16-6 start followed by a 5-15 slide, a 10-game winning streak and six losses in the last eight games. The Yankees were 22-9 at home and 11-18 on the road. A long-ball dependent offense scored 156 of 315 runs on homers. Yankee Stadium will host fans at 20% capacity (up to 10,850 for the April 1 opener against Toronto) to begin the season.
Toronto Blue Jays
2020: 32-28, third place, wild card, lost to Rays in first round of playoffs.
Manager: Charlie Montoyo (third season).
He’s Here: OF George Springer, INF Marcus Semien, RHP Kirby Yates, LHP Steven Matz, RHP Tyler Chatwood, RHP David Phelps, LHP Francisco Liriano, LHP Tommy Milone, RHP Joel Payamps, LHP Travis Bergen.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Ken Giles, RHP Taijuan Walker, RHP Anthony Bass, RHP Matt Shoemaker, INF Travis Shaw, INF Jonathan Villar, RHP Chase Anderson, RHP Sean Reid-Foley, RHP Shun Yamaguchi, OF Billy McKinney, OF Derek Fisher, RHP Yennsy Diaz, RHP Wilmer Font.
Projected Lineup: CF George Springer (.265, 14 HRs, 32 RBIs with Houston), 2B Marcus Semien (.223, 7, 23 with Oakland), SS Bo Bichette (.301, 5, 23), RF Teoscar Hernandez (.289, 16, 34), 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.262, 9, 33), LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.308, 11, 33), 3B Cavan Biggio (.250, 8, 28, 41 BB), DH Rowdy Tellez (.283, 8, 23), C Danny Jansen (.183, 6, 20).
Rotation: LH Hyun Jin Ryu (5-2, 2.69 ERA), LH Robbie Ray (2-6, 6.62 with Arizona and Toronto), RH Nate Pearson (1-0, 6.00), RH Tanner Roark (2-3, 6.80), LH Steven Matz (0-5, 9.68 with Mets).
Key Relievers: RH Kirby Yates (0-1, 12.46, 2/2 saves with Padres), RH Jordan Romano (2-1, 1.23, 2 saves), RHP Rafael Dolis (2-2, 1.50, 5 saves), RH Tyler Chatwood (2-2, 5.30 with Cubs), RH David Phelps (2-4, 6.53 with Milwaukee and Philadelphia), LH Ryan Borucki (1-1, 2.70), LH Francisco Liriano (did not pitch in 2020).
Outlook: The Blue Jays beefed up a young, talented team by adding several playoff-tested veterans in a busy, productive offseason. Springer signed a team-record $150 million, six-year deal, and Semien joined on an $18 million, one-year deal. Toronto also acquired starting rotation depth by getting Matz in a trade with the Mets and bolstered its bullpen by signing a trio of right-handed relievers, including closer Yates. By adding Springer and Semien to a promising group of youngsters including Bichette, Guerrero and Biggio, the Blue Jays have built one of the AL’s most fearsome lineups. However, beyond staff ace Ryu, the rotation is full of question marks. If hard-throwing Pearson doesn’t develop quickly, Toronto might need to make an in-season pitching addition to boost its postseason hopes. With home games in Canada still ruled out by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blue Jays will begin the regular season at their spring training home in Dunedin, Florida. If playing in Toronto still isn’t an option by mid-season, the Jays may move to another minor league park once searing summer heat and thunderstorms become an issue in Florida.
2020: 25-35, fourth place.
Manager: Brandon Hyde (third season).
He’s Here: RHP Felix Hernandez, RHP Matt Harvey, SS Freddy Galvis, 3B Maikel Franco, OF Chris Shaw, 2B Yolmer Sanchez, RHP Mac Sceroler, RHP Tyler Wells.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Alex Cobb, 2B Hanser Alberto, SS Jose Iglesias, OF Dwight Smith, 1B Renato Nunez, RHP David Hess, INF Andrew Velazquez, C Bryan Holaday, RHP Kohl Stewart.
Projected Lineup: CF Cedric Mullins (.271, 3 HRs, 12 RBIs, 7 SBs), LF Austin Hays (.279, 4, 9), 1B Trey Mancini (missed 2020 following colon cancer surgery), RF Anthony Santander (.261, 11, 32), 3B Maikel Franco (.278, 8, 38 for Royals), DH Ryan Mountcastle (.333, 5, 23), C Pedro Severino (.250, 5, 21), SS Freddy Galvis (.220, 7, 16 for Reds), 2B Yolmer Sanchez (.313, 1, 1 in 11 games for White Sox).
Rotation: LH John Means (2-4, 4.53 ERA), RH Dean Kremer (1-1, 4.82 in 4 games), RH Felix Hernandez (opted out of 2020), LH Keegan Akin (1-2, 4.56), RH Matt Harvey (0-3, 11.57 with Royals) or LH Bruce Zimmermann (0-0, 7.71 in 2 games) or LH Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 8.06).
Key Relievers: RHP Shawn Armstrong (2-0, 1.80), LHP Paul Fry (1-0, 2.45), LHP Tanner Scott (0-0, 1.31, 1 save), RHP Cole Sulser (1-5, 5.56, 5 saves), RHP Dillon Tate (1-1, 3.24), RHP Cesar Valdez (1-1, 1.26, 3 saves).
Outlook: Although the Orioles appeared to make some progress last year following two straight 100-loss seasons, general manager Mike Elias remains focused on long-term stability in his effort to slash the payroll and rebuild the franchise with draft picks and prospects obtained via trades for veteran talent. The restive fan base will welcome Mancini back, but he and Santander could be July trade chips. Chris Davis, entering the sixth season of a $161 million, seven-year contract, is likely to begin on the injured list after playing just 16 games and hitting only .115 last season. Aside from Means, a 2019 All-Star, the rotation is full of pitchers who have yet to establish themselves and veterans like Harvey and Hernandez, whose success came years ago. Hernandez was pulled from a spring start with elbow discomfort March 16. The bullpen, vastly improved in 2020, must provide stability for such a questionable rotation. The Orioles will allow about 11,000 fans — 25% capacity — at Camden Yards to begin the season.
Boston Red Sox
2020: 24-36, fifth place.
Manager: Alex Cora (third season, first of second stint with team).
He’s Here: Manager Alex Cora, 2B Enrique Hernández, RHP Garrett Richards, LF Hunter Renfroe, RHP Adam Ottavino, OF Franchy Cordero, RHP Matt Andriese, RHP Garrett Whitlock, RHP Josh Winckowski, 3B Marwin González, RHP Hirokazo Sawamura.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Ron Roenicke, 2B Dustin Pedroia, OF Andrew Benintendi, CF Jackie Bradley Jr., SS C.J. Chatham, C Devy Grullon, LHP Yoan Aybar, RHP Robert Stock, LHP Matt Hall, RHP Ryan Weber, RHP Collin McHugh, RHP Domingo Tapia.
Projected Lineup: 2B Enrique Hernández (.230, 5 HRs, 20 RBIs), CF Alex Verdugo (.308, 6, 15), DH J.D. Martinez (.213, 7, 27), SS Xander Bogaerts (.300, 11, 28), 3B Rafael Devers (.263, 11, 43), RF Hunter Renfroe (.156, 8, 22), LF Marwin González (.211, 5, 37), C Christian Vázquez (.283, 7, 23), 1B Bobby Dalbec (.263, 8, 16).
Rotation: LH Eduardo Rodríguez (19-6, 3.81 ERA in 2019; did not pitch in 2020 due to COVID-19), RH Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 3.72), LH Martín Pérez (3-5, 4.50), RH Garrett Richards (2-2, 4.03), RH Nick Pivetta (2-0, 6.89), LH Chris Sale (6-11, 4.40 in 2019; expected back from Tommy John surgery midseason).
Key Relievers: RH Matt Barnes (1-3, 4.30, 5 saves), RH Hirokazu Sawamura (1-4, 3.05 for Chiba Lotte and Yomiuri in Japan), RH Adam Ottavino (2-3, 5.89), RH Matt Andriese (2-4, 4.50), RH Ryan Brasier (1-0, 3.96), LH Darwinzon Hernández (1-0, 2.16).
Outlook: After winning the 2018 World Series, the team’s fourth championship in 15 seasons, the Red Sox fired Cora in the wake of the Houston sign-stealing scandal last offseason and traded 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price to the Dodgers in a salary dump. The Red Sox were also without Sale, who missed the entire 2020 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Rodríguez, who was out with heart inflammation caused by COVID-19. Roenicke, promoted from bench coach after players started reporting to spring training, didn’t have much of a chance. So the Red Sox moved on and brought back Cora, who served his one-year suspension for his role in the Astros scandal. The team’s best hope of getting out of the cellar of the stacked AL East in 2021 is that he relights a spark in Martinez and Devers, who both struggled during the pandemic-shortened season; Rodriguez returns strong and Sale is able to recover by midseason. The retirement of Dustin Pedroia, who played only nine games in the past three years, provides clarity at second base and opened a spot that Hernández should fill. Bogaerts is signed to a long-term deal and could become the star future teams are built around. Or, he could become the next Betts. Verdugo, the biggest acquisition in the Dodgers deal, is also a piece for the future. Fenway Park will be open to fans, beginning at 12% capacity, or around 4,500 people.
Heat turns up defensive pressure in 92-87 win at Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler provided the scoring punch for Miami on Wednesday night.
It was their defense that changed the game.
Together, the undrafted guard and the All-Star forward combined for the first six points in a decisive fourth quarter run and then helped Miami hold Indiana to five points over the final seven minutes for a 92-87 victory.
“It’s not like an overnight improvement. You’re literally talking about hundreds of days of development,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said, referring to Robinson’s defense. “He’s making those efforts to get to the 3-point line. His technique has worked because of all that work.”
Spoelstra had no quibbles with Robinson’s offensive effort, either.
Robinson finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists, making six 3-pointers. Butler had 18 points as Miami won its second straight and avoided a three-game sweep in the season series with the Pacers.
Indiana was led by Myles Turner with 15 points and Caris LeVert and Doug McDermott, who each had 14. The Pacers have lost two straight overall and seven of their last eight at home. This one came like so many others recently – a bad fourth quarter.
“I’d say it has more to do with the defense than the offense,” McDermott said. “I wouldn’t say we relax but when you’re playing a great team like the Miami Heat, you know they’re not going to stop. And they got hot.”
Miami spent most of the night playing catch-up and finally overtook Indiana when Robinson made his fifth and sixth 3-pointers for a 79-78 lead with 7:44 to go. After trading baskets and the lead for several possessions, Butler and Robinson swung the game with three straight buckets, and Bam Adebayo’s 7-footer with 1:06 left made it 89-82.
The Heat defense took care of the rest.
Conley’s fourth quarter leads Jazz past Grizzlies 111-107
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Mike Conley scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Jordan Clarkson added 24 points and the Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-107 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight victory.
Bojan Bogdanovic added 23 points for Utah, which defeated Memphis for the third time in a week, this time overcoming 36 points from Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.
Kyle Anderson had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, and Dillon Brooks finished with 17 points. Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Leading scorer Donovan Mitchell was not with the Jazz for personal reasons. Mitchell was on the team’s original charter flight out of Salt Lake City before it was forced to return to the airport after striking a flock of birds on Tuesday.
“I think our team showed a lot of grit,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “Mike Conley was terrific. Controlling the game, finding people. … In the end, we got a couple of stops when we needed to.”
The Jazz led through most of three quarters but couldn’t stretch it beyond 10. Memphis stayed close enough to take a lead into the final frame.
The teams were still tied at the midway point of the fourth, but the Jazz stretched the advantage little by little. While the Grizzlies got close, including 109-107 on Morant’s two free throws with 7.3 seconds left, the Memphis couldn’t overtake Utah.
Two free throws by Royce O’Neal with 3.9 seconds left provided the final margin.
Doncic’s scores 36, leads Mavericks past Celtics 113-108
BOSTON (AP) Luka Doncic had 36 points and eight rebounds and the Dallas Mavericks held on to beat the Boston Celtics 113-108 on Wednesday night.
Jalen Brunson added 21 points, including two late free throws, and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 19 points to help the Mavericks win their second straight.
Dallas led by as many as 23 points in the third quarter before the Celtics rallied to within single digits in the fourth. The Mavericks survived despite committing six of their 16 turnovers in the final 12 minutes.
“I thought when things got a little hairy down the stretch, the great thing we did was keep our poise,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were able to get fouled, make free throws and get a key basket when we needed.”
Doncic had seven of Dallas’ 19 3-pointers. He said his trust in taking deep shots late in the shot clock continues to grow.
“It’s repetition,” he said. “But it’s also a lot of confidence. I think the confidence is the main thing here.”
Jayson Tatum had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead Boston. Jaylen Brown added 24 points and Kemba Walker had 22.
Boston has lost its last two.
Nets lose Harden but beat Rockets, move into first in East
NEW YORK (AP) Admittedly down in the doldrums, the Brooklyn Nets were behind by 18 points in less than five minutes.
By the end of the night, they were on top of the Eastern Conference.
Kyrie Irving had 31 points and a season-high 12 assists, and the Nets overcame the loss of James Harden to beat the Houston Rockets 120-108 on Wednesday night and move into first place in the East.
Harden sat out the fourth quarter against his former team with right hamstring tightness, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Nets put together the pivotal run without him, scoring 12 straight midway through the final period to turn a six-point deficit into a 107-101 lead.
Coach Steve Nash said the Nets will see how Harden feels Thursday before their game against Charlotte, but was confident the All-Star guard didn’t have a long-term injury. Brooklyn has been without Kevin Durant since mid-February because of his own hamstring strain.
“Any time someone goes down it’s very concerning,” Irving said. “Any time someone doesn’t play we definitely have to have that mentality that we’re still going to play at a very high level.”
Joe Harris added 28 points for the Nets, who didn’t even lead until the last half-minute of the third quarter, but emerged with their 19th win in 22 games, improving to 26-9 since acquiring Harden from Houston on Jan. 14.
Booker scores season-high 45, Suns beat Bulls 121-116
PHOENIX (AP) Devin Booker scored a season-high 45 points, Chris Paul added 19 points and 14 assists, and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 121-116 on Wednesday night.
The Suns built a 16-point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Bulls cut that advantage to 94-86 by the start of the fourth. Chicago hung close throughout the final minutes, pulling within three points multiple times. Thaddeus Young’s bucket in the paint brought the Bulls within 115-112 with less than a minute left.
Booker responded with his final basket – blowing past Nikola Vujecic for a layup – and the Suns won their fourth straight. Chicago’s losing streak is now at five games.
“I was just making shots,” Booker said. “Getting good screens, getting in the paint and taking what the defense gives me. Got a few transition ones early to get in a rhythm.”
Booker had another All-Star performance in a season full of them, making 17 of 24 shots from the field and 9 of 10 free throws. He was especially effective on mid-range jumpers, finishing time and again over Chicago’s defense.
“He’s one of the rare guys in the league who can score on all three levels, with the ball, without the ball and he can post up,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “He did it every way you can describe or imagine tonight.”
Phoenix’s Dario Saric had 16 points off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 5 on 3-pointers.
Drummond leaves debut with bruised toe, Bucks beat LA 112-97
LOS ANGELES (AP) Andre Drummond left his Lakers debut with a bruised right toe, and Jrue Holiday scored 28 points in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 112-97 victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Khris Middleton added 17 points and eight assists as the Bucks snapped their three-game losing streak with a workmanlike victory over the depleted defending NBA champions, who are still without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Drummond scored four points in 14 minutes before limping off the court early in the third quarter after trying to play without the toenail on his big right toe. The nail was completely ripped off in the first quarter when Bucks center Brook Lopez stepped on Drummond’s foot, but Drummond said he didn’t notice the extent of the injury until halftime, even though it was “very, very painful.”
“To have this happen to me in the first game is kind of deflating for me, but my head is high,” said Drummond, who hadn’t played in a game for Cleveland since Feb. 12. “I’m going to take it game by game and come back better than ever.”
X-rays were negative on Los Angeles’ new center, but the bruise adds another injury problem to the Lakers’ list ahead of a tough schedule in April. James missed his sixth straight game for the Lakers with a sprained right ankle, and Davis missed his 20th consecutive game with a right calf injury.
“We don’t worry about that,” coach Frank Vogel said of the Lakers’ mounting injury woes. “We worry about the guys in uniform. We know we have enough. We have a deep team. We’ve been playing better basketball, and we know we can win. Our group is going to grind.”
Montrezl Harrell scored 19 points and Dennis Schroder added 17 points for the Lakers’ supporting cast, but their two-game winning streak ended against the powerhouse Bucks, who rebounded smartly from a blowout loss to the Clippers.
INDIANA STATE BOYS BASKETBALL FINALS-SATURDAY APRIL 3
KOUTS (29-2) vs. BARR-REEVE (28-2)
SATURDAY, APR. 3 10 AM ET BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE
Head Coach: Kevin Duzan Record at Kouts: 107-43 (6th Year) Overall: 150-105 (11th Year)
Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #3, Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR
An IHSAA member school since 1919, Kouts is playing in the state finals for the first time in any sport. With a victory, Mustangs would become first 30-win Class A state champion of the multiple class era. Mustangs rank fourth in the state in scoring (75.8 ppg) and fifth in margin of victory (23.1 ppg). Team has reeled off 20 straight victories to reach the state championship game. Champions of the Porter County Conference with a 7-0 record this season. The state championship game against top-ranked Barr-Reeve will be the first ranked team the Mustangs have faced this tournament. Won first sectional championship since 2012 with its 67-53 win over Washington Township on March 6.n Won first regional title since 2001 with its 56-42 victory over Triton on March 13.
Season Results (29-2)
11/24 Marquette Catholic W 87-71
11/27 at Hebron W 90-63
12/4 at Covenant Christian W 92-30
12/5 Kankakee Valley W 85-43
12/11 South Central W 91-58
12/12 South Bend Clay W 93-59
12/26 Bloomington South L 50-41
12/28 Terre Haute South Vigo W 80-61
12/29 Cloverdale W 68-50
12/30 Linton-Stockton W 40-35
1/12 Andrean L 73-59
1/15 at Washington Township W 92-53
1/16 Rensselaer Central W 72-53
1/19 Westville W 84-60
1/21 at South Central W 69-44
1/23 at Boone Grove W 79-50
1/29 at Boone Grove W 63-52
1/30 Westville W 87-60
2/11 Morgan Township W 58-44
2/12 at 21st Century Charter – Gary W 68-67
2/17 at Lake Station Edison W 89-46
2/19 Hanover Central W 62-32
2/20 Lowell W 69-62
2/23 at River Forest W 78-49
2/26 LaCrosse W 83-42
3/2 Hammond Academy W 112-45
3/5 Morgan Township W 85-56
3/6 Washington Township W 67-53
3/13 Fremont W 66-62
3/13 Triton W 56-42
Lafayette Jefferson Semi-State
3/20 Southwood W 86-70
Head Coach: Josh Thompson Record at Barr-Reeve: 79-6 (3rd Year) Overall: 189-162 (14th Year)
Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #1 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #9
Top-ranked Barr-Reeve making school’s seventh state championship game appearance and looking for second title in boys basketball. School looking for second state championship this school year after volleyball team won the Class 2A crown on Nov. 7. Vikings have appeared in five Class A title games in last 12 years. Team’s only losses have come to other state finalist teams. Lost at 4A finalist Carmel 57-55 in OT on Dec. 23 and lost to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 75-66 as part of the Hall of Fame Classic in New Castle on Dec. 30. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #4 North Daviess 40-38 in the sectional semifinal def. #2 Loogootee 56-38 to win fourth straight sectional title def. #8 Tindley 72-25 to claim semi-state championship Champions of the Blue Chip Conference with an 7-0 record this season. Head coach Josh Thompson is in his third year coaching Barr Reeve and 14th season overall. He was a member of Bloomfield High School’s Class A state runner-up team in 1998.
Season Results (28-2)
12/5 at Vincennes Rivet W 75-26
12/8 Bloomington South W 41-36
12/11 Southridge W 52-19
12/12 North Harrison W 61-38
12/15 North Knox W 81-30
12/17 Northeast Dubois W 77-25
12/23 at Carmel L 55-57
12/30 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 66-75
12/30 Blackford W 71-46
1/2 at Washington W 72-45
1/5 at Orleans W 53-42
1/8 Evansville Mater Dei W 67-31
1/15 Loogootee W 67-64
1/16 at North Daviess W 39-38
1/23 Heritage Hills W 59-35
1/29 at Shoals W 78-27
1/30 Castle W 61-54
2/1 at Wood Memorial W 67-28
2/4 at Jasper W 56-54
2/12 South Knox W 51-32
2/13 Eminence W 96-47
2/20 at Rock Creek Academy W 71-45
2/26 at Bloomfield W 54-41
2/27 Shakamak W 69-39
North Daviess Sectional
3/2 Washington Catholic W 81-24
3/5 North Daviess W 40-38
3/6 Loogootee W 56-38
3/13 Trinity Lutheran W 63-38
3/13 Lanesville W 64-34
3/20 Indianapolis Tindley W 72-25
FORT WAYNE BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (27-3) vs. PARKE HERITAGE (27-3)
SATURDAY, APR. 3 1:30 PM ET BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE
BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN BRAVES
Head Coach: Marc Davidson Record at Blackhawk: 173-50 (8th Year) Overall: 258-120 (18th Year)
Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #1 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #5
Top-ranked Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian making school’s third appearance in state finals and first in Class 2A. Team has won 10 straight games. School chasing second state championship in three years. High-scoring Braves lead state in that category at 82.7 points per game and also lead state in margin of victory at 25.5 points per game. Braves have defeated three other state finalist teams this season, two in overtime. Beat 3A Silver Creek 94-84 in 2OT on Dec. 12, beat 1A Barr-Reeve 75-66 in OT in the HOF Classic on Dec. 30, and beat 3A Leo 74-42 on Feb. 23. Team outscoring six tournament opponents by 29.8 ppg (80.1- 50.3 ppg). n Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #8 Blackford 88-61 for the semi-state championship.
Season Results (27-3)
12/1 FW North Side W 98-48
12/4 New Haven W 86-33
12/5 Hamilton (OH) W 57-30
12/12 Silver Creek W 94-84
12/18 at FW Canterbury W 82-42
12/22 Gary Lighthouse CPA W 118-75
12/30 Barr-Reeve W 75-66
12/30 Shenandoah W 66-59
1/7 at FW Wayne W 77-42
1/9 FW Concordia W 107-63
1/12 at Homestead L 72-60
1/16 FW Luers W 87-71
1/21 Bowman Academy W 91-63
1/23 Lakewood Park Christian W 107-26
1/26 FW Dwenger W 57-49
2/4 at FW South Side W 89-44
2/6 Indianapolis Tindley W 67-50
2/9 at FW Snider W 88-81
2/12 Indianapolis Cathedral L 86-78
2/13 Elevation Prep L 90-82
2/17 at Marion W 89-71
2/20 at Indianapolis Attucks W 75-72
2/23 at Leo W 74-42
2/25 FW Northrop W 95-53
Bluff ton Sectional
3/2 Bluffton W 86-44
3/5 Whitko W 78-39
3/6 FW Canterbury W 93-51
North Judson-San Pierre Regional
3/13 Churubusco W 68-55
3/13 Bowman Academy W 68-52
3/20 Blackford W 88-61
PARKE HERITAGE WOLVES
Head Coach: Rich Schelsky Record at PH: 58-22 (3rd Year) Overall: 77-52 (5th Year)
Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #5 Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR
Fifth-ranked Parke Heritage making school’s first state finals appearance in any sport. Parke Heritage is a two-and-a-half year old consolidation of Rockville and Turkey Run high schools in west central Indiana. Team aiming for state championship in just its third state tournament. One of two three-time state finalists (Kouts, Leo) in this year’s event. Wolves rank 12th in state in points allowed (42.1 ppg). Champions of the Wabash River Conference with a 7-0 record this season. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #2 Shenandoah 52-33 to win its first regional crown on March 13. Wolves won school’s first sectional championship a year ago prior to the pandemic.
Season Results (27-3)
11/28 North Knox W 60-53
11/28 at Linton L 56-65
12/4 at Riverton Parke W 82-45
12/5 South Vermillion W 56-42
12/12 North Putnam W 57-44
12/19 at South Putnam W 74-36
12/26 North Central (Farmersburg) W 60-47
12/28 Greencastle L 51-63
12/29 Northview W 47-45
1/2 Crawfordsville W 60-52
1/8 at North Vermillion W 81-33
1/15 at Covington W 62-48
1/16 at Cloverdale W 65-48
1/23 Cascade W 64-41
1/26 South Vermillion W 50-38
1/29 at Riverton Parke W 73-44
1/30 at Lafayette Jefferson L 49-54
2/4 Attica W 63-15
2/6 Tri-West W 62-48
2/12 Fountain Central W 74-36
2/13 Lafayette Central Catholic W 46-30
2/19 Seeger W 64-38
2/23 at Southmont W 64-54
3/2 Cloverdale W 48-25
3/5 Southmont W 66-34
3/6 North Putnam W 48-42
3/13 Triton Central W 47-30
3/13 Shenandoah W 52-33
3/20 Southridge W 40-36
LEO (24-4) vs. SILVER CREEK (24-4)
SATURDAY, APR. 3 5 PM ET BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE
Head Coach: Cary Cogdell Record at Leo: 240-151 (17th Year) Overall: 251-181 (19th Year)
Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #9 Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR
Leo making school’s first appearance in the boys basketball state finals. Lions rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat South Bend St. Joseph 61-59 in the semi-state championship. Blake Davison connected on a runner high off the glass with 1.3 seconds remaining for the final margin. Lions won first 11 games of the season but dropped three of the last four regular season games before getting hot in the tournament. Leo is one of three first-time state finalists (Kouts, Parke Heritage) in this year’s event. Champions of the Northeast 8 Conference with a 7-0 record this season. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #5 South Bend St. Joseph 61-59 for first semi-state title n Fell to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 74-42 on Feb. 23. Avenged a regular season loss to Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger with a 55-45 win for its second straight sectional crown on March 6. Head coach Cary Cogdell is a 1994 graduate of Leo High School and played on sectional championship teams as a junior and senior.
Season Results (24-4)
11/28 at Fort Wayne South Side W 66-56
12/2 Fort Wayne Wayne W 49-39
12/4 Fort Wayne Snider W 91-84
12/8 Fort Wayne Bishop Luers W 57-51
12/19 Shenandoah W 59-43
12/21 Fort Wayne Concordia W 75-57
12/30 at Warsaw W 69-55
1/5 at Fort Wayne Canterbury W 74-33
1/9 Norwell W 53-43
1/15 New Haven W 68-52
1/23 at East Noble W 46-30
1/25 at Fort Wayne North Side L 68-72
1/27 at Huntington North W 44-37
1/30 Bellmont W 47-43
2/6 Carroll (Fort Wayne) W 39-37
2/8 at DeKalb W 57-53
2/9 Angola W 62-43
2/12 Columbia City W 69-52
2/17 at FW Bishop Dwenger L 56-60
2/19 at Lakewood Park W 70-35
2/23 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 42-74
2/26 at Woodlan L 43-46
3/3 Angola W 64-38
3/5 Fort Wayne Bishop Luers W 76-70
3/6 FW Bishop Dwenger W 55-45
New Castle Regional
3/13 Mississinewa W 79-43
3/13 Northwood W 47-46
3/20 South Bend St. Joseph W 61-59
SILVER CREEK DRAGONS
Head Coach: Brandon Hoffman Record at SC: 200-73 (11th Year) Overall: 200-73 (11th Year)
Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #2 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #9
Silver Creek returns to boys basketball state championship game for second time in three years aiming for second title. Dragons will look to replicate the school’s girls team which won the 3A state title on Feb. 27. With a victory, Silver Creek would become third school to achieve the girls-boys sweep in the same year (Oregon-Davis 2007, Warren Central 2018). Team enters state championship game on a 13-game win streak. n Finished second in the Mid-Southern Conference with an 8-1 record this season. Silver Creek avenged one of its regular season losses defeating #8 conference champion North Harrison 44-41 in the sectional semifinals. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #8 North Harrison 44-41 in the sectional semifinals def. #4 Heritage Hills 52-48 in the regional semifinals def. #6 Guerin Catholic 54-46 for semi-state crown. Fell to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 94-84 in 2OT on Dec. 12. Head coach Brandon Hoffman is a 1998 Silver Creek graduate where he play basketball all four years for the Dragons.
Season Results (24-4)
11/25 at Columbus East W 106-81
12/1 at Charlestown W 78-31
12/4 Clarksville W 76-38
12/11 at North Harrison L 61-63
12/12 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 84-94
12/18 Jeffersonville W 77-67
12/29 Providence W 62-41
12/30 Clarksville W 95-49
01/02 Bedford North Lawrence W 74-51
1/8 Eastern (Pekin) W 95-34
1/15 at Brownstown Central W 61-40
1/16 Bloomington North W 94-74
1/22 at New Albany L 72-81
1/29 at Madison W 69-56
1/30 at Bloomington South L 41-42
2/4 at Salem W 105-66
2/9 at Floyd Central W 68-59
2/12 Scottsburg W 94-46
2/19 Corydon Central W 92-54
2/20 Plainfield W 68-61
2/24 Austin W 87-51
2/26 Seymour W 72-56
3/2 Corydon Central W 77-42
3/5 North Harrison W 44-41
3/6 Madison W 83-71
3/13 Heritage Hills W 52-48
3/13 Connersville W 31-30
3/20 Guerin Catholic W 54-46
CARMEL (25-2) vs. LAWRENCE NORTH (28-2)
SATURDAY, APR. 3 8:30 PM ET BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE
Head Coach: Ryan Osborn Record at Carmel: 90-18 (4th Year) Overall: 90-18 (4th Year)
Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #2 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #2
Carmel returns to its third state championship game in four years aiming for school’s fifth boys basketball crown. With a win, Carmel would become fourth school with five or more state championships (Marion, Muncie Central, Washington). Greyhounds will face conference rival Lawrence North in the third straight 4A title game between Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference teams. Second meeting this season between the two schools following the Greyhounds’ 63-49 road win on Feb. 4. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #1 Homestead 60-49 in regional semifinals def. #8 Lafayette Jefferson 50-49 for regional title def. 10 Gary West Side 53-50 in OT for semi-state crown Carmel defense ranks sixth in the state allowing only 40.4 ppg. Both regular season losses were one-point decisions – 51-50 vs. Indianapolis Cathedral and 35-34 at Fishers. Champions of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference with a 7-0 record this season.
Season Results (25-2)
11/24 Columbus North W 61-51
12/4 Lawrence Central W 64-35
12/5 Zionsville W 49-34
12/11 at Noblesville W 64-36
12/18 at North Central W 56-49
12/19 at New Albany W 50-42
12/23 Barr-Reeve W 57-55
12/30 Anderson W 44-30
1/8 at Center Grove W 51-44
1/9 Westfield W 54-30
1/13 Cathedral L 50-51
1/19 at Perry Meridian W 58-34
1/22 at Pike W 73-55
1/23 Brownsburg W 58-45
1/29 Ben Davis W 67-41
1/30 at New Castle W 72-25
2/4 at Lawrence North W 63-49
2/5 at Fishers L 34-35
2/12 Hamilton Southeastern W 49-30
2/13 at Carroll W 43-34
2/19 Warren Central W 56-47
2/23 at Crispus Attucks W 64-32
3/5 Hamilton Southeastern W 46-33
3/6 Westfield W 53-27
3/13 Homestead W 60-49
3/13 Lafayette Jefferson W 50-49
Lafayette Jefferson Semi-State
3/20 Gary West Side W 53-50
LAWRENCE NORTH WILDCATS
Head Coach: Jack Keefer Record at LN: 787-304 (45th Year) Overall: 848-330 (49th Year)
Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #3 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #3
Lawrence North making its fifth appearance in the state finals, aiming for fifth crown in boys basketball and first since 2006. With a win, Lawrence North would become fourth school with five or more state championships (Marion, Muncie Central, Washington). Wildcats, riding a 12-game winning streak, are 4-0 in previous state championship games. Second meeting this season between the two schools following the Wildcats’ 63-49 home loss on Feb. 4. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #5 Indianapolis Cathedral 75-63 in sectional first round def. #7 Warren Central 46-45 in sectional semifinals def. #6 Plainfield 43-39 for its first regional crown in 15 years. Finished second to Carmel in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference race with a 6-1 record this year. Head coach Jack Keefer, in his 45th season, has been the only coach in school history, and is the second-winningest coach in state history (848 wins). He trails only J.R. Holmes of Bloomington South (861 wins), LN’s opponent in the semi-state.
Season Results (28-2)
12/5 Hammond W 52-51
12/9 Lawrence Central W 58-53
12/12 Cincinnati Moeller (Ohio) W 58-57
12/19 at Fort Wayne Northrop W 89-42
12/22 Fishers W 65-60
12/29 Indianapolis Tindley W 84-49
12/30 Gary West W 61-60
1/2 at Indianapolis Attucks W 67-56
1/8 Warren Central W 63-43
1/12 North Central (Indianapolis) W 69-59
1/13 at Lawrence Central W 81-67
1/15 Pike W 64-62
1/16 Warren Central W 59-56
1/22 North Central (Indianapolis) W 64-60
1/23 Homestead L 50-55
1/29 at Center Grove W 45-35
1/30 Jeffersonville W 55-50
2/4 Carmel L 49-63
2/6 at Connersville W 40-36
2/12 at Ben Davis W 57-39
2/13 at Fort Wayne Snider W 95-70
2/19 at Pike W 75-67
2/20 Floyd Central W 66-49
2/23 at Hamilton Southeastern W 68-42
Indpls. Aresenal Tech Sectional
3/3 Indianapolis Cathedral W 75-63
3/5 Warren Central W 46-45
3/6 North Central (Indianapolis) W 62-49
3/13 Ben Davis W 58-44
3/13 Plainfield W 43-39
3/20 Bloomington South W 54-52
AP Source: Seahawks, Lockett reach 4-year contract extension
SEATTLE (AP) Tyler Lockett is sticking around with the Seattle Seahawks, and likely as Russell Wilson’s favorite target, for the foreseeable future.
The Seahawks and Lockett have agreed to a four-year contract extension that includes $37 million guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on the condition of anonymity because the extension had not been announced by the team. ESPN first reported the deal, which could be worth more than $69 million over the life of the contract.
The deal locks up Wilson’s favorite target from each of the past two seasons and will likely help Seattle in its attempts to ease a salary cap crunch for the 2021 season. Lockett’s current contract was set to expire after this season and carried a salary cap charge of just under $15 million.
Lockett, 28, is coming off a career-best season with 100 receptions for 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns. He teamed with DK Metcalf to become just the second pair of Seattle receivers to each have 1,000 yards in the same season. The Seahawks had an explosive passing game early in the season that fizzled badly over the second half of the year.
2021 NFL season: Team-by-team opponents for every game
- Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Football Team.
- Away: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans.
- Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants.
- Away: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans.
New England Patriots
- Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans.
- Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers.
New York Jets
- Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans.
- Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts.
- Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans.
- Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings.
- Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings.
- Away: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins.
- Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders.
- Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots.
- Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers.
- Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets.
- Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers.
- Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.
- Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers.
- Home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks.
- Away: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers.
- Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers.
- Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Home: Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers.
- Away: Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, Washington Football Team.
Las Vegas Raiders
- Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team.
- Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers.
- Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team.
- Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team.
- Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Washington Football Team
- Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Las Vegas Raiders.
New York Giants
- Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams.
- Away: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders.
- Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Football Team, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Football Team, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets.
Green Bay Packers
- Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Football Team.
- Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers.
- Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers.
- Away: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.
- Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers.
- Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers.
- Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.
New Orleans Saints
- Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants.
- Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Washington Football Team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants.
- Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team.
- Home: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team.
- Away: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants.
- Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team.
- Away: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers.
- Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans.
- Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Football Team.
Los Angeles Rams
- Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans.
- Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants.
- Home: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings.
- Away: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans.
San Francisco 49ers
- Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings.
- Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans.
Detectives find cause of Tiger Woods crash but won’t reveal
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles County sheriff says detectives have determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash his SUV last month in Southern California but would not release details Wednesday, citing unspecified privacy concerns for the golf star.
Woods suffered serious injuries in the Feb. 23 crash when he struck a raised median around 7 a.m. in Rolling Hills Estates, just outside Los Angeles. The Genesis SUV he was driving crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree on a downhill stretch that police said is known for wrecks. Woods is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been criticized for his comments about the crash, calling it “purely an accident” and saying there was no evidence of impairment. Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and didn’t remember driving. He was unconscious when a witness first approached the mangled SUV. But a sheriff’s deputy said the athlete later appeared to be in shock but was conscious and able to answer basic questions.
Investigators did not seek a search warrant for Woods’ blood samples, which could be screened for drugs and alcohol. In 2017, Woods checked himself into a clinic for help in dealing with prescription drug medication after a DUI charge in his home state of Florida.
Detectives, however, did obtain a search warrant for the data recorder of the 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV, known as a black box. Villanueva would not say Wednesday what data had been found in the black box.
“A cause has been determined, the investigation has concluded,” Villanueva said during a live social media event Wednesday in response to a question posed by The Associated Press.
UConn’s Paige Bueckers is AP women’s player of the year
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Paige Bueckers is in a class all by herself.
UConn’s star guard became the first freshman ever to win The Associated Press women’s basketball player of the year award Wednesday.
Bueckers helped lead the Huskies to their 13th consecutive Final Four with 28 points in the regional final win over Baylor on Monday night, just the latest star turn for the phenomenol 19-year-old Minnesota native.
“It’s amazing, surreal for people to think of me that highly and to be in that position as a freshman,” Bueckers said. “To get this award, I’m extremely humbled and grateful.”
Bueckers was informed she won the award by coach Geno Auriemma during a team video session on Monday. She broke down as she accepted it in front of her teammates.
Sabres end 18-game skid with 6-1 win over Flyers
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Embarrassment for Brandon Montour and the Buffalo Sabres turned into relief on Wednesday night.
The Sabres ended their 18-game skid – the NHL’s longest in 17 years – with a resounding 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Rather than squandering a 3-0 third-period lead, like it did during a 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers on Monday, Buffalo put it away by scoring the final four goals.
Montour capped the surge by scoring short-handed goals 37 seconds apart, the first into an empty net.
“It was a tough stretch. You never want to lose, especially the streak we had there. Everybody was talking about it,” the defenseman said. “Tonight, luckily we all played together and got the win. It was good for everyone.
It was Buffalo’s first win since a 4-1 victory at New Jersey on Feb. 23, and ended an 0-15-3 streak. The slump was tied for the league’s 14th longest, and worst since the Pittsburgh Penguins had a 0-17-1 stretch during the 2003-04 season.
The Sabres also snapped a 0-9-2 home skid, one short of matching a franchise record set during the 1990-91 season. Buffalo won for just the third time at home, and first since a 4-3 shootout win over the Devils on Jan. 30.
Linus Ullmark stopped 31 shots and was greeted by a long line of Sabres, led by Rasmus Dahlin, after the final horn sounded in an arena without fans. Steven Fogarty scored his first career goal and added an assist.
NOTRE DAME BASEBALL: ND BASEBALL: Irish Series at Pitt Pushed Back
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 12th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team will have to wait a few more days before starting their series against the 17th-ranked Panthers. The series is pushed back two days due to inclement weather and will now begin on Saturday, April 3 at 1 p.m. ET. An updated schedule of the weekend series is listed below and all three games will still be aired on the ACC Network Extra.
Updated Weekend Schedule: No. 12 Notre Dame at No. 17 Pitt
Game 1: Saturday, April 3 – 1 p.m.
Game 2: Sunday, April 4 – 3 p.m.
Game 3: Monday, April 5 – 1 p.m.
INDIANA WSOCCER: Indiana Women’s Soccer Defeats MSU in Regular-Season Home Finale, 2-1
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana women’s soccer earned its sixth conference win as it defeated Michigan State, 2-1, on Wednesday afternoon at Bill Armstrong Stadium to tie the program record of most conference wins.
• Indiana (6-4-0) struck first in the 23rd minute. Freshman Jennifer Blitchok launched it ahead to classmate Gabi Rennie crossed over her defender on the breakaway using her left foot to fire it into the back of the far-left post for her first collegiate goal.
• In the 47th minute, Michigan State’s Sydney Kloosterman found the equalizer after receiving a pass from midfield for the breakaway about five yards into the goalie box to tie the game at the half.
• Coming out of the locker room, sophomore Avery Lockwood earned herself a penalty kick in the 47th minute. Lockwood faked the goalkeeper left as she used her right foot to find the right side of the back of the net which proved to be the gamewinner.
• Indiana’s defense held the Spartans (1-8-1) to only three shots in the second half. MSU saw its best opportunity in the 72nd minute from defender Raegan Cox who took a shot on target only for it to be saved by Indiana’s goalkeeper Bethany Kopel.
• Indiana earns its sixth conference win of the season to tie the program record for most conference wins in a season. The last time Indiana had six wins was in 1998 and 2013.
• The victory sets a new record of conference wins under head coach Erwin van Bennekom in his second season after going 4-5-2 in conference play in his first year.
• IU has won the last six out of seven matchups against the Spartans with the last loss coming in 2015.
• The Hoosiers lead the series versus the Spartans 19-7-2.
• Freshman Gabi Rennie scored her first collegiate goal.
• Junior Natalie Lunt earned her second career start.
• Senior goalkeeper Bethany Kopel ties first along with two others (Shannon Flower, Ashley Davis) for most conference wins in a single season for Indiana.
• Sophomore Avery Lockwood netted her second goal this season. She now has seven on her career along with four gamewinning goals.
• Indiana travels to West Lafayette, Ind. on Saturday, April 3 to face in-state rival Purdue to close out the regular-season. Kickoff will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network +.
PURDUE VOLLEYBALL: Cleveland Named AVCA National Player of the Week
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Junior outside hitter Grace Cleveland became just the fourth Boilermaker in program history to be named AVCA National Player of the Week, following the pair of weekend victories at No. 9 Ohio State.
Cleveland is the first Boilermaker nationally recognized since 2012 and joins the ranks of Purdue greats Ariel Turner (2012 and 2011), Rachel Davis (2011) and Stephanie Lynch (2006) to receive the honor.
The Bloomington, Illinois, product averaged 3.63 kills per set in Columbus, recording 29 kills and just five errors on 85 attempts for a .282 hitting clip.
Night one saw 17 kills with four errors on 45 attempts for a .289 hitting clip, while her second offensive performance registered just one error in 12 kills and 40 attempts (.275). In Saturday’s match, the 6-3 hitter sealed the victory with five kills and four block assists in the fourth set alone.
Cleveland had a stunning defensive performance to match, tying career-highs in each outing. On Friday, Cleveland recorded a double-double, which included matching a career-high 11 digs, before turning around and tying a career-best nine block assists the following day (just one shy of a double-double).
In addition to her 29 kills, Cleveland totaled 15.0 blocks and 37.5 points over the pair of 3-1 victories to help Purdue to its first series sweep of a top-10 program since 2013.
Cleveland enters the final week of the regular season ranked 17th in the nation in blocks per set (1.44) and was selected as Big Ten Player of the Week on March 30 and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on March 8.
No. 8 Purdue (13-5) concludes the regular season at home Friday and Saturday against Illinois (6-10). Fans can watch the matches on Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. ET on Friday and 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The NCAA Selection show is slated for Sunday, April 4 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
NOTRE DAME SOFTBALL: IRISH TOP CMU 7-4 IN MIDWEEK MATCHUP
NOTRE DAME, Ind — Notre Dame (17-8) continued its undefeated home streak (5-0 in 2021) with a 7-4 midweek win over Central Michigan (4-14) Wednesday night.
Junior Payton Tidd (9-4) started and earned the win in the circle, while senior Morgan Ryan entered in relief, pitching two innings to get the save. Tidd totaled four strikeouts, and Ryan added two, while Tidd only walked one batter, and Ryan did not issue a walk.
At the plate, it was a true team effort, as eight Irish combined for 11 total hits, with reigning ACC Player of the Week Abby Sweet leading the pack with three hits, including two doubles, extending her on-base streak to 43 games (Feb. 9, 2020 – present). Graduate student Katie Marino smacked her third home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth inning, to solidify the win. Marino finished the day with three RBI.
On her singular at-bat of the game, Ryan fired a double for the first extra-base hit of her career.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish started off strong, with Tidd striking out two in the first inning. Notre Dame got to work at the plate, with Sweet leading off with a double. She was pushed to third on an Emma Clark groundout, and scored when Marino forced an outfield error. As Marino advanced to third on the error, freshman Karina Gaskins walked, then stole second. Tidd delivered a sacrifice popup to score Marino for the second run of the inning.
Sophomore Leea Hanks followed with a single to score Gaskins, and the Irish left the first inning up 3-0.
Through the second and third innings, both teams were unable to put any more runs on the board. In the top of the fourth, Central Michigan singled, and then delivered a two-run homer to pull within one. The Irish wrapped up the top half and headed to the bottom of the fourth, as junior Quinn Biggio and freshman Carlli Kloss singled to reach base. Clark delivered a two-out single to score Biggio, ending the inning at 4-2.
Central Michigan went three up, three down in the fifth, and with the Irish up to bat and with two outs, Hanks again singled, advancing to second when Biggio walked. Graduate student Chelsea Purcell singled to bring in Hanks, upping the lead to 5-2.
In response, the Chippewas again delivered a single, followed by a two-run homer to pull within one at 5-4. After a walk, the only one issued by Tidd, Ryan entered to pitch, and the inning ended at 5-4.
In the bottom of the sixth, Sweet led off with a double, reaching third on a Clark sac hit. Marino then homered to score two runs and extend the lead. Ryan delivered her first-career double, but was left on base.
In the seventh, with Ryan in the circle, the Irish went through four total batters, allowing one hit and notching two outs before Ryan struck out the final batter to end the game.
The RV Irish will go back on the road, traveling to face No. 10 Florida State in a four-game series over Easter weekend (April 2-4). Broadcast coverage will be available on the ACC Network (April 2, April 3 – DH2) and ACC Network Extra (April 3 – DH1, April 4).
OHIO STATE MSOCCER: Buckeyes Come up Short in Ann Arbor
COLUMBUS, Ohio –Ohio State (3-4-1 B1G) dropped a 2-0 decision at Michigan (5-2-1) Wednesday at the U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines scored early in the second half with a goal in the 48th minute to take a 1-0 lead.
The Buckeyes put together a few opportunities in the second half but came up just short of getting the equalizer before the Wolverines scored again in the 84th minute for the 2-0 final.
Neither team was able to generate much offense in the first half with the Wolverines recording the only shot on goal, which was saved by the Buckeyes’ senior keeper Noah Lawrence.
Lawrence faced just three shots on net behind the hard-working Buckeye defense. Michigan took nine shots while the Buckeyes managed three, one on goal.
The Buckeyes return to Columbus to face Michigan State at 1 p.m. Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in the regular-season finale. The Buckeyes will celebrate the careers of nine seniors in pregame ceremonies.
INDIANA STATE VOLLEYBALL: Sycamores Set to Face Illinois State in First Round of MVC Tournament
NORMAL, Ill. – For the first time since 2017, Indiana State volleyball will compete in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, opening with tournament host and the top seed Illinois State on Thursday afternoon.
Sycamore volleyball will be making their first appearance in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament since the 2017 season when they picked up their first-ever postseason victory, defeating Drake 3-0 before falling to #25 Missouri State. The Sycamores and Redbirds will meet for just the second time in the postseason, with Illinois State winning the matchup in 2003, 3-0. Thursday will mark just the 11th appearance in the Gateway/Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in the Sycamore program, with just three of those appearances taking place during the 2010s (2017, 2014, 2011).
Mallory Keller, a freshman from Hudsonville, Mich., was named to the MVC All-Freshman team and has tallied a team-high 184 kills for 2.56 kills per set, which is the 16th-best mark in the conference, in addition to hitting .191. She is also 24th in the Valley in points per set, averaging 2.76. On the defensive side of the net, Keller has recorded 27 block assists and one solo block on the year in addition to 30 total digs.
Junior libero Melina Tedrow became the first Sycamore to earn consecutive first team honors since Bree Spangler was selected from 2014-2016. Tedrow owns a 3.71 GPA in finance and is currently eighth in school history in career digs, tallying 1179 digs. For the spring 2021 season, Tedrow has recorded 379 digs for an average of 5.12 digs per set, both of which lead the Sycamores. With her honorable mention honor, Williams earned the first scholar-athlete award of her career at Indiana State. Williams currently boasts a 3.61 GPA in marketing and leads the Sycamores with 56 total blocks throughout the season and she also boasts the second-best mark in total kills (171) and service aces (21).
CLIMBING THE LADDER
Melina Tedrow continued to climb the history books this weekend after digging in for 34 total digs last weekend against Missouri State. Tedrow sits in eight in school history, now boasting 1179 career digs. She needs just 11 more digs to move into seventh in ISU history and surpass Stacy Stanton. The junior recorded 24 digs and five assists on Saturday afternoon against the Bears.
The Sycamore defense has managed to maintain their impressive national numbers throughout the season. Melina Tedrow is currently 35th in the NCAA with 5.12 digs per set and Indiana State as a team averages 18.54 digs per set, the 17th-best number in the nation. Indiana State’s 80-dig performance in a three set-match with Bradley is still the fourth-best number in the NCAA for a three-set match.
Last season Indiana State saw themselves towards the bottom of every major offensive statistical category. This season, ISU is first in the Valley in hitting percentage at .201 and is fifth in kills per set at 13.04. ISU also holds the second-best mark in the nation of total attacks in a three-set match with 163 from their Feb. 15 match with Bradley. They also have the fifth-best mark in the NCAA of total attacks in a four-set match from their Feb. 14 match with Bradley when they tallied 201. The Trees are also seventh in the nation in team attacks per set at 40.11 and 40th in total kills at 965.
INDIANA STATE BASEBALL: No. 23 Sycamores Faceoff with Billikens in Final Nonconference Series
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – No. 23 Indiana State continues its 24-games road swing with a three-game series against Saint Louis. The series opener with the Billikens is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. Friday’s action will begin at 4 p.m. while the series finale is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The lone streamed game will be the series opener on Thursday which will air on ESPN+. Fans can also follow along via live stats or at @IndStBaseball on Twitter.
NEWS & NOTEWORTHY
» Thursday’s game with SLU will mark the 43rd game all-time between the two programs and the first weekend series. Indiana State leads the series with the Billikens 33-9 with the last meeting coming during the 2010 season in a 14-9 midweek victory. ISU has won the last two games in the series.
» Indiana State sits at No. 25 in this week’s Baseball America Top 25 poll. The Sycamores came in at No. 23 in this week’s Perfect Game Top 25 poll. It marks the second-straight week ISU has been nationally ranked.
» Indiana State sits at No. 5 in the current RPI ranking, according to WarrenNolan.com (March 31). ISU has wins over Pittsburgh (#18), Tennessee (#9), Florida Gulf Coast (#50) as well as a sweep of FIU (#76). ISU also took two of three games at nationally ranked FAU (#78). Currently, Indiana State’s nonconference strength of schedule ranks 16th nationally.
» Indiana State secured its first weekend sweep of the 2021 season at Florida International. The sweep was the first for the Sycamores since taking three games from Elon during the shortened 2020 season. Since 2018, Indiana State has swept 10 weekend opponents.
» Tyler Grauer recorded two saves at Tennessee over three innings of work. The lefty struck out five batters and did not issue a walk. Grauer sits at 19 career saves and is one shy of moving into second place. Craig Kozlowski holds the ISU career record with 26 saves from 1982-86. Austin Cross sits in second place with 20 career saves from 2014-17.
» The Sycamores return nearly all their arms on the mound from a year ago apart from 2019 MVC Newcomer of the Year Collin Liberatore. Tristan Weaver (LHP), Connor Cline (RHP) and Cam Edmonson (LHP) return after combining for nine starts last season. ISU’s bullpen returns several key pieces including LHP Tyler Grauer, RHP Jake Ridgway and RHP Zach Frey.
» Starting pitcher Tristan Weaver joined Grauer on the Preseason All-MVC squad. Weaver finished the abbreviated 2020 season with a 1-1 record on the mound and a 1.85 ERA in four starts. The left-hander struck out 34 batters and walked just eight while holding opponents to a .100 average against in 24.1 innings.
» Senior catcher Max Wright will be the lone Sycamore position starter back from the 2019 NCAA Tournament squad. Wright finished with a .296 batting average to go with eight doubles, four home runs and 36 RBI in 2019. Wright also caught 17 runners on the basepaths while fielding .988 behind the plate. Coming back from an early-season injury, Wright saw action in just four games in 2020.
» ISU head coach Mitch Hannahs is in his eighth season at the helm and has guided the Sycamores to a 220-145 overall record during his time in Terre Haute. Hannahs, who is one of the most decorated student-athletes in program history, entered the Indiana State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010 and has been a part of six of the programs 10 trips to the NCAA Postseason Tournament as a player or coach (’86, ’87, ’89, ’95, ’14, ’19). Since taking over the program in 2013, Hannahs has led the Sycamores to over 200 wins, a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and five top-3 finishes in the Missouri Valley Conference. He sits second all-time in career wins behind legendary head coach and ISU Hall of Famer Bob Warn who guided the program to 1,070 wins from 1976-2006.
» Indiana State baseball was picked to finish fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll. DBU tallied 64 points and were named the favorite over second-place pick ILS and third place MSU. BU was picked in fifth, followed by SIU, UE and Valpo.
MIAMI SOFTBALL: RedHawks Soar Past Colonels, 15-2
OXFORD, Ohio — The Miami University softball team exploded for a 15-2, five-inning rout of the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Wednesday afternoon at the Miami Softball Complex in Oxford, Ohio. Adriana Barlow was a perfect 4-for-4 on the afternoon with five RBI while Allie Cummins went 2-for-2 with a pair of home runs and five RBI. In all, the RedHawks pounded out 13 hits in the five-inning affair.
Miami has now won 11-straight, dating back to March 7. The RedHawks improve to 17-6 overall, while EKU drops to 18-9.
How it Happened:
It didn’t take long for the RedHawks to get on the board as Barlow recorded a grand slam in the bottom of the first to secure the Red and White an early 4-0 lead.
Barlow then doubled in the second inning to bring Cummins around to score.
Miami added six more runs in the bottom of the third. Jada Dotson had a three-run homer, Cummins added a two-run blast and Lily Wilmot singled to right field as Miami took a commanding 11-0 lead.
After EKU scored twice in the fourth, Cummins picked up her second home run of the afternoon, this time a three-run shot in the bottom half of the inning. Wilmot made it 15-2 with a single to right to bring around Barlow.
Miami is off this weekend and returns to action on Tuesday, April 6 when it hosts Butler at 4 p.m.
DAYTON BASEBALL: Mitchell Garrity Sets Hit By Pitch Record In Baseball’s Victory Over Akron Tuesday
DAYTON – The University of Dayton scored nine runs in the bottom of the first inning in an 18-7 victory over Akron on Tuesday afternoon at Woerner Field.
The Flyers improve to 9-15 on the season in a game in which all nine starters got a base hit. Senior Mitchell Garrity was hit by three pitches, the first of which put him in sole possession of the program record for career hit by pitches. That was the 49th time that Garrity had been hit in his career, passing Cole Tyrell for first in program history.
Junior Benjamin Blackwell went 3-6 with two home runs, both of which came in the first inning of the game. His first big fly went out to left center field and the second was an inside-the-park home run on a ball that ricocheted off the center field wall. Graduate student Chris Cabrera also had a big game, going 3-4 with four RBIs in the contest.
ON THE MOUND
Sophomore Anthony Hattrup started the game for the Flyers, going the first 3.2 innings on the mound allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out four Zips. He was relieved by sophomore Nick Wissman, who would go the next 2.2 innings, also allowing two earned runs and striking out four.
Junior Jake Silverstein entered from left field in relief, pitching 1.2 innings without allowing a hit and picking up three strikeouts. Freshman Parker Bard finished the game for the Flyers, throwing a scoreless ninth inning with a strikeout.
Bottom 1: (9-0 Flyers)
Blackwell started off the scoring for the Flyers with his first home run of the inning, the first of his career to give Dayton a 1-0 lead. Junior Marcos Pujols singled and senior Riley Tirotta was hit by a pitch to put two on, and with two outs the scoring onslaught began. Graduate student Eddie Pursinger singled to right field bringing Pujols around to score and Cabrera followed with an RBI double, clearing the bases and making it a 4-0 lead.
Junior Jay Curtis walked and Garrity tripled to center field, scoring two more runs and completing the cycle for Dayton in the first inning. Senior Mariano Ricciardi brought Garrity home with a double to left center field to make it 7-0 and Blackwell’s inside-the-park home run made it a nine-run first inning for Dayton.
Top 2: (9-2 Flyers)
A hit by pitch was followed by a two-run home run to cut Dayton’s lead to seven.
Bottom 2: (10-2 Flyers)
Graduate student Alex Brickman led off the inning with a hit by pitch. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, to third on a Cabrera single and Curtis brought him home with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Bottom 3: (15-2 Flyers)
Ricciardi walked and Blackwell was hit by a pitch. Pujols singled past the shortstop to load the bases before a walk to Tirotta made it 11-2. Pursinger reached on a fielder’s choice, bringing home another run and after stealing second, another RBI base hit from Cabrera brought home two runs making it 14-2. Curtis and Garrity were hit by pitches and Ricciardi finished the scoring for the inning with a single to right field.
Top 4: (15-5 Flyers)
A single to right field opened the inning and after an out, back-to-back singles loaded the bases. An error brought two runs home and put two on base and after a single loaded the bases, Hattrup struck out the next hitter, but a wild pitch brought home a fifth run of the game.
Bottom 4: (16-5 Flyers)
Tirotta walked with one out and Brickman brought him in to score with a double down the left field line.
Top 5: (16-6 Flyers)
A one-out double followed by a fly ball to right field advanced the runner to third. A wild pitch brought home the sixth run of the game for Akron.
Bottom 6: (18-6 Flyers)
Tirotta got a one-out single and walks to Brickman and Pursinger loaded the bases. Silverstein singled over the third baseman’s head to bring home two more runs and extend UD’s lead to 12 runs.
Top 7: (18-7 Flyers)
A one-out walk was followed by an RBI double for the Zips to give the game its final score of 18-7.
The Flyers will head to Cincinnati on Thursday for the first of a four-game series with Xavier. Dayton will take on the Musketeers on Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. at Xavier before returning home for a doubleheader on Saturday at Woerner Field beginning at 12 p.m.
CINCINNATI BASEBALL: Baseball Walks Off No. 5 Louisville, 13-12, In 10 Innings
CINCINNATI – Louisville native Ryan Nicholson belted a one-out single through the hole into right field to cap a wild come-from-behind win over the No. 5 Cardinals, 13-12, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 in nonconference action at UC Baseball Stadium.
Nicholson’s walk off scored pinch runner Josh Hegemann from third and set off a raucous celebration in center field to cap the four-hour, eight-minute marathon. Three-straight singles by Jace Mercer, Joey Bellini and Wyatt Stapp got the rally going with Stapp’s poke up the middle scoring Mercer to tie the game up 12.
The Bearcats (11-10) trailed 8-2 in the middle of the fourth and 12-11 in the middle of the 10th. It was UC’s first win over a ranked foe since Oregon State in the NCAA Regional on June 1, 2019.
Louisville (16-7) showed their mettle late, tying the game up at 11-11 after a two-out double by Trey Leonard in the top of the eighth to score Lucas Dunn. UC had taken an 11-10 lead in the bottom of the seventh on back-to-back home runs by Eric Santiago and Joe Powell.
UofL’s Christian Knapczyk’s had a one-out sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th which scored Lucas Dunn and set up Nicholson’s walk-off heroics.
Beau Keathley (1-0) picked up the win in a two-inning relief appearance. Kaleb Corbett took the loss, falling to 1-1. The teams combined to use 13 pitchers. Offensively, the teams tallied 25 runs, 29 hits and four home runs, two by UC’s Eric Santiago.
• Santiago was 3-for-5, belting a pair of homers, scoring three runs and totaling five runs batted in. It was the first two home-run game of his career.
• Nicholson walked, scored two runs and picked up a pair of hits, including the game-winning RBI single.
• Mercer finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a home run, his fifth of the season.
The Bearcats will open up American Athletic Conference play this weekend, heading to East Carolina to face the No. 11 Pirates at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The series starts Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, features a Friday doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. and closes out Saturday with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The game Thursday and Friday’s twin bill will air on ESPN+ while Saturday’s finale will be streamed on ECUPirates.com. Live stats for the four-game set are available on BearcatStats.com.
EARLHAM BASEBALL: Late-inning rally lifts Earlham baseball
SCORE: Earlham 4, Bluffton 1
LOCATION: Richmond, Indiana – Randal R. Sadler Stadium
RECORDS: Earlham 9-6 / Bluffton 3-12
RICHMOND, Indiana – Earlham College baseball posted a pair of runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to emerge victorious over Bluffton University, 4-1, on Wednesday evening at Sadler Stadium.
Danny Dopp doubled home Brian Pincura with a two-out liner into center field in the seventh inning, and Dopp crossed when Austin Hatfield singled into left field. Hatfield and was put out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double, but Dopp’s run counted to give Earlham a 2-1 lead.
The Quakers extended their lead to 4-1 in the eighth, taking advantage of singles from Isaiah Shake and Christian Lancianese to open the frame. Pinch hitter Maxwell Fries moved the runners around on a grounder to third, with Lancianese benefiting from a Bluffton error on an attempted force at second. Gendreau plated both Shake and Lancianese with a double through the left side, before a pair of fly outs to right field got Bluffton out of the inning.
Bluffton scored its lone run in the third inning, with an RBI double from Parker Reynolds put the Beavers on the scoreboard.
Earlham reliever Jacob Renner picked up the win after coming on to pitch to Bluffton in the seventh, and he was the pitcher of record for the Quakers when they plated the go-ahead runs in the bottom half of the frame. Domanick Michael finished off the Beavers in the ninth inning for his fourth save of the season.
Nathan Lancianese, Hatfield, and Gendreau each finished with two hits for the Quakers.
Earlham baseball heads to the Buckeye state on Friday for a doubleheader with Defiance College. First game of the twinbill will start at 12:00 p.m.
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1914 Rube Waddell, a right-hander who once struck out a record 349 batters in one season, dies of tuberculosis at 37. The eccentric Hall of Famer compiled a 193-143 (.574) record and a 2.16 ERA during his 13 seasons with the Colonels, A’s, Pirates, and Browns.
1937 The Reds sell Babe Herman to the Tigers. The 34 year-old outfielder, batting .300 for his new team, will appear in only 17 contests with Detroit before effectively retiring from the game, although he will return to play briefly for the war-time Dodgers in 1945.
1938 Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, not a fan of Branch Rickey’s farm system, grants free agency to a group of nine Cardinal minor leaguers that includes talented prospect Pete Reiser. A reported gentlemen’s agreement that has Brooklyn signing and hiding the 19 year-old outfielder in the minors for a trade back to St. Louis fails when Leo Durocher disobeys orders, allowing the phenom to display his incredible ability in spring training exhibition games.
1950 At Gilmore Field, the Pacific Coast League Hollywood Stars unveil their new look, wearing shorts and rayon shirts on Opening Day. The team plans to wear the new track-suit-styled uniforms during day games and warm night contests. In 1976, the White Sox will also don shorts in the first game of a doubleheader against Kansas City.
1962 Dave DeBusschere, a hoop star at the University of Detroit, signs with the White Sox as a pitcher. The 21 year-old right-hander will compile a 3-4 record in 36 appearances with Chicago before moving to the National Basketball Association, becoming one of the 50 named greatest players in the league’s history.
1963 Former Brooklyn Dodger Duke Snider returns to New York when the Mets purchase him from LA for $40,000. The 36 year-old outfielder, who will represent New York in the All-Star Game, will be told at the end of the season by Buzzi Bavasi, his former GM, that the Yankees had asked for him to back up Mickey Mantle before he was dealt to the team the across the river.
1964 During spring training in Tucson (AZ), Indians’ manager Birdie Tebbetts suffers a heart attack. George Strickland will fill in for three months until the 51 year-old skipper returns to the Indians dugout with limited duties, resigning from the team two seasons later on August 19, again replaced by his third base coach.
1968 The Braves purchase Orioles right-handed reliever Stu Miller, best remembered for committing a balk in the 1961 All-Star Game when a gust of wind pushed him off the mound at Candlestick Park. The 40 year-old Northampton (MA) native will throw only 1.2 innings in two appearances for Atlanta before retiring from baseball, having compiled a 105-103 record and 153 saves during his 16-year major league tenure with five teams.
1969 After acquiring Lou Piniella from the Indians in the expansion draft, the Seattle Pilots trade him to the Royals in exchange for Steve Whitaker and John Gelnar. The 25 year-old outfielder will have a stellar season in Kansas City, copping the league’s Rookie of the Year Award.
1970 Federal Bankruptcy Referee Sidney Volinn, after ruling the team is insolvent, orders the Seattle Pilots be sold to a group headed by mid-western businessman Bud Selig. The American League expansion team’s tenure in the Northwest is over after just one season when the club is hastily moved to Milwaukee to start the new season as the Brewers.
1976 After being released by the Padres, Bobby Tolan (.255, 5, 48), signs as a free agent with the Phillies. The outfielder-first baseman, who plays only 15 games for Philadelphia, will ink a deal with the Pirates in June.
1982 The Mets send fan-favorite Lee Mazzilli to Texas for rookie starters Ron Darling and Walt Terrell. This deal isn’t well-received at the time, but the trade turns out to be a steal for New York when the two right-handers combine for 118 victories during their tenure with the team, and their departed outfielder plays a total of 58 games with Texas before being traded to the Yankees in August for Bucky Dent.
1987 The Pirates trade Tony Pena, a three-time Gold Glove catcher, to the Cardinals in exchange for three youngsters, Mike LaValliere, Mike Dunne, and Andy Van Slyke, who thinks the deal is an April Fool’s Day joke. The former Pittsburgh backstop cries at a news conference with Bucs’ skipper Jim Leyland announces the swap with the Redbirds.
1987 Mets phenom pitcher Dwight Gooden avoids suspension for substance abuse by agreeing to enter a drug rehab facility. The talented 22 year-old right-hander will make his first start on June 5 and wins 15 games for the team despite missing the first two months of the season.
1989 Former Yale University and National League president Bart Giamatti becomes the seventh commissioner of major league baseball. Baseball’s new leader, a lifelong Red Sox fan, is the author of The Green Fields of the Mind, an essay which laments the end of a season in Boston.
1996 Nationalpastime.com appears for the first time on the internet. The popular website is the first to feature baseball history on a daily basis.
1996 The postponement of Cincinnati’s Opening Day game becomes necessary after home plate ump John McSherry, working his 26th season in the major leagues, suffers a fatal heart attack after calling the first seven pitches of the contest. The death of the respected, but noticeably overweight veteran arbitrator, prompts Major League Baseball to compel its umpires to be more physically fit.
1996 The Mets rally overcome a 6-0 deficit, beating the Cardinals at Shea Stadium, 7-6, in the century’s biggest Opening Day comeback. The decisive run scores due to an unusual 9-3-6-3-6 double play when Bernard Gilkey, the baserunner on first, is doubled up on Rico Brogna’s short sac fly to right field (RF-1B-SS-1B-SS), allowing Lance Johnson to cross home plate on the play.
1996 Only 7,296 fans show up at Cashman Field to watch the A’s lose their season opener to the Blue Jays, 9-6. Due to the renovations at the Oakland Coliseum, the first six home games take place in Las Vegas, marking the first time since the White Sox participated in 11 home contests in Milwaukee’s County Stadium in 1969 that a major league game takes place in a neutral site.
1997 Setting a record for the most runs scored in one inning of an Opening Day contest this century, the Padres score 11 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning en route to a 12-5 rout of the Mets. Chris Gomez, Rickey Henderson, and Quilvio Veras lead the attack with back-to-back-to-back home runs.
1998 At Camden Yards, the Orioles rock the Royals, 10-1, as Scott Erickson records his 100th major league victory. O’s skipper Ray Miller, who hadn’t won a game since managing the Twins in 1986, enjoys his first win with Baltimore.
2001 In the first major league game ever played in Puerto Rico, the Blue Jays defeat the Rangers, 8-1, in the major league season opener. In his debut with Texas, $252 million shortstop Alex Rodriguez collects the season’s first hit and first run, but he makes a throwing error on his first chance in the field.
2002 Cinci Freedom, who evaded capture for ten days after jumping a six-foot fence to avoid slaughter, is excused from her scheduled appearance in the Reds’ traditional Opening Day parade. Before the Reds’ 5-4 walk-off victory over the Cubs at Cinergy Field, the Charolais cow is deemed too jumpy to participate in the Findlay Market activities after receiving a key to the city.
2002 The Mets, with a 6-2 victory over the Bucs at Shea Stadium, improve their mark for Opening Day victories to 26-15 (.634), a major league record. The New York expansion team didn’t win their first season opener until the ninth year of the franchise’s existence.
2005 Albert Pujols does not strike out in any of the 21 Cardinals spring training games. In his 68 plate appearances, the St. Louis first baseman finishes the exhibition season with a .458 batting average, six homers, and 20 RBI.
2006 A day before the start of the season, the White Sox ink Jose Contreras (15-7, 3.61) to a $29 million, three-year contract extension. The 34 year-old Cuban native was the World Champs’ most effective pitcher during the team’s stretch run to the AL pennant, posting an 11-2 mark following the All-Star Game.
2008 With two outs in the 10th inning, Robert Andino’s first career round-tripper is a memorable one as his walk-off homer to deep left off Matt Wise gives the Marlins a 5-4 victory over the Mets at Dolphin Stadium. The post-game celebration is short-lived when the Miami native takes off for home to meet the police after getting a text message from his wife informing him their house may have an intruder.
2008 On Opening Day in Los Angeles, Juan Pierre’s 434 consecutive game streak, the longest current one in the major leagues, comes to an end when the Dodger outfielder does not play in the 3-2 victory over the Giants. New skipper Joe Torre plays Andre Ethier in left field in place of the highly paid but light-hitting fly chaser.
2009 After tallying a run in the top of the first, Kentucky State finds itself on the short end of a 22-1 score. The Eastern Kentucky University Colonels score 27 more times in the next three frames, prompting the decision to halt the contest in the middle of the fifth, giving EKU a 49-1 triumph over the Thorobreds.
2011 Doug Glanville becomes a baseball color analyst for ESPN, the network where he has contributed to the Baseball Tonight television show, ESPN.com, and ESPN – The Magazine. The former major league outfielder, best known for his playing days with the Phillies, is also a guest columnist for the New York Times, where he writes about sports culture.
2013 On Opening Day, Jackie Bradley Jr. makes a memorable major league debut, walking three times, scoring twice, and robbing Robinson Cano of an extra-base hit with an outstanding defensive play in the Red Sox’ 8-2 victory over New York at Yankee Stadium. The 22 year-old Boston rookie outfielder, called JBJ by his teammates, also makes uniform history, becoming the first major leaguer to wear “Jr.” on the back of his jersey.
2013 Bryce Harper, providing all of the offense the Nationals will need, becomes the youngest player to homer twice on Opening Day. The 20 year-old outfielder, playing in his first Opening Day as a major leaguer, hits solo shots in the first and fourth frames in Washington’s 2-0 victory over Miami.
2013 Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino, who will end the day with an 0-1 record when he gives up a walk-off sac fly in an Opening Day loss to Milwaukee, becomes the first big league pitcher to wear the number 0, joining position players Oddibe McDowell (1985-88), Junior Ortiz (1989-2004), and Al Oliver (1978-85). Several players, including hurlers, including Bobo Newsome (1943), Curtis Leskanic (2000-01), Rick White (2005-06), and Brian Wilson (2003-14), have donned a double-zero.
2015 Auction items featured in Sotheby’s “New York Sale” include the 1967 Mets’ bullpen cart, which is shaped like a baseball wearing a cap. The electric-powered vehicle, valued between $20,000 and $30,000, fetches a surprising high bid of $125,000.
TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1985
LEXINGTON, Ky. – This was supposed to be a coronation, a celebration of the mighty Georgetown Hoyas as one of college basketball’s greatest teams. Instead, the crowning was spoiled by a new and unlikely champion, the Villanova Wildcats. In what will surely be remembered as one of the most improbable outcomes in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, the Wildcats, who failed to finish in the nation’s Top 40 in any poll this season, completed their emotion-filled postseason by playing the elusive “perfect game” at the perfect time.
They upset the favored Hoyas, 66-64, to win the school’s first basketball championship ever before a national television audience and a capacity crowd of 23,124 shocked spectators at Rupp Arena. In Georgetown, Villanova was facing a team that had harassed opponents into shooting 39 percent from the field this season, the lowest in the country. But the Wildcats were not intimidated, and shot a tournament- record 79 percent from the field in the contest. They made 22 of 28 shots over all, including an incredible 9 of 10 in the second half. In addition, they made 22 of 27 free throws.
“I had no idea we were shooting the ball that well,” said the Wildcat forward Dwayne McClain, who led all scorers with 17 points while adding 3 assists. “But we were taking our time and taking good shots.” In the final precious seconds McClain lay sprawled on the court, clutching the ball and extending his fist upward in triumph. Indeed, the victory culminated a heart-wrenching joyride for the Wildcats, who finished at 25-10. After finishing the season with a Big East record that left them only tied for third in the conference-behind Georgetown and St. John’s-they strung together six straight victories buoyed by a moving togetherness that became their trademark.
Charged by their trio of seniors- McClain; the point guard Gary McLain, the emotional leader and unsung hero; and the 6-foot-9 1/2-inch center Ed Pinckney-they eliminated second-ranked Michigan, fifth-ranked Memphis State and seventh-ranked North Carolina. And tonight they dethroned the talent-laden defending champions, who came into the contest with a 17- game winning streak and every intention of becoming the first team in 12 seasons to earn two successive titles.
But it was not to be. The Wildcats’ fighting spirit overcame the Hoyas’ talent. Pinckney outscored and outrebounded Georgetown’s 7-foot center, Patrick Ewing-16 points to 14 and 6 rebounds to 5. That earned Pinckney honors as the most valuable player of the Final Four. The Hoyas, who ended their season with a record of 35-3, were gracious in defeat. As each of the Villanova players walked to the podium at center court and received his commemorative gold watch, the Hoyas stood and applauded. “They taught college basketball how to win this season,” Dave Gavitt, the proud commissioner of the Big East, said of the Hoyas. “Tonight, they taught college basketball how to lose.”
1987: The Mets were informed by major league baseball that Dwight Gooden, their 22-year-old pitching ace who went 24-5 in 1985 and helped them to the world championship in 1986, had tested positive for cocaine. He missed the first two months of the season in a rehabilitation center and was never as overpowering again.
1991: After five trips to the Final Four under Coach Mike Krzyzewski since 1986, Duke finally won its first N.C.A.A. championship, methodically defeating Kansas, 72-65, in the title game at Indianapolis.
1972: Major leaguers walked out at the end of spring training, beginning the first general players’ strike in sports history. The walkout lasted until April 13. None of the 86 regular-season games that were canceled were made up-a move that affected the American League East Division when the Detroit Tigers, who played one game more than the Boston Red Sox, finished a half-game ahead of them.
|W||L||Pct||Conf GB||Home||Road||Div||Conf||Last 10||Streak|
|1 Brooklyn||33||15||.688||—||19-6||14-9||5-2||17-10||8-2||3 W|
|2 Philadelphia||32||15||.681||0.5||19-4||13-11||8-2||22-7||7-3||2 L|
|3 Milwaukee||30||17||.638||2.5||18-7||12-10||9-0||18-9||7-3||1 W|
|4 Charlotte||24||22||.522||8.0||13-9||11-13||7-1||13-9||6-4||1 W|
|5 Miami||24||24||.500||9.0||12-12||12-12||5-5||15-15||4-6||2 W|
|6 New York||24||24||.500||9.0||14-9||10-15||1-6||17-15||5-5||2 L|
|7 Atlanta||23||24||.489||9.5||11-9||12-15||3-3||13-12||6-4||2 L|
|8 Boston||23||25||.479||10.0||13-9||10-16||3-5||16-13||3-7||2 L|
|9 Indiana||21||25||.457||11.0||8-13||13-12||5-3||13-15||5-5||2 L|
|10 Chicago||19||27||.413||13.0||9-16||10-11||3-3||9-11||3-7||5 L|
|11 Toronto||18||30||.375||15.0||9-12||9-18||3-5||12-17||1-9||4 L|
|12 Washington||17||29||.370||15.0||10-15||7-14||1-7||7-21||3-7||1 L|
|13 Cleveland||17||30||.362||15.5||11-12||6-18||3-5||13-12||3-7||3 L|
|14 Orlando||16||31||.340||16.5||10-15||6-16||4-4||10-17||3-7||1 W|
|15 Detroit||13||34||.277||19.5||8-14||5-20||0-9||9-21||3-7||1 L|
|W||L||Pct||Conf GB||Home||Road||Div||Conf||Last 10||Streak|
|1 Utah||36||11||.766||—||20-2||16-9||3-2||16-6||8-2||7 W|
|2 Phoenix||33||14||.702||3.0||17-8||16-6||5-2||19-8||8-2||4 W|
|3 LA Clippers||32||17||.653||5.0||17-7||15-10||6-2||18-9||7-3||1 L|
|4 LA Lakers||30||18||.625||6.5||16-11||14-7||2-5||19-10||5-5||1 L|
|5 Denver||29||18||.617||7.0||14-9||15-9||7-1||15-11||7-3||3 W|
|6 Portland||29||18||.617||7.0||14-9||15-9||3-4||15-12||7-3||4 W|
|7 Dallas||25||21||.543||10.5||11-10||14-11||5-2||15-14||6-4||2 W|
|8 San Antonio||24||21||.533||11.0||12-14||12-7||4-6||13-17||5-5||1 W|
|9 Golden State||23||24||.489||13.0||14-9||9-15||3-7||12-14||4-6||1 W|
|10 Memphis||22||23||.489||13.0||11-14||11-9||4-5||11-17||5-5||1 L|
|11 Sacramento||22||26||.458||14.5||12-12||10-14||4-4||10-12||7-3||1 L|
|12 New Orleans||21||25||.457||14.5||14-11||7-14||5-3||12-17||6-4||2 W|
|13 Oklahoma City||20||27||.426||16.0||9-15||11-12||3-6||11-18||4-6||1 W|
|14 Houston||13||34||.277||23.0||6-17||7-17||4-6||9-17||2-8||2 L|
|15 Minnesota||12||36||.250||24.5||7-17||5-19||3-6||8-21||4-6||1 W|
|New York Islanders||36||22||10||4||48||20||106||84||13-1-2||9-9-2||6-4-0|
|New York Rangers||35||16||15||4||36||15||112||94||8-6-3||8-9-1||6-3-1|
|New Jersey Devils||34||13||16||5||31||13||83||106||4-11-2||9-5-3||5-3-2|
|Vegas Golden Knights||34||24||9||1||49||24||110||79||14-3-1||10-6-0||7-3-0|
|St. Louis Blues||35||16||13||6||38||14||100||113||4-8-4||12-5-2||2-5-3|
|Los Angeles Kings||34||14||14||6||34||13||96||96||6-4-4||8-10-2||4-6-0|
|San Jose Sharks||35||15||16||4||34||10||99||120||7-6-2||8-10-2||4-5-1|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||36||23||10||3||49||23||119||92||12-6-2||11-4-1||5-4-1|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||35||24||9||2||50||23||124||85||13-3-0||11-6-2||6-4-0|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||37||14||15||8||36||12||94||118||7-6-6||7-9-2||4-3-3|
|Detroit Red Wings||37||12||21||4||28||12||80||119||9-8-3||3-13-1||5-5-0|