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Khabib Nurmagomedov: Russian UFC fighter wants Floyd Mayweather bout in Moscow
UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov says he wants to face boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in a "world record" bout in Moscow.
9 m
BBC Sport - Sport
Wow, Julen Lopetegui is having an extremely bad time at Real Madrid
Tactically Naive discusses Madrid, Jose Mourinho’s struggles, and Arsenal’s resurgence. Football? Football! Soccer? Soccer! Welcome back to Tactically Naive, in which you can call this wonderful game whatever you want, as long as you are prepared to admit that it is Good. Even when it’s Bad. Onwards. Irreal Madrid Julen Lopetegui wakes up. It is a beautiful summer day. He leaps out of bed, a song in his heart,and throws open the curtains. Oh no! He is immediately hit in the face with a large custard pie. This is football. Things go wrong. Success is the punctuation that separates failure from failure, and joy the pinch of salt that really brings out the flavour of the persistent misery. But! Have things ever gone so wrong, so quickly, as they have for Julen Lopetegui? Outraged, Lopetegui storms outside. Unfortunately, somebody has left a large bucket of whitewash outside his door. He steps in it. It’s stuck on his foot! He starts to clatter around, getting whitewash everywhere. Just a few months ago Lopetegui was at the World Cup in Russia. He was in charge of Spain, who were going into the tournament as one of the favourites. His squad had come through qualifying unbeaten, scoring 36 goals on the way. Things were looking good … and then Real Madrid gave him a call. He said yes. Spain said “what the hell, Julen?” Fast forward to now, through Spain’s early exit from the tournament, and Real Madrid side have lost five games on the bounce. They didn’t score a goal for eight solid hours of football. They are seventh in La Liga. They are Bad. Finally, he gets the bucket off, and goes in pursuit of the pie-slinging miscreat. He sees some workmen with ladders working on the outside of the house. However, as he approaches them, a man with a ladder over his shoulder turns around. Poor Julen is caught flush in the head! He tumbles to the ground in a heap. There is of course a sense in which none of this is Lopetegui’s fault. The unwritten rules of football serve to impose tragic flaws on its managers. You do not say no to Real Madrid. You just don’t. Even when you’re their fourth, fifth, sixth choice. Even when saying yes is an extremely silly idea, just a few days before a World Cup. Even when Cristiano Ronaldo’s gone. Julen scrambles to his feet and begins to remonstrate with the man, who is extremely unapologetic. Other workmen clamber down and join the argument. Eventually they take their ladders and storm away. Angry, Julen thumps the side of his house, then sits down to have a good cry. There is a moment’s pause … Because to say no to Real Madrid would be to betray the fundamental drive of the football manager. That whole tangled collection of ambitions — to work with the best, to win the shiniest, to make the most money, to make the most of your time — that, when taken all together, add up to reaching the top. Even when the top turns out to be a barren spot, cold, with a miserable view. And only the prelude to an embarrassing fall. Managers have said no to Real Madrid, of course; either secure in their own projects or chary of the churn. Perhaps in some alternate universe, Lopetegui is striking matches on the World Cup trophy, puffing cigars as Spain take the Nations League by storm, and as some other sucker tries to navigate Madrid’s post-Ronaldo contractions. But not this one. In this one, there’s nothing left for him except the final phone call, and the only question is: when? … and then the front wall of his house collapses on top of him. He sits covered in dust, inside the open window frame, looking at the rubble all around him. Then he looks, blank-faced, at the camera. Fade to black. The continued decline of Jose Mourinho Plot twist: Manchester United are fun! Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea was the second game in a row in which United have stepped up to the demands of the Competition Formerly Known as The Barclays, and delivered the untethered chaos and giddy silliness that the sponsors crave. This doesn’t mean Manchester United are a good football team. Not yet. A good football team wouldn’t have been two down at home to Newcastle in the first place; a good football team would have squeezed out the win at Chelsea. But there’s definitely something starting to take shape in that jumble of a squad. Paul Pogba may still be losing his man at corners, but he’s also creating equalisers with spinning shoulder-drops and nutmegs. A balance in midfield, at last. A hammering from Juventus might kill this renascence stone dead, of course, and a hammering from Juventus is eminently possible. But for the moment, things are at least engaging. United look like they’re going somewhere, even if that somewhere might end up being nowhere again … … and just as well, since the game at Stamford Bridge also served as final notice that Jose Mourinho is not the man he once was, and may never truly return to his glorious, inglorious majesty. We’re talking, of course, about the not-fight at the end. It was almost perfect: the hold-me-back-hold-me-back Scrappy Doo stylings. The walloping hypocrisy of Mourinho — coat-flapper, eye-gouger, sprinkler-provoker — complaining about somebody else’s touchline conduct. The sheer glorious mess of it: ego and flailing machismo. Being Jose Mourinho requires performing the part of Jose Mourinho, and it’s been a while since that performance had been anything other than just a bit sad. Here at least — at last! — it was funny. Until an apology was offered and quickly accepted. What the hell? That’s not going to rumble on through the season. That’s not going to let bad feeling fester into bad blood. That’s not going to convince United’s players that everybody hates them and the only thing to do is show them, show them all, show them by by wasting time, by making tactical fouls, by winning. The man can’t even beef anymore. It’s terribly sad. Arsenal might be a thing again On Monday night, Arsenal went 1-0 down at home to Leicester City, then roared back to win 3-1. Mesut Ozil was divine, in his ethereal way, and they scored another gorgeous, length of the pitch passing goal. Becoming a bit of a habit, that. Maybe passing the ball out from the back is … good? Anyway, that’s ten wins in a row for the north Londoners, which isn’t bad going. Early days for Unai Emery, of course, but Tactically Naive is hear to warn you all that we may need to do some repunctuating in the near future. A change of emphasis may be coming. Because if this football club is actually going to be consistently good, then we’re going to need to swap out “Oh, Arsenal …” for “Oh, Arsenal!” Maybe even “OH! ARSENAL!” It’s going to be a big shift. They’ve been a comedy event for so long that it’s going to be hard to take them seriously. So be aware. The world may be changing, and you’ll need to change with it. There’s nothing so embarrassing as being caught out in public wearing last season’s punchlines. And the season before that. And the season before that. And the— no, no, we’ll stop now.
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Friends, the Champions League schedule is very good
We couldn’t reasonably ask for a better slate. Things are getting spicy in the third round of Champions League, with some big teams having suffered setbacks during the first two matchdays. Tottenham are in an absolute must-win scenario, while Manchester City, PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Manchester United would put themselves into deep trouble with a loss. United and a very frustrated Jose Mourinho have a tough matchup with Group H favorites Juventus, in what looks like the week’s marquee matchup. It’ll probably be a bit of a defensive slog, though, so you might want to pick something else if you’re mainly interested in seeing high-tempo action. All games can be found on Turner’s live streaming service, B/R Live. You can buy games individually on a PPV basis, pay $10 for a one-month subscription, or just sign up for the whole year for $80. For listings from outside the United States, check out Live Soccer TV. Champions League: Tuesday, Oct. 23 Real Madrid should coast to a win, but they’re still worth watching since manager Julen Lopetegui is on the hottest of hot seats heading into this weekend’s Clásico. The best game of the day might actually be Hoffenheim-Lyon. Champions League: Wednesday, Oct. 24 Mauro Icardi and Inter Milan keep pulling off last-minute miracles. Icardi sunk Tottenham with a stunner in the first round of the Champions League, and he scored a 93rd minute winner against AC Milan this weekend. Barcelona is a big step up in competition, but a result would see the Nerazzuri solidify their position ahead of Spurs. For the soccer hipsters in the house, Dortmund-Atléti is an absolute dream matchup. Europa League: Thursday, Oct. 25 early games The first really great slate of the Europa League season is here! All four of the top games from this slate are extremely watchable. Honestly, it might be worthwhile to get a couple monitors. Yes, for Europa League. Europa League: Thursday, Oct. 25 late games Well, at least we had the early slate. Sad they couldn’t split up the really good games.
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The best ways to pee during a football game, ranked
Let’s get wizzy wit it. Monday Night Football was kind of a snoozer. The Falcons are banged up, and it showed against a terrible 1-6 Giants team. The most interesting part of the game was when Odell Beckham Jr. made his way down the tunnel... for a pee break, per ESPN. "Eli's washed. I'm out" pic.twitter.com/nvjj7OAEGM— Mostly Football (@MostlyFBShow) October 23, 2018 That also led to this, from former NFL player and Monday Night Football’s Analyst On A Scooterized Platform, Booger McFarland, in which he argues Beckham is a diva because he didn’t just pee his pants: BOOGER A COMFIRMED PISS DAWG pic.twitter.com/QQA6UWi3Jf— Quigs (@BigSeanQ) October 23, 2018 Now stay with me here — I don’t think that refusing to pee your pants makes you a diva. It makes you a lot of other things, but not a diva. However, I would also argue that Booger ain’t far off when he floats your pants as a fine place to relieve yourself during a game. Yep, I said it. That got the ol’ juices flowing (pun absolutely intended) and here we are, ranking the best places to fight a fire during a game. Let’s begin. 1. Go to the locker room That’s what Beckham did. It might not be the quickest way, but it’s the cleanest, and most private way to go about business. If you can get this done without missing a play, by all means, make the bladder gladder. Now let’s move along and get to the fun stuff. 2. Assemble members of the training staff to form a Gatorade towel curtain This is a true showing of teamwork. The individual looking to test their hydraulics can assign anywhere from one to any number of individuals to create a makeshift stall to expel their pee. Nick Novak did this in a 2011 game, before missing a 53-yarder to give the Chargers a lead against the Broncos. He had a single Gatorade towel curtain, and used the rest of the cooler to shield himself: If you’re a little tad more insecure and would like extra privacy, you can assemble a larger crew, as Dexter McDougle did last season in a game against the Chiefs. A couple of more folks in on the act, and they had enough for a pickup basketball game: You can’t be certain, but it looks like Alex Smith (better days right now, amirite Chiefs fans?) saw the leak occurring, and thought to be sure he wouldn’t run into McDougle. It would have been a more unfortunate spill than say, Gatorade. 3. In a Gatorade cup on the sideline, no cover The privacy level severely drops here, which is going to be a Big No for most. During a 2016 game between Washington and the Lions, Washington special teams coach Ben Kotwica was caught with his funny business out and in a cup. The fan and her children who witnessed The Pissening didn’t appreciate it, as one might imagine: special teams coach Ben Kotwica got caught peeing into a cup during the game yesterday pic.twitter.com/zFo1Flmc02— Luke 4-12 (@McLukeMD) October 24, 2016 A little cover never hurt nobody. 4. Just pee your pants Just as Booger suggested. It’s also a pretty widely-accepted practice in football circles, it seems. Booger wasn’t being a smartass, former NFLer Mark Schlereth has also made it clear in the past that letting loose in your own synthetics was his preference as well. From ESPN’s David Fleming, and his feature on all kinds of athletes finding an escape: Former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder’s solution was fairly simple: He says he wet his pants ... in every one of his 82 games as a pro. If the player is more self conscious, I suggest doing it in a fumble pile where there are more people to blame. Last season, it looked like the Packers’ Mike Daniels peed himself: Packers' Mike Daniels appears to have peed himself today pic.twitter.com/62HCjazodv— SB Nation (@SBNation) November 19, 2017 Goes without saying, this option isn’t doesn’t work particularly well if your pants are going to snitch on you. After the game, he claimed that the wetness around his crotch was not pee. “I sweat a lot down there,” he said. “Everybody was like, ‘Did you pee your pants?’ No, I did not pee my pants.” Buddy, that’s pee.
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The Falcons are experiencing the ultimate grind year
Injuries have dropped them from “Super Bowl?” to “just stay in the playoff race for now and see what happens.” Update: It happened again, the Falcons bent but didn’t break in a close contest against the New York Giants, winning 23-20. This is the Falcons’ formula for the season. Just how far will it take them? Read on for more on that question! Jameis Winston charged forward from the 20, catching everyone off-guard. A defender finally got in his way around the 10, and he blindly winged the ball to his left, where Adam Humphries briefly picked it up, advanced to the 5, and lost control of the ball. Mike Evans picked it up, jumped 180 degrees, and fired it to DeSean Jackson, who was somehow open at the 5 along the sideline. The pitch was bad, though, and the ball flew out of bounds, ending the game. Tampa Bay had almost pulled off a crazy, miraculous win, but Atlanta had survived, 34-29. We often want to assign meaning — catalyst, beginning of the end, anything that Changed Everything — to crazy finishes like that one. For Atlanta in 2018, though, it was just another game. There is no meaning to the Falcons’ 2018 season this time around, no pieces to fall together. There is only the grind, only the next tricky hurdle in an endless series of them. Atlanta hosts the New York Giants on Monday night with a chance to move to 3-4 for the season. That would put them still 2.5 games behind the Saints in the NFC South race, sure, but it would keep them just a game behind in the race for the final wild card bid. In a vacuum, this is disappointing. The Falcons went 11-5 in 2016 and reached the Super Bowl, then went 10-6 despite the loss of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers, coming within a late red zone stop of beating the eventual Super Bowl champions in the playoffs. With what they had returning, it appeared another potential Super Bowl run was in the cards. But then everyone started getting hurt. Linebacker Deion Jones and safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, not only three starting defenders, but three of their best starting defenders, are all on injured reserve. So is starting guard Andy Levitre. Running back Devonta Freeman officially joined them last Tuesday, having managed only 14 carries this season to date. Hell, even ageless kicker Matt Bryant is currently hobbled by a hamstring issue. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports Foye Oluokun has seen far more action than expected as a rookie In college football — at Jones’ LSU, Freeman’s Florida State, or Neal’s Florida, for instance — you might have the depth and raw talent necessary to withstand some bad breaks. In a league so dedicated to parity, however, a run of injuries can be all she wrote. The result of the injuries has been pretty obvious: Atlanta can’t run the ball very well and, with a leaky sieve in the back of the defense, can neither stop the pass nor create passing downs. They’re still good enough, however, to make virtually every game close. They lost at Philadelphia by six in a stout defensive battle, then lost shootouts to the Saints (in overtime) and Bengals (by one). They’ve also narrowly beaten 3-2 Carolina and, again, kept hope alive with the odd last-second thriller over Tampa Bay. They’ve played zero truly good games and only one truly bad one (a 41-17 loss to the Steelers). Atlanta has lost games because of bad drive finishing and won them because of good drive finishing. They’ve lost games with good field position and won games with bad field position. They’ve won games in which they were out-done from an efficiency standpoint and lost them with clear efficiency advantages. Every week the Falcons are a different team with different challenges. Again, this isn’t going to change. And if the injuries continue, the grind is only get grittier. But as long as the Falcons win some of these grinds, they will remain in the playoff chase. So let’s take stock and figure out what the Falcons can and can’t still do well approaching the midpoint of the season. 1. They still take advantage of their opportunities Comparatively speaking, the offense has been far less affected by the run of injuries. They have, after all, managed to 36 or more points and lose twice this season. And despite losing Freeman and Levitre, they are still 11th in Offensive DVOA (sixth in passing) and ninth in the league in scoring. As crazy as it sounds, considering both how last year ended and how this year began, one of the Falcons’ clear strengths has been finishing drives. Since recording a horrid 13 percent red zone success rate and blowing a series of chances against Philadelphia, Atlanta’s been brilliant near the opposing end zone — they have a 58 percent red zone success rate post-Philly, as good a rate as you’ll ever see. Freeman’s injury has opened up opportunity for rookie Ito Smith, and the former Southern Miss Golden Eagle has recorded a 46 percent rushing success rate in the red zone. Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports Ito Smith has been a sturdy red zone option. More importantly, though, Matt Ryan is finding passing windows. Julio Jones remains a decoy — it doesn’t appear he’s even been targeted by a red zone pass since the Philly failure — but since that game, Calvin Ridley has caught five of five red zone passes for 56 yards and four touchdowns, and tight end Austin Hooper has caught three of four for 28 yards and two scores. Running back Tevin Coleman has carried five times for just 10 yards, but he’s also caught three passes for 20 yards and two scores. After calling all the wrong red zone plays from all the wrong formations in Philadelphia, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has spread things out and found immense success. 2. They’re still making big plays Atlanta’s big-play rate during the 2016 run to the Super Bowl was mind-blowing. In open-play situations (snaps between your 10 and your opponent’s 30), the Falcons ripped off 20-yards or more on 10.9 percent of their snaps, and 74.9 percent of their first downs came on either first or second down. Both figures were best in the league. That level of explosiveness is unsustainable, but despite regression, Atlanta’s still making some connections downfield. Jones has nine receptions of 20-plus yards, Ridley has six, Mohamed Sanu has four, and Hooper has two. While picking Ridley in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft didn’t address any specific needs, it did give the Falcons one more weapon than opponents can account for in the passing game, and Ryan and Sarkisian have taken advantage. Ridley’s on pace for nearly 1,000 receiving yards, Sanu’s on pace for 800, and despite no red zone presence whatsoever, Jones is on pace for nearly 2,000. Ryan is completing a career-high 70 percent of his passes (75 percent since Philly) and is on pace for his first 5,000-yard season. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports Julio Jones: still amazing Granted, the volume comes in part because of deficits and the shaky run game. Still, Atlanta has demanded more of its passing game, and the passing game has responded beautifully. 3. The defense ... isn’t getting burned deep, at least? Look, it’s really hard to find nice things to say about the Atlanta defense. Obviously. That’s what happens when you start out thin and lose maybe your three best players. According to data provided by Sports Info Solutions, Atlanta allowed just a 24 percent success rate and 1.9 yards per play in the 37 snaps it got out of Neal this season. In 68 snaps with Jones, it was a 29 percent success rate and 3.3 yards per play. Without them, and eventually without Allen (204 snaps, 41 percent success rate, 5.6 yards per play), too, it’s been an obvious struggle. Second-year safety Damontae Kazee has gotten far more action than expected and has struggled (316 snaps, 48 percent success rate, 6.4 yards per play), as has rookie linebacker Foye Oluokun (130 snaps, 49 percent success rate, 6.9 yards per play), who, as a Yale standout, was playing against teams like Holy Cross and Columbia this time last year. There aren’t many good tactical options when you are this limited with your personnel, and that goes double when your defensive line has been disappointingly ineffective in terms of both run defense and pass rush. So with their hands tied behind their backs, head coach Dan Quinn and defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel have elected to simply go full-on bend-don’t-break. Hey, it works in college sometimes. And it’s ... sort of working in Atlanta? A little bit? Granted, bend-don’t-break can just delay the inevitable if you bend too much, but in their two wins, they have at least managed to hold opponents to 4.1 points per scoring opportunity — not great, but acceptable considering how dominant the offense has been. They forced two turnovers against the Bucs, too. This is how the season has been defined at this point. Of the Five Factors — efficiency, explosiveness, field position, finishing drives, and turnovers — the Falcons simply have to try to break even in three and win two (usually finishing drives and either explosiveness or turnovers). It’s possible that can continue. Over the next month, they face visits from the Giants (not good) and Cowboys (not good away from Dallas); win those games and go 1-1 in trips to Washington and Cleveland, and you’re 5-5. The home stretch is dreadful, with road games against New Orleans, Green Bay, Carolina, and Tampa Bay, but hey, in grind seasons, you don’t look more than a week ahead. With Ryan approaching 34 years old, you hate to waste a remaining year of his prime on a grind season, but this is the hand Atlanta’s been dealt. The path to victories is slim but relatively clear; we’ll see how long the Falcons can follow it.
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It Seemed Smart podcast
The Sportsperson’s Guide to Cheating Poorly. It Seemed Smart is a six-part storytelling experience brought to you by SB Nation and Vox Media Podcast Network that enters the amusing, diabolical, and entertaining world of sports trickery and mayhem. SB Nation’s Editor-at-Large Spencer Hall shares the absurd stories of stolen bats, pirated play calls, renegade cross-country road racers, and fantasy football’s own insider trading scandal.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Rugby has short-changed NFL-bound Wade - Monye
Wasps' Christian Wade has been let down by coaches who failed to make the most of his potential, says former Lions winger Ugo Monye.
BBC Sport - Sport
Red Sox betting favorites for Tuesday’s World Series Game 1
The Boston Red Sox host the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday night, with the sportsbooks siding with the home side at Fenway Park. The Boston Red Sox were the best team of the regular season with a record of 108-54, and they have successfully carried the momentum of that excellent season into an impressive postseason run. The Red Sox will try to complete their postseason run with a World Series title when they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Boston is a -150 home favorite in Tuesday night’s series opener at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Staff ace Chris Sale will get the start for the Red Sox going up against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers as +130 road underdogs. Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox When: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 8:09 p.m. ET Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts Betting Line / Total: Boston -150 / 7.5 Runs Dodgers at Red Sox OddsShark Matchup Report Boston Red Sox To get to this point, the Red Sox have had to beat a pair of 100-win teams; their hated rival New York Yankees and the defending champion Houston Astros. Boston passed both of these tests with flying colors, defeating the Yankees, 3-1, in the ALDS and the Astros, 4-1, in the ALCS. Even against such elite competition, Boston has managed to dominate the postseason averaging 6.22 runs per game while allowing only 3.78 runs per game. In the last 10 meetings between the Dodgers and the Red Sox, Boston is 7-3 straight up and 6-4 on the runline per the OddsShark MLB Database. Los Angeles Dodgers While the Red Sox were making it look easy against Houston, the Dodgers were pushed to the brink by a very solid Milwaukee Brewers club. In the end, Los Angeles got the job done on the road in Game 7, defeating Milwaukee, 5-1, to return to the World Series. The Dodgers have received sensational pitching from their bullpen this postseason as the unit owns a dazzling 1.30 ERA through 60.2 innings pitched. Los Angeles is 50-37 on the road this season. Tuesday night’s total is set at 7.5 runs. The OVER is 7-3-1 in Boston’s last 11 games. This should be a very entertaining series. This Red Sox team is on a historic run and is going off as the favorite on the odds to win the World Series at -165. But after clawing all the way back to this point after falling a game short of the championship last year, don’t expect the Dodgers to go down without a fight. For more odds information, betting picks, and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
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4 keys for the Red Sox to beat the Dodgers in the World Series
Here’s how Boston could take home their fourth World Series trophy in 14 years. The Red Sox are back in the World Series for the first time since 2013, and for the fourth time since 2004. They’re undefeated in their last three trips to the Fall Classic and this time will be facing the Dodgers, returning to the World Series for the second year in a row after losing to the Astros in seven games in 2017. Boston won 108 games and has looked great this postseason, so here are some keys to beating the Dodgers that will help them keep their winning streak going. Keeping J.D. Martinez in the lineup Boston already has a theoretical plan in place for this one, but there’s no guarantee they’ll use it. J.D. Martinez is hitting .313 with two home runs and nine RBI this postseason, but now that it’s the World Series there are up to three games at Dodger Stadium where Martinez won’t be able to be the designated hitter thanks to National League rules. Alex Cora has said that Martinez will play every game in the series, but who will he be replacing in the field? One option is to put him in right, where he’s played 213 innings this season, and start Mookie Betts at second base — where he used to play and has been taking reps during workouts in recent days to prep for this possibility. Martinez is not the most reliable defensive asset, with -3 defensive runs saved in right field compared to Betts’ +20 and Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s +2 in the same spot. Even Brock Holt had one defensive run saved in right this year (in 52 innings). You can’t compare anyone to what Betts’ does in the outfield, but not having him manning right is a big risk and might outweigh the positives of Martinez’s bat. That might is a big one, though, so they should at least try. Scoring against relievers Obviously hoping their bats are hot against any and all Dodgers pitchers is important, but with the likes of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, and Walker Buehler starting for LA the Red Sox have to hope they can chase the starters and also do some damage against the arms they face after that. At the very least do the latter if they can’t consistently do the former. The Dodgers bullpen put up a 1.45 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and 12. 9 K/9 in the NLCS against the Brewers. They had 40 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 31 innings in that series. Many of Milwaukee’s hot bats were downright anemic at the plate against Dodgers relievers. Throughout the postseason, they have a 1.30 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 13 walks in 41⅔ innings. Red Sox bats can put fear in the heart of any pitcher when they’re on, and keeping things that way against the Dodgers is going to go a long way to getting LA back on their heels early. Just because LA’s bullpen numbers are unexpected doesn’t mean they’re not legit. The Red Sox pushed the Astros’ pitching staff to a 5.52 ERA in the ALCS (compared to 4.18 in the postseason and 3.11 during the year) so if any team is set up for this, it’s Boston. Continue their defensive prowess (and lucky breaks) From Andrew Benintendi’s outfield heroics, to Mookie Betts being a defensive marvel, to Steve Pearce constantly doing splits at first base to hide throwing errors from Eduardo Nuñez or Rafael Devers at third, the Red Sox defense has saved the rest of the team’s butts more than few times. It’s been a mix of pure talent and luck though, and to win it all it’s going to have to stay that way. Mookie Betts can make eighteen awe-inspiring plays a game but the rest of the team failing to do the same leaves them in the lurch. Especially when they’re facing a team that has looked defensively shaky so far this postseason but can look just as good in the field as Boston. The Red Sox might not get the same opportunities to capitalize on defensive mistakes that the Brewers did in the NLCS, but if they can keep their defensive gaps minimal and keep some luck on their side then they’re in great shape against LA. Starting pitching Some of Boston’s best laid plans with starting pitching didn’t pan out in the ALCS, with Chris Sale’s velocity down in Game 1 in a 7-2 loss where he only got through four innings, allowing two runs off of one hit but four walks. He had a -0.023 win probability added in that start and was hospitalized with a stomach illness the next day. That’s not what you want from your ace. But Sale is healthy for the World Series — healthy enough to joke about the illness stemming from a belly button ring infection at least — and David Price finally pitched in a postseason win for the first time in too many tries, while Craig Kimbrel apparently isn’t tipping his pitches anymore. Even the bullpen looks to have permanently stabilized (famous last words). Fewer potential heart attacks for Red Sox fans all around there. That those things stay the same isn’t guaranteed against a Dodgers team who couldn’t quite keep their bats going throughout the NLCS, but certainly have the ability to go on a streak at any given point. Sox pitchers keeping those bats quiet from start to finish would be huge.
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NFL Power Rankings Week 8, 2018: Surprising teams rise up the ladder
In addition to this week’s regularly scheduled power rankings, we’re taking a look at how each NFL division stacks up against each other. There’s no change at the top of this week’s power rankings after the top five teams all won on Sunday and the Ravens (No. 6) came close in a loss to the Saints (No. 4). While there’s still many questions to be answered regarding contenders and pretenders, the top teams (the Rams, Patriots, Chiefs, Saints, and Chargers) are starting to paint a clear picture of who they are this season. Let’s take a division-by-division look at this week’s power rankings and how each team is stacking up. The divisions below are shown in order of how many wins their teams have combined for. One thing you’ll find is the AFC is a lot better than many expected it to be heading into the season. AFC West It’s not just the 6-1 Chiefs who are among the NFL’s biggest threats, but the 5-2 Chargers are making their case, too. Even the Broncos had a good week by destroying the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. As for the Raiders, you can’t lose if you don’t play! Their bye week afforded them a nice break from disappointment. Total wins: 15 NFC North The NFC North is a weird division right now. The Bears were in first place, now they’re tied for last with the Lions. The Vikings and Packers have been up-and-down and even finished their first head-to-head matchup with a tie. The Lions were blown out by the Jets, beat the Patriots with relative ease, and just this week beat the Dolphins by 11. No team has proven to be the division’s top threat, though the Bears may be, despite landing on the bottom of the standings after their loss to the Patriots. The NFC North is the only division in which no team has a losing record and the standings will likely keep changing until the end of Week 17. Total wins: 14 AFC North Going from third to first place in your division in one week is pretty impressive. It’s even more impressive when you don’t play. That’s what happened to the Steelers who had one of the nicest bye weeks imaginable as the Bengals embarrassed themselves on primetime television and the Ravens were let down by Justin Tucker for maybe the first time ever. Of course, the Browns lost, too. So while the Steelers didn’t play, they became the AFC North’s current first place team and climbed up the power rankings as a result. Meanwhile, despite their loss, Baltimore is looking like one of the NFL’s top teams — even better than the Steelers (despite the division standings). Total wins: 14 NFC South The NFC South started the season strong but has fizzled out due to lackluster play from the Buccaneers and a ton of injuries (along with terrible defensive play) from the Falcons. The Saints and Panthers are still competing like two of the league’s best teams. Drew Brees is showing no signs of slowing down as his age takes him to a place where he’s breaking NFL records on a near-weekly basis. The Panthers are squeaking out wins thanks to Cam Newton playing (mostly) mistake-free football. On Sunday he threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns in addition to rushing for 49 yards. The Panthers offense didn’t turn the ball over once. Both teams face tough tests this weekend as the Panthers play host to the Ravens and the Saints take on the Rams in New Orleans. Total wins: 14 AFC East The Dolphins are making the AFC East competitive this year as it’s not just the Patriots who have a winning record in the division. With that said, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than New England winning the AFC East as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick shook off a rough start and have won four straight. The Jets are better than they were last year now that they have a franchise quarterback under center in Sam Darnold, but they’re not real contenders this year. As for the Bills, they’re pretty much a lost cause. At least Buffalonians can look forward to rookie quarterback Josh Allen’s eventual return from elbow injury. Unfortunately, that return won’t come in time for Monday Night Football against the Patriots. Total wins: 14 NFC West It’s the Rams ... and then everyone else in the NFC West. The Rams won their seventh straight game (at the hands of the 49ers) and look completely dominant as the NFL’s top team. The Seahawks had their bye this week while the Cardinals were trampled over on Thursday night and fired their offensive coordinator as a result. The 49ers were dealt a tough blow with the Jimmy Garoppolo injury back in Week 3, but it looks like they’ll get a top 10 draft pick again next year to add a nice piece to their roster. With that said, the Rams own the NFC West right now. Total wins: 12 AFC South Hello, Texans! After losing their first three games to start the season, Houston has taken over the AFC South lead thanks to four-straight wins. The Titans started the season strong but are collapsing, which is also true of the Jaguars. Jacksonville went as far as to bench Blake Bortles in their loss to the Texans on Sunday. As for the Colts, they finally got their second win of the season, but it came against the Derek Anderson-led Bills. That’s not all that impressive. Total wins: 12 NFC East The NFC East seems like the clear worst division in football. The Eagles are in a post-Super Bowl slump (still). The Giants are paying the price of continuing to trust Eli Manning. The Cowboys think trading away a first round pick in exchange for Amari Cooper is going to solve their problems. And Washington is now on top of the division, and looking like the best team in a bad division. Who thought Adrian Peterson would be among the best players on a division-leading team in 2018? Total wins: 11
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_elcome to the _estern Conference, LeBron
We have that and more in Tuesday’s NBA newsletter. The Lakers were valiant in defeat to the cardiac Spurs on Monday, but they found themselves in defeat nonetheless. LeBron James had a strong second half and hit a 30-footer to send it to overtime, but missed some crucial free throws in extra time and Patty Mills sealed the San Antonio victory with a Bibbyesque curl and swish. San Antonio is now 2-1 despite not looking particularly good at any point. The Lakers are now 0-3 despite being in every game. That might fly in the East, but LeBron’s team is digging itself a wee bit of a whole. Obviously, one week in is too early to actually determine anything. But if one week becomes two, and two becomes four, L.A. could be in a pickle. You can’t win a playoff spot in the first month of the season, but you can absolutely lose one. We’ve seen in the West over the last few years how much comes down to how little. Three games separated the No. 3 seed from the No. 9 seed last year. Every loss matters in this conference when you’re fighting for a playoff spot. So remember this one if the Lakers are on the verge of failure in April. They all count. On the bright side, the Lakers might have found another player who isn’t a disaster! Scores Magic 93, Celtics 90Hornets 106, Raptors 127Knicks 113, Bucks 124Pacers 91, Timberwolves 101Bulls 109, Mavericks 115Grizzlies 92, Jazz 84Wizards 125, Blazers 124 (OT)Suns 103, Warriors 123Spurs 143, Lakers 142 (OT) Schedule Only three games on Tuesday, but all of them watchable ... Sixers at Pistons, 7 p.m. ET, NBA TVClippers at Pelicans, 8 p.m. ETKings at Nuggets, 9 p.m. ET Links Remember Darius Bazley, the high-end prospect who committed to Syracuse but then pulled out to join the G League but then pulled out to just work out for the year? He’s getting paid $1 million to rep New Balance this year, reports the Times’ Marc Stein. Hella good internship. Also, he’s the first New Balance endorser in the NBA since James Worthy! Six players worth overreacting about from Week 1. Jayson Tatum is making the leap. He’s 20. And the Celtics traded down to get him plus a premium pick! The beef between Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul has been stewing for 10 years! Luka Doncic does cool stuff. Breanna Stewart is still on fire. Forty points on 75 percent shooting in her overseas season debut. I wrote about why you shouldn’t panic about the 0-3 Thunder. Dan Devine has a slightly different take. Honestly, I’d probably believe him! Candace Parker talks about analyzing the NBA and the Clippers’ season. Rembert on Trae Young. As God intended. Kevin Pelton on the scoring surge. Nikola Jokic is the perfect star for the Nuggets. In less golden news, Will Barton is out at least five weeks. Michael Malone has had some crummy injury luck in his head coaching career. This GQ profile of Joel Embiid includes some important Embiid life story insight and also some problematic quotes about women. Kevin O’Connor with some interesting takeaways from the first week. James Dolan, whose sports team paid the biggest sexual harassment settlement in history a decade ago, is pursuing revenge against a media member who dared point that out. Seems like a good strategy for the rest of the media would be to keep pointing it out. Why has Avery Bradley struggled so much as a Clipper? And finally: this guy in a Cavaliers jersey is really, really mad at DeMarcus Cousins for signing with the Warriors. Boogie has the perfect bewildered, amused reaction. Be excellent to each other.
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16 reasons to watch the 2018 World Series
There are good players on the Dodgers and Red Sox. There are good reasons to watch. The 2018 World Series is here, and you don’t need reasons to watch it. It’s the World Series, you goober. It’s the Boston Red Sox vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, two historically significant, rich, powerhouse teams loaded up with talent. Take a week or two off work and relax a little. Watch the danged Series. However, there’s the slightest chance that either you’re not excited, or you need a little more convincing. I can help with that. Below are some extremely compelling reasons to watch the World Series. Do you want storylines? Players? Drama? This World Series has a whole mess of it, and I’ve curated the 16 points of interest that I recommend wholeheartedly. These are 16 reasons why you should be extremely excited about the 2018 World Series: Mookie Betts I hereby declare that Mookie Betts is the Most Watchable Baseball Player Alive. This is a tremendous honor. There will be a small ceremony and reception to follow. In order to be the Most Watchable Baseball Player Alive, you need all six tools: Hitting for average Hitting for contact Base running/speed Fielding Arm Playing baseball like you’re constantly thinking, “Holy crap, I’m playing baseball right now. This is awesome.” Ichiro had the six tools. Andrew McCutchen had the six tools. Francisco Lindor has the six tools. Mike Trout kinda has the six tools, but he’s just reserved enough to make people argue about the last one. Mookie Betts has the six tools. And they aren’t subtle tools. His bat control is stellar, and his power swing is a tightly coiled beauty. His speed is elite, as is his range in right. His throw to nab Tony Kemp in Game 5 of the ALCS was one of the most unholy things I’ve ever seen on a baseball field. Then there’s sixth tool. Dude has fun and it seems like he likes baseball. When he’s broadcasting a World Series game in 30 years, I don’t think he’ll spend a ton of time talking about golf. Like Ichiro and McCutchen before him, and like Lindor and maybe a couple of others today, there’s a sense of wonder that goes with his all-time talent. It makes an eminently watchable player just that much more watchable. Oh, also, there’s a seventh tool: People my height or shorter get bonus points. Betts would still be the Most Watchable Baseball Player Alive if he were as big as Carlos Correa, sure. But putting him in a body that would absolutely fit on the front of a 1959 Topps card is a very nice touch. Game 1 is Chris Sale vs. Clayton Kershaw I plan on returning to this idea at some point this World Series, so I’ll save most of my bullets, but we’re in an era where the starting pitcher doesn’t have to be the story of the game. Five-and-dive used to be a slanderous way to describe the wink link in a rotation; now it’s the organizational expectation in a lot of cases. Just get us through five, and we’ll take it from there. With Game 1, though, we’re getting a treat. Both of these pitchers are expected to go deeper into the game, just like the old-timey days of 2013. Both of these pitchers will bite off his manager’s ear if he thinks he’s being taken out too soon. There’s a chance -- maybe a one-percent chance -- that both pitchers will throw so well and economically that they’re still pitching in the eighth inning. There might be a half-percent chance that they’ll still be there in the ninth, and I can’t express just how incredible that kind of World Series game would be. It would be the kind of World Series game we would still remember years later. I can’t really tell you an awful lot about Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, which I both attended and wrote 3,000 words about, but I can sure wax rhapsodic about Game 5. I’ve probably forgotten more about the 2014 World Series than I remember, but I can almost give you a play-by-play of Game 7. Sale vs. Kershaw has a chance of being that kind of game, even if it’s a little unlikely. (And there could be a Game 4 and maaaaybe a Game 7, too.) To see Yasiel Puig take a bite out of third base like it was a big ol’ marshmallow That is, you should always watch to see if Puig does anything that will make you call someone in from the other room. It doesn’t have to be Puig taking a bite of a base. That’s just the likeliest scenario. He might also put the tarp over the entire infield after attempting to catch a foul ball. Don’t ask how, just know that it’s entirely possible to read the following in Joe Buck’s voice: Puig gives chase, but he’s out of room. And now ... the tarp is covering the infield, and I gotta say, I think Justin Turner is still under there. Everyone is scrambling, trying to figure out what’s going on, and, oh god, is that blood? Close your eyes. You can hear it. But, fine, if you’re looking for realism, what we’re really looking for is one of the following: A double on an infield hit A bat flip that goes into the stands A throw from the outfield wall that reaches home plate on the fly, even though there’s no runner on base You don’t have to like Puig. You do have to enjoy watching him, though. So you can pretend you are intimately familiar with every single member of both bullpens, and developing strong opinions based on this Oh, heck yes, this is very much my jam. Two weeks ago, I was squinting at the name “Ryan Brasier” as if it was the name in a wallet I found on the street. In two days, though, I’ll be like ... Yeah, Brasier can’t really get away with that kind of mistake. He needs to let that movement work for him and saw bats off. It will be completely affected and irritating! And it is also a constitutional right. Come and take it from me. The violent swings of Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger There are other violent swings in baseball, but the Dodgers have a pairing that’s notable for the lefty-righty symmetry. Both Taylor and Bellinger swing like they’re trying to win a carnival prize, selling out with each and every swing. It’s fun to watch, but it’s also a fantastic way to explain how the modern game has changed. Taylor and Bellinger represent a class of players who have dramatically improved their career prospects through the magic of a horrifically violent swing. Taylor was a non-prospect with the Mariners before the Dodgers got a hold of him, and Cody Bellinger lasted until the fourth round of the 2013 Draft. Any team could have had either player. Nobody knew they were going to swing hard enough to push the Moon out of orbit. Neither player is having the success they had last year, so for now pitchers and scouts have at least partially figured out the paper to their rock. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a treat to watch them force-whip their bats through the zone fast enough to affect the weather in a different county. The controlled perfection of J.D. Martinez’s swing Oh, Martinez swings hard, too. But there’s a difference between flipping a table over and calmly taking the table over to the window and defenestrating it. They’re both violent acts, but one is calm and calculated. Martinez is one of the most fanatical swing dorks in the game, going so far as to recording his batting-practice sessions and re-watching them when convenient. Martinez probably has a name for is swing. Lucille, or something. He probably talks to it, as if it were a dog or old car. When it works, it’s an intensely smooth swing. The hook-armed gnarliness of Craig Kimbrel Craig Kimbrel throws hard, and it’s the setup that makes it even better. He hunkers down with his beet-farm beard, squints, and crooks his arm out to the side before coming set and annihilating hitters. All pitchers who throw 99 mph are fun in their own special ways, but give me a guy who can do it with some theater. It’s great when he’s rolling, but it might even be more entertaining when he’s in a bind. And about that last part ... Both the Red Sox and Dodgers have bullpens that are just a li’l bit sketchy To be fair, the Dodgers’ bullpen has been amazing so far. Dodgers relievers had a 1.45 ERA in the NLCS, with 40 strikeouts and 12 walks in 31 innings.So far this postseason the LA bullpen has a 1.30 ERA with 51 K, 13 BB in 41⅔ IP— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) October 21, 2018 However! Kenley Jansen allowed twice as many home runs this year has he has ever allowed in a season. Kimbrel’s outings have made hearts stop consistently this postseason, as if they were a phone ringing in the middle of the night. Behind the two closers, both teams have a mixture of quality and above-average arms, all complemented with regular-season starters in the grandest of postseason traditions. Both teams can go deep. But Josh Hader isn’t coming through that bullpen door. The Red Sox and Dodgers have two utterly dominant bullpen arms between them, and both of those pitchers have looked mortal at times this year. It all suggests that we could be in for at least one or two chaos games, and if there’s anything that we learned last year, it’s that chaos games are the best. Fenway Park Dodger Stadium is a marvel in its own right, but it can’t compete with screwy dimensions. Fenway comes equipped with a giant wall that goes “WHUMP” or “CLORNG” when a ball ricochets off it, often in an unexpectedly haphazard way. It’s also the park where home runs look the absolute best, offering the unique aesthetic experience of watching the ball sail over an enormous structure and into the abyss at the end of the world. At least, that what I’ve always believed is behind the Green Monster. Please don’t correct me. The Red Sox have been successful enough in recent years that Fenway Park isn’t an October anomaly, so it’s not exactly a novel idea to watch a World Series there. But there is “WHUMP” and “CLORNG,” and there are left fielders playing the balls off the wall perfectly, and there are left fielders who ... don’t. Plus, there’s a hilariously tiny wall on the other side of the field, which allows players to dive in, combined with a right-field foul pole that’s about 38 feet away from home plate. There is no ballpark in baseball that is better at inserting itself into the game than Fenway, and one of the best reasons to love baseball is because it’s a sport where the stadium is supposed to insert itself into the game. What I’m getting at is that the Super Bowl needs to be played at a stadium with a moat in the middle of the field. A big ol’ moat. The outfield defense of the Red Sox The superlative “three center fielders” can be overused as shorthand for “three athletic, speedy dudes,” but it’s pretty rare to find a true three-CF outfield. Not just today, either. It’s hard to find a lot of them throughout baseball history. The Red Sox have one of them, though. We’ve already talked about Betts, but one of the reasons he’s in center is that it’s just as satisfying to watch Jackie Bradley, Jr. glide around. Andrew Benintendi is the weak link of the bunch, except he’s absolutely qualified to start in center field for a contending major-league team, and he also happens to be the one who made a remarkable pennant-winning catch that will be shown in highlight reels until society collapses. So, two months, then. But it will be a wild two months, and contrast between Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium means that you’ll get to watch them shine in a couple of different formats. You’ll get the acoustic and electric sets. Yasmani Grandal, wyd Most of these blurbs have been about the reasons why these two teams are here and 28 other teams aren’t. But there has to be one that’s for the ghouls out there, the people who revel in pain and suffering. These twisted folks will find a compelling storyline with Grandal, who is usually a sweet-swinging catcher who can field his position perfectly well. Usually. Something happens to Grandal in the postseason, though. Or, if you want to be a proper stathead, you can hedge with something appears to happen to Grandal in the postseason, but the sample sizes are small. They aren’t that small. Over 85 plate appearances, Grandal is now hitting .100/.250/.200 in his postseason career. Out of the eight postseason series he’s played, his best batting average came in the just-finished NLCS against Milwaukee. To be more specific, his .182 average in the last series was the best of his fairly extensive career. This is all before you get into Grandal’s fielding. It’s the kind of fielding that’ll make Mary Hart yell at you. Mary Hart has not had any Entertainment Tonight from Yasmani Grandal.Here she is yelling at him for another passed ball. pic.twitter.com/Ljl5vaFqmO— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonSBN) October 16, 2018 And that’s a special kind of fielding. This postseason, Grandal has let wild pitches sneak by and has also allowed some of the most egregious passed balls of the entire 2018 season. Will it continue? Don’t see why it should, but ... you should probably be a little curious. Manny Machado, acting the heel I wrote about this in great detail, but the main thrust is that Machado is perfect at being a completely oblivious villain. When he kicked Jesús Aguílar in the ankle, I don’t think he was thinking, “Yeah, screw THIS guy.” He was just looking for an advantage. Maybe if he does this, the umpires will just give him first! It’s an almost endearing brand of optimism, except for all the parts that are irritating. Also, it would appear as if Boston fans have ... let’s see, hrmm, yeah, it says right here that they’re aware of him and have opinions to share. That’s great. Opinions are great. Manny Machado is great. Everything is great, y’all. Walker Buehler Do I like the fire-spitting rookie because he spits fire and throws baseballs hard? Yes. This is a great reason to watch him. Do I like the fire-spitting rookie because it can be incredibly intense to watch a rookie realize he’s pitching in the World Freaking Series and grip the ball just that much tighter? Yes. This is a great reason to watch any preternaturally talented rookie. Both the positive and negative outcomes would be a story. Rookies are great in that respect. I would also like to take this time to note that Walker Buehler’s start on the 163rd game of the season won me $150 in my fantasy league, and I used that money to buy an Instant Pot™. I have cooked some absolutely fantastic white-bean chili and chicken noodle soup so far, and with every bite, I was thinking about both Buehler’s unmistakeable talent and the fact that the dummies in my league didn’t have the vision to pick a top prospect in a well-run organization that plays in a pitcher’s park. I mean, come on. Also, it’s fun to watch Buehler pitch. Because if FOX references Dave Roberts’ steal of second base over 100 times, you get a free taco from Taco Bell* Did you know that Dave Roberts stole a base in the 2004 American League Championship Series? It’s true. It was in the ninth inning of Game 4, and it helped spark a ninth-inning comeback against Mariano Rivera. Dave Roberts is the manager for the Dodgers now, you see. The Dodgers are playing the Red Sox. Which means that FOX is developing the technology to make you acknowledge that you have seen the highlight of Dave Roberts stealing a base in the ALCS. Wait, but my TV doesn’t have a touch screen ... Doesn’t matter! Push the button. Puuuuuush the button. Confirm you’ve seen this message. Well, too late, you were too slow, so here’s the highlight again. * probably There are David Price and Clayton Kershaw narratives to settle Both pitchers sure ripped some monkeys off their back in their respective LCS, and you would think that would be the end of all the close scrutiny for the postseason careers of both pitchers. Ahahaha, that’s not how this works. Easy narratives only ask us to consider the bare minimum of information with which to form an opinion. That means I don’t have to remember those LCS performances if I want to grumble about either pitcher. I’ve already forgotten about them, suckers! Going straight back to “David Price and Clayton Kershaw can’t win in the postseason”! Which is unfair. But, yessir, this adds spice to the postseason narrative. Last year, in Game 5 of the World Series, Kershaw had a four-run lead and was looking invincible. Then there was that nagging voice in the back of all of our heads that reminded us that there were still demons to slay. The demons were not slain. There was a piece of demon still embedded in the skin, and those suckers regenerate quickly and without mercy. I’m not sure how a Price-Kershaw matchup would actually happen, so we’ll take them a la carte for now. These extremely talented and great starting pitchers have something of a reputation. I think baseball is better if they shed it, but one of them probably won’t. Them’s the odds. Crowd shots Specifically, I want two things: 1. Shots of celebrities in the Dodger Stadium crowd. Specifically, I’m talking about actual celebrities -- Mary Hart, hello, follow me on Twitter -- and the celebrities who are starting in the new FOX sitcom Gizzards, Wednesdays at 9:00. These celebrities are endlessly entertaining to me, because I’m someone who doesn’t actually consume entertainment that isn’t baseball. This is because they block all non-baseball content from being transmitted to the cell they keep me chained in PLEASE CALL FOR HELP IF YOU CAN READ THIS MESSAGE so I’m living vicariously through these FOX shots. 2. Shots of drunken Fenway bros screaming, “AND ‘ERE COMES A PIZZER” but not referencing the actual incident. They’re just saying, “AND ‘ERE COMES A PIZZER” unironically because they’re actually trying to convey that a pizza is, in fact, on its way to its destination. Both of these are great. I’m also very much into some crowd-noise shaming if you have some. I’m guessing Fenway will be louder than Dodger Stadium, but I’m also guessing that Fenway isn’t as loud as usual because the World Series is when the Corporate Dinks come out. They got tickets from Cody in outside sales. Don’t ask how, ha ha. They’re looking forward to watching the crowning event for The MLB. They totally know who Mookie Best is, just ask them. The Dodger Stadium organist This isn’t the main reason to watch the World Series, but, seriously, the Dodgers’ organist is awesome. Dieter Ruehle puts a tremendous amount of effort into his craft, doing his best to subtly dig at opponents with his mid-at-bat song choices. Will Chris Sale get an organ version of the Scissor Sisters? Or will he get Belly’s “Feed the Tree” as a nod to his belly button infection? Don’t know, but I do know that Ruehle is busy researching stuff right now. He’ll play “Brass Monkey” when Max Muncy is up, unless he’s playing the overworld theme to Legend of Zelda. Don’t you worry. But he’ll also needle the other team juuust a little bit. Think of him like a partisan college crowd doing oppo research, but ... much, much gentler and light-hearted.
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NBA Metrics 101: Projecting the Best Shooter at Every Position
Focus on dribbling moves all you want. Ogle the flashy passes made by some of the NBA 's best distributors. Revel in the thunderous dunks produced by high-flying athletes operating at the sport's highest level...
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bleacherreport.com
The Giants’ final drive in their loss to the Falcons was pure comedy
The Giants opted for two Eli Manning runs on the goal line. The joke writes itself. The New York Giants are off to a truly terrible start this season, but they still had a slight chance to win late against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. They didn’t make it easy on themselves to get the job done, though. The Giants were down 23-12 with 45 seconds left on the Falcons 1-yard line. At this point it’s still a long shot to win, but a touchdown and a two-point conversion would give the Giants a chance to try an onside kick and send the game into overtime with a long field goal attempt. Well, the first part happened, but the second couldn’t because of how they executed. As the clock was dwindling down, the Giants opted to run TWO sneaks with Eli Manning. And both of them failed: No timeouts? Let’s run back-to-back QB sneaks with the least athletic QB in the league! Over 40 seconds gone after Eli Manning’s failed sneaks. This is beyond baffling. #giants pic.twitter.com/RxO7LxgsFu— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) October 23, 2018 That not only wasted about 40 seconds of time, but here’s a reminder that Manning is 37 and has exactly one rushing touchdown in the last four seasons (and just six in his career). The Giants FINALLY ran a short pass play to Odell Beckham for a touchdown ... with 5 seconds remaining on the clock. Since the Giants didn’t have any timeouts, they had to hurry to the line of scrimmage. Beckham’s touchdown was a thing of a beauty: This 1-yard touchdown by Odell Beckham was super impressive #MNF #ESPN pic.twitter.com/PXKHVF9Qqn— Jimmy Clarke (@JimmyClarke) October 23, 2018 But it could’ve happened earlier in the drive, especially when they couldn’t stop the clock. The Giants had called all three of their timeouts before the two-minute warning on Atlanta’s previous drive, when the Falcons kicked a 56-yard field goal to make the game 23-12. Hindsight is always 20/20, but the Giants probably should’ve left one of those timeouts in their back pocket for this situation. After the Beckham score, Saquon Barkley ran in for a two-point conversion to get the Giants to within three: Final score 20-23 @Giants fail to the @AtlantaFalcons as @saquon punches in the two point conversion #NYGVSATL pic.twitter.com/Z6ziR2mTZV— Jared Wilder (@jwildog) October 23, 2018 So where were these play calls when the Giants first got to the 1-yard line? This offseason, the Giants paid Beckham $90 million and drafted Barkley with the No. 2 pick. It would’ve made sense to use those players when the game is on the line. Beckham was having a monster night too — he finished the game with eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. At one point in the game, Giants coach Pat Shurmur was visibly upset with Manning for not throwing the ball to Beckham on fourth-and-goal that would’ve tied the game at 10. Pat Shurmur“What? Throw to Odell”@MattLombardoNFL @BruceBeck4NY @JordanRaanan pic.twitter.com/QhSYXUONXe— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 23, 2018 After the game, Shurmur, who had been aggressive all game long, defended his calls to run back-to-back quarterback sneaks rather than pass earlier on the last drive. “No, that’s a defeatist deal. You should be able to convert on a sneak, and we’ve all seen [Manning] do that.” Perhaps that’s a reasonable explanation for one quarterback sneak, but two? And burning THAT much time off the clock? The Giants had the right idea on the onside kick, but awful execution. The Giants missed badly on a long onside kick attempt to set them up in field goal range, but there were only 5 seconds left on the clock. Trying to hit a normal onside kick would leave them in a Hail Mary situation, had they recovered it. They needed get the ball a little further downfield so they could kick a field goal if they recovered. Unfortunately for the Giants, they kicked it right behind Julio Jones, who was able to easily recover the ball. The Giants just produced one of the worst onside kicks in NFL history pic.twitter.com/JuvdQsFTyB— BetQL (@betqlapp) October 23, 2018 Then Atlanta hit a quick kneel to end the game, holding on to a 23-20 win. That dropped the Giants to 1-6 on the season, making them dead last in the NFC East. But at the very least, this loss puts them in the driver’s seat for a premium pick at the top of the 2019 NFL Draft.
3 h
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