All posts by phnseo

Yankees beat A’s to set up ALDS vs Red Sox

Aaron Judge got the party started with a two-run homer nine pitches in. By the time Giancarlo Stanton capped the mauling with monstrous drive in his postseason debut, New York Yankees fans already were looking ahead.

“We want Boston!” they chanted.

“It’s going to be intense,” CC Sabathia predicted after the Yankees pounded the Oakland Athletics 7-2 on Wednesday night to win their second straight AL wild-card game.

New York will take a train to Boston for a best-of-five Division Series starting Friday night, a matchup of 100-win heavyweights.

“I think they’re ready and relish the opportunity to go up against the game’s best this year,” Yankees rookie manager Aaron Boone said of his players.

Boone remains a dirty word among the Fenway Park faithful. His 11th-inning homer in Game 7 of the 2003 AL Championship Series beat the Red Sox. A year later Boston overcame the Yankees and became the first major league team to bounce back from a 3-0 postseason deficit. The Red Sox went on to win their first World Series since 1918, but Boone’s drive off Tim Wakefield has not been forgotten or forgiven.

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The Yankees likely will turn to well-rested lefty J.A. Happ in Friday’s Game 1 of the Division Series against Chris Sale and the Red Sox.

“The pressure is on Boston, there’s no doubt about it,” Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley said on the TBS broadcast.

This ALDS is primed for drama between two teams that have been engaging in playoff-like games all season. The Sox barely edged the Yanks, 10-9 in the season series, though the final six games meant almost nothing for the Sox, who lost four of them.

On paper, it’s an even matchup.

Offensively, the Red Sox rank first and the Yankees rank second with 5.41 and 5.25 runs per game, respectively. The Yanks do it with the long ball (267 regular-season home runs, most all-time); the Red Sox do it with batting average (.268, best in MLB by nine points).

The pitching numbers almost are a mirror image of one another. The Red Sox had a 3.75 ERA, the Yankees finished with a 3.78 ERA. The Sox allowed 176 homers, the Yanks allowed 177.

Home-field advantage gives the Red Sox an edge, as they went 7-3 against the Yanks at Fenway this year and just 3-6 at Yankee Stadium.

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Julian Edelman to make season debut Thursday

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will make his 2018 season debut on Thursday vs. the Indianapolis Colts, per a league source, marking his return from a four-game suspension and the ACL he tore in August 2017.
Edelman can thank, in part…the Boston Celtics.
Edelman has spent time working out at the Celtics’ new training facility in Boston, sources tell ESPN. Edelman spent a significant number of mornings around the Celtics’ training staff and used the team’s Celtics weight room.
And he frequently played ping pong against Celtics star Gordon Hayward, who was a high school tennis champion in Indiana.
“He’s a good player,” Hayward texted ESPN. “I haven’t played against someone who moved like he did when he played. He was all over the place and low to the ground.”

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The crafty receiver missed all of last year after he tore his ACL in New England’s third preseason game, and after having to sit out a quarter of the 2018 season, Thursday night will be Edelman’s first meaningful game since New England’s amazing comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

It’s been 604 days since that game, so Edelman is going to be pretty amped up to get back to work these next few days, and even more so to finally haul in a Tom Brady pass come Thursday night.

“I know he was itching to go and he wants to get down there and show everyone he is ready to go,” Brady said of Edelman’s return during his Monday morning call into WEEI’s Kirk & Callahan. “He’s in that James White mode where he is just so dependable and consistent and tough. He hasn’t been out there in awhile.”

Given the 32-year-old is coming off a lost season and a PED suspension, Brady said Edelman has plenty to prove upon his return.

“He’s very much an underdog. He’s seen himself like that for a long time,” said Brady. “He plays with a massive chip on his shoulder and I think that’s his playing style. He’s tough. He’s been everything that you are looking for as a Patriot.”

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Serena, Federer set for Hopman Cup Team event

The presence of tennis royalty Serena Williams and Roger Federer will make this summer’s Hopman Cup the biggest ever — but is it the tournament’s swan song?

Federer and Williams will headline the star-studded field, which also includes world No.3 Angelique Kerber, world No.5 Alexander Zverev and rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Australia will be represented by Matt Ebden and world No.19 Ashleigh Barty. The appearance of Williams following her US Open meltdown is set to attract huge interest, while Federer helped the Hopman Cup set a new crowd record last summer.

But the future of the mixed-teams event appears in grave doubt after plans were hatched to unleash an ATP World Team Cup from January, 2020. The planned 24-country tournament would be staged in Australia, with cities such as Perth, Sydney and Brisbane mooted to co-host the event.

With $20 million worth of prize money on offer, the World Team Cup would be the richest tournament outside of grand slams.

Rankings points will also be on offer, which would help attract the world’s best players.

Tennis Australia is contracted to host the Hopman Cup until 2022, but that by no means guarantees the future of the iconic event, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last summer.

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Tournament director Paul Kilderry is confident the Hopman Cup will continue beyond this summer, despite the threat of the ATP World Team Cup. “We’ve got a contract through to 2022 with the government and our intent is to honour that contract,” Kilderry said.

Williams hit the headlines at the recent US Open when she was involved in a bitter spat with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her loss to Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the final.

Williams will team with rising star Frances Tiafoe to represent the US. The duo have been placed in the same group as defending champions Switzerland, which features Federer and Belinda Bencic.

It means Federer will play against Williams during the mixed double tie between the US and Switzerland on New Year’s Day.

Federer, a 20-time grand slam winner, has won the past two Australian Opens after using the Hopman Cup as a springboard.

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Seahawks’ Mychal kendricks loses appeal, suspended indefinitely

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks was suspended indefinitely after being found guilty of insider trading, the latest prominent player on the team to be sidelined.

The decision, which was confirmed by a person with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because it had not yet been announced, comes after Kendricks admitted to the crime in August after charges were filed in the case, which stems from his relationship with a banker at Goldman Sachs who fed him nonpublic information in 2014 about corporate mergers. Kendricks had received $1.2 million in profits as a result of the information.

Kendricks, who played his first six seasons in Philadelphia and helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl last season, signed a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns released Kendricks after he pleaded guilty.

“Four years ago, I participated in insider trading, and I deeply regret it,” Kendricks said in a statement in late August. “While I didn’t fully understand all of the details of the illegal trades, I knew it was wrong, and I wholeheartedly regret my actions.”

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Kendricks was allowed to play while he appealed the decision, and the Seahawks, in need of linebacker depth, signed him on Sept. 14 with the understanding he might be suspended. Now Kendricks, 28, could be facing prison time.

His suspension is the latest personnel headache for the Seahawks. On Sunday, free safety Earl Thomas III, who had been embroiled in contentious contract negotiations, broke his leg and was ruled out for the season.

In the off-season, the Seahawks also lost four defensive standouts: Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman.

Now, the intriguing part of the Kendricks equation is what they’ll do with him when his suspension takes hold. Due to not being on the week one roster, his base salary isn’t fully guaranteed which means the Seahawks can release him without any monetary hit and if their starters return, will they stand by the remorseful Kendrick? Carroll seemed to indicate Kendricks deserve their continued support.

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Simona Halep suffers back injury

Simona Halep’s season could be over after the world number one was diagnosed with a herniated disc.

Halep retired from her first-round match against Ons Jabeur at the China Open on Sunday due to a recurrence of a back injury after losing the first set .

The French Open champion had been a doubt for the Wuhan Open last week after reportedly doing damage in practice and required treatment as she was hampered during a second-round loss to Dominika Cibulkova.

Halep said she was “worried” following her retirement from the encounter with Jabeur in Beijing.

She said at the time she thought it was a different back problem from the one that contributed to her early loss in Wuhan a week earlier.

“I knew that there is pain, but I thought if I warm up during the match, it’s going to be better, but it wasn’t,” she said.

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The Romanian has been struggling with injuries over the later stages of the season. She dropped out of the New Haven tournament at the end of August with an Achilles problem and then lost in the first round of the US Open a week later.

The Romanian on Tuesday revealed the results of an MRI scan, which would appear to make her a big doubt to play in the WTA Finals in Singapore at the end of this month.

“I had an MRI on my back and found out I have a disc hernia,” Halep said on Twitter.

“I will discuss with doctors in the next few days but hope to be back soon and will keep you updated.”

According to specialists, herniated disk requires a long-term treatment or surgery, and the recovery period would be of 2 to 6 months.

Halep, who won her maiden Grand Slam trophy in Paris this year, became the first player to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore from Oct. 21-28.

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Dodgers defeat Rockies to clinch sixth straight NL West title

The defending NL champion Dodgers became the first major league team to win six straight division crowns since the Yankees captured nine AL East titles in a row from 1998-2006.

“It doesn’t get old,” confirmed ace Clayton Kershaw.

Los Angeles now hosts Atlanta in the best-of-five NL Division Series beginning Thursday.

“We’re going to beat Atlanta,” a shirtless Yasiel Puig proclaimed, rivulets of beer and champagne down his front and back. “No matter who’s coming, we’re going to the World Series and bring the 2018 championship here.”

Denied their first division title in franchise history, the Rockies head to Wrigley Field to play the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild-card game on Tuesday night.

Pitching in 90-degree heat, Buehler was oh-so-cool in closing out a regular season that ended with Game 163 after both teams had identical records of 91-71.

The soft-spoken, 24-year-old from Lexington, Kentucky, has been so steady of late that manager Dave Roberts had no qualms about giving Buehler the ball for the crucial game that helped decide the Dodgers’ postseason fate.

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He settled in quickly, retiring his first six batters in a row, and never did allow a run.

Buehler (8-5) had his no-hit bid broken up in the sixth on Charlie Blackmon’s single, one of his two hits for the Rockies.

The Dodgers’ two homers extended their franchise and NL-leading total to 235 on the season.

Bellinger got the Dodgers on the board with his 25th homer in the fourth, a two-out shot to left that made it 2-0. Muncy struck out leading off but was safe at first on a passed ball by catcher Tony Wolters. After Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal struck out, Bellinger connected on a 1-0 pitch from German Marquez (14-11).

Joc Pederson doubled to deep right-center leading off the fifth. One out later, Muncy hit his 35th homer to left-center, extending the lead to 4-0 and chasing Marquez.

Marquez (14-11) gave up four runs — two earned — and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two.

The Dodgers played their first tiebreaker since 1980, when they lost to Houston for the division title.

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Bucs TE O.J Howard out 2-4 weeks with sprained MCL

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be without one of their top offensive weapons for up to a month.

Tight end O.J. Howard left Tampa Bay’s Week 4 blowout loss against the Chicago Bears with a knee injury and didn’t return. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Howard will miss up to four weeks with a sprained MCL:

Howard has been a key cog in Tampa Bay’s offensive attack in his second season, building on the success he enjoyed as a rookie in 2017. The Bucs have a bye in Week 5, but that means the best-case scenario would still have Howard missing at least one game with the injury.

Howard has been off to an encouraging start to the season hauling 11 catches for 222 receiving yards with a touchdown. He has been a reliable option in the passing game with more than 50 receiving yards in each of the first three games played prior to the injury in Week 4 against the Bears. This has now derailed what could be a breakout year for him to establish himself a key part of their offensive game plan, but instead will potentially be out for the next couple of weeks while backup Cameron Brate will step into a more prominent role.

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Brate has been effective in his limited action with six catches for 62 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. He has been productive over the last two seasons that has seen him tally north of 45 receptions, 550 receiving yards, and six touchdowns. Regardless of who the quarterback has been, Brate has stepped as a major option in the red zone, which is a trend that should continue moving forward with this temporarily increased responsibility.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are a bit of a spot with their quarterback situation heading into Week 5 with both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston vying for the starting job. Given the nature of how things unfolded against the Bears, it could push Winston back into the fold. Nonetheless, there will be one less weapon in the passing game.

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Seahawks’ Earl Thomas suffers left leg fracture

Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals with his lower left leg in an air cast.

The FOX broadcast reported Thomas was taken directly to the X-ray room, and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll gave reporters the bad news after the game.

“It was a lower-leg fracture,” Carroll announced during his post-game press conference.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport later reported that Thomas suffered a clean, lower leg break, with no ligament damage and displacement. Rapoport added that Thomas should be 100 percent healed by the Super Bowl in February and in time for free agency in March.

Meanwhile, if this was the last game for Thomas in a Seahawks uniform, a remarkable run in Seattle that saw the safety garner first-team All-Pro honors three times and six Pro Bowl selections couldn’t have ended in a worse way.

Thomas, 29, entered 2018 in the final year of his contract, which pays a base salary of $8.5 million. He entered the offseason eyeing a new deal, but the Seahawks remained steadfast in not wanting to renegotiate a contract extension. The fallout resulted in Thomas holding out from all offseason activities, including training camp and preseason action, before he reported to the team in time for Week 1.

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The Seahawks started the season 0-2, but have won two consecutive games with Thomas’ three interceptions leading the defense.

Thomas’ injury adds another layer to the drama-filled offseason when considering his name has been linked in previous trade reports to the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs. No team, however, will be willing to trade for a hurt player.

Before the past two seasons, Thomas was a model of durability. He appeared in and started every regular-season game from 2010 to 2015 before missing seven games between the 2016 and 2017 campaigns.

Thomas recorded 28 interceptions — two returned for a touchdown — and forced 10 fumbles for Seattle and helped the team secure a win in Super Bowl XLVIII. He is tied for the third-most interceptions in the NFL since 2010 and no safety in the league has earned more Pro Bowl selections than Thomas in the same span.

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Seahawks Doug Baldwin ‘ready to go’ after knee injury

Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin has not played since leaving the first game of the season with a knee injury, but he believes it is time for that to change.

Baldwin returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since Week One and said on Thursday that he’s been frustrated by the missed time. He also feels like he’s being held back by the team a bit and is raring to return to action.

“I’m chomping at the bit. I’m ready to go,” Baldwin said, via Curtis Crabtree of PFT and KJR.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that he’s “really hopeful” that Baldwin will be able to play this weekend, but stopped well short of calling that a likely outcome given Baldwin’s lack of time on the practice field.

Baldwin has missed the past two games for Seattle after injuring the MCL in his right knee in the team’s season opener against the Denver Broncos.

“I know Pete has a press conference coming up eventually (on Friday) so you’ll have to ask him. … I’m ready to go,” Baldwin said on Thursday.

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“That’s going to be their call. There’s a lot of things that go into it, obviously, the precautionary reasons of making sure that I’m healthy fully so that I can go for the rest of the season and not just this game.”

Baldwin hasn’t enjoyed being forced to watch practice and games from the sideline. He got just two days of practice in with the team at the start of training camp before being shut down for nearly a month because of an issue with his left knee. He didn’t appear in any of the team’s four preseason games before ramping back up for the start of the season.

He played just 11 snaps in Denver before injuring his right knee, most coming before the injury while a couple came as he tried to see if he could play through it.

“I wanted to do everything I could to go back in and I did that and realized it wasn’t getting better,” Baldwin said.

Carroll said they will need to see how Baldwin can handle a workload with essentially two troublesome knees.

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Rams QB Jared Goff sets career passing highs with 465 yards, 5 TDs

Jared Goff turned a phenomenal first half into the biggest game of his career, and it was still just barely enough to beat Kirk Cousins.

Goff passed for career highs of 465 yards and five touchdowns, winning a scintillating duel with his Minnesota counterpart and leading the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams to a 38-31 victory over the Vikings on Thursday night.

Goff hit Cooper Kupp with two of his four TD throws during a 251-yard first half in which the third-year quarterback flawlessly executed coach Sean McVay’s offence.

“It was just great command by him,” McVay said about Goff. “I think he’s having fun. No moment is too big for him, and it gives you confidence when you see him playing like this.”

Todd Gurley then finished with 83 yards rushing and 73 yards receiving while the Rams (4-0) held off the Vikings (1-2-1) and Cousins, who passed for 422 yards and three touchdowns.

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The Vikings got the ball back with 2:20 left, but Los Angeles rookie John Franklin-Myers stripped Cousins of the ball near midfield. The Rams recovered and ran out the clock on their first win in the franchise’s last six meetings with Minnesota.

Goff set career highs with 465 yards passing and five passing touchdowns. He completed 26 out of 33 attempts, threw no interceptions and ended up with a perfect pass rating of 158.3. He is the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era with a perfect pass rating on at least 30 attempts, along with his colleagues Ram Kurt Warner in 2000 and Ken O’Brien in 1986.

“It feels really good,” said former number one. It’s what you’re aiming for, we’ve come to this area in the first half and we’re really clicking now. ”

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