Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Yankees’ Bird hit .190 with his nine home runs last season

After a surprisingly strong season with the Jets, McCown should find work as a veteran bridge quarterback for a team looking to draft a guy and groom him. So McCown’s market will be the teams that lose out on Cousins, Case Keenum, et al. — Graziano

Breeland’s name wasn’t generating all that much buzz at the combine in Indianapolis, and it’s still possible he ends up back in Washington if no team is willing to pay him $10 million or more per season. — Graziano

The safety market is a little bit flooded, and while Reid will be one of the better players on it, there’s a fear — which he shares, by the way — that his role in the 2017 national anthem controversy could steer some teams away. — Graziano

I’m not saying he’s better than those other guys, the evaluator said. But he belongs in the conversation.

The A’s also rave about Chapman’s leadership skills and it factor. He entered the big league clubhouse on June 15 and seemed comfortable from his first at-bat against the Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery.

Chapman asserted himself during a testy encounter with the Angels in September. Los Angeles catcher Juan Graterol was convinced the Oakland hitters were peeking at his signs or getting signs relayed from second base, and he made his displeasure apparent to several hitters. As Chapman settled into the batter’s box, he told Graterol to knock it off, earning an ejection from umpire Mike Everitt and instant respect from his teammates.

The Yankees’ Bird hit .190 with his nine home runs last season, and that first number might scare prospective managers off, but remember what Aaron Judge did in his first and brief big league exposure: he hit .179. That does not mean Bird will suddenly bash 52 home runs, but he is a left-handed bat in a stadium made for him and he is finally healthy, ever-disciplined and perhaps way too overlooked. Watch Bird quietly bash 30 homers. — Eric Karabell

It’s Bird, but let’s throw a little love Ryan McMahon’s way, shall we? McMahon’s 80.2 percent contact and 25.2 percent line-drive rates at all levels combined in 2017 show a keen hitting approach, and one that’s perfectly suited to Coors Field with its spacious outfield gaps. — Tristan H. Cockcroft

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One of the most popular in-season strategies is streaming starting pitchers, especially those hurlers with two scheduled outings in leagues with weekly moves.

To that end, two of the most popular articles on ESPN.com are Tristan H. Cockcroft’s Forecaster and the Daily Notes, both of which (in part) address favorable pitching matchups. In rotisserie scoring, the idea is to pile up strikeouts — and hopefully wins — while not inflicting any damage upon your ratios. In points leagues, simply put, favorable matchups avoid negative points. In formats with an innings or starts cap, the idea is to maximize efficiency.

These projections over nine seasons seem rather reasonable to me, using historical precedents of players with similar attributes. Of course, multiple events can change things. But, after this season, I have projected Ovechkin with only one more 50-goal season, and four 40-plus seasons (two of them with exactly 40).

What total do we get when we add up these eight-plus years of projections? 296 goals. Add that to his 603 goals we projected after a 45-goal season in 2017-18, and that gives Ovechkin exactly 899. Good lord, that’s a lot of goals.

Hamilton is nearing the end of his arbitration window, and while his on-base skills continue to lag, you could see a contender putting his disruptive baserunning and terrific defense to good use in the postseason format. The Reds have a center-field prospect coming in Taylor Trammell and good depth elsewhere in the outfield, so Hamilton seems like a good bet to be moved at some point.

If Cincinnati is in the wild-card race, that means some of its young starting pitchers have finally turned the corner, one of whom very well could be Mahle. However, if the Reds want to go all-in, Dick Williams might look to package a couple of those young arms for a little veteran certainty for the rotation.

He’s a leader, Khris Davis told reporters after the game. He’s a natural at it. He might be a rookie, but one day he’s going to lead the way.

Chapman’s success as a hitter will hinge on his ability to tighten up his swing, make more consistent contact and hold his own against breaking stuff. He was a .244 hitter in the minors, and he batted .234 and struck out 28.2 percent of the time as a rookie. But he gets the ball in the air, and his confident demeanor suggests he’ll address the deficiencies in his game.

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Hawks guard Kent Bazemore lost for season with knee injury

Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore will miss the remainder of the season with a bone bruise in his right knee.

Bazemore, tied for second on the team with his average of 12.9 points per game, left Sunday’s loss to Chicago in the second quarter after landing awkwardly. He hopped off the court, straight into the tunnel toward the locker room.

Wizards: Allowed 18 points in the paint in the first quarter alone, and 64 total. … Coach Scott Brooks is not entirely sure when Wall will return to full-fledged practicing after missing 1 1/2 months so far. Brooks also doesn’t know how much Wall will get a chance to play before the regular season ends.

The teams’ coaches go way back: As an assistant coach at Harvard, Thibodeau used to make the trek to observe practices of the 1987-88 Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association; Brooks was a guard on that team, which went 48-6. Asked about those days, Brooks recalled this about Thibodeau: He was a sponge, and He had the mullet. Later on, Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Timberwolves and New York Knicks while Brooks played for both.

Ichiro, 44, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts but said he was happy with his at-bats and that it was good to get the practice in.

The Mariners will look to manage his playing time this season. Manager Scott Servais noted that Ichiro would play in Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

I thought Ichi looked good, Servais said. I thought his timing at the plate wasn’t bad at all. He hit a couple of balls OK — a ball just foul and the lineout. I thought he looked good for his first day out there.

Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano left Sunday’s game with hamstring tightness, but Servais said he didn’t think the injury was serious.

Our fans are ecstatic that Moose is going to be back, Moore said. We just can’t wait to get to work together again to get going on the 2018 season. Anytime you add a talent like Mike Moustakas it helps. We simply don’t go to back-to-back World Series and win a world championship without his contributions, without his ability to make plays.

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Harden helps Rockets to easy 109-93 win over Spurs

After the Houston Rockets easily downed the San Antonio Spurs, James Harden was asked about his team taking care of business against a team missing its top players.

Harden had a 3-pointer and made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to propel that spurt. He didn’t return in the fourth quarter with the game in hand.

Chayka did not indicate how long Tocchet — who won the Stanley Cup the last two seasons as a Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach — would be away from the team. He coached them to a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night at Gila River Arena.

The Kings moved into third place in the Western Conference on Monday by also shutting out the Canucks, this time by 3-0 as goaltender Jonathan Quick turned aside all 28 shots he faced. Anze Kopitar scored his 28th goal, and Adrian Kempe assisted on Tyler Toffoli’s 22nd goal and Tanner Pearson 13th. Toffoli also assisted on Pearson’s goal.

The Coyotes are 22-35-11 and own the NHL’s worst record, but they’ve turned it around in the second half of the season and are 4-1-1 in their last six games and 10-3-2 in their past 15. They’re 13-7-6 since the start of the year, beating the Canucks for the second time in five days behind backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s first shutout with Arizona, a 27-save effort.

Overall, he allowed two runs on two hits and one walk in 2 2/3 innings, fanning four in a 5-2 loss.

DeGrom worked two innings Tuesday in a simulated game. The right-hander said facing opposing hitters other than his teammates or prospects resulted in a rush that had him ramping up his fastball.

You go face your own hitters and live BP and sim games, whatever, you want to get them out. But when you go face another team and you’re actually in a game game, then it’s definitely different, deGrom said.

DeGrom fanned Jake Marisnick and Tony Kemp looking before finishing Alex Bregman with a swing-and-miss fastball. Many fans stood as deGrom walked to the dugout.

I had some nerves, some adrenaline, he said, smiling.

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Blazers beat Timberwolves 108-99 for fifth straight win

Damian Lillard wasn’t concerned. He knew his shots would eventually fall.

Trail Blazers: Portland went 0 for 13 from 3-point range in the first half. .. Lillard has made a 3-pointer in 44 straight games, tying the franchise record set by Nic Batum. … Napier hit a halfcourt shot late in the game but it didn’t count because he’d been fouled.

Both coach Terry Stotts and Lillard said the Blazers wouldn’t have won the game a few months ago.

“They have a lot of confidence and they understand we may not have won this game earlier in the season. We were able to fight through and hang with it defensively when things weren’t going our way offensively, and then having the belief that it was going to break at some point,” Stotts said.

“Just keep going, man,” said Westbrook, who was 11 of 25 from the field and made eight of nine free throws. “Regardless of missed or made shots, my mentality never changes throughout the game and I always continue to stay in attack mode.”

Dwight Powell forced overtime at 100-all with a follow shot at the buzzer to match his career high with 21 points. It was the first points for Dallas since Powell’s alley-oop dunk with 4 minutes remaining.

Nance, who is now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, wrote, “I was back in 3 weeks man … Dramatic!!”

“It’s tough not to come out of here with a win — we would have loved it,” Towns said. “Now we have to go out and get the next game. Learn from our mistakes.”

The Timberwolves were playing their third game without Jimmy Butler, who had surgery on Sunday to repair a meniscal injury in his right knee. It isn’t clear when he’ll be able to return. Butler is the team’s top scorer, averaging 22.2 points.

Portland shot just 25 percent in the first quarter (6 for 24). McCollum went 1 for 5, and the Blazers trailed 24-19.

Lillard had been hot going into the game, averaging 31.4 points in February, the highest scoring average for a Blazer in a single month in team history.

Towns hit a 3-pointer that put Minnesota in front 47-36, but Lillard answered with his first basket from the field, a jumper, then added a driving layup and a free Cheap Kids Jerseys NHL throw. The Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Site Blazers cut the lead to 49-44 at the break.

Towns had 21 points in the half, including 19 in the second quarter alone.

Gordon, Magic stop 7-game skid, beat Pistons 115-106 in OT

The Orlando Magic have had to explain so many late-game collapses this season that it was a little awkward describing how well they handled the deciding moments of Friday night’s 115-106 overtime victory against the Detroit Pistons.

The Magic muffed their chance for a game-winner. Vucevic lost his balance when driving the lane and turned the ball over, leading to overtime.

“The play kind of broke down,” Hood said. “He (Jarrett Allen) cut me off. I stepped back. It’s a shot I work on all the time.”

Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who scored 14 points, wasn’t surprised about James’ performance.

“He’s a superstar player and is super aggressive, and he just took over,” he said. “It came down to a lot of tough shots being made, and LeBron getting them.”

The win could also help Cleveland position in the NBA draft. The Cavaliers own Brooklyn’s No. 1 pick, acquired in a trade with Boston. The Nets have the seventh-worst record in the league, but have lost nine of 10.

OKC has won in five of its last six outings and stands percentage points behind Portland, which has prevailed in five in a row and has won 12 of its last 13 at home.

The Blazers are 2-0 against the Thunder this season, having won 103-99 at home on Nov. 5 and 117-106 on the road on Jan. 9. Damian Lillard (36 points, 13 assists) won a personal duel of All-Star point guards with Russell Westbrook (25 and nine) in the first meeting. Lillard (calf) did not play in the second encounter, but Shabazz Napier stepped in for Lillard and scored 21 Cheap Atlanta Braves Jerseys points to go with CJ McCollum’s 27.

OKC has lost seven consecutive games in Portland dating to February Basketball Jerseys 2014.

“There’s no question we’ve struggled against some teams on the road,” coach Billy Donovan told reporters. “Portland has always been a difficult place for us to play.”

The Thunder have won enough close games against inferior opposition of late to lead critics to wonder about a lack of intensity.