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How can Walker Buehler top his debut season in Year 2?

It was either the World Series or the postseason round before that. Walker Buehler is fuzzy on the details. All he knows is that the stakes were high and that it was the second or third inning, and that all of a sudden he had forgotten how to throw his curveball. He yelled at whoever was within earshot to fetch Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill because they needed to reteach him the grip they showed him a week earlier. He needed to feel it again, and so Kershaw and Hill rushed over to help.

It showed a few important things about Buehler — that he isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, that he is always open to tinkering, even in the middle of a critical start, and that, as a 24-year-old rookie, he had already commanded the respect of the two most seasoned members of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rotation.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Buehler carried a 2.62 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and a 4.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 137⅓ innings during the regular season in 2018. Through August and September, he held opponents to a .500 OPS (287 points below the major league average). With the National League West on the line at the start of October, Buehler twirled 6⅔ scoreless innings. In Game 7 of the NL Championship Series, he recorded 14 outs and allowed only one run. In Game 3 of the World Series, he blanked the mighty Boston Red Sox through the first seven frames.6

Buehler finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting, an award he would have captured had Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto not been so impressive on a daily basis.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Buehler’s assessment: “I don’t think I was really good.

“To me, what Kersh does is really good, when he does it for 10 years. I had a good year. If my fastball ticks down 4 miles an hour, or if I can’t command it the way I want to, I’ve given up big runs. I’ve given up a lot of runs in games. That’s the stuff that’s limiting.”

On any given night, Buehler can effectively command up to five pitches, six if you include the changeup he is resolved to improve. But it all plays off his mid- to upper-90s four-seam fastball. If the positioning of his hand and the tempo of his delivery are sound enough to throw that pitch effectively, everything else flows naturally.

Joel Embiid is back to make everything work for the Sixers

As the Philadelphia 76ers have navigated major roster turnover and accelerated playoff goals, coach Brett Brown has returned to his mantra: “It all comes down to how the plane lands on April 15.”

The health of Joel Embiid will dictate what Philadelphia’s playoff path will be.

Less ubiquitous than “all is well that ends well,” Brown has used this saying as an anchor. The ups and downs of individual regular-season games are trivial, the saying goes, so long as the Sixers are a healthy, well-oiled machine come the postseason.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“You’re going to hear this a lot,” Brown said. “It’s all about landing the plane. Healthy, spirit, me figuring out the best way to substitute, the group playing for each other. It is still and always will be about a team. I mean this sincerely: That rules my world.”6

The Sixers have had their fair share of trials over the course of the season. Brown has worked to integrate fiery Jimmy Butler and sharpshooter Tobias Harris — both new to the team this season — into Philadelphia’s system. The team just had to fight through eight games without their dominant and emotional franchise center in Embiid, who was sidelined with a sore left knee.

The Sixers looked one step closer to playoff form on Sunday afternoon. Embiid returned for his first game since the All-Star break and the Sixers defeated the Indiana Pacers 106-89. The 76ers moved into third place in the Eastern Conference with the win over the Pacers, who dropped to fourth place.

Philadelphia now has 15 regular-season games remaining the get fully healthy, iron out their chemistry kinks and find a rhythm.

“There is enough time, I believe, to figure out proper rotations and how to integrate Joel back into this mix,” Brown said. “There are many pieces that equal we are ready to go play in the NBA playoffs. And right now we are cramming.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Before Sunday’s game, Brown said he expected to play Embiid in four-minute spurts because the big man’s conditioning level was a “C”. In the first half, Embiid was on the floor for short stints, but as the game went on and Embiid found his footing, Brown left him in for longer and longer stretches.

Agents: RT James to sign $51M deal with Denver

James, 26, was arguably the top right tackle on the free-agent market after starting 62 games for the Dolphins the past five seasons.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The 2014 first-round pick (19th overall) out of Tennessee is coming off his best season as a pro. James, who was the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL last season while playing out his fifth-year option for $9.341 million, helped form one of the best offensive tackle duos in the NFL opposite Laremy Tunsil.6

One of James’ showcase performances came against the Chicago Bears in Week 5, when he held Khalil Mack to zero sacks and just one tackle as he was matched up with him for much of the game.

The 6-foot-6, 312-pound James is a strong athlete, which allowed him to pull effectively throughout the season, a task not many tackles willingly and successfully accept.

The previous Dolphins staff had a lukewarm relationship with James, but the new staff was vocal about a desire to re-sign him.

“We sure hope he does [stay],” new offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said Feb. 14. “He’s a good football player.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

But Miami is undergoing a rebuild, and the price to re-sign James exceeded what it wanted to spend. The Dolphins plan to rebuild their offensive line through the draft.

Jack Grealish: Fan jailed for 14 weeks for assault on Aston Villa player in Birmingham derby

A Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 weeks after pleading guilty to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish during the derby between the sides on Sunday.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Paul Mitchell, 27, swung a punch at Grealish when the player’s back was turned after Mitchell ran onto the pitch at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match.

Mitchell, from Rubery, Worcestershire, also admitted to invading the pitch and has been banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for 10 years.He was also ordered to pay £350 in fines.6

The incident happened in the 10th minute of the match between the rivals as Grealish walked away from the stands when the ball went out for a corner.

He required no further treatment and went on to score the winning goal for Aston Villa in the second half.

A statement from Grealish that was read in court described how he was “shocked and scared” by the attack.

“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” the player said. “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The defence said Mitchell’s behaviour was out of character and said he apologised to Grealish.

“He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Vaughn Whistance, said Monday.

“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd. He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together, and they’re expecting their second child.”

Tanaka named Yankees’ Opening Day starter

Masahiro Tanaka will be the New York Yankees’ Opening Day starter March 28 against Baltimore, taking the spot left open by Luis Severino’s shoulder trouble.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced the decision before Saturday night’s spring training game with the Orioles.

Tanaka is replacing Severino, who will not make the start at Yankee Stadium because of right-shoulder inflammation. Severino was scratched from his first planned start of spring training Tuesday after feeling discomfort after throwing his first slider in a pregame bullpen session.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“Masa has clearly shown through his life really that he’s really good in the big spot,” Boone said.5

Yankees newcomer James Paxton will start the second game and J.A. Happ, both left-handers, will pitch the third game against the Orioles.

Tanaka, 30, discussed what it means to start the opener after his outing Friday night against the Detroit Tigers.

“Obviously, if you’re given the opportunity to pitch on that day, you want to go out and do your best,” the right-hander said through an interpreter. “If you look back, I don’t think I’ve necessarily been good on opening days. I’ve gotten some experience. We’ve gone through playoffs. So, if that situation were to arise, I can go out there and give a good performance.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Tanaka has made three previous Opening Day starts (2015-17) for the Yankees. New York lost all three games, with Tanaka charged with the loss in two.

Money game: Antonio Brown working system for new deal

Rumblings began to surface that Antonio Brown took note of the new money hitting the receiver market and would want to get in on it soon enough. Brown had just signed a five-year, $72.7 million extension a year earlier, but there was a vision.

Brown would cash in again.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Less than seven months later, Brown was posting pictures of agents Drew and Jason Rosenhaus working at a table at Brown’s home as the Steelers were inching closer to trading the All-Pro receiver. Drew Rosenhaus and Brown can hammer out parameters for a new deal with his new team — despite having three years left on his contract.6

To be sure, the notion that Brown sought a trade and publicly criticized his team solely over a new deal is misguided. Brown’s issues with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers mushroomed throughout the season, and Brown — tired of feeling like a scapegoat for the Steelers’ problems — sought a chance to remind people that he’s a transcendent talent, not a Steelers creation.

But the parallel of Brown’s impending uniform change and the lack of guaranteed money on his three remaining contract years is hard to ignore.

Brown, who calls himself an entrepreneur, used the turmoil as a contractual springboard.

He’s working the system.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The merits of Brown’s unpredictability over the past few months can be debated, but through the prism of NFL business, Brown is attempting to pull off something quite difficult — treating himself like a free agent in the middle of a long-term extension.

And he seems to be getting away with it. He made himself untenable in Pittsburgh, and he has made himself untenable elsewhere without new money.

Grading the Antonio Brown trade from Steelers to Raiders: Who won?

The Antonio Brown trade, at its core, is about money. It’s about a lot of other things — power, respect, aging and double standards all come to mind — but at the end of the day, this is a trade about money, which is why I didn’t think it was going to happen. I’m not sure there’s been a swap like this in recent memory, in which a superstar player on a veteran deal was dealt away in the prime of his career without offering his team any sort of salary-cap savings.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

In making this trade now, the Steelers are passing up the opportunity to keep one of the five best wideouts in football on their roster for $22.2 million of cap space for the opportunity to eat $21.1 million in dead money on their 2019 cap and let that guy play for somebody else. Organizations only eat that sort of dead money when they have a player commit some serious off-field discretion (Junior Galette, Ray Rice), or if they’re rebuilding and dumping underwater contracts from the previous regime (Marcell Dareus), and that’s usually over two seasons.4

As a 30-year-old receiver who led the league in touchdowns last season, Brown is none of those things. For a team regularly in contention with an aging quarterback to willingly turn 11 percent of its salary cap into dead money requires a very specific, strange set of circumstances to go wrong. To make that decision and net a pair of midround picks is potentially unprecedented.

When it only appeared the Steelers were cranky about Brown, I assumed both sides would eventually work toward a resolution, mostly because it didn’t make financial sense for the team to tie up its cap space to let Brown go somewhere else. The point where things shifted was when Brown went onto social media and indicated that he also wanted a change of scenery. It wasn’t quite Terrell Owens doing sit-ups in his driveway, but Brown’s decision to go onto Twitter and call out Ben Roethlisberger didn’t do his situation any favors.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In the process of trying to push his way out of Pittsburgh, Brown eroded the organization’s leverage. The Steelers spent the past two months publicly flailing, alternately leaking stories that suggested a trade hinged on getting a first-round pick, then suggesting it wouldn’t. They set a final offer deadline for Friday and then let that deadline come and go. After news conferences and statements from various levels of the organization seemingly contradicting each other, they were forced to settle for third- and fifth-round picks from the only team that seemed seriously interested in bidding for Brown throughout the entire process.

Imagine going 12 months back in time to tell the biggest Steelers fan you know that Pittsburgh traded Brown for two midround draft picks. Heck, imagine going back six months ago and telling the biggest Steelers fan you know that they would get worked in a deal by the Raiders.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer proves at PSG he’s the only choice for Man United manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted recently that he wanted to “give the best job interview I could ever do” during his supposedly temporary spell as Manchester United manager. The Norwegian had already done that before his team stunned Paris Saint-Germain to qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals, but this historic victory must surely now be followed by confirmation that he really is the man to take the job on a permanent basis.

Solskjaer really can do no more to earn the right to become Jose Mourinho’s full-time successor at Old Trafford after this, but with the result — a 3-1 win — and performance being played out in front of club owner Avram Glazer, former manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Old Trafford icon Eric Cantona, it was a night that felt like a coronation.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

The next time United make a public announcement, it should be to tell the world that Solskjaer, currently on loan from Norwegian club Molde, is their new manager. If not, United supporters might just storm Old Trafford in protest, and honestly who could blame them.

When the 46-year-old arrived at Old Trafford last December, he was answering an SOS call from his former club, who were drifting badly off course in the Premier League under Mourinho.6

United were 11 points adrift of the top four, with senior players, most notably Pogba, at odds with the Portuguese boss and so badly out of form that a January clearout could not be ruled out.

Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, called on Solskjaer to steady the ship and try to salvage something from the season while the club searched for and appointed an experienced manager to repair the damage caused by Mourinho. Mauricio Pochettino was top of Woodward’s list. The Tottenham manager was the only serious name in the frame, but Solskjaer not only got on with the job, he repaired the broken dressing room, restored belief among the supporters and put a smile back on the club’s face.

The results came immediately and they haven’t stopped, with only PSG beating Solskjaer’s United — 2-0 in the first leg at Old Trafford — during an incredible run of 14 wins in 17 games.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

But nobody outside of the United dressing room really believed they had a chance of overcoming PSG in the Parc des Princes. Inspired by Kylian Mbappe, the French champions destroyed United at Old Trafford in a 2-0 victory last month.

Gerrard advises Liverpool to ‘believe in yourselves,’ admits title won’t close his personal ‘wound’

Jurgen Klopp’s current group of players now sit second in the table, a point behind City, after losing momentum since starting 2019 seven points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s men.

Gerrard, now managing in Scotland with Rangers, has been watching from afar as Liverpool’s title bid has faltered.

And with the club still looking to end a title drought stretching back to 1990, the former Liverpool captain admits he continues to be haunted by 2014.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“It doesn’t affect how I feel towards what I am looking in on now.

“I look at a squad of players, some of whom I am still friends with. I see a support that gave me absolutely everything from the terraces and around the world.5

“I just hope for their sake, and mine as a supporter, that come the end of the competition they are victorious. But it won’t make me or my wound feel any different.”

Gerrard won every major club honour except the Premier League during his illustrious Liverpool career, but while he insists that his other trophies help soften the blow of missing out on the title, the memory of falling short does not go away.

“I don’t just look back to that one game [Chelsea] or one campaign,” he said. “I don’t overthink and drive myself crazy over it.

“At the same time, I have been honest and open, it was such a big year. It was the trophy that eluded me, so of course I am always going to look back and wish it was different.

“If I had a choice of winning the Champions League or Premier League, I’d say the Champions League probably.

“But that doesn’t mean I didn’t crave a Premier League. It is such a big prize.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

“But I don’t want to give the players a warning. Warnings seem critical or panicky.

“My advice, having been a player in that team and playing for those supporters for so long, would be don’t overthink it. Just enjoy it. Believe in yourselves.”

‘Cody’s gotta be our guy’: Bellinger ready for star turn in L.A.

Cody Bellinger got pitched to differently and struggled initially. The month of May was coming to an end, the batting average was down in the low .200s and anxiety began to set in. The swing changes became constant and the answers remained elusive. Along the way — throughout a season that was superior to most but disappointing for himself — Bellinger realized he spent most of his life hitting without purpose. The “how” came so easily that the “why” never mattered.

This offseason was about changing that.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

It was about getting back to the mechanics that made him the National League Rookie of the Year in 2017, but also about understanding the elements that made all of it work so well.
“It’s an old Navy SEAL training technique,” Brant Brown, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ assistant hitting coach, said before a recent workout. “In times of stress, you don’t rise to the occasion — you revert back to your training.”5

Bellinger finished the 2018 season with 4.2 Baseball-Reference wins above replacement, a mark that was topped by only 30 position players. He reached base 34 percent of the time, displayed Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field and was among the game’s most effective baserunners. But his OPS dropped by 119 points, from .933 in 2017 to .814 in 2018. His slash line against lefties fell from .271/.335/.568 to .226/.305/.376, turning the left-handed-hitting Bellinger into a platoon player for the final two months of the season.

“Going forward,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “Cody’s gotta be our guy.”

Bellinger will return to an everyday role in 2019, spending most of his time in right field while also filling in at his more natural position of first base.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

“That’s big,” he said, “but I also have to go out there and prove it.”

Brown initially pushed Bellinger away when he approached him about improving in 2019. The 2018 season had not yet concluded, and Brown wanted Bellinger to focus on finishing. Bellinger touched base again at the onset of the offseason, then took a month off and got to work in December, alternating his work with Brown in Arizona and new hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc in Los Angeles.

They uncovered video of Bellinger’s plate appearances from the 2016 Arizona Fall League and throughout the 2017 season, then split-screened it with those from 2018 and analyzed the differences. They found that Bellinger was no longer applying enough pressure to the ground. He was standing too tall and straight-legged, making it difficult for him to halt momentum once his swing began. He also wasn’t efficient enough getting into his swing path. “Too elbowy,” as Brown put it.