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Darvish wins at Wrigley for first time with Cubs

It took 14 home starts spread across two seasons and 17 calendar months, but Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish finally earned his first win at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

“It’s amazing,” Darvish said after leading the Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. “First win at Wrigley. I was always looking for that first win.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

It marked an important step for Darvish since he signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs in February 2018.

He spent most of last year on the injured list, then started this season slowly. But after asking for the ball in the Cubs’ first game coming out of the All-Star break, Darvish has put together two gems. On Friday, he threw six shutout innings in a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Wednesday, he went six shutout innings again, this time giving up just two hits while striking out seven.5

“It’s not a fun at-bat,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said of the few hitters who have reached first base. “Everyone says it … He just trusts his arm. He’s pitching with conviction. He’s getting stronger and stronger, more and more comfortable.”

Darvish indicated that until recently, despite being healthy, he was favoring his arm angle on his fastball simply because of the pain he used to feel in his elbow. Now he’s just letting it fly, using the proper mechanics and delivery.

The results are showing.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

He threw a first-pitch strike to 82% of the hitters he faced Wednesday, the second-highest rate of any start in his career. Reds hitters were 1-for-14 with five strikeouts after falling behind 0-1 in the count.

“He still takes some time in between pitches, but how he’s spending that time seems to be better,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I don’t think he’s wondering what to do next. I think he’s calculating what to do next. And when he gets back on the rubber, ‘here we go.'”

There might have been no better example of that “here-we-go” attitude than when Yasiel Puig stepped into the batter’s box as the tying run, with one man on and two outs in the top of the sixth inning Wednesday. After pitching coach Tommy Hottovoy visited the mound — building drama to the at-bat — Darvish came out firing. He threw five pitches to Puig, and three reached 98 mph, including what turned out to be his final pitch of the game — one that blew Puig away.

Chants of “Yu!” followed as he walked off the mound, showing plenty of emotion after the strikeout.

“The people yelling for him as he comes off the field was awesome,” Maddon said. “I know he feels that in a positive way. And he deserved it.”

Added Darvish: “I’m almost 120% right now. I don’t need anything right now. It’s perfect, everything.”

That’s music to the ears of Cubs fans who have been waiting for this version of Darvish since they said hello to him and goodbye to World Series hero Jake Arrieta two years ago. It has taken a while, but the electric stuff often advertised but sometimes not delivered with Darvish is everything and then some right now.

Pistons claim F-C Christian Wood off waivers

The Detroit Pistons have claimed Christian Wood off waivers.

The Pistons announced the move Wednesday. The 6-foot-10 Wood appeared in 21 games last season for Milwaukee and New Orleans, averaging 8.2 points. He’s averaged 5.3 points in 51 career NBA games for Philadelphia, Charlotte, Milwaukee and New Orleans.3

Wood, who can play forward or center, averaged nearly 17 points and eight rebounds during the eight games he played for New Orleans at the end of last season, but he was still waived by the Pelicans.

Expect these fantasy players to gain — or lose — the most targets in 2019

Opportunity is king in fantasy football. Or, to put it another way, you catch none of the targets you don’t see.

While player skill plays a critical part in analysis, the extent of a receiver’s opportunity is something with which to familiarize yourself. Ability and preseason player performance will help a lot of that fall into place, but there are ways to measure the extent of the opportunity a player could potentially receive.

One of those is to examine each team’s target totals from the previous season to see which of the players who accumulated them might’ve left the team during the offseason and therefore freed some up for others, as well as which players might’ve been brought in to soak up some of those left behind. This isn’t a new concept; it has often been discussed in the fantasy football industry as “vacated targets.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal7

This isn’t an exact science. Injuries have a bearing on the past season’s statistics. For example, Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee missed the entire 2018 season and therefore contributed nothing in the category after earning 103 and 96 targets the two previous seasons, but he will surely rejoin the team this season and absorb a significant amount.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Regression to the mean of a team’s target total can also have an impact, such as with the Indianapolis Colts, who saw a 157-pass-attempt increase from 2017 to ’18, which, while understandable to a degree with Andrew Luck back healthy and under center, still gave the team its largest total in the category in four years and second largest in any of Luck’s six healthy seasons.

Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet to stay – Klopp

Jurgen Klopp has said he expects Simon Mignolet to remain at Liverpool following positive discussions with the goalkeeper.

The 31-year-old, demoted as the club’s No. 1 first to Loris Karius from January 2018 then again after the £65 million signing of Alisson last summer, was considering departing Anfield in search of more game time.cheap nfl nike jersey

And following the 3-1 preseason victory over Bradford City, Klopp disclosed a talk with the goalkeeper that suggests he will extend his six-year spell with the club.

“Yeah, how I’ve heard,” Klopp responded when asked whether Mignolet will remain with Liverpool. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with him over the last couple of years and months.7

“Before we left [for holiday], we had a talk and I would say, yes [he will stay]. I think at a club like Liverpool you need two No. 1s at least and we have that, that’s cool, with Ali and Simon.

“That’s a very good situation for the club, but a situation I think you should have and that’s why everything is fine from my point of view.”

Goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan, 35, released by Middlesbrough this summer, is set to train with Liverpool during their tour of the United States with the Reds missing four players in the position.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Alisson is on holiday after helping Brazil win the Copa America, while Kamil Grabara is expected to go out on loan with Huddersfield pushing for his services. Caoimhin Kelleher (broken wrist) and Vitezslav Jaros (elbow ligament strain) are sidelined.

Meanwhile, Klopp has said Liverpool will keep their options open regarding left-back cover for Andrew Robertson.

The club are scouting the market for possibilities, while youngsters Yasser Larouci and Adam Lewis have been given the opportunity to impress during preseason.

De Gea on the brink of new deal – Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed David De Gea is on the brink of signing a new contract at Manchester United.

The Spaniard is on the verge of agreeing a new five-year deal worth in excess of £350k-a-week and Solskjaer is hopeful an announcement will be made soon.

“Hopefully we can agree with David as I’ve said a few times,” Solskjaer told a news conference at the WACA cricket ground on Tuesday.cheap nfl jerseys china nike
Solskjaer is also expecting Romelu Lukaku to be fit for the second game of the summer.5

The Belgian, who has been heavily linked with a move to Inter Milan, missed the game against Perth Glory through injury but trained with the squad on Monday and should feature against Leeds.

Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof should also be fit after missing out against Perth. Luke Shaw limped off with a hamstring injury and may not be risked on Wednesday.
Lukaku has travelled to Australia with United despite being keen to link up with Antonio Conte at Inter.

The Serie A side are yet to submit a suitable offer for the 26-year-old and Solskjaer is confident the former Everton man can have a positive impact at Old Trafford next season if his move to the San Siro does not come off.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“The day we start the league I’m sure everyone who’s here will give absolutely everything for Man United,” said Solskjaer.

“We want a strong team with players who give everything.

“There are always rumours speculation about Man United players but when the league starts we batten down the hatches and stay as a team.”

Lucroy recalls vicious collision, not much after

Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy remembers getting leveled by the Astros’ Jake Marisnick and nothing else until he was carried onto the golf cart in Houston.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“He knocked me out,” Lucroy said Friday, reliving the play that led to a hospital visit for Lucroy and a two-game suspension for Marisnick.

Lucroy was positioned in front of home plate to receive a throw from Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning of a tie game Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Marisnick made a last-second move to his left and collided viciously with Lucroy, seemingly regretting the decision instantly. Lucroy sustained a broken nose and his third diagnosed concussion. Marisnick reached out via text message later that night.5

“A situation like that, split-second decisions have to be made,” said Lucroy, who will have his nose repaired Monday and doesn’t expect to spend much time on the injured list. “I don’t think he was trying to hurt anybody. However, I did give him the whole lane, the whole foul territory, to slide. I did tell him that in the text. As a catcher, when the play’s at home, I always try to give the runner some place to slide. That’s what the new rule says. You’re supposed to do that. If you don’t, you can get called for interference. We communicated. And it is what it is.“nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Marisnick, who was also fined, appealed his suspension in part because he wants to elaborate on the matter with officials from Major League Baseball. In his initial statement, Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, said that though Marisnick might not have intended to injure, the Astros outfielder nonetheless violated rules designed to protect catchers from this.

The Angels have since added some depth behind the plate, activating backup Kevan Smith off the injured list and acquiring veteran Josh Thole — along with left-handed reliever Adam McCreery — from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations on Friday.

Lucroy has made it a point to position himself in front of home plate while awaiting a throw ever since he was called for interference while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers and facing the Angels a few years ago. He hopes baserunners will do their part to abide by the rules in the future.

“I mean, you can look at my face,” Lucroy said, pointing to his black eye. “There’s a reason why the rule is in place.”

Green: Kawhi wanted ‘his own route,’ not Lakers

As Danny Green — perhaps Kawhi Leonard’s closest teammate, having paired with him to win championships in both San Antonio and Toronto — waited on Leonard’s free-agent decision last week, he was left in the dark just like the rest of the world.

Except he was pretty sure of one thing: Leonard would not be joining the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I think all of it was a shock to me,” Green said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. “Except not as much of a shock Kawhi going to L.A. The Clippers, anyway. I didn’t see him coming this route [to the Lakers].

“I feel like he wanted to go his own route. I think it was between them and going back (to Toronto). I think the year that he had and what those fans brought this season and everything, it was hard for him to turn it down and leave Toronto. But I knew he wanted to be closer to home.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china6

Leonard, a native of Riverside, California, orchestrated the Paul George trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Clippers behind the scenes, spurning the Lakers — who had $32 million in cap space on hold for him — and the Raptors, who wanted to retain the 2019 Finals MVP and defend their championship. And Green then became the Lakers’ top target.

Shortly after Leonard informed the Lakers they were out of consideration, they pivoted to offer Green a two-year, $30 million contract, and followed that deal by reaching agreements with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, DeMarcus Cousins and eventually Avery Bradley to fill out the roster.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Green, a 10-year veteran with a career 40.4% mark on 3-pointers, said deciding on the Lakers was simple.

“It wasn’t very hard, man,” he said. “LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis are here. Obviously when you’re with a winning team and you’ve won, you want to run it back if it’s possible. But that wasn’t going to happen. And even if it did happen, I don’t think they had room for me there [in Toronto]. So you go to the next-best team you think in the league is and that was here.”

Not that the wait until he got to make that decision wasn’t excruciating. Free agents could begin negotiations with prospective teams on June 30. Leonard didn’t make his choice until July 5. And Green — knowing there could be a pretty payday waiting for him in L.A. if Leonard didn’t form a superteam alongside James and Davis — had no choice but to stand in line until Leonard punched his free-agency ticket first.

Agent: Simmons ‘doubtful’ to play in World Cup

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is “doubtful” to play for Australia in the FIBA World Cup this summer, his agent Rich Paul told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Simmons, who debuted for the national team as a teenager and won gold at the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship, initially said he was “looking forward to representing my county Australia in the upcoming @FIBA World Cup in China” on social media in May.5

Simmons is now more likely now to spend his full offseason preparing only for the Sixers’ season — free of national team responsibilities. The 22-year-old also opted out of the 2016 Olympics squad to focus on his NBA rookie season.

The Australian national team, also known as the Boomers, will still feature a handful of other NBA players, including Joe Ingles, Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Aron Baynes.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The FIBA World Cup starts Aug. 31 in China and runs through mid-September.

What can Patrick Mahomes do for an encore in 2019?

Patrick Mahomes may not throw 50 touchdown passes and for more than 5,000 yards in 2019, one year after he became the second quarterback in NFL history to accomplish both feats in the same season.

But the Kansas City Chiefs still believe whatever they get from Mahomes will be considerable. What they saw from him last season, his first as a starter, convinced them of that.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The Chiefs, hoping this season to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, overhauled their defense during the offseason. They hired a mostly new defensive coaching staff, led by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and installed a 4-3 base defense. They acquired as many as seven new defensive starters, most notably end Frank Clark and safety Tyrann Mathieu.

But it’s the offense, led by the league MVP in Mahomes, that will again have to lead the way if the Chiefs are going to win the championship. Can the third-year quarterback repeat last season’s gaudy numbers? It has never been done in back-to-back seasons. Plus, the Chiefs are without star running back Kareem Hunt, who they released late last season after video surfaced showing him shoving and kicking a woman. They also may be without top wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who is suspended as the NFL investigates his possible involvement in a child abuse case.7

Even without Hunt and possibly Hill, the Chiefs are expecting the product to be as good or better than it was last season, when they lost to the New England Patriots in overtime of the AFC Championship Game.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“We know that we are close and we have a pretty good team,” Veach said. “We aren’t trying to build for the future. We are trying to win now. We are going to stay aggressive.”

They’ll need growth from Mahomes, as good as he was last season, to get where they want to go. And he knows it.

“You have to improve yourself every single year,” Mahomes said. “… As I go into this season, I know that I need to even step it up even more, how I take care of body, nutrition, but even the prehab and the rehab and all the different stuff that you have to do in order to keep yourself at that top-notch level when the end of the season comes.”

Mahomes said he has started working on an offseason checklist to make himself better. He’s looking at his mistakes from last season and trying to improve his footwork, especially in the pocket.

“I feel like at times last year I would get, I don’t want to say lazy but basically lazy with how I was handling my feet in the pocket,” Mahomes said. “It would disrupt timing on throws, so keep working on those things so they can be more and more consistent as I go on.”

Sources: Man Utd want new deal for Henderson

Manchester United want Dean Henderson to sign a new contract before heading back out on loan, sources have told ESPN FC.

The highly rated goalkeeper trained with the senior squad last week but was left out of the travelling party for the preseason tour ahead of a potential return to Sheffield United.

The England under-21 international has a year left on his deal and has been monitored by Bayern Munich and a host of Premier League clubs.cheap official nike nfl jerseys6

Henderson impressed at Sheffield United last season making 46 appearances after being named in the League One team of the year in 2018 when he helped Shrewsbury to the playoff final.

United have sent another young goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara on loan to League One Burton Albion. The 23-year-old spent last season on loan at Macclesfield.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to hold his first news conference of the summer in Perth on Wednesday.

Players and staff arrived in Australia on Monday ahead of their first preseason game against Perth Glory on Saturday.