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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.

Catch-22: Reds scramble to fill spot after injuries

The Reds are down to their fourth and fifth catchers after placing two more on the injured list Thursday.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Curt Casali went on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain that manager David Bell said could keep him out for as long as a month. Casali is expected to spend two weeks wearing a brace.6

Kyle Farmer was placed on the seven-day concussion list after taking two foul balls off his mask in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Cubs in Chicago.

Gold Glove catcher Tucker Barnhart has been out since June 28 with a right oblique strain.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Juan Graterol was promoted from Triple-A Louisville and rushed to Chicago to start Wednesday’s day game. The Reds shored up the position on Thursday by signing Ryan Lavarnway, one day after he was released by Yankees.

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.

Josh Jackson in diversion program for arrest

Memphis Grizzlies forward Josh Jackson was entered into a diversion program to settle a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest stemming from his arrest at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami in May, according to online court records.

Jackson was entered into the program on July 2, according to the records. He also was charged with a felony charge of escape when he was arrested on May 10, but that charge was dismissed last month, according to the records.

It is not clear from the records what the details of the diversion program include. If he successfully completes the diversion program, the charge will be dismissed.7

TMZ first reported the news that Jackson was entered into the diversion program.

Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Grizzlies earlier this month.

He was arrested at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami Gardens, Florida, after he attempted to enter the VIP area too many times without a proper pass. He was handcuffed by police and then ran away from the officers before being detained, according to the police report.

Jackson, 22, averaged 11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 79 games (29 starts) last season, his second in the NBA.

Before entering the NBA, Jackson agreed to enter a diversion program in 2017 to settle a misdemeanor count of criminal property damage stemming from a confrontation with a University of Kansas women’s basketball player in 2016.

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.

Jadeveon Clowney playing on franchise tag is wrong step for Texans brass

the Houston Texans had two of the top pass-rushers in the NFL in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. By not reaching a long-term extension by the franchise tag deadline on Monday, the Texans risk losing Clowney — the first overall pick in the 2014 draft — at the end of the season instead of building around the core talent they have right now.

The Texans placed the non-exclusive franchise tag, which is worth $15.967 million for the 2019 season, on Clowney in March and the outside linebacker/defensive end did not attend any of the Texans’ spring workouts, including the mandatory veterans minicamp.

While the Texans could of course still sign Clowney to a new contract after the 2019 season — or tag him for the second year in a row — they likely wouldn’t match what the pass-rusher would get on the open market.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping5

The Raiders learned last season that you can’t let a player of that caliber go when they traded outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Bears for two first-round picks. Mack gave a huge boost to the Bears defense (12.5 sacks, 18 QB hits), while Oakland coach Jon Gruden said later in the season that his team was in need of a pass-rusher.

There are few teams that have a pair of defensive linemen like the Texans do with Watt and Clowney. Last season, Houston ranked 12th in total defense but third against the run. The 3.4 rushing yards allowed per attempt was an NFL low due to the performances of Watt and Clowney.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Last season, Clowney was named to his third straight Pro Bowl, and finished the regular season with 47 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. According to NFL NextGen, the Texans’ defender had a Pass-Block Win Rate of 35% — second-best among qualifying defensive ends/linebackers. He also had 16 tackles for loss, which tied for ninth in the NFL last season, and now has 53 tackles for loss over the past three seasons, third in the league.

According to Pro Football Focus, Clowney had the best season of his career “by far” in 2018. His overall grade of 89.5 was tied for seventh best among edge defenders. He had 28 run stops on 283 run-defense snaps, the 10th-best run-stop percentage at his position.

While Clowney is not expected to report to training camp on July 24 with the rest of his teammates because he did not get a new contract, it’s unlikely his holdout will continue into the regular season, where he would miss out on game checks worth more than $1 million per game.

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.”

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.