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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.

Dolphins bring back WR Parker on two-year deal

The Miami Dolphins have reached agreement on a two-year extension with wide receiver DeVante Parker, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal is worth up to $13 million if Parker hits every incentive included in the contract, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The new deal wipes away the fifth-year option worth $9.4 million that would have been guaranteed if Parker was still on the roster Wednesday and replaces it with a two-year deal with lower base salaries.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Dolphins exercised their fifth-year option on Parker last April in hopes that the player would realize the potential that got him drafted 14th overall in the 2015 draft out of Louisville.5

Parker’s bouts with injuries and inconsistency prevented him from becoming that player, but the new regime still wants to invest in Parker at a lower cost.

Parker’s best season came in 2016 when he finished second on the Dolphins with 744 receiving yards on 56 catches and four touchdowns. He had 24 catches for 309 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last season.

Parker, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver, has the ability to take over games.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

In 2018, Parker seemed to find himself in Adam Gase’s doghouse at times. Parker’s agent, Jimmy Gould, made headlines around midseason by calling Gase “incompetent” in statements to the media.

But it’s a new era in Miami under head coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier. They want to see if Parker, 26, can reignite his career.

Parker will rejoin a young Dolphins receiver corps that features Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant.

PSG players want to go on holiday, season to end after Manchester United loss – Tuchel

“Just days after the match, many of the players wanted the season to be over and to go on holiday for a bit,” Tuchel said at a press conference on Monday. “It was not an option.

“We are not going to win the Champions League this season, but it is an opportunity for us to act like champions.”

Kylian Mbappe and Presnel Kimpembe — whose handball saw United awarded the late spot-kick — have both spoken publicly since the defeat, with the former reaffirming his commitment to the PSG project and that he has struggled to sleep since. Meanwhile Kimpembe said the team were complacent — something Tuchel does not agree with.

“I have not listened to Presnel’s take,” he said. “I felt my squad was more tense than before the match in Manchester.

“My players were very serious during Sunday’s training session. Last week’s match was different from Manchester or Belgrade. I feel differently to Presnel. If he feels that way about himself, then he should change things. This is not the time to try to explain the inexplicable.”

PSG’s ultras, who were allowed to attend training at Parc des Princes on Sunday to vent some of their frustration, have made it clear that they expect greater character from their team and Tuchel was understanding.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“The ultras are sad and angry,” he said. “We understand that and accept it.5

“However, they must understand that nobody feels worse than we do right now. We respect the fans and performed brilliantly together at Old Trafford. Now is not the time to voice doubts.”

Meanwhile, Tuchel has said he is keen to stay at the club for as long as he is wanted.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The defeat to United led to question marks over the former Borussia Dortmund manager’s future, but sources quickly assured ESPN FC last week that the German is safe in his job.

“Of course, I would like to stay here for a long time and enjoy success — that is my objective, clearly,” Tuchel said. “It feels bad.

“I feel bad and we are all sad. We have all spoken together and yesterday’s training session was of exceptional quality. It was not the same spirit as pre-Manchester, but it was still very high — lots of concentration and quality. That is a first step forward and we want to keep pushing the players to handle this situation in the best way. This Dijon match [in Ligue 1] is the best remedy.”

Tuchel said he is still adamant that PSG did not deserve to be dumped out of the Champions League and pointed to sporting greats that have overcome adversity. Although, he did also recognise that similar “accidents” predated his arrival.

Cy Young winner Snell gets small raise from Rays

The budget-minded Tampa Bay Rays have renewed the contract of pitcher Blake Snell, who’s receiving a raise of only $15,500 after winning the AL Cy Young Award last season.

The 26-year-old left-hander, who’s not yet eligible for salary arbitration, will earn $573,700 this year after making $558,200 in 2018, when he was a first-time All-Star and went 21-5 with an AL-leading 1.89 ERA over 31 starts.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The Rays announced the decision Sunday, adhering to a rigid club policy for compensating young players who have not spent the necessary three years in the majors to be eligible for arbitration.6

Snell, who led the AL in victories after winning just 11 games combined over the previous two seasons, has accrued 2.072 years in service.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The pitcher’s agents, Adam Karon and Tripper Johnson of Sosnick, Cobbe & Karon, issued a statement on behalf of Snell, who allowed two or fewer runs in 27 of 31 starts and limited opponents to an .088 batting average with runners in scoring position last season.

“The Rays have the right under the collective-bargaining agreement to renew me at or near the league-minimum salary,” Snell said.

“They also have the ability to more adequately compensate me, as other organizations have done with players who have similar achievements to mine. The Rays chose the former,” he said. “I will have no further comment and look forward to competing with my teammates and field staff in our quest to win the World Series in 2019.”

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.

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.”

Extensions are MLB’s new normal. Are Bryant, other Cubs next?

Has there been a change in strategy around baseball? What used to be the goal of nearly every player — earning the right to choose which team he plays for — might now be less appealing. From Nolan Arenado to Aaron Hicks, young players are beginning to see the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. It means signing extensions with their current teams could be the norm more than the exception.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

“Of course there’s some hesitation that goes along with it [free agency],” Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant said recently.

Pitcher Kyle Hendricks added: “We’re paying attention and taking note of what’s happening. Regardless of all of that, I’ve always said I would love to be in Chicago for my whole career. I know how tough that would be in this day and age.”6

The Cubs are an example of a team that has been unable to sign any of its young players. But it’s not for a lack of trying. Past discussions haven’t resulted in a single long-term deal for players such as Bryant, Hendricks, Javy Baez and Kyle Schwarber. Common thinking is players want to test the free-agent market, figuring they can’t do worse when all 30 teams can bid on them.

At least, that used to be the thinking. It still might be for stars such as Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, but that leaves many others wondering about the free-agent landscape before the collective bargaining agreement expires in a little less than three years. After all, it’s March and there are plenty of players without jobs.

“We’re all watching what’s going on,” one agent for a second-tier type player said. “I wouldn’t say our strategy has changed. But it could. And it it’s different for every player.”

Union chief Tony Clark said the message from players is loud and clear: They want to see all 30 teams trying to win every year. If that were the case, the 30- to 32-year-old veteran might be more in demand.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“The value for players that can help teams win doesn’t seem to be what it should be,” Clark said last week after visiting with Cubs players. “It appears that there are a number of teams who are working toward and interested in being the last team that’s standing, and there are a number of teams that don’t appear to be quite interested in that.”

‘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.