Gambling. It’s pretty simple. There are winners, losers and there are winners who don’t get paid by the losers. That’s when it gets complicated. Leg breakers step in. Seems winners of $600-plus are having a hard time cashing.
Due to COVID-19 there are no lottery service centers open anywhere in NYC. “You gotta wait for your money? … It’s crazy. … Why do I have to go through this. … It’s ridiculous, unfair. … They’re holding my money.” Hey, New York Lottery, as a famous leg breaker named Balboa once said, “You should have planned ahead.” Shaken, officials say they are working to safely open centers as soon as possible. Cash by Christmas? Hey, you never know.
Rockies play host to the A’s. Troublemaker (just ask the Astros) Mike Fiers goes for Oakland. A’s get fired up when Fiers starts, winning seven of nine, but he’s allowed seven runs over his last 11 innings. Colorado’s early success has given way to a Rockies reality. German Marquez is 0-4 over his last seven starts but has limited opposing bats to four runs over his last 14 innings. 20 units on the Rockies.
Needed jumpin’ Jack Flaherty to jump-start our dead-bet battery. Instead he allowed nine runs. Brewers 18, Dead Birds 3. No cashing issues here. Down -836 williemcgees.
‘What are they going to say now’
MINNEAPOLIS — Shaken up by a scandal before the virus outbreak shrunk the season, the Houston Astros barely played well enough to reach the playoffs — with the rest of baseball actively rooting against them.
Well, they’re not ready to leave yet.
Carlos Correa hit a two-out, tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning for the Astros, who produced another stifling pitching performance and swept Minnesota over two games with a 3-1 victory Wednesday that sent the Twins to a record 18th straight postseason loss.
“I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here,” Correa said. “But what are they going to say now?”
Nine months after Houston’s rules-breaking, sign-stealing system was revealed, the Astros advanced to the Division Series in Los Angeles. As the sixth seed, they’ll face the Oakland Athletics or Chicago White Sox in a best-of-five matchup starting Monday at Dodger Stadium.
“I don’t think they necessarily thought that they had anything to prove. They just had to play ball,” said manager Dusty Baker, who took his fifth different team to the playoffs and advanced for the first time in seven rounds since winning the 2003 NL Division Series with the Chicago Cubs.
The Twins are 0-18 in the playoffs since winning Game 1 of their Division Series at the New York Yankees on Oct. 5, 2004, a total of seven rounds lost. Since that date, the Astros are 43-35 in postseason play, winning 10 of 15 rounds with three trips to the World Series.
Kyle Tucker hit two RBI singles for the Astros and made a key throw from left field for the inning-ending out in the fifth.
Rookie Cristian Javier worked three hitless innings in relief for the victory in his postseason debut and Ryan Pressly pitched a perfect ninth against his former team, giving the Houston bullpen a total of 9 2/3 scoreless innings in this wild card series with three hits allowed.
“From the very beginning, we envisioned ourselves back in the playoffs and playing real well,” Tucker said. “So we never counted ourselves out at any point.”
Nobody on this Twins team has had a hand in more than six of the playoffs losses, but for the second straight year one of baseball’s most potent lineups limped through a brief postseason cameo. In a three-game division series sweep by the Yankees last year, the Twins totaled seven runs and 22 hits. Against the Astros, they mustered only two runs and seven hits.
“We put a lot of balls in play, it seemed like, but they were up in the air and, yeah, it seemed like we played into their trap,” said Max Kepler, one of four starters who went hitless in the series. “At the end of the day, we didn’t get the job done.”
Nelson Cruz gave the Twins an RBI double for a second straight game, this time in the fourth inning against starter Jose Urquidy. Luis Arraez aggressively tried to score from first base, but Correa took the throw from Tucker and fired home to beat Arraez to the plate to preserve the tie after third base coach Tony Diaz waved him in.
“I don’t know why he sent him,” Correa said.
Then in the seventh against losing pitcher Cody Stashak, Correa drove a 1-0 slider into the tarp-covered seats above right-center field for his 12th home run in 52 playoff games.
After winning 101, 103 and 107 games in the last three regular seasons, winning the 2017 World Series and losing the championship in seven games to the Washington Nationals last year, the Astros stumbled through the 2020 season at 29-31 under Baker and new general manager James Click with a slew of injuries after the COVID-19 pandemic cut the schedule to 60 games.
They had the third-worst road record in the major leagues, too, but none of that mattered this week against the third-seeded Twins, who were out of sorts in their two biggest games this year.
José Berríos was one of the few who were locked in with five strong innings to start, with just two hits allowed. His two walks were costly, though, issued right before Tucker’s single in the fourth.
“I don’t think anyone was ready to leave, to end this way,” Cruz said. “That’s life.”
Niels Nkounkou: Who is Everton wonderkid?
While Everton’s trio of high-profile summer recruits—James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan—have stolen the headlines during the Toffees strong start to the season, new arrival Niels Nkounkou has also got fans excited at Goodison Park.
The Merseysiders sit atop the table after three matches, having taken a maximum nine points so far taking in victories over Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace.
They’ve also progressed in the Carabao Cup, easing past lower-league pair Salford City and Fleetwood Town to set up a meeting with West Ham United on Wednesday.
Their congested fixture schedule has allowed Carlo Ancelotti to shuffle his pack, with Nkounkou one of the key beneficiaries.
The young defender has excelled at left-back in the Toffees’ two cup games, suggesting that Everton were wise to allow veteran wideman Leighton Baines to leave when his contract came to an end.
The highlight of Nkounkou’s Everton career to date was the delicious back-heeled assist he served up against Fleetwood, setting up Moise Kean to score—a much-needed confidence booster for him.
It was moment of sumptuous flair from the full-back, darting down the left-back after being played in by Lucas Digne, allowing the defender to cross his body, before flicking the ball back into the path of the Italy striker.
It was fascinating that he dovetailed so well with Digne, the player he has been brought to Goodison Park to understudy, and the youngster should guarantee direct running, impressive footwork and a taste for flamboyance when given the opportunity to impress.
The youngster’s desire to overlap gives an Everton attack that looks staid at times last term another dimension, and his form may tempt Ancelotti to use the option that was trialled at times last term, of moving Digne inside into a back three, with Nkounkou—or previously Baines—operating as a wing-back.
Certainly, his form to date has demonstrated why Juventus were previously understood to be keen on his services.
Even before the Fleetwood game, he had excelled against Salford, beating his man on three occasions and picking out his man with seven successful crosses.
His next outing may well be against the Hammers on Wednesday, opponents who will represent a stiffer challenge than Everton have encountered in their previous two cup games.
The teenager signed a three-year deal upon his arrival at Finch Farm in July, having spent the same amount of time at previous club Olympique de Marseille following a move from Brest.
“Niels is a young, talented player with good technical and physical skills,” Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands said in July, upon his arrival. “We have been following him for months.”
As a youngster, he tasted life in a more advanced role—as a left winger—but it’s as a rampaging left-back that he’s primed to make his mark in English football.
He told the Everton TV that the club’s propensity to give youth a chance—something that has been evident even during Ancelotti’s recent tenure, with the January arrival of Jarrad Branthwaite—convinced him to move to the Merseysiders.
“We all know it can be difficult for young players to break through into senior teams but, as we have seen, Carlo has seen fit to put a lot of faith in me and other younger players,” the left-back began.
“I was conscious of the opportunities Everton have given to other young players if they worked hard and showed they could help the First Team.
“It is going to be a good moment for me to take my chance and really launch my career with Everton.”
While Nkounkou is excited about linking up with France left-back Digne, having already featured for Les Bleus at U-19 level, and based on his brief performances to date, the Toffees may have got their hands on a gem.
Chilling Gary Sanchez comparison captures his Yankees collapse: Sherman
When Masahiro Tanaka threw seven shutout innings to help save the Yankees season in Game 3 of a 2017 Division Series, Gary Sanchez was his third place-hitting All-Star catcher.
The only run of that game was produced when Greg Bird led off the bottom of the seventh at Yankee Stadium with a left-on-left homer versus Andrew Miller.
The Yankees, who trailed two-games-to-none in that best-of-five, won that Oct. 8, 2017 game, then two more to rally into an ALCS against the Astros in which Bird and Sanchez were age 24 and Aaron Judge was 25. The Yankees had brought that trio up in consecutive seasons — Bird in 2015, Sanchez in 2016 and Judge in 2017 — to great success.
Even losing in seven games to the Astros did not dim the belief that the Yankees had the middle of their order locked in for at least the next five years.
But life comes at you fast.
Judge is still central to the Yankees, initiating the offense with a two-run, first-inning homer in Tuesday’s Game 1, a 12-3 rout of the Indians. Bird, though, did not even play in 2020. The Yankees finally gave up on him after last season, too many injuries, too little production. The Rangers signed him to a minor league deal, but he could not even make a 30-man roster out of spring training 2.0. And just when it looked as if he might get a chance with the injury-crushed Phillies, Bird contracted COVID-19 and that opportunity vanished.
As for Sanchez, he is still around, at least in name. He did not start Game 1 as the Yankees went instead with Kyle Higashioka, who hasn’t even proven yet he is a major league backup catcher. And when Tanaka started against the Indians in a playoff contest for the first time since 2017, in Wednesday’s Game 2, Sanchez was the ninth place-hitting catcher.
Aaron Boone explained this was no knock on Sanchez because when the Yankees lineup is healthy the parts are all interchangeable between the fifth and ninth spots and there was a strategy to break up the lefty bats of Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner and … Well, what does it matter? The Yankees are in the propaganda business when it comes to Sanchez, talking up a can of spam as if it were a filet mignon.
Actions — in this forum — matter more than words. You hit your worst hitter ninth. That is where Higashioka batted Tuesday and that is where Sanchez was placed for Game 2. And not because he was a good choice among many to hit higher.
Boone tried to sell that Sanchez was much better than his numbers, particularly over the last month. That Sanchez has had a bunch of line drives die for outs and that he was chasing less and walking more. But, again, a whiff of reality. There were 175 players who batted at least 100 times this year. Sanchez at .147 had the worst average. He needed nine of those bad-luck liners to fall just to get to the Mendoza Line. And it is hard to get line drives to fall when you strike out in 36 percent of your at-bats (sixth worst in the majors).
And, remember, Sanchez is only playing because of his offense. Yep, the Yankees happy talk his defense too. But — once more — actions, not words. Early this season, Gerrit Cole unsolicited kept publicly praising Sanchez as if trying to fill the catcher with confidence or talk himself into a bad marriage. Eventually, Sanchez was jettisoned for Higashioka and — lo and behold — Cole began pitching like a $324 million ace again. The Cole flattery tour has not been heard in quite a while.
Will Sanchez appear on lists for the best of exit velocity and homer distance? Yep. When the ball squares on his bat good things can happen. Just it is not frequent any more like in 2016 and ’17. He seems to lose confidence easily. He appears overloaded with more data to help coax pitchers through games and new low-down squats to steal strikes at the bottom of the zone. It is like the more the Yankees try to improve Sanchez, the worse the player they get. The ball gets by him a lot, whether he is swinging or trying to catch.
So when does Sanchez get the Bird treatment and the Yankees fly in a different direction? His trade value already has been squandered. The Yankees would not give him up for J.T. Realmuto after the 2018 season, valuing Sanchez similarly or better with two extra years of control before free agency (after the 2022 season). They are unlikely now to pivot and spend big on Realmuto as a free agent this offseason.
Could they even trade Sanchez for anything now? Would they think of non-tenderng him? Or will they keep going trying to rediscover 2016-17? Does it matter what they say because what they are doing with Sanchez tells the clearer story.
Not playing at all in Game 1 of a playoff series. Hitting ninth in Game 2. There is not much further to fall.
- Brad Parscale leaves Trump campaign due to ‘overwhelming stress’
- Yankees-Indians delayed after MLB’s botched weather decision
- A woman could never behave that way and be president
- Which Defense Stock Has More Upside Potential?
- ‘What are they going to say now’
- Niels Nkounkou: Who is Everton wonderkid?
- Shares of Elon Musk’s privately held SpaceX soar on satellite dreams
- L.A. Lakers will stay big, start Dwight Howard at center
- Police arrest Proud Boy member on assault and gun charges hours after Trump refuses to denounce white supremacy
- JPMorgan Finds More Than 500 Workers Got U.S. Virus Relief Funds
Sports News6 days ago
US Olympian Chloe Dygert crashes over guardrail in cycling accident
Entertainment2 weeks ago
Danish TV show ‘Ultra Strips Down’ records kids eyeing naked adults
Sports News4 weeks ago
Fantasy Football Auction Draft strategy: Tips, advice for spending your 2020 player budget wisely
Sports News4 weeks ago
NBA 2K21 Cover Star Damian Lillard Reveals His Issues With the Game
Tech1 week ago
iOS 14 basics: how to add widgets to your iPhone’s home screen
Sports News1 week ago
Fantasy Football Buy-Low, Sell-High Stock Watch: Leonard Fournette, Stefon Diggs among movers heading into Week 3
Sports News4 weeks ago
NBA playoff bracket 2020: Updated standings, seeds & results from each round
Sports News2 weeks ago
College basketball’s 2020-21 season is officially happening, even if the details are murky