Chiefs release RB Kareem Hunt after video surfaces of alleged February altercation Related News “If things go the way that we anticipate, we hope and what we expect, then I think you can expect to see him playing,” Rams coach Sean McVay said Thursday.Talib, 32, was acquired from the Broncos in a trade during the offseason. He had six tackles and two pass breakups before his injury. The Rams activated cornerback Aqib Talib on Friday and expect him to be in the lineup Sunday against the Lions in Detroit.Talib, an 11-year veteran, injured his ankle in the Rams’ win over the Chargers in Week 3, an injury that required surgery. He came off injured reserve this week. Packers WR Randall Cobb is ready to return to action this week vs. Cardinals “He’s really gotten himself ready to go faster than we anticipated when you just look at the history of this injury,” McVay said Friday after practice, per ESPN.The Rams (10-1) can clinch the NFC West Division with a victory over the Lions (4-7). Game time is 1 p.m. ET Sunday.
Paul Goldschmidt is heading from the desert Southwest to the Gateway to the West.On Wednesday, the Cardinals acquired the All-Star first baseman in exchange for catcher Carson Kelly, pitcher Luke Weaver, infielder Andy Young and a Compensation Round B selection in the 2019 MLB Draft. MORE: MLB hot stove tracker — See who goes whereThis is about as good and even a trade as it gets for both sides. Let’s break it down:Cardinals: AIt’s hard to debate that the Cards did anything wrong in this deal. Goldschmidt, 31, is a bona fide star whose dominance has gone largely unnoticed by casual fans. His career per-162-game averages in the primary offensive categories: .297/.398/.532, 31 home runs, 105 RBIs, 145 OPS+. That’s stupid, stupid good. He was also a good soldier for a franchise that has yet to figure out whether it’s coming or going. The D-backs contended in the NL West for most of the 2018 season before collapsing late, and now it’s looking to pare its payroll, starting with the slugger who will be in his walk year in 2019.Look at the pieces Cards gave up: Carson Kelly, a catcher blocked by St. Louis legend Yadier Molina; right-hander Luke Weaver, who lost his spot in the rotation last season; and minor league infielder Andy Young, who was blocked at second base by Kolten Wong. None of those guys were in the Cardinals’ future plans — their core and future are pretty much set — so they dealt from positions of strength, which is almost always what teams should want to do in trades, no?MORE: Nats going in on rotation again with Patrick CorbinDiamondbacks: B+Arizona is a confusing team. Good talent has routinely taken the field — just look at some of the players it has traded or moved on from: Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock, Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, Adam Eaton, Didi Gregorius, Justin Upton and Max Scherzer. Zack Greinke could soon find himself on this list, as well, a few years after signing a six-year, $206.5 million deal with the franchise.While it has been difficult to know whether Arizona is serious about contending, this trade is a step in the right direction for the franchise.Playing the “Will they or won’t they?” game all season would have been less than optimal for the confusing Snakes, so moving Goldschmidt now makes a lot of sense. The organization couldn’t fool itself into thinking it might be good enough to compete for a wild-card spot in 2019 and hold on to Goldschmidt, and then have him walk away for nothing after the season. The truth is, this is probably the most Arizona was going to get for him: a young pitcher, a young catcher and an infielder who has questions but is on the upswing. The D-backs also picked up a draft pick as a sweetener. Arizona does lose points for 1.) Trading one of the best players in all of baseball and 2.) Not getting a can’t-miss-type player back, but the truth is, it’s better to get volume as opposed to just one pla in exchange for a 31-year-old on a one-year deal. Volume is what Arizona got, which makes the return difficult to debate.Overall: A-This trade works out for everyone. Goldschmidt ends up in a baseball town where people will love him, and he’ll get the spotlight he deserves. The Diamondbacks signal a potential new direction for the franchise as they pick up two prospects and a work-in-progress pitcher.The Cardinals are ready to challenge for the NL Central in 2019 while the Diamondbacks have taken their first step toward potentially tearing down the roster and starting anew.
It is probably no coincidence that both hits and the lineout were against the right-handed Tropeano. He only put one ball in play, a groundout, against the left-handed Skaggs. He also walked against Skaggs.“I thought it was pretty good as I was able to square up a few pitches,” Ohtani said in Japanese, via the team’s media relations department. “I’m not sure how that will pan out in games but I hope to make adjustments at each of my at-bats.”Ohtani, who is 2 for 18 in Cactus League games, could get in the lineup again on Wednesday, if he feels able to play. He has to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday morning, in preparation for his start on Friday.That game, against the Colorado Rockies, will be the most significant test of his pitching. His first three games were all against mostly minor league competition, two of them in “B” games. Although he’s racked up 16 strikeouts, he’s allowed 10 runs.ALSOWhile major leaguers were responsible for most of the pitches and the at-bats, the Angels covered the field with teams of minor leaguers, including some of their top prospects.Jo Adell, the team’s top prospect besides Ohtani, played center fielder and got one at-bat, a ground ball against Tropeano.Kevin Maitan, the touted prospect the Angels signed after he was released from the Atlanta Braves as part of their penalty for international signing violations, played shortstop and struck out on a curve from Skaggs in his only trip.Brandon Marsh, another top outfield prospect, hit a deep flyout against Skaggs.Defensively, Livan Soto made a nice play at shortstop. Soto was another player the Braves lost. It was mostly a good day for the pitchers.Skaggs allowed a run in the first, but then nothing else. He struck out eight. Tropeano gave up three runs in the first, one because of an error, and nothing else.“It felt great today,” Skaggs said. “I threw all my pitches. I thought I threw the ball well. … I felt like I was throwing harder the last two innings than the first two.”Skaggs showed an improving changeup, a pitch that he’s trying to add to his repertoire this year. While Skaggs’ positive was Ohtani’s negative, both Ohtani and Scioscia chose to look at the bright side of the workout. He did make some solid contact, particularly early in the day. Besides his double into the gap in left-center, Ohtani hit a single into right and a line drive out to third.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error TEMPE, Ariz. — Shohei Ohtani’s day began with a bang and ended with a whimper.Ohtani, one of a few Angels summoned to work on the team’s day off Tuesday, came to bat nine times in what amounted to a controlled scrimmage, starting the day with a double into the gap and ending with one of his three strikeouts.Ohtani was 2 for 8 with a walk. The moment that might best symbolize the work he still needs to do to become a major league hitter came in his final at-bat, when Tyler Skaggs threw him a curveball and he swung through it so fiercely that his helmet popped off his head.Ohtani then took a called third strike on a fastball, his third strikeout of the day. A left-handed hitter, Ohtani had earlier struck out on a curve and a changeup from the left-handed Skaggs. Late in season, Angels could revert to 5-man rotation Shohei Ohtani scheduled to start for Angels on Friday against Rockies Will changes to right field wall help Angels’ Kole Calhoun? “Skaggs thew a couple changeups to him in a couple at-bats that he hadn’t seen before in deep counts and he was a little out in front and he struck out,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “You can see his timing is coming. He’s hitting the ball hard. He had good at-bats all afternoon. Those at-bats will hopefully get him where he needs to be.”Usually, there is little to be gained by analyzing at-bats in spring training. Ohtani, however, is gaining extra scrutiny, for obvious reasons. Ohtani is attempting to succeed in the majors as a pitcher and a hitter, an unprecedented accomplishment in modern baseball. So far in the spring, he has shown flashes of his talent at both, but he’s mostly struggled, which is perhaps to be expected for a 23-year-old who has never played in the majors.In order to accelerate his adjustments to big league pitching, the Angels took advantage of the ability to create plenty of opportunities for him and other players during Tuesday’s break from the Cactus League schedule.Skaggs and Nick Tropeano each pitched five innings, alternating turns on the mound. They faced the same group of hitters, over and over. Besides Ohtani, the Angels got at-bats for Chris Young (strained calf), Jefry Marte (groin tightness) and Nolan Fontana (shoulder inflammation). None had played in games lately. They each hit and then were replaced by pinch-runners.Young was 2 for 8 with two doubles and a flyout to the warning track. Marte was 1 for 7 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. Fontana was 1 for 5 with a walk.
After the fourth-inning hiccup, Tropeano said he was “battling” to get his release point back. He gave up a hit in the fifth but escaped by picking off Derek Fisher. In the sixth, he gave up a leadoff homer to José Altuve, then a double to Correa and a walk to Gurriel.That ended his day, with the Angels facing a 4-0 deficit against Verlander.Although the Angels weren’t able to come back to get the sweep, they nonetheless won a series at a time they badly needed to stop the bleeding from a 1-5 homestand. They are off on Thursday, before hosting the New York Yankees over the weekend.“When you take two of three from a division opponent, that’s still a morale boost,” Tropeano said. “Obviously we want to sweep. We all want to win every game. We’ll just take this one and go on to the Yankees and take it from there.” They could not beat Verlander, who has been one of the best pitchers of his generation.Verlander did not allow a baserunner until Zack Cozart’s single in the fifth, and the Angels didn’t score until Albert Pujols hit a homer in the seventh.Pujols’ homer – the 2,994th hit of his career – preceded an Andrelton Simmons single and a Cozart RBI double, which was only good enough to cut the deficit to 4-2. That was all Verlander gave up in his seven innings.“He was tough, needless to say,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Verlander. “As the game went on we got some better looks at him. Albert got us going. … He pitched a good game, no doubt.”So did Nick Tropeano … for a while anyway. Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Mike Trout, with bat and glove, helps Angels end losing streak Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield PreviousHouston Astros’ first baseman Yuli Gurriel (10) scores on a three run hit by Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman (2) during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Los Angeles Angels’ third baseman Luis Valbuena (18) tags out Houston Astros’ Derek Fisher (21) on a return to the bag for the out to end the fifth inning during a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Los Angeles Angels’ starting pitcher Nick Tropeano (35) throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Angels’ starting pitcher Nick Tropeano (35) throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Houston Astros’ starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Houston Astros’ starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 25: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a home run in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas. This puts him six hits away from 3,000. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 25: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulatd by Mike Trout #27 after hitting a home run in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)Houston Astros’ left fielder Derek Fisher (21) reacts to striking out to end the second inning as Los Angeles Angels’ catcher Rene Rivera (44) fields a throw during a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 25: Zack Cozart #7 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fields a hard hit ball by Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros in the second inning at Minute Maid Park on April 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 25: Zack Cozart #7 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fields a hard hit ball by Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros in the second inning at Minute Maid Park on April 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman (2) signals gestures at third base after his three run triple on a line drive to left field during the fourth inning as Los Angeles Angels’ third baseman Zack Cozart (7) walks away during a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Houston Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman (2) watches his line drive to left field for a three run triple against the Los Angeles Angels during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Houston Astros’ first baseman Yuli Gurriel (10) scores on a three run hit by Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman (2) during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Los Angeles Angels’ third baseman Luis Valbuena (18) tags out Houston Astros’ Derek Fisher (21) on a return to the bag for the out to end the fifth inning during a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)NextShow Caption1 of 13Los Angeles Angels’ third baseman Luis Valbuena (18) tags out Houston Astros’ Derek Fisher (21) on a return to the bag for the out to end the fifth inning during a baseball game Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)ExpandHOUSTON — All that stood between the Angels and a sweep of the Houston Astros was Justin Verlander.And he was enough.The Angels did little against Verlander until it was too late, and their 11-game road winning streak came to an end with a 5-2 loss to the Astros on Wednesday afternoon.In the first two games of the series, the Angels won games started by Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton, who had been two of the best pitchers in baseball in the season’s first month. Over the first three innings, Tropeano and Verlander were both perfect, and Tropeano actually sliced through the first nine Houston hitters with six strikeouts.In the fourth, Tropeano got two quick outs, but then he walked Carlos Correa, walked Josh Reddick and hit Yuli Gurriel with a pitch to load the bases.Tropeano fell behind Alex Bregman 2-and-0 with a pair of sliders, and then he left a fastball over the plate. Bregman rocketed it down the left-field line for a three-run double.“That fourth inning came around and I kind of lost my arm slot a little bit,” Tropeano said. “It’s a matter of me just being too fine with my pitches, not ‘letting it eat’ as much as I did in the first three. When you walk the bases loaded that’s a recipe for disaster.”Scioscia suggested pitchers can sometimes have problems like that when their counterpart is pitching such a good game, as Verlander was.“You know it’s going to be a tight game and maybe subconsciously you try to do a little too much,” Scioscia said. “You have to really fight that and just go out and pitch your game. If that means they get a run, they get a run, but don’t make it more than it has to be.”Related Articles Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Clippers, Mavericks brace for the unknown in Game 4 Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Wichita State didn’t make this year’s NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years, but Shockers fans should be able to tune into Clippers games in the coming weeks to see one of their former point guards play on.In Wichita, that’s how they think of Landry Shamet, the Clippers’ sharp new starting shooting guard – more as a point guard than as purely a long-distance sniper.In his two years at Wichita State, Shamet’s 288 career assists are the second most in school history through two seasons, and his 2.64 assist-to-turnover ratio also was the second best in that span (he trails only Toronto’s Fred VanVleet in both categories).Of course, Shamet also ranks second all-time in Wichita State history for 3-point percentage (43.7) and seventh in 3-point field goals (159). For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory “It’s funny, people watching me now would probably think I’m a completely different person from last year,” said the 6-foot 5 Shamet, whom the Clippers acquired in the trade with Philadelphia that included Tobias Harris in February. “I was a point guard last year, and that’s all I did, play on the ball. I didn’t run off all these pin-downs. I was doing that growing up and stuff, but I know what I can bring and what I’ll hopefully develop into in this league.”Said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers of Shamet’s previous prowess at point: “We knew that, but you’re still not sure, you gotta get the guy in and see if he actually can do it. He’s not a ‘point,’ but he can play that position, if you know what I mean? It’s nice to have another ball handler on the floor, and he’s able to do that.” Shamet said Rivers – who added that he appreciates the rookie’s ability to push the pace – encourages him to control the action when opportunities arise.“He empowers it, tells us if we get a rebound and push, just go,” said Shamet, who turned 22 on March 13. “So any time I get a rebound defensively, it’s not like I feel like I have to look for a point guard. I’m comfortable, that’s what I’ve been doing – run it up. Doesn’t happen as often, but he definitely empowers you to play free, be you and do your thing.”His thing, so far, is firing from the arc.Shamet leads all qualifying rookies, shooting 42 percent from 3-point range this season. He surpassed 100 made 3-pointers in his 55th career game in his Clippers debut Feb. 9 at Boston, becoming just the 15th player in league history to make at least 100 threes in his first 55 career games.With two 3-pointers Tuesday against Indiana, Shamet passed OJ Mayo, Lauri Markkanen and Brandon Jennings for No. 13 on the NBA’s all-time rookie 3-pointers made leaderboard and currently sits two made 3s behind Buddy Hield and Mike Miller (148) for a share of No. 11.If he maintains his pace, he’ll make 166 3s this season, which would make him just the 10th rookie to make more than 150 and would tie Steph Curry’s rookie total.Related Articles What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates But Shamet’s not keeping count, he said.“No, I’m more into the playoffs, experiencing the playoffs the first time, finding ways to help the team win, other than just shooting the ball,” said Shamet, who is averaging 11.2 points per game for the Clippers and shooting 45.6 percent from deep on 6.4 attempts per game.“I think shooting night in and night out, like I’ve told you guys before, if I could control it, I would. If I could make all the shots I take (I would), but I’m more focused on the other aspects, getting better defensively, making my teammates better.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory This past season, the Clippers’ buy-in to the work-hard, kick-butt approach that Beverley described had a lot to do with the camaraderie that led to the team’s success. Now it could, conceivably, pay off this offseason.“You have to understand who are the type of people you want in your program,” Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, said during the playoffs. “Usually, like-minded people – they may have different personalities, you may have some who are more extroverted and some introverted, and some that react to different things – at their core, like to be around similarly focused people.“So, high-character, competitive, tough, and over-yourself and into-the-team guys, usually they’re attracted to each other,” he continued. “And when you blend those personalities with an elite coach, you know, special things can happen.”Leonard’s reputation is that of a low-maintenance, basketball-obsessed workaholic. As of 2016, he was driving the same ’97 Chevy Tahoe he piloted around the Inland Empire in high school, according to reporting by Lee Jenkins, the Sports Illustrated scribe since turned Clippers’ executive director of research and identity.In a recent piece posted by “The Athletic,” Leonard’s former San Diego State teammates shared stories about the quiet, long-limbed forward beating everyone to the gym, outlasting them there and then, in off-hours, breaking into the place to shoot by lamplight.In San Antonio, he maintained his rep as the guy staying so late refining his 3-pointer, his post moves, his jab-step, his jump hook, all those now-familiar weapons, that Gregg Popovich reportedly had to tell his assistant coaches to chase Leonard out of the gym.In 2015, Leonard signed a five-year, $95 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs in an apartment complex conference room, in gym clothes because he was between the second of three shooting drills that summer day.“My motivation wasn’t really to get a $95 million contract, you know?” Leonard told the San Diego Union-Tribune soon after. “I’m not out here just for the money. I want to be a great player. I don’t feel anything changed. I already had money and security. You definitely see a difference in some guys’ games when they do get paid. I’m trying to make sure I’m not that player.”Leonard, a three-time All-Star, is now a two-time NBA champion after the Raptors held off the Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night in Oakland. Leonard, who joined LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in league history to win Finals MVP awards for two different franchises, averaged 30.5 points on 49 percent shooting this postseason for the Raptors. He also contributed 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game (while remaining non-committal about his future) as he led Toronto to its first Finals appearance in his first season with the team.So, sure, that’s excellent, but don’t expect Leonard even to consider taking his foot off the gas.“All I want to do is get better,” he said in a 2015 NBA.com story. “I love to play this game. It’s all that I ever really wanted to do and now that I’m doing it in the NBA, I want to be as good as possible.”The Clippers also have such single-minded basketball devotees, including point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a rookie starter this season who too has to be forced off the floor on occasion.“He just is basketball,” Natalie Nakase, a Clippers player development coach, said of Gilgeous-Alexander last season. “I remember working with him in the summer at a camp and we would have to kick him off, like, ‘Shai, we gotta go home.’ ‘Yeah, but one more!’ And then 15 minutes more, I’m like, ‘Shai we gotta go. We gotta take the shoes off.’ ”Landry Shamet, another rookie guard, is so serious about putting in the work, he’s adopted a “Never Cheated” motto that adorns his cell phone’s lock screen, as well as a matching T-shirt line.“The ‘Never Cheated’ mantra of mine, over the past couple years it’s something I feel like I’ve always been one to hold myself accountable and do the right thing, and not cut corners and cheat,” said Shamet, who has joined Gilgeous-Alexander and Beverley, among a handful of others working on their games at the Clippers’ training facility in recent days.“If you control what you can control and do the right thing all the time, you can expect good things to come to you in return.”You can sense Beverley, a free agent whose blazing competitiveness set the tenor for the Clippers’ organization, nodding his approval.Related Articles Or B) someone describing the current culture in the Clippers’ camp?Technically, B. That’s Patrick Beverley speaking at the end of the Clippers’ run this season, when his surprising squad reached the playoffs and pushed the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors to six games in the opening round.So, sure, the NBA issued a clear knock it off when it fined the Clippers $50,000 and called tampering on Coach Doc Rivers’ for his comments on ESPN comparing Leonard, the Toronto Raptors star and soon-to-be free agent, with Michael Jordan.There are other ways for a team to send a message.With or without Leonard in mind, the Clippers have compiled a no-nonsense collection of workers and competitors, a group that might align nicely with the newly minted Finals MVP whom they reportedly hope to persuade to return to his Southern California roots when free agency begins June 30. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “Not really with all that extra (stuff).“We’re here to get better, we’re here to win games, we’re not here to put on a show …“Come in here, get your work done, (kick butt) and take names.”Is that A) a description of Kawhi Leonard’s approach to basketball? Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 “We got one agenda, and that’s to win a basketball game,” Beverley explained at season’s end. “It’s not to chase stats, it’s not who’s Batman or Robin. We’re here to win basketball games and that was the most important goal this year.“Hopefully,” he added, “we changed the culture of the NBA. It’s OK to be high-maintenance and everything, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. You can be a blue-collar worker and still be successful, and hopefully Shai and (Jerome Robinson) and Landry and (Ivica Zubac), they saw.”Perhaps someone else saw too?“The culture is right,” Rivers said during his exit interview with reporters in April. “We know that we’re not going to have the exact team that we had last year, but we also know that we can change our team and still have the right culture and the same culture.“We’re going to make the right choice, too,” Rivers added. “We’re not just going to spend money. Obviously, there’s a lot of guys out there. If we get the ones we want, we’ll use it. If not, we’ll just keep building away.” Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels >> Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton anchor one of baseball’s most dangerous lineups. Good pitching can beat the Angels, but it doesn’t happen often. Dodgers >> Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez began July looking badly overpaid; both ended July on a hot streak. For now, that gives the Dodgers a chance to match the top of the Angels’ lineup.DefenseAngels >> They’ll shift more than the Dodgers and, for the most part it, will work. Hank Conger is among the best pitch-framing catchers in baseball. Dodgers >> Moving Yasiel Puig to center field and Kemp to right worked well for both parties, but Hanley Ramirez is still a major liability at shortstop. It’s August, and those lofty World Series aspirations the Dodgers and Angels had in spring training haven’t diminished. If anything, they’ve only grown stronger.When the Freeway Series renews — with two games at Chavez Ravine beginning tonight followed by two in Anaheim — it will be a measuring stick for the Dodgers and Angels. Can each team keep up with one of the best (by record, at least) in the other league? Do the Angels have the starting pitching to match arguably the National League’s best rotation? Was the Dodgers’ lack of activity at the trade deadline justified?Here’s a look at how the two teams stack up:Offense StartersAngels >> Ace Garrett Richards has always dominated NL teams (2-0, 0.95 ERA), while Wednesday starter Matt Shoemaker pitches his best against big-name opponents.Dodgers >> If the Dodgers had acquired a starter at the trade deadline, Dan Haren might not be starting Wednesday. He’s running out of time to get untracked.BullpenAngels >> Anaheim relievers have a 1.56 ERA since the All-Star break, and Huston Street has taken naturally to the ninth inning. Comeback wins will be difficult. Dodgers >> They’ve been hit or miss, but closer Kenley Jansen and set-up man J.P. Howell can turn any contest into a seven-inning game. BenchAngels >> Efren Navarro and Collin Cowgill hit well enough to start for many teams; neither will start (probably) with no DH at Dodger Stadium. John McDonald is a defensive whiz. Dodgers >> Andre Ethier and Justin Turner hit well enough to start for many teams; neither will start (probably) with no DH at Dodger Stadium. Miguel Rojas is a defensive whiz. ManagersAngels >> Mike Scioscia has spent more time in an Angel uniform than a Dodger uniform, but no one questions his ability to manage in an NL park. He’s one of the smartest.Dodgers >> Two games in Anaheim present the interesting question of who should DH. A better question: What will Don Mattingly do if Josh Beckett and Haren continue to struggle?
Since he is at a natural disadvantage thwarting potential base-stealers, Jansen has a bag of tricks he’ll use to keep runners close to first base. He threw over four times during Luis Valbuena’s at-bat — each time throwing before he came to a set position, unlike most pitchers who throw once they’re set. Analyst Kevin Kennedy said on the Dodgers’ radio broadcast that Jansen’s delivery time to Valbuena was clocked at 1.37 seconds. That’s considered slow by major-league standards, but not slow enough to completely prevent a catcher from throwing out a baserunner. Correa tried to steal second base on Jansen’s 2-2 pitch, but Valbuena fouled the pitch off.Jansen came back to strike out Valbuena but Correa stole second — by a wide margin — on the first pitch to Evan Gattis. In Jansen’s mind, that was OK.“Get on second, don’t bother me, just can’t score,” he said. Except Correa did score when Marwin Gonzalez stroked a line drive into right field with two outs. The game was now tied at 2. Jansen had blown his second save in 26 attempts this season.The closer was frustrated, calling the hits by Correa and Gonzalez “bulls—.” He also offered an interesting defense of his approach to holding runners on base.“Sometimes,” Jansen said, “you just can’t give up your best stuff, you know what I’m saying? I try to keep them on all the time, but you can’t trade stuff just to hold the runners.”Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sounded satisfied with Jansen’s effort.“Kenley tried to work on him, change tempo a little bit,” Mattingly said. “That’s really what he does. But even with that, he gets two big outs and puts himself in a situation where we can get an out for a win right there. We just weren’t able to get that out.”Yimi Garcia optionedThe Dodgers optioned right-handed reliever Yimi Garcia to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday. Juan Nicasio, who’s been traveling with the team on its current three-city road trip, is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday in Cincinnati. Garcia, 25, had been on the Dodgers’ major league roster for the third time this season. He allowed four hits and one run, walked none and struck out four batters in 7 1/3 innings since his last call-up from Triple-A. Nicasio has been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a left abdominal strain and has gone 1-3 with one save and a 3.06 ERA in 38 games (one start) this year.BREAKOUT BOXThrough Sunday, 99 major-league pitchers had been victimized by at least two stolen bases in 2015 without a single runner being thrown out. Eight are Dodgers:Pitcher SB-SBAJuan Nicasio 7-7J.P. Howell 7-7Jim Johnson 6-6Kenley Jansen 3-3Adam Liberatore 3-3Joel Peralta 2-2Josh Ravin 2-2Yimi Garcia 2-2Source: sportingcharts.com HOUSTON — Thirty-three runners have stolen a base against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen since he debuted in 2010, including all three would-be base stealers this season. Only four men have ever been caught stealing with Jansen on the mound, an almost unthinkable 89.2 percent success rate for potential thieves.This is a natural consequence of being 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds. With so many large body parts moving so slowly, Jansen simply takes a long time to complete his delivery.Usually it doesn’t matter. Because he allows so few hits and walks, Jansen on average has less than one runner on base for every inning he pitches. Other times, like when Jansen blew a save in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros, it matters a great deal.Astros rookie shortstop Carlos Correa had been successful in 10 out of 13 stolen-base attempts before he touched Jansen for a single to lead off the ninth inning Sunday. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
DODGERS at PADRESWhen: 7:10 p.m. Where: Petco ParkTV: SNLA (where available), MLB Network (out of market only) THE PITCHERSDODGERS LHP ALEX WOOD (8-0, 1.86 ERA)vs. Padres: 2-1, 2.19 ERAAt Petco Park: 1-0, 1.13 ERAHates to face: Cory Spangenberg/Matt Szczur, 1 for 3Loves to face: Erick Aybar, 0 for 4, KPADRES LHP CLAYTON RICHARD (5-7, 4.42 ERA)vs. Dodgers: 7-5, 3.69 ERAAt Petco Park: 27-22, 3.13 ERAHates to face: Yasiel Puig, 4 for 12 (.333), HR, doubleLoves to face: Corey Seager, 2 for 9, three Ks Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (on the DL with a foot contusion suffered during his June 28 start against the Angels) is scheduled to throw four innings in a simulated-game setting Wednesday afternoon before the Dodgers’ game at Guaranteed Rate Field. After that, he is on track to rejoin the starting rotation early next week.“At some point, he’ll be penciled in,” Roberts said of Ryu. “It could be Monday, could be Tuesday. He feels good but now we’ve got to find a way to drop him in. Early next week makes sense.”Right-hander Kenta Maeda, the most vulnerable of the starting pitchers to be bounced from the rotation, is scheduled to start Wednesday in Chicago. His turn would come up again on Monday. But Roberts acknowledged that a six-man rotation on a temporary basis – something the Dodgers have already done this year – could be an option again.“A six-man rotation for an extended period of time, no,” he said. “But we’ve done that at times this year for a turn.”Dayton returnLefty reliever Grant Dayton has pitched two scoreless innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and the Dodgers’ Arizona Summer League team in two appearances on a rehab assignment this week. Dayton is expected to come off the DL and rejoin the Dodgers before the weekend, Roberts said.Dayton has been on the DL twice this season – for an intercostal strain in his rib area in April and now due to neck stiffness. In between, he was demoted to Triple-A briefly and overall has been unable to match last year’s performance. In 27 appearances for the Dodgers this season, Dayton has a 3.63 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings (down considerably from last year’s 13.3 in 25 big-league appearances).That is one of the reasons a left-handed reliever tops the Dodgers’ shopping list as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.AlsoJustin Turner has been named the Dodgers’ winner of the Heart and Hustle Award. An overall winner will be chosen from among the 30 teams’ nominees and announced on Nov. 14.The Dodgers’ Aug. 6 game against the New York Mets at Citi Field has been added to the ESPN schedule as the Sunday Night Baseball telecast. Game time has been moved to 5 p.m. PT. However, this winter Kasten did confirm that the Dodgers had retained another firm, New York-based Galatioto Sports Partners, to explore the possibility of selling minority ownership shares in the team – another potential infusion of revenue for the team that is carrying the highest payroll in baseball for the fourth consecutive year (but projects to be its lowest since 2013).The two revenue streams could be connected with a corporate partner coming in as a minority owner while also paying to have its name on the field.Pitching plansDodgers manager Dave Roberts said the team’s starting pitchers will stay on rotation through the weekend series at home against the Atlanta Braves. That means Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood, Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw will start the four games.But changes could come in the following week with the Dodgers getting two off days in a five-day span – next Thursday and the following Monday. CHICAGO >> Five years after buying the Dodgers for $2.15 billion, the Guggenheim Baseball Management group is apparently looking for new ways to recoup that investment.According to a report in Sports Business Daily, the Dodgers have enlisted Entitle, a naming-rights firm formed earlier this year, to sell naming rights to the field at Dodger Stadium. Citing “industry sources,” the report claims the Dodgers are seeking an annual fee of $12 million and began the venture this spring. It is an important distinction that the rights would only be for the field and Dodger Stadium would remain just that.A $12 million fee would be one of the most lucrative naming-rights deals in professional sports. The Dallas Cowboys currently receive approximately $19 million a year from AT&T while NRG (formerly Reliant Energy) pays the Houston Texans approximately $12 million per year.Team president and CEO Stan Kasten would neither confirm nor deny the report about the Dodgers’ attempt to tap into this revenue source. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error