These Reds are for real so far, but sustained success is a different question

I’ll admit it: I expected the Reds to be well on their way to last place by now. Their early season hotness would certainly subside within a week or two, I convinced myself. This is a bad team, after all.

Yet, here we are on May 9, more than a month into the season, and the Reds keep plugging along in the NL Central. Baseball is beautifully weird.

Heading into play Tuesday, Cincinnati is a half-game out of first — a sudden Cardinals surge has dropped the Reds into second place — with a record of 17-15. Good, not great, but way better than anyone expected from a team projected by many to lose 90-plus games again this season.

Washington’s bullpen entered Tuesday’s game with an MLB-worst 5.38 ERA and it didn’t get any better in the 5-4 loss.

While he had to settle for a no-decision, Scherzer turned in his third double-digit strikeout game of the season in just his seventh start. Scherzer has 62 strikeouts to just 13 walks in 48 2/3 innings this year.

Yes, submitting a blank ballot is dumb. It mocks the spirit of the vote. It’s just lame. But here’s the thing: If the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which votes for the Hall of Fame, and of which I am a second-year member, uses a system that allows for a blank ballot without repercussions, then people probably shouldn’t get so upset about Chass or anyone else who intentionally seeks to mock the Cheap Authentic Jerseys system with a trolling, under-voted ballot.

That is, unless the rules say that writers MUST vote for Cheap Basketball Jerseys a minimum number of candidates, then it seems silly to complain when someone submits a ballot that plays by the rules — even when they proudly abuse those rules. If the rules allow blank ballots, but blank b

allots are viewed as a dereliction of duty, then maybe change the rules.

She was a hard-throwing right-hander for the Peoria Red Wings in 1948

We’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s look at the recent absurdity of this archaic statistic. Up in Toronto on Thursday, Chris Sale pitched eight brilliant shutout innings against the Blue Jays.

Boston’s newest lefty ace struck out 13 and allowed only four hits. Of his 102 pitches, 80 were strikes. That’s all kinds of ridiculous. According to this bit of research on Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, he’s the first pitcher in the history of baseball to throw at least 80 strikes in 102 or fewer pitches while striking out 13 hitters.

Yeah, maybe that’s a bit of an obscure stat. But it’s just a way to quantify what Sale did in his third start with the Red Sox. He was exceptionally exceptional, in a historical sense.

Megan Cavanaugh, who played Hooch, the switch-hitting second baseman, said she had a feeling that A League of Their Own would endure as a classic when she started seeing it make the rounds on the airwaves every spring.

Then people were asking us to come to places and make appearances,” she said. That’s when we were like, ‘This is going to go on and on and on.”’

Maybelle Blair, the 90-year-old pitcher, said the movie is a surprisingly accurate depiction of what life was like for the female ballplayers of the 1940s.

Blair wasn’t a Peach. She was a hard-throwing right-hander for the Peoria Cheap Authentic Hockey Jerseys Red Wings in 1948. (Nolan Ryan had nothing on me,” she said. Absolutely nothing.)

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Blair said the movie captures the essence her playing days, right down to the uniforms.

Bears’ reported signing of Mike Glennon doesn’t bode well for Chicago

Bears fans, here are the positives about the franchise reportedly reaching a contract agreement Thursday with Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon.

The Buccaneers really liked Glennon and, according to the Tampa Bay Times, were offering a deal that would have made him the NFL’s highest-paid backup at an $8 million per-year average if he re-signed. He’s got a strong arm and he looked damn good in practice,” one team source told Sporting News.

Friedrich was part of the four-man rotation in its early stages, though he pitched on three days’ rest only three times in seven starts. In fact, the four-man rotation wasn’t strictly followed; Rox pitchers started just 20 times on three days’ rest in 55 games to which it applied. Colorado went to a straight five-man rotation after Chacin returned from the disabled list on Aug. 21. Chacin never went on three days’ rest at all.

The one constant in the whole deal was the pitch limits: Friedrich, Chacin and everyone else had them, and Rockies hurlers averaged 76.3 pitches per start over the 97 games of the experiment. The maximum pitch count by a starter in that period was 97, by Jeff Francis. The minimum was 53, by Drew Pomeranz.

That range makes the Rockies’ experiment relevant to today’s game.

Let’s fast-forward to 2016: Major league pitchers threw 100 or more pitches in just 35.7 percent of starts last season, per baseball-reference.com. That’s the lowest percentage over the past 10 seasons (40.7 percent in 2007 was the previous low). A plurality of pitchers (49.2 percent) lasted between 80 and 99 pitches last season. Pitchers failed to crack 80 pitches in the remaining 15 Cheap Basketball Jerseys UK percent Cheap Authentic Jerseys From China of starts. That’s the highest such percentage since ’07.

I’m not saying what percentage I think these guys deserve but what percentage I think they’ll get.

Santana was a brilliant pitcher when healthy. He won the Cy Young award twice, finished third two other times and also registered a fifth- and seventh-place finish. Problem is, he couldn’t stay healthy. Injuries wrecked his career; he only made more than 25 starts in six seasons. That’s not a good number. His greatest hope, honestly, is that voters connect the brilliant-but-brief injury-shortened careers of Santana and Sandy Koufax. It’s not a tough connection to make, actually, within certain parameters.

Koufax won three Cy Young awards, Santana won two. Koufax had a career WAR of 49.0 and a JAWS of 47.5, Santana tops him there, at 51.4 and 48.1. Look, I’m not saying Santana was as good as Koufax, of course, but a challenge of voting for the Hall is finding context for guys on the ballot. Koufax provides context for Santana.

I’m not saying what percentage I think these guys deserve but what percentage I think they’ll get.

And, second, this will be the first year that all votes are made public, which could impact the totals, especially for the guys at the top of the list. It’s easy to cast a controversial vote when you’re anonymous, not so much when you have to put your name behind your vote.

The Braves’ Dansby Swanson will win NL Rookie of the Year. This is hardly a Cheap Authentic Baseball Jerseys bold prediction, but rather a logical one. After a strong debut in the majors Cheap Authentic NFL Jerseys late in 2016 — in which he hit .302/.361/.422, and displayed impressive defense — Swanson ended the season with 129 at-bats, just shy of qualifying as a rookie. So he’ll come into 2017 with more big-league experience than other rookies. Expect him to parlay his impressive pre-rookie performance into an All-Star-caliber official rookie campaign.

NFL 2017 projected win totals: Patriots have highest total on board for season ahead

Tom Brady and the defending-champion New England Patriots will have a high bar set in this year’s NFL win totals as they look to repeat their regular-season success.

The New England Patriots have won at least 12 games in each of their last seven seasons. The Patriots will need to go higher than 12 to cover their posted win total in 2017.

The Patriots are going off as a -130 favorite to go OVER the total of 12.5 wins at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for the season ahead.

Last year’s New England team went 14-2 SU and 13-3 ATS during the regular season, shaking off the absence of Tom Brady through the first four games of the season and going 10-0 SU and 9-1 ATS en route to a Super Bowl victory over its last 10 games.

Bettors brave enough to bet the UNDER can take solace in the fact that New England had landed on exactly 12 wins in each of its previous four seasons before 2016.

Over three seasons with the Jets, Pryor has 14 pass breakups, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

The Browns had the 21st-ranked pass defense in the league last season, and Pro Football Focus ranked the secondary 28th in the league. Cleveland drafted versatile safety Jabrill Peppers with the 25th overall pick this year, but Peppers can be used in a variety of ways. It’s a low-risk move for Cleveland Make Cheap Jerseys to trade for Pryor, and there’s still an opportunity for Pryor to make his way onto the field for the Browns this season and rekindle his career.

Rangers’ Josh Hamilton has another knee surgery, will miss opening day

If a fourth knee surgery in less than two years doesn’t officially mean the end of Josh Hamilton’s career, surely he can see it from here.

The former American League MVP underwent arthroscopic surgery Monday to repair the meniscus in his left knee, the Rangers told reporters. That’s the same knee in which Hamilton suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last summer, though no new issues were discovered with the ACL.

Even so, it will be at least six weeks before the 35-year-old is cleared to begin running again, ensuring that he will be sidelined past opening day as his injury-wracked career winds down.

That I was slow off the ball, Garrett said Saturday of Smith’s assessment of him, per ESPN.com. … Every now and then, a couple plays. He was just like, ‘Yeah, you need to be faster.’

The film the two watched together was from Texas A&M’s game against UCLA, when Garrett had 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack in a 31-24 overtime win for the Aggies.

Garrett said this is the first time he remembers being criticized for lack of speed.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds at Texas A&M’s pro day, an improvement from the 4.64 he posted at the NFL Combine. Those are excellent times for a defensive end of Garrett’s size (6-5, 272 pounds).

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Texans keeping Osweiler-O’Brien fight quiet was best move of free agency

The story that Pro Football Talk broke over the weekend about Brock Osweiler’s locker-room scuffle and/or insubordination in the Texans’ season finale is another reminder that news always gets out, especially bad news.

But it didn’t get out before Rick Smith unloaded Osweiler and his contract on the Browns. If that doesn’t give him a leg up on 2017 NFL executive of the year, nothing does.

Altering game play for the sake of expediency (MLB vice president Joe Torre, in disclosing the experiment, cited concerns about extra-inning games dragging) is always wrong. Baseball currently has it right by playing until there’s a winner. Basketball has it right by playing five-minute overtimes. The NFL doesn’t quite have it right with its 15-minute sudden-death period.

MLB, then, is needlessly wading into college football and NHL territory. College football games become red zone drills. The NHL turns regular-season games into skills competitions with its three-on-three overtime and shootouts. These setups are material departures from what transpires during the first 60 minutes. Regardless of whether fans get jacked for these innovations, they’re still wrong.

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Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter withdraws from WBC with back stiffness

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters Saturday that Matt Carpenter’s lower back stiffness has forced him to withdraw from Team USA’s roster for the World Baseball Classic.

Of greater concern to the Cardinals and their fans is Carpenter’s progress going forward in recovering from the ailment that has sidelined him the past three days. Matheny said the veteran is concerned the tightness could aggravate his oblique muscle. He missed a month of the 2016 season because of a strained right oblique.

A hip problem in 2016 — the first year of a three-year, $48 million contract — triggered a back injury and then inflammation in his neck, landing him on the disabled list for a month. Kazmir finished the season 10-6 in 26 starts with a 4.56 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 0.2 WAR.

Asked how often he was at his best last year, Kazmir said: Maybe one start. It’s definitely frustrating. I’m not able to show everyone, show the fans, show my teammates, what I’m capable of doing.

At 33, he is a group of pitchers — along with Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Urias — vying to fill the fourth and fifth spots in the Dodgers rotation behind Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda.

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Derek Jeter reportedly ‘beside himself angry’ over joint Alex Rodriguez interview

Even though it’s been awhile since Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have played together on the Yankees, things aren’t smooth sailing between the pair.

Jeter and Rodriguez appeared together during a joint CNBC interview with Bob Pisani to discuss their charities on May 2. However, the questioning turned to their personal relationship, and the tension was palpable.

Although the Steelers’ front office didn’t necessarily believe him, Roethlisberger caused quite a stir when he revealed earlier this year he was mulling retirement.

I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options, Roethlisberger said in January. To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season.

Still, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert remained confident that Pittsburgh’s trio of Killer Bs would stay intact for at least one more season. Now that wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell are locked up with new contracts, the team’s priority will shift to under center. The Steelers have already secured Landry Jones after re-signing the backup to a two-year deal on March 9.

Roethlisberger, who turned 35 on March 2, has two years remaining on his five-year contract worth $99 million.

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Josh Hamilton expects to make Rangers’ opening day roster

Josh Hamilton has had a pair of knee surgeries since last appearing in a major league game and doesn’t seem to have a position with the Rangers, but he still believes he’ll open the season with Texas.

Sure, the former American League MVP said Thursday, via MLB.com. If I’m healthy, I know I’ll get out there and perform.

Hamilton admitted considering retirement, acknowledging how difficult it would be for him to approach the levels he performed at during his first stint with Texas, but ultimately decided to take one last shot.

I have a lot left, he said. A whole lot. I’ve got a good feeling.

During the trial, prosecutors argued DeCinces used non-public information passed along by a Laguna Beach neighbor to make a windfall in a corporate merger while helping friends and family members do the same.

DeCinces reportedly cleared about $1.3 million when Advanced Medical Optics was bought out by Abbott Laboratories in 2008 for about four times the price at which the former company’s stock was being traded.

David Parker, a friend of DeCinces’ who also profited from the deal, was convicted on three counts Friday. The jury was deadlocked on charges against the man who provided DeCinces with the information, James Mazzo, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.

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