Indians activate Corey Kluber from DL; set to pitch Thursday vs. Athletics

Why that’s surprising: Blackmon is an elite hitter, no doubt. So why is he here? Blackmon leads the NL in RBIs despite being a leadoff hitter. No leadoff hitter has ever led his league in RBIs (at least, not back to 1913, which is as far as I could search in the Baseball-Reference Play Index). The most RBIs ever by a leadoff hitter? Darin Erstad in 2000, when he drove in an even 100 for the Angels. Blackmon is nearly halfway to that total in just 53 games. Crazy.

Why that’s surprising: OK, so it might not be stunning that Travis, a very good hitter, leads MLB in this category. It’s HOW he got to this position that makes it surprising — he basically gave the entire league a month’s head start and still caught everyone by the beginning of June. Travis hit exactly .130 in April, with only two doubles. Heading into the last game of May, the second baseman has hit .368 with 16 doubles this month.

The Cleveland Indians activated ace Corey Kluber from the disabled list Thursday. He will immediately rejoin the rotation to pitch against the Athletics.

Having won three of their last four games, the Indians will be pleased to add to their arsenal. Kluber gave up just one hit in five shutout innings during his rehab start last week.

Kluber is 3-2 with an abysmal 5.06 ERA in just six starts this season. On the plus side, he does have 41 strikeouts through 37 1/3 innings pitched.

Kluber will try to outduel Oakland’s 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton in an attempt to help the Indians win the four-game series.

The Indians optioned right-hander Shawn Armstrong to Triple-A to clear a roster Basketball Cheap Jerseys spot for Kluber.

Photo appears to show Royals’ Yordano Ventura wasn’t robbed at accident scene

A graphic photo tweeted out by a longtime sports writer in the Dominican Republic appears to quash any claim that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was robbed after the car wreck that killed him.

The previously undistributed photo tweeted Wednesday by Bienvenido Rojas of Santo Domingo appears to show a bloodied Ventura with a watch on one wrist and a bracelet on another while a man wearing hospital gloves takes a camera phone picture of the watch. Omnisport deemed the photo too graphic Cheap Authentic Jerseys From China to show.

Still, winning 13 games is a tall order for any team. The Patriots went 14-2 last season, but have won 12 games or less in six of the last nine years.

Another factor in the Westgate’s decision to open the Pats so high is bookmakers’ anticipation that most people will bet ‘over’.

“We know there’s going to be a lot of public support for the Patriots, there always is,” Westgate manager John Murray told ESPN. “We should see some wiseguy bets on the ‘under’, but we know we’re going to get overwhelmed with Patriots ‘over’ money, so we figure we might as well start them with a high total.”

After the Patriots, the Westgate opened the Packers, Steelers and Seahawks at 10.5 wins apiece. The Browns (4.5) were assigned the lowest win total of all 32 teams.

Based on the Westgate’s numbers, here’s a projected playoff field for the upcoming season, in order of seeding.

Best available undrafted free agents, 2017 NFL draft: biggest UDFA names

The NFL draft is over, which means the rush to sign undrafted free agents is on. This year’s draft featured 253 picks, starting with Myles Garrett to the Browns on Thursday and ending with Chad Kelly to the Broncos on Sunday.

Here’s a running tracker of UDFA signings.

It’s hard to make a mark in the NFL as an undrafted player, but a couple of players pull it off every year. Solid contributors are there for the finding, and the teams that find them will get an excellent value reward whether it’s on offense, defense, or special teams. UDFAs are on cheap, short-term contracts, but many can play.

But when the Pegulas fired Ryan, they kept Whaley. And when they hired McDermott, they kept Whaley.

“Both of them, and especially Kim, are into branding,’’ the Bills executive said. “She is really caught up into that. And when you think branding more than you think pure football sense and what works and what doesn’t and the type of clarity you need in an organization, you’re toast. I think they have regret about a lot of the way they’ve handled things since becoming owners. But I don’t think they knew any better then or now.’’

Whaley’s out. The Bills scouting staff is out. Ryan is gone. Marrone is long gone.

The Pegulas should let McDermott pick his own GM and give both total juice even though McDermott is a first-time NFL head coach. Because these first-time NFL owners are the source of NFL Cheap Jerseys Nike the Raiders Cheap Jerseys Bills dysfunction. It originates with the choices they have made and the best chance for resolution is for them to make fewer of them.

Rajon Rondo is out for Game 5 against Celtics

Rajon Rondo’s injured thumb will keep him out of the Chicago Bulls’ Game 5 matchup against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, according to The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson. Head coach Fred Hoiberg didn’t shut the door on a possible return in the near future, meaning Game 6 or 7, but Rondo wasn’t very optimistic about those odds.

Rondo on his thumb: “It’s still broke.” Unclear if he’ll be able to play in Game 6.

How the Celtics hide Isaiah Thomas on defense.

I wrote an appreciation of those who volunteer to be put on posters by oncoming dunkers, inspired by Mike Muscala’s face.

Dwyane Wade shared that the Bulls didn’t have hot water in their locker room in Boston the other night. Brandon Jennings accuses the Celtics of doing that purposely. My take: who wants a hot shower after lots of physical activity? Though I suppose for bench guys who don’t play much …

Oh, just Kevin Durant in the San Francisco Giants’ clubhouse with a plate of cupcakes. Nothing to see here.

Godwin will likely find success in the NFL in large part thanks to his willingness to learn. Going into an NFL locker room as a rookie can be intimidating, but the vets are much more likely to take care of someone who is humble and ready to learn, rather than someone who thinks they will be the star of the Dallas Cowboys Cheap Jerseys team from day one.

The receiver’s humility and willingness to put in the hard work needed to succeed was something he tried selling teams at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

“I take a lot of pride in my work ethic. If they draft me, they’re going to get a guy who’s going to come in and work hard every day,” Godwin said.

Kawhi Leonard is the best player in the NBA right now, says Gregg Popovich

After his superstar forward dominated the Memphis Grizzlies through all six games of their first-round playoff series, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich heaped the highest of praise onto Kawhi Leonard:

Carlson is too late. The puck disappears under Rust. Carlson drops back, hoping, praying for it to slip free again. At this point you, the impartial viewer, have sunk to your knees with slumped shoulders and tears streaming down your face.

Carlson does end up with the puck again, but by now you know better than to hope. Only when your spirit is broken will the Sports Gods, in all of their cruelty, give you the scoring chance you so desired.

The Thunder badly needed a win on Sunday but yet when it came down to it, they let the Rockets erase a second half deficit and come away with a win. This was Game 2 all of over again.

In all, the Thunder held a 14-point third-quarter lead. That advantage evaporated when Westbrook went to the bench. Oklahoma City outscored Houston by 14 points with its MVP front-runner on the floor. When he exited the game, the Rockets erased that lead wholly.

Or what if a player realizes that next year’s draft class at his position is way more Vip Cheap Jerseys loaded and that his only chance of getting drafted is to leave right now?

Some players need liquid income to help their families.

Auburn running back Peyton Barber entered early to provide Where To Buy Cheap Jerseys for his homeless mother. He went undrafted but now has a UDFA contract with the Buccaneers and a chance to make a lasting pro career.

Can New York stop Ottawa from taking a 3-0 lead?

The Senators have a real chance to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the Rangers on Tuesday. However, New York is back in Madison Square Garden for the next two games and will look to even the series.

Game 2 ended in a barnburner after Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s four-goal evening ended with the double overtime winner. The Senators scored three times in the third period, but were almost out of it when the Rangers scored three in the second.

After a first round where Craig Anderson and Henrik Lundqvist helped their teams to the semifinals, Game 2 blew the doors off both netminders. Quite the fun, surprising series this has turned out to be.

But damn, in Game 3 against Milwaukee, they didn’t look it. Let Raptors HQ’s Daniel Reynolds take it from here.

In the fourth quarter of the Raptors soul-crushing Game 3, 104-77 loss to the Bucks, TSN broadcaster Jack Armstrong, having already veered from mystified to angry and back again, turned philosophical. “Do the Raptors believe they can beat the Bucks?” he asked, as the Raps clanged another jumper (I assume).

It was a difficult question to answer, coming as we watched Toronto’s squad get ripped apart in their every effort (or lack thereof) the entire night. The Raptors started slow (a 19-4 Bucks run closed the 1st quarter), couldn’t shoot (34 percent from the field), couldn’t stop anybody (Bucks shot 53 percent for the game), couldn’t find a lineup that worked, couldn’t finish at the rim, couldn’t hit threes (27%!), couldn’t hold onto the ball (15 turnovers), couldn’t meaningfully pass the ball (11 assists, to Milwaukee’s 29) — am I missing anything? The result felt like more than a loss. It felt like the kind of game that could Cheap NFL Jerseys China have a jovial TV personality questioning whether there would even be Raptors games to watch past Monday. Things got dark.