Baseball fans all over the globe were treated to a truly remarkable spectacle tonight, as Game 5 of this astounding World Series left many fans and writers asking, was that the greatest game of baseball ever played?
Clayton Kershaw tossed a gem, Chris Taylor set the tone early, and Justin Turner sealed the deal. It’s a script which sounds increasingly familiar to baseball fans as the Los Angeles Dodgers continue their charge towards a seventh world championship.
Sweltering through 103 degree heat – the hottest temperature ever recorded in a World Series game – the Dodgers went one up in the World Series tonight, overcoming a solid outing from Astros ace Dallas Keuchel who allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings of work.
It was Keuchel’s opposing ace though, Clayton Kershaw, who dominated from the moment he struck out George Springer to start the game, ultimately working his way through seven innings of one-run ball.
Chris Taylor continued his breakout year, putting the Dodgers ahead with a lead-off home run from the first pitch he saw, before the pitchers settled into what quickly became a classic pitching duel. Kershaw had struck out five through three innings before the Astros tied it in the 4th courtesy of a Alex Bregman lead-off solo shot – his third dinger of the postseason. Cool and calm as ever before, Kershaw responded with three straight strikeouts of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Yuli Gurriel to settle the nerves of a boisterous LA crowd.
Game 1’s defining moment came in the bottom of the 6th, when Justin Turner took Keuchel deep to left center after Taylor had earlier drawn a walk – just one of two issued by both pitching staffs combined on the night. The two-run shot gave Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts the luxury of keeping Kershaw out there for the seventh, before handing things over to Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen to slam the door shut.
Kershaw’s stellar seven innings saw him collect his third win in four postseason starts, while lowering his postseason ERA to 2.96. He’s struck out 27 in 24 1/3 innings of work. Morrow meanwhile lowered his ERA to 0.96 (9 1/3 innings) while Jansen extended his scoreless streak to nine innings.
Offensively, Taylor (1-for-3, home run, walk) and Turner (1-for-4, home run, 2 RBI) did the damage, while Corey Seager picked up a pair of singles.
The win sees the Dodgers improve their postseason record to 8-1, as they move to within three wins of what would be a truly memorable world championship. Tomorrow night it’s Justin Verlander against Rich Hill, in what has already became a seemingly must win game for Houston.
Believe the hype – young basketball phenom Ben Simmons has already established himself as a game-winner and genuine contender for NBA’s Rookie of the Year honors.
In just his fourth game, the 21-year-old out of Melbourne, Australia recorded his first triple-double as the 76ers lead from start to finish, taking down the Pistons on the road, 97-86. In doing so, Simmons became the first Australian to record a triple-double in the NBA and just the third Sixer rookie to do so.
From the field Simmons was electric, shooting at a fraction under 73% on his way to a career-high 21 points. On the boards, he was just as effective with 12 rebounds. Proving his versatility, he also dished out 10 assists. His patience when shooting, strength on the boards, and vision in attack is far more advanced than many anticipated.
To put Simmons’ triple-double into context, LeBron James didn’t achieve his first until midway through his second season. Simmons meanwhile, has flirted with it more than once already.
This wasn’t just one hot game though, as he’s the first player to post a 10-10-5 line in his first four games since Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati Royals, 1960-61) and the first player since Shaquille O’Neal (Orlando Magic, 1992-93) to open his career with four consecutive double-doubles.
Through four games, Simmons is averaging 15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. He’s also chipped in with four steals.
Post game, Simmons shrugged off his own performance and instead focused on the team’s first win.
“It feels great that we won. Our team played well together and we played the right way. I’m just happy we got our first one.”
A top prospect during his time at Montverde Academy and LSU, who ultimately went #1 overall in 2016, Simmons was always expected to develop into one of the game’s brightest young stars. His hot start however is ahead of the schedule and sure to capture the eyes of opponents who’ll seek to shut his influence down.
While most of the nation’s collective focus has been on a fascinating MLB postseason, seven Orioles prospects have been battling away in the Arizona heat for the Salt River Rafters, who own a 5-5 record through the first half of the Arizona Fall League. In a closely fought season, four of the six teams are 5-5 with one each on 4-6 and 6-4 respectively.
Steve Wilkerson – the second baseman has appeared in seven games, hitting .333 (8-for-24) with an on base percentage of .448. The speedy infielder has legged out a pair of triples and also swiped a bag. He’s hit safely in six of the seven he’s played and has two multi-hit games. Against right handed pitching he’s hitting .467 (7-for-15).
Keegan Akin – the young left handed pitcher has made three relief appearances for the Rafters, working to an impressive 1.50 ERA through six innings of work. His best outing came last Wednesday where he tossed three scoreless innings against Mesa, allowing just one hit and striking out two. He also picked up the win. He’s allowed just one hit in his last four innings of work. Left handed hitters are 0-for-8 against him.
Luis Gonzalez – the 25-year-old left handed Dominican had a good season with the Frederick Keys and has continued that form this fall. In four relief appearances he’s worked through 5 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four and walking just one. Left handers are hitting just .143 against him and right handers .167.
Ryan Mountcastle – the highly touted shortstop has played in eight games, hitting just .226 (7-for-31). Of the seven hits tallied though, three have been for extra bases with a pair of doubles and a home run. He’s knocked in five. After a slow start, he has sit safely in his last six games including a 2-for-5 outing against Glendale on Friday.
Tanner Scott – embarking on his third AFL campaign, the 23-year-old left handed starter is struggling to back up a strong season with the Bowie Baysox. In his two outings thus far, he’s allowed four runs (three earned) in just four innings of work. His most recent outing, on Friday, saw him allow four hits and walk two in two innings which resulted in three earned runs.
Anthony Santander – the outfielder who played 13 games with the Orioles down the stretch has struggled in Arizona, hitting just .115 (3-for-26) from his seven games thus far. Two of those hits came against Scottsdale on Friday 13 October where he went 2-for-5 and knocked in two. He’s struck out seven times and is hit-less in eight at bats against left handed pitching.
Jesus Liranzo – after an inconsistent season with the Bowie Baysox, the right handed Dominican has imploded in Arizona, allowing six earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings of relief across three outings. The worst outing of the three came on Saturday 14 October against Peoria where he allowed five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. Here, he allowed five hits (two of which were long balls) and walked two. Right handers are doing all the damage, hitting .444.
After the thrill of successive Presidents Trophy winning campaigns in 2015-16 and 2016-17, Washington Capitals fans are entitled to feel a little frustrated by the team’s mediocre 4-4-1 start to the 2017-18 season. Throughout the Capitals’ first nine games we’ve been treated to some stellar hockey, most notably from Alex Ovechkin, however they’ve struggled to find consistency as a new-look roster is seemingly taking some time to gel.
The team appears to be struggling with the loss of Karl Alzner and Nate Schmidt who both departed during the offseason, while Kevin Shattenkirk, who featured in 19 games for the Caps down the stretch last season, also departed. Among others, the younger, less experienced defensive trio of Aaron Ness, Madison Bowey, and Taylor Chorney simply haven’t been as reliable as Barry Trotz would have expected and must each improve for the Capitals to stem the bleeding.
The numbers are concerning, with the Capitals conceding 3.4 goals per game – a figure considerably higher than the marks of the previous two seasons at 2.2 and 2.3 respectively. Contributing to this is the amount of shots being allowed, which currently sits at 33.0 per game. Yet again, this figure is notably higher than it was in each of 2016-17 (27.8) and 2015-16 (28.4). The other concerning figure for Trotz to mull over is the percentage of games where the team is allowing four or more goals. In 2016-17 this tally was allowed in just 18% of the Capitals’ 82 games, while it rested at 21% in 2015-16. This season however it’s sitting at 44%, with four or more goals being conceded in four of their first nine games.
A lack of discipline has haunted the Capitals in the early parts of the 2017-18 season, allowing 10.0 penalty minutes per game which is a 15% increase on last season’s mark of 8.7 and 12% higher than it was in 2015-16 (8.9).
The major culprits to date have been Tom Wilson (3.0 PIM per game), Andre Burakovsky (1.9), Matt Niskanen (1.6), and Aaron Ness (1.3). Struggling defensively as it is, the team needs to be more disciplined and avoid the penalty kill, which is struggling in 2017-18 at a success rate of just 76.9%. In 2016-17 that figure was 83.8% and even higher at 85.2% in 2015-16.
Buoyed by strong returns from Alex Ovechkin (10) and T.J. Oshie (6) who each sit within the League’s top tier of goal scorers, the Capitals’ 27 goals at an average of 3.0 per game has them relatively close to the mark achieved last season at 3.2 per game. In 2015-16, that mark was also 3.0. The solid offensive returns however are boosted somewhat by improved levels of success with the extra-man advantage.
Pleasingly, the Capitals have scored in 25% of their power play opportunities this season, which is better than the marks achieved in each of the past two seasons at 23.1% and 21.9% respectively. T.J. Oshie (4) and Alex Ovechkin (3) have combined for seven of the eight power play goals scored thus far.
During the darkest days of the Essendon Football Club Supplements Saga, even the most optimistic of Bombers fan would have wondered just how long it would take for their proud club to return to its glory days as one of the AFL’s powerhouse clubs.
Fined two million dollars, scrambling to retain an unprecedented amount of departing sponsors, and unsure of where they would find 22 capable players to take the field, the Club was in turmoil. Its reputation – one which took in excess of 140 years to build – was seemingly ruined. In fact, the Club was in such a predicament both on and off field that it is a widely-held belief that some – if not many – of the other 17 AFL clubs simply would not have survived. Perhaps, in hindsight, that is why the AFL went as hard as it did.
As the Saga played out in court rooms both in Australia and overseas, the Bombers’ fate was ultimately sealed with a guilty verdict and all that was left to do was bounce back – some way, some how. Experts were unanimous in thinking it would take years for the Club to return to its former self, while fans of rival clubs were joyfully predicting decades.
How wrong they were.
Following a successful return of the suspended players in 2017, the Club finish 12-10 and returned to finals action for just the fourth time in 13 years. Buoyed with anticipation, the Club’s loyal fans continued their show of support as 67,768 signed on as members – a rise of almost 18% from the previous year and the most in the Club’s 146-year history. Only the reigning premier Western Bulldogs (21%) and expansion club Greater Western Sydney (37%) saw a bigger rise.
With a renewed level of on-field success, an exciting young playing list full of potential, and backed by a strong financial return, the Bombers entered the 2017 Trade Period as a destination club for the first time since the Saga began. In a bold yet pleasingly confident move, the Club wasn’t afraid to show its hand publicly, as https://www.cialissansordonnancefr24.com/ List and Recruiting Manager Adrian Dodoro set his eyes on recruiting three further young stars to bolster the list and ensure continued success would be achieved in 2018. These stars were forward Jake Stringer (Western Bulldogs), defender Adam Saad (Gold Cost Suns), and forward/midfielder Devon Smith (GWS Giants).
He nailed all three.
The recruiting coup has seen Essendon surge from finals contender to legitimate Top 4 chance, and the punters have already jumped on board. Following the trio of signings this week, the Bombers’ 2018 market odds have shortened considerably, paying just $1.65 to play finals, $3.50 to secure a double-chance in the Top 4, and $15.00 to win the premiership.
Already possessing an abundance of young talent in Dyson Heppell, Joe Daniher, Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, and AFL Rising Star Award winner Andrew McGrath, the Club is set to embark on yet another exciting era as it continues its push for a record-breaking 17th premiership.
Speaking on the highly successful Trade Period, Dodoro said:
“I think the celebration for our football club is that we’re relevant again and we’re respected in the industry and we’re playing finals. It’s just great that players want to come to our Club. We’ve fixed up some areas of our list that we needed to address with guys that are 23 years of age and will be at the Club for many years to come”
Bombers CEO Xavier Campbell said the success was the result of an aggressive list management strategy which was perfectly executed by the Club’s football department, and further proof that the Club has overcome the Saga which haunted it since 2012.
“It’s part of that rebuilding process and somewhat a validation that we’re on the right path.”
While the signings obviously signify a stronger playing list, just as importantly, the Club has proven to its fans that it can once again deliver deals and further enhance its reputation as a Club to be feared. The intimidation factor which was so frequently on display in eras prior, is returning far quicker than most expected, and for a proud club like Essendon, that typically results in the ultimate success.
“Formidable, exciting, determined, and full of talent, the Dodgers are well placed to see themselves crowed kings of baseball in 2017.” – These were the words I used to describe the Dodgers back in July. More than three months have since passed and quite frankly, my opinion hasn’t changed.
As Dave Roberts’ men easily accounted for the Chicago Cubs tonight, moving to a formidable 3-0 National League Championship Series lead, they’ve found themselves on the brink of a World Series berth and set to face off against one of two weaker (well, let’s say ‘less complete’) teams from the American League.
The Dodgers’ 104-win season suffered a two-week skid between late-August and early-September where they lost 15 of 16 games, however in the eight weeks since, they’ve returned to their dominant ways. In the postseason they’re 6-0, sweeping the Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series and seemingly set to do likewise to the Cubs.
The daunting rotation, consisting of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, and Alex Wood, is as solid a quartet as you’ll find anywhere in the major leagues nowadays, and on the most part, they are pitching well. This dominance on the mound is further strengthened by a bullpen which has allowed just three earned runs in 19 2/3 innings of postseason relief. Kenley Jansen and Brandon Morrow have particularly been impressive, each appearing in all six postseason games and allowing just one earned run combined. Together, they’ve stuck out 17 in 14 1/3 innings.
Offensively, Chris Taylor continues to impress ever so quietly in what’s been a largely unheralded, yet remarkable season. Be it playing center field, left field, second base, third base, or shortstop, Taylor’s versatility and consistent production at the plate places him among the game’s most valuable players, despite the lack of fanfare he generates. Meanwhile, the media’s attention typically focuses on Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig who often provide the heroics in clutch situations. Perhaps the scariest thought of all is the improvement which can still come from young star Cody Bellinger who’s hitting just .231 cumulative this postseason… Just imagine if (when) he heats up.
Also impressive is the opportunities being seized by Roberts’ bench players – the lesser likes who simply come in and do the job required of them. Tonight it was veteran Andre Ethier who went 2-for-4 with an all-important solo home run in the top of the second to snatch momentum back off the Cubs who just prior, had grabbed an early lead via Kyle Schwarber’s solo shot. In games prior, Charlie Culberson has stepped up with some crucial hits, as have Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes. Everyone is contributing and pulling in the right direction. While they may not be the most remarkable names on paper, they are playing like the most remarkable team.
It’s been almost 30 years since the Dodgers last appeared in the World Series, when Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson lead the team to an unexpected 4-1 series win over the highly favored Oakland Athletics who’d won 104 games in 1988. In the decades since, nine division titles and 11 postseason berths have pleased fans, yet the highs of 1988 have yet to be repeated. In 2017 though, it feels different. It feels right.
As opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season arrives, more eyes than ever before are set to be tuning in from down under, with a record nine Australians featuring on team rosters.
Ben Simmons, the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, will make his debut when the 76ers visit the Wizards on Wednesday night (US ET).
Veteran Andrew Bogut enters his thirteenth season, now appearing in a Lakers jersey – his fifth NBA team. Fellow veteran Patty Mills enters season number seven with the Spurs and his ninth overall in the NBA.
The Celtics will have a strong Australian flavor with both Kyrie Irving (formerly Cavs) and Aron Bynes (formerly Pistons) arriving in Boston during the summer. The focus on Irving, now a four-time All Star, has been significant as the Celtics look to atone for last season’s playoff loss to the Cavs.
As they did last last season, the Jazz also has a strong Australian connection with both Dante Exum and Joe Ingles securing roster spots, while the much-loved Matthew Dellavedova returns for his second season in a Bucks jersey and his fifth overall. Sudanese-born Australian Thon Maker joins Delly on the Bucks ahead of his second season in the NBA.
In total there are 108 international players from a record 42 countries and territories on opening-night rosters.