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Saturday, October 20, 2018

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Dodgers manager explains why he did not pull starter Ryu earlier

Manager Dave Roberts explained after the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 6 of the NLCS on Friday why he did not remove starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu earlier in the game. Ryu got hit hard in the first inning of the game by the Brewers. He allowed an infield single…Read More

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Report: Jaguars coaches frustrated with Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette

The Jacksonville Jaguars made a big trade on Friday, acquiring running back Carlos Hyde from the Cleveland Browns for a 5th-round pick.

According to a report from NFL.com’s Mike Silver, the Jags’ trade for Hyde arose because of mounting frustration surrounding Leonard Fournette.

Fournette has played in just two games this season due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the opener and re-injured upon his return in Week 4. Fournette played in 13 games as a rookie last season and only seven during his junior season at LSU. If availability is a player’s greatest ability, then Fournette has been failing lately.

The Jags had success last season running and controlling the ball while playing great defense. They’ve instead been throwing the ball more this season and are only 3-3 after going 10-6 a year ago.

Fournette may return in Week 10 after the team’s bye week, which would lead to a crowded backfield but allow him a chance to be eased in. The Jags coaches probably wanted to make sure they have some options beyond TJ Yeldon if Fournette’s injuries continue to be a problem.

Report: Ryan Tannehill’s future with Dolphins is uncertain

Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill’s future with the Miami Dolphins is in doubt, according to a report.

Tannehill is currently out with a shoulder injury that caused him to miss last week’s game against the Chicago Bears and will also keep him out of Week 7 and perhaps Week 8. This comes after he missed three games in 2016 and then all of 2017 due to a torn ACL.

The 7th-year quarterback has not shown much improvement this season compared to year’s past. He’s completing 65.9 percent of his passes for 972 yards and has thrown 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.

The injuries and lack of evident improvement led The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero to publish an article on Friday in which he states that there is doubt about whether the Dolphins will keep Tannehill long term.

Tannehill signed a six-year, $95 million contract three years ago that keeps him under contract through 2020. He’s owed $26 million for next season but would only count half that amount against the salary cap if the team chooses to cut him. Though that sounds like a viable option, it wouldn’t be so simple.

Though Miami would like to see improvement at quarterback and probably does not feel Tannehill is worth the money he is owed, finding someone better would not be easy. They could look to the draft, but they’re not looking like a team that will pick highly. And the free agent market does not look like it will be much better. You’re looking at guys like Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

We never viewed Tannehill as a franchise quarterback, so the sooner the Dolphins realize that, the better off they’ll be.

15 key questions for NFL Week 7

Adam Thielen

Week 7 will be a pivotal one for several teams across the NFL, with quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston trying to keep their teams in the hunt while others like Drew Brees look to keep the good times rolling. After a week filled with dramatic finishes like the overtime game between the Dolphins and Bears and the epic shootout between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, there is sure to be plenty to keep fans interested yet again.

Here are 15 key questions entering Week 7 of the NFL season.

1. Will the Bears bounce back from a brutal loss?

It doesn’t get much worse than the way Chicago lost in Week 6. Facing backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, the Bears benefited from a Dolphins fumble inside the 1-yard line during overtime, and they still managed to lose. Their defense, which has been dominant for the majority of the season, looked exhausted in the South Florida heat. An injury to Khalil Mack almost certainly played a role in that, and his health will be worth monitoring going into Sunday. The Bears are hosting a white-hot Patriots team, and having a pass rush is their best chance of getting back into the win column.

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Dodgers manager explains why he did not pull starter Ryu earlier

Dave Roberts

Manager Dave Roberts explained after the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 6 of the NLCS on Friday why he did not remove starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu earlier in the game.

Ryu got hit hard in the first inning of the game by the Brewers. He allowed an infield single to Lorenzo Cain, a walk to Ryan Braun, and then with two outs, he allowed doubles to Jesus Aguilar and Mike Moustakas, and singles to Erik Kratz and Orlando Arcia before getting out of the inning. By the time he got his third out, the Brewers were up 4-1.

Roberts could have managed aggressively and removed Ryu after the back-to-back doubles, which potentially could have kept the game at 3-1. Instead, he stuck with Ryu through the inning and let him go two more, leaving down 5-1.

Roberts shared what his thought process was after the game.

“That’s sort of the situation we were in. They were taking good at-bats against him. There’s the thought of trying to go to your pen in the first inning or the second inning, but there’s a significant cost potentially for a potential Game 7. So I just felt we needed to get some more innings out of Hyun-Jin to keep our highest-leverage guys available for a potential Game 7,” Roberts said.

That explains it. Ryu getting into trouble so quickly and so early just put the Dodgers in a hole they could not come out of. Had Roberts pulled Ryu after the consecutive doubles, he would have needed 8.1 innings out of his bullpen with the game already 3-1. That would have been a lot to ask from the pen. So for the rest of the game, he still had to walk a difficult tightrope of trying to allow his offense a chance to come back in Game 6 while still trying to keep his bullpen somewhat fresh to contribute in Game 7. He used seven pitchers in Game 6 as he attempted the difficult maneuver.

As for Saturday’s Game 7, Roberts said “outside of Ryu, everyone will be available.”

Jhoulys Chacin against Walker Buehler will be the starting pitcher matchup for the game. Roberts probably will have a quicker hook in that game than he did on Friday night.

Kawhi Leonard appreciates MVP chants from Raptors crowd

Kawhi Leonard

The Toronto Raptors put together an impressive win on Friday night that had the home fans in love with Kawhi Leonard.

Playing in just his second game with the Raptors, Leonard scored 31 points with 10 rebounds, three assists and a steal as the Raptors beat the Boston Celtics 113-101.

During the third quarter of the game, Leonard was at the free throw line and received MVP chants at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Leonard was asked about the chants after the game and said he appreciated the support from the fans.

Raptors first-year head coach Nick Nurse did not seem impressed.

Toronto has now opened up the season 2-0 with a pair of wins over Eastern Conference foes at home.

Brewers P Corey Knebel appears to have foreign substance on arm

Corey Knebel arm substance

Corey Knebel pitched great for the Milwaukee Brewers during Game 6 of the NLCS at Miller Park on Friday, shutting down the Los Angeles Dodgers once again.

Knebel entered the fifth inning with two on and one out and got out of the jam with a flyout and strikeout. He then held the Dodgers scoreless in the sixth, allowing just a hit-by-pitch.

When the FS1 TV cameras showed Knebel on the mound during the game, there was something that stood out: his left forearm was glistening. The shininess was unnatural compared to the rest of his arm and hand.

Knebel appeared to have a greasy foreign substance on his left arm. Pitchers can often get better break on their stuff by using slick substances, which is why it would be in their interest to use something even if it’s against the rules.

Why don’t managers called for checks of pitchers if they see such things? We did see one check in the ALCS, but it was of a catcher and went nowhere.

The prevalence of foreign substances used by pitchers is believed to be so wide that managers don’t want to call out someone else unless they know everyone on their team is clean. MLB reportedly considered a crackdown on the issue last year, but they obviously have not done much.

Coach K not concerned about Zion Williamson’s eligibility

Zion Williamson

Mike Krzyzewski says that he is not concerned about Zion Williamson’s eligibility.

Questions about Williamson’s eligibility emerged this week after the freshman phenom’s name came up at the college basketball corruption trial.

A judge in the case denied evidence that showed a Kansas assistant coach expressing willingness to provide money and other benefits to Williamson, who was widely considered a top-five recruit. An Adidas consultant allegedly said on wiretap that Williamson’s father was looking for benefits to entice his son to commit to a school.

Williamson, who is from South Carolina, chose Duke over South Carolina and Clemson. He also was believed to have had interest in Kentucky and North Carolina.

Coach K said on Friday that he is comfortable with Williamson’s status and says that all of the program’s freshmen were vetted by the NCAA.

People being recorded saying that Williamson’s father was seeking benefits could implicate the freshman, but does not prove Duke did anything improper to land the young star.

Williamson is listed at 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds. He has long been known in the basketball world for his incredible dunks at such a young age.

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