Rays’ power surge may be the biggest surprise of homer-happy season

The Rays entered the 2017 season having never finished in the top five for team home runs. Their first baseman, Logan Morrison, entered 2017 with only one 20-homer season.

So it’s safe to assume that nobody expected Morrison to already have a career high 24 home runs — tied for second in all of baseball — on a team that has the second most home runs in baseball: 128. That includes Morrison.

“It’s just a good start,” Morrison said when asked whether he thought he would near the top of the leaderboard. “I’ve got to keep it going.”

But it’s not just Morrison who’s had a power surge for Tampa Bay this year. It’s been a team wide effort. Seven Rays already have nine home runs. They only had eight players hit that many Hot Cheap Jerseys each of the past two seasons.

However, if you look back at previous All-Star Game rosters, there is another group of players who jump out. On each roster, there are one or two players who unexpectedly found themselves in one of baseball’s biggest showcases. One impressive first half of a season can have a player rubbing elbows with the best players in the game. One look at their names will cause fans to ask, “Who was this guy again?”

For the NFL franchise with the most Super Bowl titles (six), success starts at the top. The Rooneys are tremendous people and great franchise operators. I’ve known, liked and respected Dan and Art II for more than 30 years. They were bred to run the Steelers and, despite all the Houston Texans Cheap Jerseys winning seasons and championships, have remained friendly, humble, low-ego and never in panic mode.

they tend to lose velocity because of a combination of wear and tear on their arms and simple aging.

Normally an increase in fastball velocity is a very good thing for a pitcher. The faster pitches go, the less time batters have to react, the more they make mistakes, and the more outs the pitcher gets. Price is throwing his four-seam fastball as quickly as he did when he was 27 years old. That’s saying something considering he’s 31 and has an additional 739 innings on his arm.

Yet, that increase in velocity hasn’t helped Price, who sports an ERA of 4.61 heading into his start Tuesday. That represents the worst ERA he’s ever put up in a season, worse than what is currently his worst season — his first full season in the majors, when he was 23 years old.

As pitchers get older, they tend to lose velocity because of a combination of wear and tear on their arms and simple aging. Price’s increase in velocity is substantial; his four-seam fastball traveled at an average velocity of 93.75 mph in 2016, whereas this season he’s thrown it an average of Flyers Cheap Jerseys 94.27 mph. Overall that’s an increase of about a half mile per hour. That might not seem like much, but when Find Cheap Jerseys Online ou consider that most pitchers his age lose velocity, it becomes more impressive.

It’s not easy to let go of a franchise player, but this franchise player is 33 years old and has failed to lead you to the playoffs in the last four seasons. Team owner James Dolan does not want to shell out $50 million or so to rid himself of Anthony, especially if that means watching Anthony compete for a championship in Cleveland or elsewhere next season. And the price tag, combined with the sting of witnessing Anthony’s inevitable success wherever he lands next, understandably sticks in Dolan’s craw.

Henke was the centerpiece of one of the first deep bullpens in baseball history

The Celtics appear determined to sign Gordon Hayward in free agency, then trade for Paul George, but if a trade with the Pacers doesn’t materialize, Boston could target Blake Griffin as a Plan B. Griffin doesn’t have the shooting prowess or two-way ability of George, but he would be another building block for the Celtics.

One of the top players in the league when healthy, the four-time All-NBA honoree has been limited in recent years because of injuries, so there would be inherent risk for Boston in signing Griffin. But in the short term, Griffin, 28, would close the gap between the Celtics and the Cavaliers.

Henke was the centerpiece of one of the first deep bullpens in baseball Cheap Womens Baseball Jerseys history.

“In ‘92 when we won everything, we had myself and Duane Ward, David Wells, Mike Timlin, David Weathers,” Henke said. “You could go right down the line. We had a pretty sound bullpen all the way through and then we had a strong starting staff, too.”

But aches began to chip away at Henke — a groin injury in Toronto, his back ailment with the Rangers and all the wear that accumulates on pitchers over the years that fans might Cheap Zach Parise Jerseys never fully hear about. Henke recalled a visit to famed arthoscopic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Andrews told Henke, “Every time you throw a pitch, you tear your rotator cuff muscles. There are microscopic tears that go in there every time you use your arm like that.”

These tears could be repaired through a restful offseason, though Cheap Youth NBA Jerseys Andrews’ words stuck with Henke. He could also see his physical ability beginning to fade.

“I just couldn’t do it much longer,” Henke said. “I understood that and I accepted that.”

Nissan Stadium damaged by fireworks shell days ahead of USMNT game

David Price is throwing faster but striking out fewer hitters; is that a bad thing?

David Price’s second season with Boston has been an odd one.

Unlike other seasons in his to-date stellar career, Price missed the first two months with an elbow injury. Since returning to the mound, Price has experienced the odd combination of both throwing faster and striking out fewer hitters.

Generally speaking, that’s a hard thing to pull off, kind of like running faster and stealing fewer bases, or using better ingredients yet baking worse muffins. Still, somehow Price has done it. So we’re left to wonder: Could Price’s increase in fastball velocity be a bad thing?

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Breaking down new-look Bills: Simplicity to benefit Tyrod Taylor, evolving roster

So maybe the Bills won’t snap their 17-year playoff drought, the longest of any team in all four major American sports leagues, in 2017. At this point, Buffalo will take a lack of dysfunction as a step in the right direction.

It’s fair to start to wonder whether the 2017 Cubs are ever going to look like Cheap Infant Jerseys the 2016 Cubs. One thing we pretty much know for sure at this point — these Cubs aren’t going to match the regular-season win total of those Cubs. Last year, manager Joe Maddon’s team won 103 games (with 58 losses and one tie). To match that, after this uninspiring 35-34 record through 69 games, they’d have to go 68-25 (or 68-24-1, to be exact) the rest of the season.

But when the Astros became competitive a couple of years back, Luhnow followed a strategy a Luddite GM might: trade prospects and sign veteran free agents.

On the trade side, he turned Rio Ruiz, Brett Phillips, Mark Appel, Thomas Eshelman, Andrew Thurman and Daniel Mengden into Evan Gattis, Ken Giles, Mike Fiers, Carlos Gomez and Scott Kazmir. On the free-agent side, he brought in known quantities Luke Gregerson, Roberto Hernandez, Jed Lowrie, Pat Neshek, Colby Rasmus and Joe Thatcher. He also signed Cuban star Yuli Gurriel, who had a long international resume.

Last offseason, after the Astros failed to return to the playoffs, Luhnow Cheap International Soccer Jerseys made five more major additions: Brian McCann (trade), Carlos Beltran (free agent), Josh Reddick (free agent), Nori Aoki (waivers) and Charlie Morton (free agent). McCann, Beltran, Reddick and Aoki were brought in to lead the more-contact movement, as the WSJ noted, and the return of Morton’s velocity was intriguing, but as with all the other moves, it shouldn’t have taken profound #analysis to match strategy and player.

Chargers bid farewell to San Diego with emotional final practice

The San Diego Chargers are officially no more.

The Chargers held their three-day minicamp this week at their old San Diego training facility. When Thursday’s practice ended, it was the last time the team would be at Chargers Park before their move to Los Angeles.

You can’t name a better playground game than capture the flag. In these practice facilities that NFL teams have nowadays, or even in their monster stadiums, you could set up one heck of a game.

Capture the flag is all about good strategy, but the variety of athletes who football teams have would make for an even more interesting game. Some coordination on who should be going after the flags and who could be a decoy, would force players to think critically in trying to outsmart their teammates.

Could you imagine if a team like the Falcons were playing among themselves? You’d think players like Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, or Tevin Coleman would be the main flag capturers on the roster — until Vic Beasley or Deion Jones comes out of nowhere. Those skill position players are key, but you can’t forget how shifty the defense is.

A few teams, like the Falcons, already have pingpong tables set up in their locker rooms. All they need to make this happen is a few cases of beer and some cups. — Jeanna Thomas

Cubs (38-37) at Nationals (45-30) 7:05 p.m. ET — Both Cheap Hockey Jerseys Youth teams are coming off losses, but the Nationals have been the more consistent team this season. Washington will send Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.96 ERA) to the mound to try to fend off Eddie Butler (3-2, 4.19 ERA) and the mercurial Cubs Cheap Girls Softball Jerseys bats. This, on paper, looks like a possible playoff matchup, but the Cubs have a lot of work to do in order to even make the postseason and catch the surprising Brewers in the NL Central.

Bengals’ Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones arrested on multiple charges

Bengals cornerback Adam Pacman Jones was arrested Monday night on multiple charges, according to Cincinnati police.

Online records show Jones was booked into the Hamilton County Justice Center at 12:25 a.m. Tuesday on misdemeanor charges of assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing official business. According to documents cited by the Cincinnati Enquirer, police say Jones later spit on a nurse and a deputy at the jail, resulting in an additional felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance.

Sure, there was some luck involved when arguably the greatest passer ever hits the free-agent market. But that shouldnt diminish how Elway was able to woo Manning to Denver above other suitors and accept a contract structured in such a way as to financially protect the Broncos in case the neck problems that led to his Indianapolis release proved career-ending.

Manning rebounded to enjoy three of his greatest seasons in Denver. The fourth was the most rewarding because it resulted in a Super Bowl win even though the head coach had changed and the Broncos were now being carried by a defense that Elway and his front office had built. Elways decision to hire Kubiak and fire Fox after an opening-round playoff loss for the second time in three seasons was justified.

The window on that era of Broncos football began to close following Mannings post-Super Bowl 50 retirement. It officially shut Monday when Kubiak announced his departure.

Like when he first took the reins, Elway finds himself having Cheap Jerseys NCAA Basketball to begin Cheap Jerseys MLB With Free Shipping anew at two of the games most important spots.

Chip Kelly reportedly wants to remain in NFL, open to coordinator job

Chip Kelly was fired by the 49ers on Sunday, but the unconventional offensive mind wants to remain in professional football, even if it means a demotion to coordinator, according to Fox Sports.

The 2016 season was Kellys fourth in the NFL, coming after three years in Philadelphia. His current overall NFL coaching record is 28-35, including a 2-14 mark this past season with a roster constructed by Trent Baalke, who was also fired Sunday.

Kelly, who still will make about $18 million over the next three years from the 49ers, could just lay low and re-evaluate his career. But, like his offense, Kelly appears ready to get back to the line as quickly as possible.

He scored on returns 12 times his first two seasons, but has just one touchdown return since leaving the Bears following the 2013 season.

Hester’s 24.5-yard kick return average this season was his lowest since 2011 and his 7.2-yard average on punt returns was his lowest since 2008 in years he had at least 18 returns. Hester hasn’t returned a kickoff or punt for a score since taking a punt back for the Falcons in 2014.

Lockett was placed on injured reserve after breaking both the tibia and fibula in his right leg on Dec. 24. The second-year pro had 41 receptions for 597 yards and a score this season Cheap Jerseys Kids NFL to go with a kick return average of 26.3 yards and punt return average of 8.4 yards prior Cheap Jerseys Made In China to his injury.

The Seahawks (10-5-1) play host the Lions (9-7) Saturday night in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs.

NFL playoff picture: Seeding scenarios for Seahawks, Falcons in NFC

Wide receiver Randy Moss and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Darrelle Revis have come through Foxborough. It can be a culture shock for veterans, something defensive end Chris Long and tight end Martellus Bennett learned after suffering through losing seasons in St. Louis and Chicago, respectively.

‘Everyone here believes,’ Bennett said. ‘There wasn’t a non-believer in this room at any time about going to the Super Bowl or what our goal was from the moment I got here in March or April. That rubs off on you. Iron sharpens iron and attitude is contagious. A winning attitude is contagious. I definitely got infected since I’ve been here. I’ve got the winning disease right now and I’m enjoying this one. I don’t need the antidote.’

Wide receiver Matthew Slater, who is the son of Rams Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater, said Belichick demands a lot with his ‘Do your job’ mantra, but the ‘proof is in the pudding.’

The NFL playoff picture looks good if you’re the Seahawks and Falcons. But it doesn’t look great not yet.

Seeding is huge when it comes to the NFL playoffs. With their exact spots still Cheap Jerseys In The US undetermined despite having won their respective division titles, Seattle and Atlanta have plenty to play for Cheap Jerseys In China in their Week 17 season finales.

The Cowboys have the No. 1 overall seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs locked up, and the Packers can’t get any higher than the No. 3 seed.

Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan to interview for 4 head coaching positions

The Falcons have a bye in the opening round of the NFC Playoffs, but offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan apparently has a full schedule this week.

The Giants crew reportedly partied until 5 a.m. but found the energy to to wake up for a boat ride Monday morning.

The Giants players are off on Monday, and head coach Ben McAdoo doesn’t seem too concerned with the fact his offensive weapons were more than 1,000 miles away partying it up.

Players are off until tomorrow morning, they are not working, McAdoo told reporters Monday when asked if the players would be disciplined.

If anything, the Giants receiving corps will be in for a temperature shock, as the high in Green Bay on Sunday is expected to be below 20 degrees.

Here are some perspectives from those who have a history playing against the Patriots, Falcons or both.

Chiefs and AFC head coach Andy Reid. Kansas City’s 29-28 road victory over Atlanta in Week 13 marks the last time the Falcons have lost a game.

We stayed ahead of the chains a little bit and kind of matched them offensively, which was big. And (defensive coordinator) Bob Sutton had a nice plan. They got us in the first series and then Cheap Jerseys Direct Coupon we bared down and got after it. Our guys played aggressively. They Cheap Jerseys Good Quality tried to match that intensity. I know Bill (Belichick, New England’s head coach) will have it right that way.