irmino has three goals this season but is still ti

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The are still deciding who will back up Erik Kratz at catcher to begin the season with Carlos Ruiz servdelighted with their 4-1 victory at Osasuna.Real went behind early on at El Sadar but rallied to produce an impressive comeback in the end.”They scored a goal from a set piece and came out with intensity,” Zidane said.”There was a tohe top-flight leagues in North America and Mexico respectively, have announced a new cross-league, annual cup competition that will debut this July, reports, /.The Leagues Cup will feature four teams from MLS and four from Liga MX. Chicago Fire, Housugh moment, 10 miing a 25-game suspension, according The Philadelam this season.On Friday, Moyes challenged Rice to use Sunday’s game at Manchester City to showcase his talents and continue “carrying” this team towards safety.”Declan is arguably the best holding midfield player in the country,” Moyes said. “The bephia Inquirer. was considered the favorite at the beginning of the spring, but has impressed the coaching staff with his defense, making it a tougher decision as the spring winds down.

“I’d love to make the big-league team and be a part of what they have going on here, but I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and let everything play out how it’s going to,” Lerud said.

Lerud is batting .235 this spring, while Quintero is hitting .296.

nal boss Unai Emery is delighted with Kieran Tiern

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The will likely make a decision regarding  Thursday. Manager John Farrell said the 25-manWilder has challenged Dean Henderson to build on his first England call-up.Wilder claimed Henderson’s call-up by Gareth Southgate was recognition of the on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper’s progress with the Blades. “He’s working extremely hard and roster should be decided after Thu to join the senior coaching staff at Chelsea.The Times says Newton is set to move into a first-team coaching role with Chelsea once Frank Lampard’s appointment as manager is confirmed, according to The Times.The former midfielder, 47, made 165 leagursday afternoon’s game. Bradley’s hot spring has oValencia are ready to pounce for Newcastle United striker Ayoze Perez.Goal says Valencia could capitalise on the uncertainty surrounding Newcastle by making a move for Perez.The Spanish striker is open to returning to his homeland this summer.But Valencia are hopeful Newcastle will lower their £22m valuation of the striker.Perez is also being linked with Tottenham this summer.ut him in contention for a roster spot despite his lack of experience in the minors. The team will want Bradley to play every day, so that could factor into its decision.

rged Flamengo attacker Reinier not to get carried

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The could be without outfielder and infielder when the season begins, as both continue to recover from injuries, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Quentin is attTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insists Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez is among the best players on the planet.His performances have led to interest from a host of top clubs, including LaLiga giants Barcelona. But Chelsea became the latesempting to come back from knee surgery, while Forsythe has been out of action since March 7 due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

“We’re looking for those guys to be in a good spot physically and to be ready April 1. There is not a make or break day, but there’s no doubt we have to see something,” manager Bud Black said.

When asked if either player would begin the season on thas ‘scary’ potential.The England international, 22, has been scouted by Manchester City and Manchester United in recent times.As one of the first names on his team-sheet, Foxes boss Rodgers has been wowed by Chilwell’s room for growth.”The beadrid.The 24-year-old took his medical in the Spanish capital on Thursday.The centre-back joins Kieran Trippier, from Tottenham, as a new Atletico signing, as they look to bolster a back-line shaken by the departures of Diego Godin and Lucas Hernandezuty wite disabled list, Black was noncommittal. “Let’s hope not. Possibly,” he said. “We’re not to that point yet. We’ll do what is best for the player and the organization.”

Forsythe has been limited to drill work in recent days, while Quentin has appeared mostly in minor-league games, playing the field just once. The Padres open the season April 1 in New York. 

ne revealed Kompany played a key part in luring hi

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The optioned pitcher to Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. De La Rosa posted a 9.45 ERA in four relief appearancesnt, 22, scored six times for the Gers last season while on loan from Liverpool and wity attacker Raheem Sterling is confident they can upset Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.Champions City have claimed victory just ONCE at Anfield since 1981 — and that was 16 years ago.But former Reds winger Sterling, 24, told Sport360: “At first as named the PF Ancelotti is upbeat over their chances of signing Real Madrid attacker James Rodriguez.Ancelotti is still confident Napoli can get their man.“I’m not aware of a deal with Atletico,” he told TV Luna.“We’re still talking for James, a player that IA Scotland Young Player of the Year.When asked if a fresh deal was likely to be too costly this summer Gerrard replied: “I haven’t asked that questio in spring training. 

Cuban pitcher Yadier Pedroso dies in car accident

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Cuban pitcher Yadier Pedroso Gonzalez was killed in a car accident in Cuba, according to the director of sports for the territory of Artemisa, Cuba ().

According to reports, the car in which Pedroso was seated collided with a freight truck, and two others were killed in the accident, which happened about 10:30 p.m. local time Saturday.

Pedroso, 26, was one of the best pitchers in Cuba and just took part in the World Baned the differences he sees between Jurgen Klopp’s work at Liverpool. he doesn’t want to leave. Even better, nor does his manager. Problem is, the way this club is managed, the decision could be taken out of both men’s hands.No matter how it was parsed. Sliced. Nowhere in that long, honest and insightful interview To and Pep Guardiola with Manchester City.The top two will meet on Sunday at Anfield.And Capello told Sky Sports: “Klopp he made something magic for me. The atmosphere of Anfield is faseball Classic. , Pedroso’s best season was 2008-09, when he went 9-3 with a 1.91 ERA.He was 76-45 hing Hearts fullback Aaron Hickey.The Daily Mail says City are keeping tabs on Hickey at Hearts after the teenage fullback’s rapid rise to prominence over the last four months.City have forged a good relationship with Hearts and sent 21-year-old Ryotwith a 3.15 ERA in his career and competed in 10 international competitions.

Pedroso appeared in two games in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, allowing four hits and an earned run in 1 2/3 innings of action.

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American players philosophical about Team USA loss

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When it comes to the World Baseball Classic, it seems that major-league players and managers are like any other fans.

The guys from countries like the Dominican Republic and Venezuela are passionate. The Americans are philosophical.

What does it mean that, for the third time in three WBC tournaments, Team USA won’t win it?

“That shows that maybe this isn’t as much of an American game as we’d like to think,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said Saturday.

Not only has Team USA never won the WBC, but twice in three tournaments the Americans haven’t even advanced to the four-team final round. Team USA made it to the semifinals in 2009, then lost to Japan.

This year, this resisting new contract talks with the Rossonero, where his deal runs to 2021.Gazzetta dello Sport says Juve are watching developments closely and would be willing to set up a swap arrangement for the youngster.Milan aren’t interested in a deal fore Americans survived a Game 1 loss to advance past the first round but lost to the Dominican Republic on Thursday and to Puerto Rico on Friday and exited the tournament in the second round.

“It hurts me to see it — not the elimination part but the fact that most of our best players didn’t play,” Baker said.

Team USA’s elimination will bring yawns from many and scorn fond goalkeeper Loris Karius back to Liverpool.Takvim says Besiktas will open talks to cancel Karius’ loan contract with Liverpool in January .The shot-stopper has kept clean sheets in three of his last four outings but that hasn’t stopped recently-insr the WBC from others. Some will complain about the way the tournament is set up. of the Rockies doesn’t buy the most common excuses.

“People talk about hitters’ timing being off and about pitchers not being ready,” Tulowitzki said. “But the thing that stood out to me was just that anybody can beat anybody on any given day. I know people talk about the guys who didn’t play, that we didn’t have all our best players. That might help. But at the end of the day, anything can happen.

“You can’t sit and make excuses. It’s just baseball, at the end of the day.”

Tulowitzki and Rockies teammate both expressed disappointment at Team USA’s elimination, although neither seemed as broken up as their Venezuelan teammates might have been over their country’s WBC losses.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m not disappointed in the players for losing,” Cuddyer said. “You see some of the Team USA guys getting crushed for not getting hits with runners in scoring position. Hey, it’s their 20th at-bat in four months.

“Three weeks into spring training, I know I’m not ready to play in front of 50,000 fans, in a playoff atmosphere.”

Cuddyer did have one suggestion for how to make Team USA better in future tournaments and how to get around the problem of starting pitchers not wanting to commit to the tournament.

“I would build a pitching staff with all relievers,” he said. “Then I’d pitch them one inning at a time.”

Perhaps Baker will be the one to decide in the future. He said Saturday that he wouldn’t mind managing Team USA, once his major-league managerial career is done.

For now, he watches along with the rest of us. He sees the passion that players from other counteak.Chelsea now have a fortnight off after their 2-2 draw at Leicester City.Lampard said, “Being a footballer is a fortunate job. You do what you love. Sometimes you get home after lunchtime. But it’s also taxing with the pressure, taxing on the playries show.

“Some of it is over-emotion,” Baker said. “Some of it is close to clowning.”

But those teams are still playing, and Team USA isn’t.

Maybe this isn’t as much of an American game as we’d like to think.

paid tribute to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

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All you single-season owners out there, listen up.

You’ve been told the are going to turn loose this year, that the days of them limiting his innings are over, and technically, that may be true. But Strasburg recently suggested to the Washington Post that they may limit him in other ways.

“You look at some of the top pitchers in the game, they go at least 110 [pitches] evenchester City boss Pep Guardiola was effusive in his praise for Phil Foden after Sunday’s EFL Cup final win over Aston Villa on Sunday.Foden, 19, set-up Sergio Aguero to score the opener in the 2-1 win at Wembley.Speaking after the game, Guardiola sary time out,” he said. “I’m going to be prepared for it. I’m not saying that they’re going to let me do it.”

Jordan Zimmermann, a fellow National, averaged 96.5 pitewcastle United attacker Lomano LuaLua admits he would puncture Sir Bobby Robson’s tyres after learning he wasn’t selected.While appearing on Sky Sports’ Soccer AM on Saturday morning, LuaLua revealed he used to puncture the former Englandrid coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed snubbing Gareth Bale for their defeat of Atletico Madrid.Bale didn’t make the squad for the 1-0 win.And Zidane later explained, “He was available but when I had to choose I went for someone else.”He’s here, he’sd and Barcelches in his 32 starts last year, when he was as far removed from Tommy John surgery as Strasburg is now. He ended up with less than 200 innings. Why would the Nationals treat their golden boy with any less care?

I’m not saying Strasburg won’t be a Fantasy ace this year, but those thinking he’ll emerge as the top starting pitcher might want to think again.

r Champions League clash at Liverpool should be pl

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Yankees catcher was the first significant cut of the spring for New York on Monday, reports the y sports chief Txiki Begiristain.However, Gilmar Veloz says that although he has met with Begiristain there is ‘no possibility’ his client will join City this summer.“There is nothing. We have to be very careful, take responsibility with the fans, Journal News. Romine was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre along with LHP and RHPs and . The team also optioned LHPs and , RHP and OF to Double-A Trenton. New excited to be moving to Real Madrid.The departing Santos star admits playing alongside Vinicius Junior is lder, a target for Manchester City and Bayern Munich, has told Atletico chiefs that he intends to leave the club this summer, says Marca.With both City and Bayern willing to meet Rodrigo’s €70m buyout clause, it means Atletico have no say in prevenan ambition he’s long had.Rodrygo said, “Since I was little, when he played for Flamengo and I played for Santos, people dreamed that we could York also reassigned pitcher , catcher and first baseman to minor league camp.

an update on his fitness.The young defender has s

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Philadelphia outfielder (ankle) is expected to have his surgically-repaired right ankle examined on Tuesday by a doctor in Los Angeles, reports .com Monday. Youngreat striker.Aubameyang, the Premier League’s joint-top goalscorer with 17 goals this term, will have just one year Uruguay striker, 32, says he’s confident they can reach an agreement should new terms be offered.He told Sport, “I am very happy in the club. I have always given myself to the fullest. Statistics and numbers support me, I think I am up to the task a to run on his contract come the summer and is yet to win silverware since joining the club in January 2018.He told Sky Sports: “I’m ag has been limited in spring camp and has only hit off a tee andey want to avoid a second-straight defeat against Tottenham on Boxing Day.The Seagulls succumbed to a disappointing home loss to Sheffield United on Saturday.He said: “They were playing with a lot of energy and were pushing forward quite hard in the thrown long toss to this point. Young is hopeful he’ll be cleared Tuesday to increase his rehab program.

is client.The France international is expected to

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The Orange County Register reports Dodgers reliever said he is fully recovered from the surgery he underwent in October to address an irregular heartbeat. Heuggests that Kevin De Bruyne could be a problem for Liverpool in battle against Manchester City.The Belgian playmaker has enjoyed a greache found a positive in Dwight McNeil’s performance in their 5-0 thrashing at Tottenham.Harry Kane’s brace and further goals from Heung-Mon Son, Lucas Moura and Moussa Sissoko continued Jose Mourinho’s honeymoon period in north London. But Dyche insit start to the season, managing five assists in the first four games of the campaign.And Cooks believes that if De added doctors said there should be no further issues. “I’m doing well,” Jansen said. “This.Mourinho has Spurs well in the race for fourth-place, as well as the FA Cup and Champions League knockout rounds.”Contrary to some people who want to be in the news and tell things that are not true – I am really happy at the club,” he told Sky Spor is going to take care of it, no more problems. Put it in God’s hands now.”

Burnley.Lys Mousset assisted all three goals, with

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The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Phillies manager Charlie Manuel saw first baseman take live batting practice in late January. Howard was limited to 71 games in 2012 as he came back from an Achilles injurystotspur thanks to a first-half goal from Danny Ings.The Englishman bagged his 15th goal for the season with a fine 17th minute strike.Spurs lost both Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele to injuries in what has been a dire festive period for Jose Mourinho.Trian is returning to the Premier League club after an impressive loan campaign with Kilmarnock.”I’m keen to push on. I’m coming back on July 1 with the others and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Bachmann.”Obviously I know Ben [Foster] h he suffered during the 2011 postseason. “He said his Achilles’ doesn’t hurt him and he said his ankle is much better,” Manuel said irca.The Frenchman was on the scoresheet alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at the Camp Nou.”We wanted to have a good game,” Griezmann told Movistar.”The first half was very good and we connected a lot, before we managed time more in the second han late January.

Headley’s $10.3 million is tops as arbitration numbers are exchanged

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sees himself as a or a spell on the sidelines with a hip injury. The club have not provided a timeline for Maguire’s return. Maguire missed Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg loss to Manchester City.Quizzed on how long Maguire would be out for, manager Ole Gun$10 million player.The think the right number is closer to $7 million.It’s no surprise then tk Reece James has avoided serious after fears of suffering an ankle break.James was carried off on a stretcher playing for England Under-20s at the Toulon Tournament.The Sudnesday boss Steve Bruce admits he’s in talks with Newcastle United.An angry Wednesday fan confronted Bruce on the touchline during his side’s 3-1 friendly win against Lincoln at Sincil Bank on Saturday.After the match Bruce told the Sheffield Star: n says fortunately he only suffered a sprain.There were concerns the 19-year-ohat Headley and the Padres couldn’t reach an agreement on a 2013 contract, or that there was a big gap when they filed their numbers for salary arbitration on Friday.Headley filed at $10.3 million, according to figures obtained by CBSSports.com. The Padres countered at $7.075 million. If the two sides still can’t reach an agreement, an arbitrator will decide between the two numbers.All the numbers exchanged Friday:

, : player $3 million, team $2.3 million

, : player $1.1 million, team $750,000

, : player $3.4 million, team $2.4 million

, : player $5.8 million, team $4.75 million

, Red Sox: player $2.375 million, team $2.325 million

, : player $4.7 million, team $3.65 million

, : player $2.6 million, team $1.7 million

, Reds: player $8 million, team $6.75 million

, : player $3.7 million, team $2.825 million

, Rockies: player $5.15 million, team $4.25 million

, : player $3.75 million, team $2.4 million

, Padres: player $3.75 million, team $2.875 million

, : player $8.25 million, team $5.7 million

Chase Headley, Padres: player $10.3 million, team $7.075 million

, Reds: player $1.65 million, team $1.05 million

, Rockies: player $1 million, team $800,000

, Angels: player $1.4 million, team $975,000

, Orioles: player $7.1 million, team $5.7 million

, : player $1.2 million, team $750,000

, Reds: player $4.7 million, team $4.15 million

, Reds: player $3.5 million, team $2.65 million

, : player $3.4 million, team $2.65 million

, Cardinals: player $5.5 million, team $4.5 million

, Mets: player $3.4 million, team $2.55 million

, : player $6.5 million, team $5.05 million

, Orioles: player $3.2 million, team $1.8 million

, : player $2.7 million, team $2.1 million

, Diamondbacks: player $2.8 million, team $1.8 million

, : player $7.05 million, team $6.65 million

, Padres: player $5.55 million, team $4.905 million

, : player $3.55 million, team $2.85 million

, Giants: player $4.5 million, team $2.675 million

, Cardinals: player $1.3 million, team $900,000

, : player $7.4 million, team $6.05 million

, Reds: player $1.05 million, team $750,000

, Pirates: player $3.6 million, team $3 million

, : player $5.8 million, team $4.6 million

Ranking the 2013 Hall of Fame candidates: Nos. 37 through 31

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(Getty Images)

In advance of the BBWAA’s announcement of the 2013 Hall of Fame class, we at Eye On Baseball are going to commence ranking every one of (by the way, that’s ).

We’ll do this in daily installments, and the number of players in each “episode” will decrease as we get nearer to the top of the list. Once we hit the top 15, we will do one player per day.

As mentioned in , the JAWS ranking system () will play a prominent role in our ordering of these candidates, but there’s more to it than that. Your three hopelessly devoted EOB bloggers — Matt Snyder, the aforementioned Trent Rosecrans and dubious I — ranked each of these candidates according to a host of objective and subjective considerations, and we averaged those rankings to come up with the final order.

In this first go-round, we’ll count down numbers 37 through 31.

Before we unfurl things, a few notes on what you’ll find below. In addition to the obvious necessities (i.e., player’s ranking and name, positions played/role filled, teams toiled for, years played, notable traditional stats), we’ll also list the player’s year on the ballot (candidates fall off the BBWAA ballot after 15 years and/or if they fail to be named on five percent of ballots in any given year), player’s vote percentage from the previous year (when applicable), the player’s (bWAR) and rank among the 37 candidates, and his JAWS score and rank among candidates).

After a brief capsule of the player’s case (such as it is, in most instances), we’ll each give our official declarations on whether the player should be inducted (with our individual ranking of the playir 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands on Sunday evening.Two late goals made the result a little more flattering, but La Roja did need the Manchester United stopper to come up with a big save in the second half against Joannes Bjartalid when the score waser in parentheses, not unlike these parentheses right here).

So without further throat-clearing, let’s get to ranking the 2013 Hall of Fame eligibles. Starting at the bottom …

Year on ballot: 1stCareer stats: .289/.348/.435; 1,316 H; 107 HR; 545 RBI; 647 RbWAR, rank among candidates: 8.3, 37thJAWS, ranks among candidates: 8.6, 37th

Obviously, Walker doesn’t have a serious case for Cooperstown. Still, he was a useful hitter in platoon-advantaged situations throughout his career, and he spent more than 8,000 innings at second base. Survey his career, and you’re likely to say something like “not all that bad” or “he remained employed for many years.”Would we vote for him? Snyder: No (37th); Rosecrans: No (37th); Perry: No (35th)Year on ballot:  1st Career stats: 80-109; 4.36 ERA; 1,548 2/3 IP; 1,038 K; 321 savesbWAR, rank among candidates: 9.6, 36th JAWS, ranks among candidates: 10.8, 36th

“Joe Table” is best remembered as a closer for the great Indians teams of the 1990s. In ’95, he turned in one of the great closer seasons of all time (1.13 ERA across 64 innings), but his career park-adjusted ERA is roughly league-average. That’s not impressive for a late-inning reliever. Mesa’s peak wasn’t long enough, and his career value doesn’t come close to passing muster. Would we vote for him? Snyder: No (35th); Rosecrans: No (36th); Perry: No (37th)Year on ballot: 1stCareer stats: .258/.312/.367; 1,904 H; 110 HR; 723 RBI; 935 R; 231 SBbWAR, rank among candidates: 16.4, 32ndJAWS, ranks among candidates: 15.9, 32ndClayton stuck around long enough to come within hailing distance of 2,000 hits, and he was long regarded as a plus defender at a critical position (although he never won a Gold Glove). Needless to say, though, the glove work wasn’t enough to make up for his weaknesses at the plate. Worth noting: Clayton ranks 16th all-time in games played at short. Would we vote for him? Snyder: No (36th); Rosecrans: No (36th); Perry: No (33rd)Year on ballot: 1stCareer stats: 68-63; 3.92 ERA; 1,114.0 IP; 895 K; 84 saves bWAR, rank among candidates: 13.3, 34thJAWS, ranks fter the defender changed his agent.The Germany international has failed to win back his first-team spot under new manager Mikel Arteta.And SBE Management has now confirmed the 27-year-old is their client.Mustafi has made just three Premier League apamong candidates: 13.8, 34thRighful heir to the Rick Honeycutt/Jesse Orosco title of Lefty Who Simply Will Not Stop Pitching, Stanton ranks second all-time in appearances (second to Orosco, natch). Stanton’s career ERA is 12 percent better than the league average on a park-adjusted basis. While that’s good, it’s not close to Cooperstown-grade run prevention. Would we vote for him? Snyder: No (34th); Rosecrans: No (31st); Perry: No (36th)Year on ballot: 1st Career stats: .285/.347/.443; 1,982 H; 214 HR; 1,071 RBI; 870 R bWAR, rank among candidates: 16.2, 33rdJAWS, ranks among candidates: 15.7, 33rdThere’s a lot of “solid” to be found in Conine’s dossier, but the two-time All Star is far from a viable candidate for a plaque. Conine … persisted. Considering he wasn’t a major-league regular until age 27, Conine’s counting stats are fairly impressive in that context. Oddity: He ended his career in 22nd place on sac-flies list. Would we vote for him? Snyder: No (33rd); Rosecrans: No (32nd); Perry: No (34th)Year on ballot: 1stCareer stats: 148-112; 4.61 ERA; 2,153.0 IP; 1,407 KbWAR, rank among candidates: 17.5, 30thJAWS, ranks among candidates: 17.5, 30thSele’s a two-time All Star and has a top-five Cy Young finish to his credit. But if you’re going to pass BBWAA muster with fewer than 250 wins (let alone a success in the game.The younger brother of Newcastle star Sean is another bright prospect in the club’s academy.And Bruce believes the younger Longstaff is ready for the big time.Speaking about Longstaff with reporters, Bruce said: “He’s bright, h fewer than 150, as is the case with Sele), you need to have a Sandy Koufax- or Pedro Martinez-like peak. Suffice it to say, Sele didn’t come anywhere close to that.

Would we vote for him? Snyder: No (32nd); Rosecrans: No (34th); Perry: No (32nd)Year on ballot: 1st Career stats: 67-71; 3.45 ERA; 1,071 1/3 IP; 945 K; 325 Saves bWAR, rank among candidates: 17.2, 31st JAWS, ranks among candidates: 16.9, 31st

As relievers go, Hernandez had a darn fine, even underrated career: 131 ERA+, ninth all-time in games finished. The Cooperstown bar for relievers, however, is high (though Bruce Sutter’s election suggests it’s not as high as it should be). Based on established standards, Hernandez should probably receive more support than he’s going to get. In the final analysis, though, he, of course, doesn’t merit induction.

Would we vote for him? Snyder: No (31st); Rosecrans: No (33rd); Perry: No (29th)

Coming Tuesday: Nos. 30 through 26 …

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Happy Birthday, Moonlight Graham

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Remember Archie “Moonlight” Graham from the movie, Field of Dreams? Well, he wasn’t just a Gomez was made an honorary citizen of Bergamo.Gori stated, “He is the captain and the symbol of the European Atalanta,” the mayor said. “They have reached the highest level of the club’s history, to which he has contributed, with the team aed Victor Lindelof after their Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City.United trailed their rivals 3-0 at half-time, in the first leg of the Cup semi-final before Marcus Rashford pulled a goal back for the hosts.”This is poor defending from Victor Lindnd thefictional character in a movie. He was an actual baseball player, and the bulk of his story as told in the movie was true. He has a and everything. It’s really great.

On that page, take note of his date of birth: Nov. 12, 1877. So Monday would mark the 135th birthday for Moonlight. He’s obviously not still alive; Graham died in 1965 at the age of 87, but he lived quite the life. He only lasted one inning in Major League Baseball, playing for the New York Giants, and never got a plate appearance. But he went on to be a doctor for 44 years in Chisholm, Minn. And now he’s immortalized in a classic baseball movie. He’s also .

Here’s the clip when Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) reveals to Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) that he, too, heard the mysterious voice tell them to “go the distance” for Moonlight (there’s a little under-the-breath NSFW language in there, but it’s barely audible):

Happy Birthday, Moonlight. May you continue to rest in peace.

Hat-tip:

n-loan Barcelona midfielder has been heavily criticised in the local press for his recent form.But Kovac says: “Philippe is a player, a person, who always puts himself at the service of the team. Many expect from him magic gestures, as he shows in tr

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Who’s got the edge? Reds or Giants?

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(Getty Images)

: | |

The and have met seven times this season, with three of those games decided by a single run. The NLDS shouldn’t be any different, as the two teams start in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park with two impressive rotations and two offenses that can be streaky. By all accounts, the games in this series should be low-scoring, well-pitched and tight. Of course, baseball rarely goes as it’s supposed to go, so it could end up being a slugfest.

The Reds were the first team to clinch a division — and went into the last day of the season with a chance at claiming the best record in the game. Meanwhile, the Giants were able to hold off a charge from division rival and claim their second division crown in the past two years. While both teams won their division two years ago, the Reds were swept in the first round of the playoffs, while the Giants went on to win the World Series. There are some changes from this year’s Giants to the one that topped the two years ago, but there are plenty of holdovers and that experience could be important.

With the series beginning Saturday at AT&T Park in San Francisco, let’s take a look at how these two teams match up:

vs.

This is not the runaway you think it is. Posey is the likely MVP and deserves every single vote he gets. He’s definitely the better player, and the Giants have the edge here — but even if Hanigan isn’t the big-name drawing card, don’t sleep on his contributions to the Reds. Posey and Hanigan play the same position but play different roles with their team. Posey is asked not just to catch but also to serve as the catalyst for the team’s offense. Hanigan is the catalyst for the team’s pitching and defense. He’s one of the best handlers of a pitching staff in the game, and his 48.5 percent caught-stealing percentage was tops in the majors. While Posey threw out the most baserunners in baseball (38), he also allowed 87 stolen bases (and we will note here that pitchers are a huge portion of caught-stealing percentage) to the 44 successful swipes against Hanigan (with 32 caught stealing). Posey gets the edge because of the bat, but Hanigan’s defense keeps it from being a runaway.

/ vs.

Brandon Belt has had a fine season, hitting .275/.360/.421, but he’s hit only seven home runs. The team has also used Buster Posey, and Aubrey Huff at first base and even experimented with Belt in left field recently. The Reds, of course, have former MVP Joey Votto. If Votto hadn’t missed more than a month with a knee injury, he’d likely be in the MVP discussion. But he did, and since he’s returned, he’s hitting .316/.505/.421, but hasn’t hit a home run in 105 plate appearances. A Votto with diminished power is still a dangerous hitter even if the ball stays in the park.

vs.

Since arriving in San Francisco, Scutaro has solved the Giants’ second base problem, putting up an impressive .362/.385/.473 line and providing stability at a position San Francisco hasn’t had in years. Phillips, on the other hand, is one of the game’s premier players at his position. Last season he won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at the position. His offensive numbers are down a little this season, but his defense is as good as ever. The only thing that doesn’t make this a runaway is recent performance. While Scutaro has been hot, Phillips hit just .209/.269/.326 over the previous 28 days. He was supposed to help bring stability to the Reds’ troublesome leadoff spot, but he’s just continued the role of a leadoff hitter who can’t get on base, as Cincinnati leadoff men have just a .208/.254/.327 line this season.

vs.

Crawford has a smidge more experience, but other than that, they’re similar players. Both are very good defensive players, which is why they’re the starters. Crawford has put up a .248/.304/.349 line, while Cozart is hitting .246/.288/.399, but does have 15 home runs (nine of those at homer-friendly Great American Ball Park).

Pablo Sandoval vs.

The last time the Giants were in the playoffs, Sandoval was living in Bruce Bochy’s doghouse, having gained weight and lost production. Bochy is apparently losing a little patience with Sandoval now, but at least he’s producing. His four home runs in the last month were as many as he hit in any other month this season, and he’s hitting .283/.342/.447 with 12 home runs. At 37, Rolen is still better defensively than Sandoval ever hoped to be, but he’s had some struggles at the plate in what could end up being the final season of a remarkable career. After bouncing back in July and August when Votto was out, Rolen has struggled in the last month, hitting .222/.259/.370 since the start of September.

/Xavier Nady/Belt vs. /

The Giants, by a mixture of a suspension and their own choosing, will be without one of the game’s most productive players in Melky Cabrera, replacing him with a mixture of Blanco and Nady. Nady has played 19 games with the Giants after starting the season with the . Overall he’s hitting just .184/.253/.316, but is hitting .240 in a Giants uniform. Blanco has been forced into plenty of action this season for the Giants, and no doubt they’d like more production than the .244/.333/.344 line he’s put up. Belt could play some in left during the series. On the other hand, Ludwick has overcome a slow start to make a case for comeback player of the year. The 33-year-old has clubbed 28 home runs and put up a .275/.346/.531 line.

vs. /Heisey

Pagan is hitting .288/.338/.440 and led the majors with 15 triples. He’s been all the Giants could have hoped for when San Francisco sent two players to the in return for the 31-year-old. Stubbs, meanwhile, has been a disaster at the plate, hitting just .213/.277/.333 with 14 home runs legend Peter Schmeichel has blasted critics of David De Gea.The Spanish goalkeeper has endured a miserable run of form in the past four to six weeks.However, Schmeichel wants everyone to remember De Gea’s quality in the past few seasons when they de. In his fourth big-league season, he’s yet to put together his exceptional speed and good power with a consistent approach at the plate. His range in center field is what has kept him in the lineup and what will, at least, in the first two games of the series, which will be played at spacious AT&T Park. Heisey (.265/.315/.401) could also play in center or left, depending on matchups.

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Pence hasn’t lived up to hopes, hitting just .219/.287/.384 for the Giants. Bruce is one of the game’s streakiest players and has the ability to carry a team offensively unlike any other player on the Reds roster (which is saying something considering Votto is his teammate). It all depends on which Bruce shows up — the April (.296/.337/.617, 7 HR) or August (.290/.349/.600, 7 HR) Bruce, or the May (.229/.296/.469, 4 HR) or September (.233/.295/.485, 6 HR) version of Bruce. 

, , Tim Linececum, vs. Johnny Cueto, , ,

The Giants are better at the top with Cain and Bumgarner, but the Reds are deeper. That depth is less important in a best-of-five series, but it’s still impressive that the team’s No. 4 starter is coming off a no-hitter and has a 2.84 ERA and .207 batting average over his last 10 starts. Cain didn’t give up a run in three starts in the postseason two years ago, while Bumgarner was 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts and a relief appearance. Lincecum had appeared to turn a corner recently but struggled in his last two starts.

Not Brian Wilson vs. and company

Both teams lost their closer early in the season, but both have to be happy with their replacements. In and , the Giants have two pitchers who can close. The Reds have three — Chapman, and . Both bullpens are deep and effective, but the Reds’ 2.65 ERA from their bullpen was the best in baseball. Chapman gave the Reds reason to worry, not just before his shutdown, but in his first few appearances after the shutdown. But in his last appearance, the average of his 16 pitches was again above 100 mph.

The Reds have four different players (Votto, Phillips, Arroyo, Rolen) who have won Gold Gloves the last two years, plus another three who could have arguments (Bruce, Hanigan, Stubbs) and one who may win one in the future (Cozart). The Giants aren’t a bad defensive team, but the Reds are a very good defensive team.

The homefield advantage isn’t a huge advantage this season with the first two games being played at the home field of the lower-seeded team, in this case, the Giants. The Reds have benefitted from big home runs all season, while the Giants are last in the majors with 103, in part because they play at AT&T Park, where it is tougher to Tottenham’s £600million stadium debt puts them at a major disadvantage against Arsenal and the rest of their title rivals on the Premier League grid.But he refused to liken his club’s situation to the one today’s opponents faced just over a decade hit homers. With the first two games of the series at AT&T Park, plus Cain and Bumgarner on the mound, the Giants could take a commanding lead, much like the did two years ago, dismissing the Reds in three games. A two-game lead could be a death knell to Cincinnati again. With the Reds struggling to score runs of late, a good pitching staff and a pitcher-friendly environment for the first two games, the Giants get it done inRB Leipzig have made a second offer for Everton winger Ademola Lookman.The German club’s initial bid was worth £13m.The Daily Mail says they have now returned with a £22.5m offer for the English winger.21-year-old Lookman enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with Leipzig in 2017/18. four games.

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