DETROIT — The wheels on the Detroit Lions bus are coming off. The Minnesota Vikings have surged out front, 25, after outscoring the Lions 10 the third quarter. Minnesota drove 78 yards for a touchdown on their opening possession of the half. The Lions appeared to come up with a stop following a Jones sack, but rookie cornerback Quandre Diggs was flagged for a hold the secondary. Three plays later, quarterback Bridgewater connected with Stefon Diggs for a 36-yard touchdown after the rookie receiver burned cornerback Rashean Mathis on a double move. After the Lions went three-and-out, the Vikings struck again. Running back Peterson bounced outside for a 75-yard gain, only to be tracked down from behind by Ansah. The Lions were able to limit Minnesota to a field-goal on the drive. After Andrew Hawkins Jersey another wasted offensive series for the Lions, the Vikings are on the move again. They’ll open the final quarter up eight with a second-and-goal from the 4-yard line. LIVE: Scoring summary Vikings 25, Lions 17 : Vikings offense keeps chugging away. Walsh kicks his fourth field goal of the game, this time from 35 yards, to cap a 61-yard drive that took five plays and lasted 2. Big play was Peterson’s 75-yard run up the right sideline. Vikings 22, Lions 17 : much for the Lions’ great start. Vikings go 78 yards eight plays and 4 to score on a 36-yard pass from Bridgewater to Stefon Diggs. To say he was wide open wouldn’t adequately describe that play. Diggs was eight yards behind Rashean Mathis when he made a fantastic diving catch.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Brewer, third from left, scoops up a loose ball against Nuggets forwards Faried and Chandler as Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov backs up the play during the first quarter of basketball game, Friday, Nov. 15. Chandler made pivotal shots down the stretch for the Nuggets – and bailed him out when he made a key. Chandler scored 19 points, including a 3-pointer and three free throws late the game, and the Nuggets held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 117 Friday night for their third straight win. helped the Nuggets keep the ball away from the Timberwolves the waning seconds by rebounding Chandler’s missed free throw. I was happy when he got it. I just knew that last free throw good, Chandler said. Minnesota got within 115 on a 3-pointer by with 18 seconds remaining. Rubio then fouled Chandler with 15 seconds left. He made the first of two free throws, and swooped from outside the key to grab the rebound for the Nuggets. was fouled and Andy Lee Jersey made one of two at the line to rebuild ‘s lead to four points. The Timberwolves’ final shot the last seconds was blocked by Faried. Timberwolves coach Adelman complained that left the 3-point line, where he was positioned, before Chandler took the free throw. It makes no sense why the league allows that to happen, Adelman said. It’s the only shot basketball you can’t box out on. You can’t box him out. He’s at the 3-point line. They let him run there, there’s a wrestling match there. It’s just one of those things you have to deal with, but for all the stuff we change, we never look at that situation. Somebody lose a big game the playoffs and they’ll change something. said the Timberwolves gave him a clear shot at the rebound by failing to cut him off. We found a way to get extra possessions, said. We talk about those things practice, and blocking out on our side. They didn’t do it. They kind of had their hands on their knees and I just kind of snuck there just case. Faried added 16 points and 10 rebounds for, and Ty Lawson had 14 points and 10 assists. Lawson left with 32 seconds remaining when Brewer inadvertently hit him the right eye with his hand as he was defending the guard on a drive into the lane. The Nuggets said Lawson had a cornea abrasion and was probable for Saturday night’s game at Houston. I should be ready. It looked a lot worse than it was, said Lawson, whose eye was almost swollen shut after the game. led the Timberwolves with 28 points and, who missed Wednesday’s game against because of illness, added 27. A little bit unlucky, said. It was our defense all game. Our rotations weren’t there. We needed to help the helper, ball screen rotations, they were off all night but we were still right there at the end. We feel as if we can get a lot better with this team. It’s still mid-November and we’re going to get a lot better. Trailing by four at the half, the Nuggets opened the third with 11 run, fueled by Jordan Hamilton’s 3-pointer. They carried 86 lead into the fourth and stretched their advantage to 105 with 5 left when had a 3-pointer and Faried jammed home a successive possessions. The Timberwolves led 60 at halftime after trailing by as many as 14 points. NOTES: Timberwolves C Turiaf has missed eight games since he hurt his right elbow. There’s no timetable for his return…. The Nuggets were playing the front end of a back to back. They play at Houston on Saturday…. The Nuggets are 14 against the Timberwolves at the Pepsi Center since 2005 season.

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Menu Memphis, TN – James Harden had 32 points, including a tying layup late regulation, and the Rockets scored eight of their 13 points overtime at the foul line to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 117 on Friday night. Smith had 21 points and eight rebounds his Rockets debut after being signed earlier the day and Elias Lindholm Jersey Harden added 10 assists. It feels great to play for the Rockets, Smith said. It’s a big opportunity for me. I have newfound brothers this locker room. Harden’s layup with 15 seconds remaining regulation tied the score and came after had made two go-ahead 3-pointers for the Grizzlies. took a half-game lead over Memphis the Southwest Division, handing the Grizzlies their first four-game losing streak more than a year. Corey Brewer added 13 points for, Trevor Ariza scored 15 with 10 rebounds and Patrick had 12 points the win.

Marc Gasol scored 29 points to lead Memphis and Beno Udrih had 17 off the bench. Zach remained out for the Grizzlies while returned to score 10 points 26 minutes. Good game, exciting game, said Grizzlies coach Joerger. didn’t execute defensively well enough. ‘s first go-ahead 3 capped a 13 run that turned a 10-point Eric Staal Jersey Grizzlies deficit with 4 2 minutes left into a one-point lead with 1 remaining. After Smith’s layup at the other end gave the lead back, buried a 3 from several feet behind the line. But Harden beat Tayshaun Prince on a driving layup to tie the score with 15 ticks remaining and lost control of the ball at the other end after stepping on Harden’s foot driving through the lane.

A replay review determined the ball went out of bounds off Dwight, giving the Grizzlies the ball with 0 seconds left. Gasol got a good look off the inbounds pass, but missed off the rim from behind the foul line. then scored the first five points overtime on ‘s foul shots and Ariza’s 3 and never trailed. The Rockets announced earlier Friday that they signed Smith, who was released by the Detroit Pistons on Monday less than two years into a four-year, $54 million contract. Smith was reunited with, a close friend and former AAU teammate. He checked for the first time after picked up his second foul just 2 into the game and scored four points the first quarter, including two on a baseline dunk. But Gasol scored 11 points the quarter and Memphis led 31 going into the second. The spread remained seven at halftime, with the Grizzlies leading 57 despite Harden’s 14 points for. Gasol scored 13 points to keep the Grizzlies on top the third quarter, when shot 63 percent to pull within 81 going into the fourth. Game Notes The Grizzlies hadn’t lost four a row since a five-game slide from Dec. 11, 2013… Smith averaged 13 points for the Pistons this… The Rockets remain on the road to play San Antonio on Sunday… The Grizzlies play Miami on Saturday.

Wiltjer 2. Gonzaga – Different year, same Gonzaga? Maybe, but we’re not betting on it. This team–even more than the 2013 squad that earned a No. 1 seed and the ’06 version that was a blown lead away from a shot at the Final Four–this team has the look of a national title contender. The ‘Zags are as deep and talented as anyone the country who doesn’t play its home games at Rupp Arena. They’ve got a great player forward Wiltjer, who averages 16 points per game on 53% shooting and awesome 47% shooting from deep.. They’ve got a great point guard Pangos, who averages 11 points and 5 assists per game. And they’ve got skilled big men 7 Przemek Karnowski and freshman Domantas Sabonis, son of Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas, who may end up being the best player on this roster a few years. And ‘t forget senior guard Jr., who has been through the wars and can get hot at any time. KEY STATS: 10th Points 6th Assists 1st Field Goal Percentage 15. North State – This isn’t your typical No. 15 seed. The Bison knocked off No. 5 Oklahoma last year’s Round of 64, and return leading scorer, a 6 senior guard who rips the nets for 18 points per game. NDSU is 12 its last 15 games and gutted out a 57 win over rival South State the Summit League championship. This team wins with defense, allowing just 61 points per game. KEY STATS: 53rd Points Allowed 60th Defensive Rebounding 247th Points per game PREDICTION: With a different matchup, this North State team could be a real threat to win a Round of 64 game. But not against the ‘Zags. They’re too big, too deep, and too good. Gonzaga moves on here, then beats Davidson and matches up with Iowa State the Sweet 16. And ‘t give us that the Zags never win the tournament junk. This team is good enough to beat anybody. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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His secret gets blown by his eight year- old . The pair appear on Mulhern’s Big ‘s Little and the former footballer, 36, is left red faced when his lad blabs. Also on the show Heartbeat and Emmerdale actress Penrose, 44, can’t hide her blushes when her , aged six, reveals she sneaks wine into hotels bags. And former rugby league star Offiah’s , aged eight, tells how his dad keeps a bowl by his bed to wee at night. The show airs tomorrow on ITV at 8pm. Related articles.

New police would Paul Richardson Jersey not confirm reports that officer who ‘stood by’ as the assault took place was under investigation A road rage attack by bikers that left a New motorist injured was witnessed by at least one undercover police officer riding with them who did not intervene and then waited three days before reporting his presence, it was claimed on Saturday. Alexian was the driver of a black Range Rover that was pursued and attacked by a number of motorcyclists last weekend, after he bumped one of them with his vehicle and then ran over another, leaving the critically injured.

The chase was captured on another Percy Harvin Jersey biker’s helmet-mounted camera. New police said on Saturday that two suspects the attack on had turned themselves , but would not confirm reports that the NYPD’s internal affairs division was investigating an officer who allegedly joined the chase but stood by as the assault took place. Anonymous law enforcement sources told the New Post, however, that the officer has been placed on limited duty and had surrendered his gun and police badge while the unit looked into his story. , who was driving with his wife and two-year-old daughter, was dragged from the vehicle and attacked, leaving him with a slashed face and other injuries. It does not appear got involved the scene.

He didn’t want to blow his cover, the source said, adding that the officer had hired a lawyer to represent him. The New Daily News reported on Saturday that at least two undercover detectives were riding with the gang. Much of the pursuit, along the Hudson Parkway Upper Manhattan, was captured by another biker’s helmet-cam, but the video cuts out shortly after the Range Rover comes to a stop with flat tyres and two riders are seen smashing the vehicle’s windows with their helmets. NYPD spokesman said on Saturday that Sims, 35, of Brooklyn, turned himself on Friday and was charged with gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon, among other offences. Reginald , 38, also of Brooklyn, also surrendered on Friday and charges were pending, the spokesman said. Christopher , 28, of Passaic, New Jersey, was charged earlier the week with reckless driving, for allegedly slowing his motorcycle front of ‘s vehicle, causing it to be bumped. The family of Mieses, the rider run over by , 33, as he sped away from a group of bikers that surrounded his car, said he remained hospital critical condition.

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Something about Progressive Field brings out the best in the Cleveland Indians, even if the place is empty enough to hear the hecklers on a lot of weekday summer nights. The Tribe finished tied with Texas for best home record in the American League this year at 53-28, even while ranking 28th in the majors in attendance. Only the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays, teams in a perpetual state of bad-ballpark limbo, fared worse at the gate.

“Yeah, you know, Rich Hill Juan Marichal Jersey was kind of the inspiration for that, I guess,” Kershaw said of his new teammate who arrived at the start of August. “I don’t know, it just looked kind of fun. I used to do that in high school. I used to pitch that way a little bit.”

But this does not seem to be about throwing back the clock. Kershaw, who faces the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday, sounded as if he was interested in messing with the minds of opposing hitters. Or perhaps, messing Madison Bumgarner Jersey with their minds even more than he already does.

“I think it’s a different look,” Kershaw said after his final regular-season start at San Francisco. “Scouts are having to write it down, so it’s good.”

Porcello left pitches up in the strike zone that have been down all season. He lasted 4? innings, his shortest outing since July 29, 2015. He gave up three home runs, more than he allowed in any start since Aug. 3 at Seattle, and although they were all solo shots, the fact that they were bunched together in a four-batter span of the third inning whipped a raucous crowd into a frenzy and blunted any momentum the Red Sox could generate.

“That’s never how you want to start a playoff series off,” Porcello said after a taut 5-4 loss. “I’ll go back and look at it, kind of recap what happened and what the situations were and why that happened and come up with a better game plan.”

It wasn’t supposed to go like this. Porcello, in the midst of a dream season in which he went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA and took the lead in the race for the AL Cy Young Award, was supposed to carve up the Indians’ lineup. In every way possible, his matchup with Cleveland’s default Game 1 starter Trevor Bauer should have been a mismatch.

But Bauer actually recorded one more out than Porcello. And because the Indians carried a 5-3 lead through five innings, they were able to unleash their greatest strength: a shutdown bullpen. Between them, high-leverage specialist Andrew Miller and closer Cody Allen threw 80 pitches (40 apiece) and recorded 11 outs.

This whole thing could have been easier if only the Red Sox hadn’t lost six of their past seven games and squandered home-field advantage in the division series. They responded by drawing confidence from how well they played on the road after the All-Star break, when they pulled away from the pack to win the AL East.

But the littlest things can turn a short series. The team that wins Game 1 has gone on to win 84 of 120 best-of-5 series in baseball history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. So, it helps to play in front of a friendly crowd in a ballpark as friendly as Fenway, where Porcello went 13-1 in 16 starts.

Still, everything was lined up for the Red Sox to take Game 1, beginning with their starter.

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NEW YORK – Every Los Angeles commuter can tell you that three inflated tires are not enough to get the car from the front door to the office.

And so it is with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have much of the offense clicking, but one aspect still needs proper inflation.

So even though the Dodgers’ offense is far better than it was during the first two months of the season, there remains an issue with producing against left-handed pitching. New York Yankees starter CC Sabathia is just the latest lefty to make life miserable for the Dodgers. He led the Yankees to a 3-0 victory Tuesday in the Bronx.

The Dodgers know the flaw and are trying to fix it. Talking about it hasn’t improved the situation.

As it has been for the Cubs all season, as Lester builds his case for an individual award, it is done in service to a burgeoning team success. Chicago earned its 96th win of the season, improved to 54-23 at Wrigley Field, and trimmed its magic number for clinching the top seed in the National League playoffs to three.

With two starts remaining, Lester is one shy of his career-high in victories of 19, achieved in 2010 for Boston. He’s probably the only remaining National League pitcher with a shot at winning 20 games this season.

The veteran Sabathia might be in the midst of an up-and-down season, but he looked to be in control while holding the Dodgers to three hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Dodgers’ left-hander issue is far from an unknown. And the problem is not just with starting pitchers.

The Yankees got a glimpse of it Monday in their 8-2 loss to L.A.. While Yanks right-hander Bryan Mitchell started the game, giving up six runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings, left-handed relievers Chasen Shreve, Richard Bleier and James Pazos gave up a combined one run on one hit over 5 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers are stacked with left-handed hitting options such as Joc Pederson, Chase Utley, Corey Seager, Josh Reddick and Adrian Gonzalez. Yasmani Grandal is a switch hitter, but most of his damage has come from the left side.

The whole at-bat had a playoff feel to it, right down to three separate conferences on the mound to make sure Rodriguez and catcher Sandy Leon were on the same page. And Rodriguez’s emphatic fist pump after Trumbo swung through strike three was an indication that he understood the significance of the moment.

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As the Houston Astros battle to stay in the playoff chase, it’s not clear whether two starters who helped them to the postseason last year will do the same this year.

The 88-year-old announcer tells the Los Angeles Times his Hall of Fame career will end Oct. 2 in San Francisco. Scully had already said this will be his final season in the booth after 67 years, but until Tuesday had not announced whether he planned to call any potential postseason games on radio.

Scully says if he stayed on the air, he would be “saying goodbye like in grand opera, where you say goodbye 12 different times.”

His decision was not a surprise to the team, Dodgers spokesman Joe Jareck says.

Scully has two farewells coming up: First, on Sept. 25 during the Dodgers’ final home game of the regular season and then a week later at San Francisco.

Looking for their first World Series appearance since winning the 1988 championship, the Dodgers began the night with a four-game lead in the NL West over the Giants.

Scully switched from television to radio in recent years during the playoffs, when national broadcasters have exclusive TV rights.

Not this time.

The 26-year-old Cole threw 29 of his 55 pitches for strikes. He had hopes to boost a Pirates team that is all but out of the NL wild-card race, but instead is making his third trip to the DL this season.

“I’m disappointed. There’s just not enough time to recover,” Cole told reporters Tuesday. “I’m disappointed I’m not out there to help the team. That’s the one thing I’ve been fighting for all season, to try to be able to contribute to our ultimate goal. It’s unfortunate we ran out of time.”

We mentioned the Cubs’ power display in last year’s NLDS, and indeed Chicago clubbed 10 home runs in the series. The Cardinals, though, hit eight, and this season St. Louis leads the NL in homers. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ pitching staff is an aggressive bunch, and as a group it hasn’t allowed much of anything. Their opponent batting average is an almost unbelievable .210. They’ve also surrendered a league-low isolated slugging average.

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The New York Yankees have already accomplished what looked impossible earlier this season: They have become interesting and exciting, and have given their fans hope.

Now, they can take it to the next level with four games against the last-place Tampa Bay Rays. If they sweep, and move 12 games above .500 with 20 games to go, they would have quite a story to tell.

Yes, there’s something fitting about Tebow making all kinds of headlines hours before his former team, the Broncos, would start defending its Super Bowl title. Make no mistake: This is not a Denver story. This is a New York, New York, story all the way.

Fred Wilpon’s Mets tried to be George Steinbrenner’s Yankees here, and knowledgeable locals understand why. Until recently the Mets cowered in the shadow of their big-budget neighbors, who were forever shaped by the advice a young Steinbrenner received from the Nederlanders, a prominent theater family, on how to survive around Broadway. “New York,” they told the wannabe Boss in the early 1970s, “is a star-vehicle town.”

But from Catfish to Reggie to Winfield to Henderson to Clemens to Giambi to Matsui to A-Rod, Steinbrenner made sure his recruiting trips weren’t always about box-office traffic and back-page buzz. He landed big names who could, you know, play a pretty mean game of baseball. That was the one non-negotiable part of his deals.

“He has demonstrated over his athletic career that he is a tremendous athlete, has got character, a competitive spirit. Aside from the age (29), this is a classic player-development opportunity for us. As an organization, we’re going to provide that development opportunity for Tim.”

The decision nonetheless was made at the highest levels of the organization — by Alderson and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon — and did not intimately involve the team’s baseball-operations personnel. The Mets were one of 28 teams to attend Tebow’s showcase last week in Los Angeles.

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BALTIMORE — For the Jekyll-and-Hyde Orioles to make it back to the postseason, they’ll need to hide Hyde down the stretch. So far, so good.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Alvarez said of his team’s multidimensional dismantling, as B.o.B’s bouncy single “So Good” blared in the background. “That’s the name of the game, though. You’re not going to be working on all cylinders at all times. The teams that have the most success are the teams that can do that more often throughout the year. That’s what we try to do every time we go out there. We know it’s not going to be a hundred percent of the time, but anytime you can get the ball rolling on all ends, that’s usually the recipe for a W at the end of the day. Obviously, a day like today is a lot of fun, and we hope to have a lot more coming up here.”

“I’m happy that I was given the opportunity again,” Puig said Friday through an interpreter before the game. “It was helpful for me to go to Oklahoma City and being able to share with the coaches there and with other players. It just helps me moving forward.”

Puig started in right field and batted fifth against the Padres. His two singles boosted his batting average to .263. He has seven home runs and 34 RBIs in 281 at-bats.

“Yasiel has done everything we asked of him; we felt ultimately that he makes us better, that was the deciding factor,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM earlier in the day.

Puig said it was “a little strange” to be back with the Dodgers but that he had learned how to be more disciplined and a better teammate.

“Five minutes ago, I was talked to by my teammates, and they explained to me what they needed from me,” Puig said. “That was really what I was looking for was a talk with my teammates, a talk with everyone and have an understanding of what was needed from me to succeed with this team. Now I’m going to get to work, and hopefully you will see the success of 2013. That’s what I will be working for.”

He also said he hadn’t worried about whether he would return.

“I was just doing my job in Oklahoma,” he said. “I was doing the things I wasn’t doing here. They made the right choice sending me down there. But now I was doing the correct things to come back; I’m here now and grateful for the opportunity.”

Earlier this week, Roberts said he was unsure whether Puig, who had been at Oklahoma City since Aug. 2, would be called up. MLB rosters expanded Thursday.

Before deciding to have their ace pitch in Single-A this weekend, the Dodgers hinted at a Kershaw return as early as the upcoming homestand, but that scenario always seemed overly optimistic at best and risky at worst. When a pitcher misses two months with a back injury, the normal course of events wouldn’t have him returning to the majors after throwing just two simulated innings.

The Dodgers have stayed relatively quiet when it has come to Kershaw’s status, outside of a blip when manager Dave Roberts dared to say that surgery wasn’t out of the question if he was being completely honest. That type of honesty, though, only maxed out the panic meter in Los Angeles.

SEPT. 13-OCT. 2: Simple math says that if Kershaw returns to the major leagues on Sept. 10 or 11, he could make four more regular-season starts to fine-tune his stuff for a potential postseason run. If his return is held off until Sept. 12 or later, then three more regular-season appearances are likely. Either way, it should give him enough time to work through any issues that would have arisen from a long layoff, assuming those issues are mechanical in nature and not physical. A Sept. 10 or 11 return also would line Kershaw up for potentially two outings against San Francisco down the stretch. If he returns on Sept. 12, he likely would not face the Giants during the stretch run.

OCT. 5: So why would the Dodgers even consider a Sept. 12 return for Kershaw if he would miss the Giants twice and make three, instead of four, regular-season appearances? One reason could be that it would line up the left-hander to pitch in a potential NL wild-card game on Oct. 5 if the Dodgers don’t win the NL West. Even if the Dodgers do win the division, Kershaw would be afforded a longer rest heading into the first division series game with a Sept. 12 return, although he would have one less regular-season start to prepare himself.

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Josh Hamilton had worn out his welcome elsewhere, but the Texas Rangers promised him a fresh start last season. Based on Hamilton’s natural talent, it was possible to squint and see the upside, and in Hamilton’s first at-bat back in Texas, he ripped a double and received a standing ovation. Things didn’t stay quite so terrific — he was recently released.

Yost couldn’t contain himself, and clearly felt like he had to do something. Perhaps he thought Mondesi, as a rookie, couldn’t handle the pressure of the situation, or that with his blazing speed, he might beat out the sacrifice, or that as a struggling .184 hitter entering the game, Mondesi had to be treated like a pitcher.

Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for based in Baltimore and covered the Blue Jays on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The Tampa Bay Rays have a firm hold on last place in the American League East, 18 ½ games out of first place as they prepare for the final month of what has been a frustrating season. But their starting pitching has evolved in recent weeks, performing like it had been expected to at the outset of the season, with Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi et al. working effectively. In fact, Tampa Bay has the best ERA in the AL since the All-Star break, and the second-best in the majors. Archer won again Sunday.

The worst team in the AL East can go toe to toe in terms of starting pitching quality with any division opponent on any given day in September, and Tampa Bay’s next 26 games are all against AL East teams.

Meanwhile, the AL Central is inhabited by the Twins, who have essentially stopped winning and are losing games by an average of more than three runs per game over the past three weeks. And the AL West contenders — Rangers, Astros and Mariners — will have the opportunity to feast on two teams that have struggled almost all year, the Athletics and Angels.

No wonder an AL official used this term about what might happen with the AL East playoff contenders down the stretch: cannibalize.

The Nationals said placing Strasburg on the DL was strictly precautionary and that they hoped he would be able to return once he is eligible. So far the signs have all been positive for Strasburg, who has also played catch numerous times in the past week.
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“Our trainers are on top of it,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They have a program mapped out for him, and only his body can tell us how he is and if he’s going to stay on track.”

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This is the time of year that non-contending teams are finishing up the evaluations of their entire organization and deciding, among other things, if they want to make a managerial change. As I wrote, there were several managers on the hot seat early in the season, including John Gibbons of the Toronto Blue Jays, Brad Ausmus of the Detroit Tigers and Bryan Price of the Cincinnati Reds. Fortunately for all three managers, their seats have cooled considerably; Gibbons and Ausmus are in pennant races, and Price has piloted the Reds to the second-best record in the National League since the All Star break, which should save his job.

They tied for the league lead in wins with Joe finishing second in the Cy Young voting for the Astros and Phil, pitching on a terrible Braves team, finishing sixth. Joe’s best season was 1982 (6.8 WAR), and Phil went 17-4 that year with a 3.65 ERA.

The easy road for the Los Angeles Dodgers would have been finding a way to keep A.J. Ellis, who was traded to Philadelphia on Thursday, and still acquire Carlos Ruiz. Given that Ellis is a free agent after this season and has no lasting value to the Phillies, this presumably was something that could’ve happened.

By keeping Ellis for another six days leading up to the September roster expansion, the Dodgers would’ve veered around the clubhouse-culture landmines — like the reaction of Ellis’ best friend on the team, Clayton Kershaw, who happens to be the most important person in the organization.

It’s not as if Kershaw will interrupt his rehabilitation because Ellis was traded; Kershaw will always compete ferociously, and he’ll work through his back trouble and get back on the mound. Ruiz has hit lefties better this year than Ellis has and might well turn out to be an upgrade. But the risk in the deal is real because it creates a 20/20 hindsight situation.

If the Dodgers go on to win the NL West and reach the World Series for the first time since 1988, this deal will probably be forgotten and forgiven by the players. Chase Utley, Ruiz’s former teammate in Philadelphia, can vouch for how good Ruiz can be, with the 2008 championship ring they both wear as evidence.

But if the Dodgers’ recent success fades and the San Francisco Giants run them down, and they exit quickly from the playoffs, this will be added to the list of decisions in which the Dodgers’ front office was perceived to be tone-deaf to the sentiments of its players.

It’s a little tricky to combine relievers and starters here, as relievers get to throw harder since they work in shorter stints бн but Chapman and Cabrera are pretty clearly a cut above, accounting for 62 percent of all 100-plus mph pitches in baseball this year (per MLB Statcast data). Syndergaard leads all starters in the same department with 80 such pitches; the only other starter with more than 20, Eovaldi, is about to get his third elbow.

There’s a lot of velocity out there right now, but I looked closely at this list, and the one thing I took away from it is that velocity is no guarantee of success, even though it’s what everyone wants and pays for. Not pictured: Mets starter Bartolo Colon, who doesn’t crack 90 anymore and rarely throws any off-speed pitches but has a 3.36 ERA/4.01 FIP this year.

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