For a few hours, Mikolas kept Cardinals’ postseason hopes alive

The silver lining in all of this for St. Louis was that it had Mikolas, one of baseball’s breakout performers who dons one of baseball’s breakout mustaches on his upper lip. Mikolas bears the nickname “The Lizard King” which is what The Doors’ Jim Morrison called himself, saying, “I am the Lizard King. I can do anything.”

All the Cardinals needed was one more king-like performance from Mikolas, and they got it. Mikolas cruised through eight innings against the Cubs, allowing only an unearned run in the first. St. Louis scratched out a pair of runs to back him, one those also being of the unearned variety, and escaped with a 2-1 win.

Not bad for an unsung free agent, signed out of Japan last winter, who hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2014. He’s come a long way, literally and figuratively.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“To be the guy that they’re looking to,” Mikolas said. “That’s another dream come true. A lot of hard work and effort.”

Still, under the elimination column, the number remained ‘1.’12

“It’s fun,” Mikolas said. “A lot of intensity. I think that’s why a lot of these guys play baseball, to compete against the best and have a great time. We played a great game, and it was a lot of fun.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Mikolas won his 18th game with the performance and lowered his ERA to 2.83. He finishes a perfect 10-0 on the road. In a topsy-turvy season for the Cardinals, Mikolas has been the constant. He reached the 200-inning mark, during which he walked just 29 batters all season. He posted his 20th quality start in 32 outings.

True to form, Mikolas did not walk a batter on Saturday, the 12th time he has done that this season. His rate of 1.3 walks per nine innings is the lowest of all qualifying pitchers in baseball. That, and a well-developed ability to work off the inner part the plate, has allowed him to succeed in the Era of Strikeouts, even though his own whiff rate (6.6 K/9) is well below the big league average.

“Miles is a microcosm of what we look at,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said, “That’s consistent competition, and that’s what you’re going to get out of him. That’s what wins. Credit to him. He shows up well-prepared, even-keeled, and goes out and pitches. Just a fantastic job today.”

It was a nice bounce-back performance for St. Louis after Friday’s 8-4 loss, during which St. Louis committed three errors in one of the more ragged efforts of the brief Shildt era. For a time on Saturday, it looked like more of the same, like the Cardinals were doing an ugly face-plant to finish their season.


Watch out, October, here come the new Baby Bombers

Both were in Tampa, Florida, left behind to wrap up their spring training work with other Yankees minor leaguers. Without invitations to join the big league roster, they were to head north a few days later for the start of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ season.

Who, then, could have foreseen any of what was coming off the bats of both players in the big leagues?

Well, Reggie Jackson sort of did (more on that later). But even Mr. October, in March, could not have expected the scenario that played out Saturday, when the Yankees’ two young infielders — called up within five weeks of Opening Day — played key roles in setting a pair of major league and franchise records.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

In back-to-back innings of an otherwise meaningless final-week game, both rookies slugged a pair of extra-base hits that put them in the Yankees’ record books.11

Rest assured, it won’t be the last time either of their names goes down in Yankees lore. The Bronx Bombers certainly hope that isn’t the case, particularly with the postseason looming nearby.

“They just really have not only been impact players, but just been impressive with how they’ve gone about it and handled every situation,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

During the Yankees’ 8-5 win at Fenway Park over the Red Sox in the penultimate game of the regular season, Torres dropped a 93.7 mph two-seam fastball into the Red Sox bullpen to give the Yankees the single-season major league home run record.

His home run was the team’s 265th, surpassing the previous record of 264 set by the 1997 Seattle Mariners. The Yankees later hit one more home run in the game.

“Everybody knew what was the number,” said Torres, who excitedly pumped his fist a few times as Torres rounded first base.

The homer also marked the 20th the Yankees had hit from the No. 9 spot in their batting order, making them the first team in big league history to have players hit 20 or more homers from all nine places in the lineup.


Jaguars’ Yannick Ngakoue not frustrated with zero sacks

Yannick Ngakoue isn’t bothered by the fact he has yet to record a sack in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first three games.

If he weren’t getting any quarterback pressures or playing well against the run, then he would be upset. But since he’s doing both of those things, Ngakoue doesn’t see the need for himself — or anyone — to be alarmed by the fact he has one less sack than nickelback D.J. Hayden.

“Some of the greats like Michael Strahan, he didn’t get a first sack in first [two] weeks when he broke the single-season sack record [22.5 in 2001]. You’ve got to look at the history behind it. Pass-rushers just have to keep rushing.

“It’s respect, guys are keying in on me. But at the same time you can’t change the way you rush. You’ve got to keep rushing the same way. You can’t get frustrated. At the end of the day you can’t press. You’ve just got to keep playing your game.”

Ngakoue might not have a sack, but he does have a team-high six hurries (forcing a quarterback to throw early), which is the ninth-most in the NFL. Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes and Kansas City’s Dee Ford lead the league with nine. The Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald has seven.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

That’s with opposing offenses sliding protections and giving tackles some extra help via backs chipping to handle Ngakoue. After recording 20 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in two seasons, it was only a matter of time before teams started focus on stopping the 2016 third-round pick.12

“I think teams are respecting him,” linebacker Telvin Smith said. “I think he’s getting a lot of looks and I think as a great player, the great ones learn to adjust. He’s getting a lot of action his way, and when I say action I mean a lot of slides his way, a lot of chipping his way, but in order to be a great pass-rusher in this league, you know what I mean, they take on those roles and those challenges and they attack them.

“Him being a great one, him being the dog that he is, my brother that he is, I know he’s going to come back strong.”

Anyone that focuses on the fact Ngakoue doesn’t have a sack is missing the point, said New York Jets coach Todd Bowles, whose team plays the Jaguars on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field (1 p.m. ET, Fox). Ngakoue has become one of the best all-around defensive ends in the NFL.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“You’ve got to know where he is,” Bowles said. “Just because he doesn’t get sacks doesn’t mean he’s not affecting the quarterback. He’s causing a lot of incompletions as well.

“I think he’s a good all-around player. I think he plays the run well, and I think he rushes the passer well. Very rarely do you get an outside guy to do both and he’s talented at both spots.”

A play against Tennessee last Sunday is a perfect example. Ngakoue shed a block by Titans two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan and tackled 247-pound running back Derrick Henry for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-1 play late in the first half.


Chargers’ Joey Bosa preaches patience with bruised foot injury

Joey Bosa’s competitive nature perhaps got the best of him regarding his bruised left foot.

Wanting to return to the field as quickly as possible, Bosa pushed through the pain during his rehabilitation work with trainers in August, and in his zest to help his Los Angeles Chargers teammates, apparently he made things worse.

“I was really hard on myself, because I could have prevented this if I wasn’t so set on pushing back,” said Bosa, who is likely out until after the Chargers’ bye week.nike nfl jerseys cheap china “But you live and you learn. It’s a huge learning experience I’ve already taken from it.”

Bosa said he has never had a foot injury before. He missed the first four games of his rookie season in 2016 due to a lingering hamstring strain suffered on his first practice back after a lengthy contract holdout during training camp.11

Bosa also played for the entire 2017 season with a dislocated finger suffered during a Week 6 contest against the Denver Broncos his rookie year. Bosa had surgery to fix the issue this past offseason.

The Ohio State product has not played yet this season and now that he knows the extent of his injury, Bosa said he’s not taking any shortcuts.

“To anybody out there that is upset that I’m not out there, trust me I wish I was out there,” Bosa said. “But if you wanted me to be out for the rest of the season, then I can go play next week. But if you want me to actually play one snap this year at least, then this is what I need to do.”

The Chargers could use him. With Bosa out, the Chargers have posted a 2-5 record, allowing 28 points per game. With Bosa, the Chargers are 13-15, giving up just 21 points a contest.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“There’s some creative things that we’ve done in the past,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said, when asked about replacing Bosa’s production. “But I still think that we’ve got to cover better and we’ve got to rush better. They work hand in hand.”


Mauro Manotas leads Dynamo to first U.S. Open Cup in club history

Mauro Manotas scored twice off assists by Alberth Elis in the first half to lead the host Houston Dynamo to a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union in the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday.

It was the Dynamo’s first Open Cup title and the first trophy for the organization since winning MLS Cups in 2006 and 2007.

There hadn’t been a first-time winner of the Open Cup since 2001.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

The Dynamo added an own goal by Philadelphia defender Auston Trusty in the 65th minute, and Joe Willis made five saves for the shutout.

Philadelphia is still looking for its first championship in any competition since joining Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2010. The Union also lost Open Cup finals in 2014 and 2015.12

Manotas, a 23-year-old Colombian, has 14 goals in MLS this season and led all Open Cup scorers with six goals.

He put the Dynamo ahead in the 4th minute, about 30 seconds after the Union’s Fabrice-Jean Picault had a goal disallowed for being offside.

Elis then dribbled down the right side of the box to deliver a service in front of the goal. Manotas went to his knees to head the ball past goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Manotas made it 2-0 in the 25th with a brilliant run starting 40 yards out. He then struck the ball to the lower left corner from 18 yards.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Houston earned an automatic berth to the CONCACAF Champions League for the chance to represent the CONCACAF region in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup.

The 2018 Open Cup began with 97 teams from all levels of American soccer from amateurs to professionals. Houston receives $300,000 to share. Philadelphia pockets $100,000.


Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen to miss Huddersfield match

Tottenham Hotspur will be without Christian Eriksen for Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield, while goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris will be assessed ahead of the match.

Midfielder Eriksen missed Wednesday’s Carabao Cup victory over Watford, with manager Mauricio Pochettino saying he had “started to feel a small problem in his abdomen” after the win at Brighton.

Lloris has missed Spurs’ last five matches, having suffered a thigh injury during the 3-0 victory at Manchester United last month, but he is close to a return.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“We need to assess him tomorrow,” Pochettino said. “He’s doing very well. The decision will be tomorrow if he will be available to play against Huddersfield.11

“If not, we’re going to wait until Wednesday. Michel [Vorm, Spurs’ injured second-choice keeper] is going to be out.”

No. 3 keeper Paulo Gazzaniga has had to wait for opportunities since joining Spurs from Southampton last summer but has started the last two matches and starred in the penalty shootout win over Watford.

“That’s why we signed him,” Pochettino said. “It’s so important to have goalkeepers that can play and perform the way Paulo does.

“It’s a difficult mental situation for the keepers that aren’t playing too much, but now you can see the job and they can pay back all the work in the past.”nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Asked who would be on the bench if Vorm is available for the Champions League game against Barcelona next week, Pochettino said: “I don’t believe Michel will be available on Wednesday. But when that situation happens you are going to see my decision, no worries.”


Yankees’ Didi Gregorius confident he’ll return before postseason

Injured New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius said Monday that he believes he will be back in the starting lineup before the regular season ends.

“Yes,” Gregorius said at his Tropicana Field locker, affirmatively answering a reporter’s question about his belief in a return. “Before the end of the season.”

Following Monday’s series opener at Tampa Bay, the Yankees, who are still pushing for home-field advantage in the American League wild-card race, have six games remaining.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone was encouraged by Gregorius’ optimism, which backed up similar comments the 28-year-old infielder made Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Still, Boone isn’t quite as confident about the speed of a potential return.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“I mean, he felt significantly better, and [with] just some of the range-of-motion things he’s able to do,” Boone said. “But I also would temper it. The true indicator will come Wednesday when he gets re-evaluated.”9

After tearing cartilage in his right wrist on a daring headfirst slide that won Saturday’s game over the Orioles and clinched the Yankees a spot in the wild-card game, Gregorius was administered a cortisone shot following an MRI on Sunday.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Gregorius said he felt fine when he went home following the celebrations that ensued after Saturday’s slide. It was when he woke up Sunday morning that he started feeling sore.

The follow-up Gregorius has with doctors later this week could give the Yankees a clearer idea of when the shortstop might be able to play again.

Part of the reason he believes he’ll be playing sooner than later is the shot he received. Gregorius said Monday that it helped ease the soreness.

“It’s my first time doing it,” Gregorius said of the cortisone shot. “It’s feeling stronger, and I’ll get some exercises in. We’ll wait and see what’s going to happen.”

During the Yankees’ early batting practice Monday, cameras caught Gregorius sporting a massive wrap over his right wrist. While speaking to reporters with a smaller, dramatically thinner wrap, Gregorius said he had been icing the wrist during batting practice. He’ll be primarily wearing the wrap moving forward, he said, while working on strengthening his wrist with a grip.


Angels’ Shohei Ohtani will have Tommy John at start of offseason

The Angels announced Sept. 5 that an MRI showed Ohtani had new damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and that Tommy John surgery was the recommended course of action. However, Ohtani hadn’t yet committed to the procedure.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Ohtani, who throws right-handed and bats left-handed, said when the surgical recommendation was revealed that he planned to finish this season as the team’s designated hitter. The 24-year-old rookie also maintained he would be able to return next season as a DH, even though he might not be able to throw again until 2020.

“It obviously puts him out of pitching in 2019, but he’ll be able to hit, and I think he’s at peace with that,” Scioscia said. “He wants to excel at both phases of the game. The fact he can’t pitch (next season), there is a little bit of a void. But he’ll be able to hit and focus on that.”8

“Swinging doesn’t affect my elbow in any way,” said Ohtani, who went on a homer hot streak shortly after the diagnosis. “I feel like I’m progressing as a hitter right now. I’m getting as many experiences as I can while the games count.”

Ohtani is hitting .280 with 21 home runs and 56 RBIs in 307 at-bats. As a pitcher, he went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 10 starts.

Ohtani was diagnosed with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament after a start June 6. After receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection and an injection of stem cells, he was hitting again in early July, and he returned to the mound with a start Sept. 2 against the Houston Astros.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Ohtani lasted only 2⅓ innings against the Astros, and he had a drastic drop in velocity during the game. He had been scheduled to throw a light bullpen session a few days later but never did after reporting that his elbow was sore. The medical staff then decided that he should get the new MRI, leading to the surgical recommendation.

Ohtani was in the lineup Tuesday night against the Rangers. The team finishes play Sunday.


No target date set for DeMarcus Cousins’ return from Achilles injury

New Golden State Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins still has no target date set for his return as he continues to recover from a left Achilles injury suffered Jan. 26. Cousins, who signed a one-year deal with the Warriors in July, admits that months of rehab has been a “grind,” but he’s confident he will return to his All-Star form once he gets back on the floor.

“I’m feeling a lot better than I was seven months ago,” Cousins said during Monday’s media day. “You know, it’s been a grind. It’s been an adventure to say the least. But I’m in a lot better place now. Physically I’m coming along great. As of right now, hasn’t been any setbacks, and I feel a lot stronger. I’m getting my feet back under me, and I’m starting to feel like an athlete again.”

The former Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans center says the biggest motivating factor for him in the process is hearing from all the people who are doubting whether he can return to his pre-injury form.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“The haters,” Cousins said. “That’s all I need. I feed off of it. I love it.”10

Cousins and the Warriors dealt with backlash from some fans over the summer after the 28-year-old signed with the two-time defending champs. Cousins, who was in line for a max extension with the Pelicans prior to the injury, acknowledges that it is difficult to sit and watch as his teammates get ready for the season.

“I’m stubborn as hell,” Cousins said. “I thought I knew that before, but I’m really starting to realize it now. My drive has only increased. I’m seriously like a madman right now. I think you guys will see a new DeMarcus on the floor. I can’t wait to get to that point just to show all the work I have put in, into this injury. I think you’ll see it when the product is on the floor.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers said that Cousins is “progressing well” from the injury and is “on schedule,” but isn’t able to go full speed yet. Myers said the Warriors will have another update on Cousins in four weeks. He also made it clear that Cousins will play whenever his body allows him, wherever the Warriors might be in the schedule.

“I know there’s a narrative that we’ll save DeMarcus for the playoffs. That’s inaccurate,” Myers said. “When he can play, he’ll play. We won’t rush him, but we also won’t hold him back. We need time for him to acclimate; we need to acclimate for him. But it’s an exciting thing for our whole team to look forward to.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

On top of the chatter surrounding Cousins’ future, another subplot from Monday’s media day was the lack of attendance by media members compared to the scene coming from LeBron James’ first media day with the Los Angeles Lakers. After years in the brightest spotlight the league has to offer, the Warriors didn’t seem to mind that James and his new teammates were getting so much attention.


Pacers’ new mission is to prove last season was no fluke

Indiana point guard Darren Collison made his position clear: The Pacers haven’t done anything yet.

Sure, they surprised everyone last season by posting a winning record, making the playoffs and forcing eventual Eastern Conference champion Cleveland to a seven-game series. They also think others around the league believe it could have been a fluke.

“I guess you’d kind of say we’re still going under the radar,” Collison said during the team’s annual media day Monday. “People still think we haven’t really accomplished anything yet, and we haven’t, really. We made the playoffs, which is a good plus for a team that just got together. But at the same time, to have some success you’ve got to go further in the playoffs and I think that’s where we’re at right now.”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

All-Star guard Victor Oladipo and promising center Myles Turner understand questions remain, too. Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard has even heard similar sentiments expressed during chats with other decision-makers around the league.9

Those conversations have everyone inside the organization intent on proving the outsiders wrong and showing they can contend in the suddenly wide-open East.

“I don’t know if people think we’re Milli Vanilli, a one-hit wonder, but I think there’s a little bit of that, I do,” Pritchard said. “I think people think we’re a solid team that overachieved last season and now we’ve got to prove it again.”

The Pacers believe they have a solid foundation in place.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Oladipo wants to show his breakout season was just a start after being acquired in the Paul George trade. A buffed-up Turner has focused on becoming a better rebounder and a more consistent defender while embracing the opportunity to play more minutes with Indiana’s other big man, Domantas Sabonis. Collison spent the summer refining his shooting prowess after leading the league in 3-point percentage (46.8).

In all, Indiana returns its entire starting lineup and its two most frequently used backups — Sabonis and Cory Joseph.

They also hope to get additional scoring from guard Tyreke Evans and forward Doug McDermott, both free-agent signees, as well as forward T.J. Leaf and guard Aaron Holiday — their last two first-round draft picks.

While it’s enough to make the Pacers look better on paper, nobody inside the organization intends to rely on talent alone.