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Jadon Sancho.England star Sancho, 19, continues t

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As exphat he can trim his squad in the coming weeks.The Saints have a bloated squad, but there are several players who are not a part of the manager’s long term plans.However, Hasenhuttl believes that several moves will happen in the coming weeks, allowingected, the shipped shortstop to Triple-A Albuquerque Tuesday, according to the team’s official website. Gordon hit .206 with a .386 on-base percentage and a .20e award for Goal of the Month for February.The Czech Republic international scored with a stunning strike in the away victory over Southampton.It capped off an impressive comeback for Vydra after he was almost sold in January.Matej Vydra has been cho6 slugging in 20 Cactus League g Milner will renew with Liverpool this summer.That is according to Steve Nicol, who believes there is no chance of Milner leaving on a free transfer.The English midfielder is out of contract, but given his value to the club, Nicol thinks he will exteames before he was sent down.

ribute to runners up Liverpool.City impressively f

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starting candidate is dealing with a bit of a back injury and Baltimore has backed off his usage at the moment, reports MASNSports.com. 

“Stevie’s had a little discomfort in his (lower back),” away Real Madrid attacker James Rodriguez says he should stay with Atletico.The Colombia captain is a target for Napoli, while Atleti are now being linked.Stepfather Juan Carlos Restrepo told Cadena SER: “If yine Zidane has left the door open to Gareth Bale staying next season.Zidane dumped Bale from his traveling squad for defeat at Real Sociedad on Sunday.However post-match, he said: “Let’s see if he makes it back for next week. Physically he is doingou are closer to Napoli or Atlético, youmanager Buck Showalter said Monday. “A little discThe wife and agent of Mauro Icardi is already casting doubt on his status at PSG.The Inter Milan striker joined PSG on a season-long loan on deadline day a fortnight ago.But Wanda Nara says Icardi could yet return to Italy – and as early as January.Wanda said on Tiki Taka: “Napoli has kept the money they should have spent for Mauro Icardi. “Maybe there will be some surprises in January…?”omfort in that area. Richie said, ‘Let’s get this straight and give him one more day.'”

Johnson remains in competition with Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and perhaps Jair Jurrjens for the fifth spot in the rotation. He has allowed five runs this spring over 13 innings for a 3.46 ERA with nine Ks. Johnson went 4-0 in his first taste of the majors last year. He pitched to a 2.11 ERA over 12 appearances and four starts with 46 Ks over 38 1/3 innings. 

amme.Saints host Crystal Palace 48 hours after the

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pitcher allowed two earned runs on three hits and three walks against the Tigers Thursday, striking ouragher’s Premier League team of the decade.Former pros and Sky pundits Carragher and Gary Neville picked their teams of the decade for the league.Carragher picked Vincent Kompany and Virgil Van Dijk as his two central defenders.Terry, who appeared int two batters. It was a solid effort for the Astros’ No. 2 startol fullback Andrew Robertson expects RB Salzburg striker Erling Haaland to make a big club move.The Norway international is today being linked with a January move to Liverpool’s rivals Manchey’re counting on Adrien Rabiot.The summer arrival from PSG is already being linked with a January move away.Paratici said: “For us he’s very important, we’re happy about him like he is about us. I have no doubts that he will stay, both at the endhester United.Robertson told VG: “He has been a fantastic plaer, who now has a 2.50 ERA and 13 strikeouts through 18 spring innings.

List of the Day: HR leaders sorted by … popes

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Bless you, Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun!

Connolly, you see, has posted, courtesy of baseball historian Bill Arnold, . Yea, verily: Home runs, Popes.

As Connolly notes, 11 Holy Fathers have held sway during the life of major-league baseball, which provides us with some surprising and not-so-surprising home-run, um, archbishops.

Recreated for your spiritual uplift is said list:

home-run leaders, by PopePope, years of reignPapal HR leader, no. of homersPius IX, 1846-76Charley Jones, 6Leo XIII, 1878-1903Roger Connor, 138Pius X, 1903-14Frank Schulte, 73Benedict XV, 1914-22Babe Ruth, 162Pius XI, 1922-39Babe Ruth, 552Pius XII, 1939-58Ted Williams, 482John XXIII, 1958-63Hank Aaron and Harmon Killebrew, 174Paul VI, 1963-78Hank Aaron, 437John Paul I, 1978Jim Rice, 13John Paul II, 1978-2005Barry Bonds, 703Benedict XVI, 2005-13Albert Pujols, 312 Data courtesy of Dan Connolly and Bill Arnold; Popes courtesy of God

Jim Rice, taking the service entrance to greatness yet again.

Anyhow, bets on the HR leader during the reign of ? Giancarlo Stanton? M defender Toby Alderweireld insists they go to RB Leipzig in good spirits.Spurs fought back fro emulate club legend Dennis Bergkamp if he is to stay at the club for the next few years.The future of Ozil has come into sharp focus, given his huge contract and dwindling impact on the first team.Boss Unai Emery would prefer to offload the £350,00m a goal down to draw 1-1 at Burnley on Saturday ahead of Tuesday’s second-leg Champions League round 16 clash in Germany. RBL lead the tie 1-0 on aggregatike Trout? Ryan Braun or Miguel Cabrera if, God forbid, the actuarial estimates pDarmian, formerly of Torino, could be headed for Italy before the European transfer window closes on September 2. Meanwhile, centre-back Marcos Rojo, who came close to a Deadline Day move to Everton, will be staying at the club. “I can see maybe Mattrove to be accurate? Tony Campana in a verifiable miracle that will advance Francis’ case for sainthood?

On the subject of Popes and the smiting of baseballs, consider this obligatory in the utmost:

And also with you.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and .

When Dodgers could spend, Hanley and Adrian were at top of their list

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — It’s easy to think that once the became baseball’s big spenders, they simply took on every big contract they could find.They sort of did, but not exactly.They did add some huge contracts during last season and again over the winter. They shocked the Marlins by agreeing to take on every last cent remaining in the July trade for , and no doubt surprised some people in Boston by picking up the , and contracts, as well.But as it turns out, Ramirez and Gonzalez were the two players the Dodgers had targeted, right from the moment the rich new owners took over last April.By June, they were already calling the Marlins about Ramirez, only to find out that the Marlins considered it a bit too early to pull the plug on their expensive experiment gone bad. The Marlins loved the idea of dumping Ramirez, but felt that doing it so early would send the wrong message (not that they a roadside ditch. The former England international was driving home from football when he became concerned about the gentlemen walking down the road.He reversed back to check if everything was okay, where he found the man had fallen in the ditch. Fosworried much about messages they sent later).By the end of July, the Dodgers had Ramirez. The A’s were trying to get him at the same time (and nearly did), but the A’s were only willing to assume half of the remaining contract (more than $35 million, throug to form.The Frenchman has struggled in recent weeks after initially thriving under Solskjaer’s leadership.Speaking ahead of boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he wasn’t playing media games regarding David de Gea’s fitness.De Gea came off with a muscle abductor problem in Spain’s European qualifier in Sweden on Tuesday and Solskjaer indicated on Wednesday he was out of the Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield, Solskjaer said: “Anthony [Martial] has got loads of goals in him.”It’s up to us now to move h 2014), while the Dodgers took all of it.While the Ramirez trade was being completed, the Dodgers were already trying hard to get Gonzalez. That deal wouldn’t be finished until late August, and would include Crawford and Beckett, too.But Ramirez and Gonzalez had been the initial targets. The Dodgers obviously had an idea both could be available, but they also believed both would fill huge needs, needs that would be difficult to fill on the free-agent market.”Look at the first baseman who were out there last winter,” one Dodgers person explained. “Did you want to end up with Casey Kotchman?”The Dodgers knew they needed to upgrade at first. They knew they wanted an established shortstop, and they knew the free-agent market would be woefully short on those, too.They targeted Ramirez early, and they targeted Gonzalez, too.By the end of the year, they ended up with both.

And while the trades didn’t bring immediate results — the Dodgers went just 18-18 with Gonzalez in the lineup, and just 33-31 with Ramirez — the Dodgers are convinced that eventually, it will all work.”I don’t think that it had enough time last year to work,” right fielder said. “But it seemed to blend as time went on.’

2013 Prospect Watch: Seattle Mariners

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Before the start of the season, we’ll highlight a few players in each team’s minor-league system to let you know which players you should be paying attention to throughout the year. These aren’t meant to be comprehensive top-prospect lists, but should provide a look at some key players within each team’s organization.

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The system received a big boost mid-season after drafting catcher Mike Zunino. Previously, the team had been known for its trio of pitching prospects: Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker. All three of those players took steps forward, bringing them closer to the majors. And while the Mariners might not be ready to contend just yet, those four players could make an impact on the major-league club as soon as this season. 

After being selected with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, Zunino shot up the Mariners’ minor-league system. He hit .373/.474/.736 in 133 plate appearances in Short-Season A ball, causing the team to promote him to Double-A in his first professional season. Zunino was the highest college player chosen in the draft last year, and is pretty polished for his age. It also seems like he’s a solid bet to stick at catcher, which is sometimes a problem with young prospects. The team is set to begin the season with as its full-time catcher, but that’s probably not the ideal position for him based on defensive scouting reports. If Zunino continues to hit well, he might be able to force his way onto the team later this year. 

Paxton has moved fairly quickly, making 21 starts at Double-A in his second professional season. While his control was a slight issue (he walked 11.9 percent of hitters), he managed to post a solid 3.09 ERA. Paxton may not have the upside of Walker or Hultzen, but he’s the closest of the three right now. As long as he doesn’t falter early in the season, he could be up before the trade deadline. 

At age 20, Walker is already considered one of the best pitching prospects in the minors. The consensus among prThe young midfielder is being tracked by Arsenal amid claims the Gunners are already in talks with his club about a summer deal.Voetbal International says Feyenoord are keen to offer Kokcu a pay-rise and a one-year contract extension to 2024.Along wiospect analysts is that he already has a strong fastball, but needs to work on the consistency with his curve and change-up, both of which have shown flashes of being above-average offerings. Walker may begin the season in Double-A, but could threaten to be a September call-up if all goes well. Of the three big pitchers in the Mariners’ system, he’s the one who has the highest upside.

Hultzen is known for his strong command, which made him a candidate to move quickly through the Mariners’ system after he was drafted. He did just that, reaching Triple-A during his first full season as a professional. Once he got to Triple-A, though, his performance suffered. Hultzen had a 5.92 ERA in 48.2 innings in Triple-A. It’s not as if he wasn’t ready, as he shut down hitters in Double-A, with a 1.19 ERA in 75.1 innings. His command also deserted him in Triple-A, leading to a 17.9 percent walk rate. It’s unclear what led to the drop-off in his production once he reached that level, and perhaps he just needs more time to sort things out. His struggles in Triple-A have pushed back his promotion timeline, but he could still make his major-league debut this season provided he can shake off his struggles at the end of 2012. 

Franklin was having a strong year before stumbling a bit once he reached Triple-A. In 296 plate appearances, he hit just .240/.306/.412. He’ll likely begin the year at that level, and is a candidate to push for a major-league job if he performs well. There are some questions about whether Franklin can stick at short. He seems to display strong intelligence, and gets good reads, but lacks some of the physical tools to play there. At worst, he becomes an above-average second baseman. With in town, Franklin is unlikely to see much time at ser Stegen and Barcelona have suspended new contract talks.Barca have been pushing for several weeks to reach terms with the Germany goalkeeper over a new deal to 2024.However, Sport says negotiations have now been put on-hold during the LaLiga’s coroecond in the majors this season. And while is an awful hitter, he’s a special defender at short. Franklin may prove to be ready this year, but the Mariners shouldn’t feel compelled to rush him.

The Mariners could receive significant contributions from both Zunino and Paxton early in the year, and get a taste of the future if Hultzenrahma admits he has an ambition to play in the Premier League.Benrahma is being linked with Newcastle, Leicester City and Arsenal this week.When asked about his future, Benrahma told BBC Sport: “For the moment I am focused on Brentford. This summer I and Walker make strides in the minors. The club may not be ready to contend this season, but most of its top prospects are close to reaching the majors. The future should look a lot brighter as soon as next year.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers ,  and , follow .

made a plea to Gareth Bale.Toshack has urged Bale

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Yankees closer felt good after throwing 18 pitches in his first simulated game since knee surgery last spring. Rivera tossed one inning of work against minor-league. He also fielded and covered first base. According to .com, the 43-year-old has no timetable for his spring debut. “There is no real timetable, in a sense,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We just go day by day to see how he’s doing. I expect he’ll th Ivan Campo admits he regrets never playing for Real Sociedad.Campo revealed to AS that he had a chance to join La Real when with Bolton Wanderers.He said: “Yes, once I was in England, I received an offer from La Real. But I was so good in the Premierow another simulated game and then we’ll evaluate after that. You’re just able to c around holding the Europa League final in Baku.Smertin is hoping his old club to beat Arsenal tonight, but is upset with the way the English press has portrayed the city and the Azerbaijan football lowu has signed for Cork City in the League of Ireland Premier Division.The 20-year-old is on loan at the club for the rest of the season.Olowu has been with Arsenal since he was 13, when he arrived from Charlton Athletic.The academy graduate will becommunity.He scoffed to Sputnik: “Criticism for theontrol it.”

-Korean-star-forward-Hwang-Hee-chan-starring-Red-B

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Minnesota outfielder started his spring season off with a bang on Saturday in a Grapefruit League loss to the Orioles. Willingham homered in the agreed to move to Inter Milan, according to Danish sources.Off contract in June, the Denmark international could quit Spuet in Inter Milan’s Champions League victory over Slavia Prague.Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez (2) were both on the scoresheet for the win.The Belgian later said, “I am very happy, I have to keep working and improving as time goes on. The coach and I rs this month as he refuses to consider talks over a new deal. Ekstra Bladet says Eriksen is a step away from agreeing personal third inning off for a two-run shot with one out. He finished 2 for 2 in the game and iison is determined not to let his success go to his head.Maddison is confident his family will keep him in line.He told the Daily Mail: “I would never want to come across as arrogant because I wasn’t brought up that way and my mum would be the first s perfect thus far on the spring.

he Gunners are not looking to sell too many player

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Barring an injury to one of the team’s projected starters, Mets top pitching prospect likely will start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, The Associated Press reports. New York manager Terry Collins said Wheeler needs more time at tUnited have a hefty £100m January war-chest, it seems they won’t be rushed into making signings with Solskjaer revealing he isn’t interested in short-fix solutions.“It is not about ‘X’ amount of money we have to spenvin de Bruyne says he’s happy at Manchester City.While this season hasn’t been as successful as previous campaigns for City and De Bruyne, the player’s father Herwig has spoke of how content he is at the club – praising him for taking his game to thed – it is about who do we thihe highest minor-league level, where he made just six starts last season. “He needs to go to Triple-A and pitch,” Collins said Saturday. “He wants to be on the staff? Go be the best pitcher in Triple-A. Force us to call interest.Record says Chiquinho’s form in Portugal’s L2 this season has attracted interest from Chelsea.Blues scouts have been watching the 20 year-old regularly over the past year and believe he can develop into a Premier League class player.With th him up.” The Mets tailored a similar plan for last season before promoting him in late July.

an ankle injury blew his career at Manchester Uni

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MASNsports.com reports Nationals prospect is in good spirits as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgerletico Madrid attackeross Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to give the players the hairdryer treatment following defeat by West Ham.The Red Devils were comfortably beaten 2-0 by the Hammers at the London Stadium on Sunday, and Solskjaer’s problems are starting to mount up.Aft Antoine Griezmann.The 28-year-old forward had been expected to join the Catalan giants ever since he announced he would be leaving Atletico in May.Barcelona have signed Griezmann from La Liga rivals Atletico after paying his 12y, which kept him out last season. “Great man, I feel great,” Solis said. “Stronger than ever, actually. It’s almost as if (the torn UCL) didn’t happen.” Solis has been long tossing and hopes to throw off a mound shortly. He isn’t expected to break camp with a minor-league affiliate, but it might not be long after before he resumes his career. ung was thrilled to be part of Inter Milan’s 4-2 triumph over AC Milan.The former Manchester United captain started the game on Sunday.”I think it was an incredible feeling,” Young told talkSPORT.“You could see the way we celebrated after the game “I play catch with a changeup right now. I could spin off a few (breaking balls) if I wanted, but right now we’re just kind of focusing on extension and getting out there and finding that stress in the elbow that’s going to be there off the mound,” Solis said.

Report: Scott Rolen still undecided on whether he’ll play next year

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Scott Rolen is still undecided on whether he will play next season, to Mark Sheldon of .com. 

Rolen has discussed the idea of retirement throughout the offseason, but the Reds have said they take the 37-year-old third baseman back in a different role. In December, Reds GM Walt Jocketty told CBSSports.com’s C. Trent Rosecrans that he thought Rolen wedine Zidane is weighing up what to do with Brahim Diaz.The midfielder is impressing Zidane in preseason and he’s rethinking sending him away on-loan.Mundo Deportivo says Brahim is interesting several LaLiga rivals, including Getafe.”It is in the midould make a decision before Christmas. That, obviously, did not happen, and Jocketty told Sheldon “it could be another week to 10 days.”

Last season, Rolen hit .245/.318/.398 in 330 plate appearances with the Reds. The team is expected to mohe agent of Lucas Torreira says he expects the midfielder to stay with Arsenal.The former Sampdoria star is being linked with AC Milan after a tough season so far.But Raffaele Bentang to win the Carabao Cup.The Gunners host Nottingham Forest in the third round on Tuesday night as they start their campaign at the Emirates.”I think he mixed the team with experience and youngsters,” Parlour said of Arsenal’s run to the quarter-finncur told Radio Marte, “Anything is possible in football.”Torreira isve forward with Todd Frazier at third, meaning Rolen would likely be back in a reduced role. 

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow.

Dodgers keep spending with winning bid on Ryu; assume they’re not done

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With the Dodgers winning the bidding for Korean lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu, the lesson is not to count them out of anything.

The Dodgers won the right to negotiate for $25,737,737, as was reported on CBSSports.com, a subtantial sum for a pitcher some aren’t sure is a starter. (The Dodgers, and others, disagree.)

Sources say at leasta midfielder Jorginho has warned Maurizio Sarri that the Napoli fan base could feel “betrayed” if he joins Juventus.Reports have claimed Sarri is on the verge of swapping Stamford Bridge for Turin.Jorginho followed Sarri to the Blues last summer from one other team was in “the $20 million range” so their bid isn’t completely out of line, assuming Ryu is the starter they hope. The and also were very interested, with word coming that at least the Cubs “bid aggressively.”

Ryu is a stocky lefthander — he’s listed as 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds — with a nice touch. He’s also a plus for the Dodgers, with ‘ huge Korean population. But for this money, they have to have faith he’ll fit into their rotation.

The Dodgers have 30 days to sign Ryu now, but assuming they do, don’t assume this means they are set on starting pitching. was hurt in the second half, and Chad Billinsgley had a late injury, as well.

No matter, the new Dodgers are in a mode to spend to win.

They are like the , the old Yankees, who had money and spent it.

The Dodgers have interest in , , and , and figure they’ll make sure to get one of them, too. The Yankees are favored for Kuroda, but the Dodgers seem to have few limits.

The Dodgers spent an unheard-of $260 million in August betyween , , and . But assume there’s more where tIslam Slimani.On-loan with AS Monaco, there’s every chance the deal is set to be terminated in the coming days as offers arrive for the Algeria internatio any thoughts of retirement.The 35 year-old fullback is off contract in June.”Don’t stop playing. Stay with us for the next year,” Ancelotti said of Baines.”We would like to keep him and are going to talk with him. It would be good for us if he can snal.Foot Mercato says PSG have made contact with Slimani’s agent, Federico Pastorello, to discushat came from.

Higher powers or Giant powers? Either way, San Francisco halfway to another World Series crown

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SAN FRANCISCO — Some things they planned.Some they didn’t.Up two games to none in the World Series, the Giants know better than to deny luck has played a part. We know better than to think it’s all luck.The Gregor Blanco bunt that stopped in fair territory when by all rights it should have rolled foul, in the most important play in Thursday night’s Game 2? Luck.The seven shutout innings from Madison Bumgarner, that allowed the Blanco bunt to matter? Not luck.The second-inning relay throw to the plate that ruined the Tigers’ best chance to score a run? Mostly not luck.

More Tigers-Giants coverage More World Series Coverage | | | |

It’s not fair to the Giants to credit everything that has happened over the last week to some greater power. It’s not fair to the powers of truth to deny that some absolutely nutty things have helped bring the Giants to where they are now, two wins from what would be their second title in three years.In only the past three games — Game 7 against the Cardinals, and Gamd a new deal with Watford.The Brazilian goalkeeper has signed up for another year of football with the Hornets, despite declaring that he was 99 per cent sure he would retire at the end of his contract back in March. “I couldn’t say no to the club bees 1 and 2 against the Tigers — the Giants have benefited from a Hunter Pence line drive that changed directions in mid-air, an Angel Pagan ground ball that caromed off third base and Blanco’s bunt that the Giants were certain would roll foul — until it didn’t.”You just go home and you thank the higher powers of whoever is in charge,” third-base coach Tim Flannery said after the Giants’ 2-0 Game 2 victory against the Tigers. “And try not to piss the others off.”The Giants, who trailed two games to none in the Division Series and three games to one in the NLCS, would never say a two-games-to-none World Series lead is safe. But with their two most consistent starting pitchers — Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain — set to pitch the next two games in Detroit on Saturday and Sunday, it would be crazy not to say they’re feeling pretty good.They know that they’ve already been through what should have been the riskier part of their rotation, with Barry Zito and Bumgarner forced to start the first two games because Vogelsong and Cain’s services were required in Games 6 and 7 victories against the Cardinals.The riskier part of the rotation allowed exactly one run in 12 2/3 innings. Bumgarner, who was so bad in his first two postseason starts (eight innings, 10 runs) that he was pulled from the rotation, was brilliant on Thursday. He allowed the Tigers only two hits, a Delmon Young double that would have scored a run except for that relay throw that cut down Prince Fielder at the plate, and a fourth-inning infield single by Omar Infante.Bumgarner’s great start certainly wasn’t lucky, but it did begin with the Giants crossing their fingers. Pitching coach Dave Righetti believed he had spotted and corrected a flaw in Bumgarner’s delivery (basically, the left-hander needed to speed things up a little, allowing him to drive off the mound better), and Bumgarner was able to implement the change in a few bullpen sessions.”It speaks volumes about Madison,” Vogelsong said. “It’s hard to fix something and carry it into ained to lead Serbia into the Euro2020 finals.The Balkan nation will face Portugal in a qualifier on Saturday, hoping to catch Group B leaders Ukraine.”We see every success as euphoric, and every failure as a tragedy,” Matic said. “We have such a ment game. Not only that, but into a big game. He was off pretty bad [before]. You can repeat it in the bullpen all day, but carrying it to the mound is different.”Hats off to him. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’d have been able to do that.”Fortunately for the Giants, Vogelsong shows no signs of needing to be fixed. The Giants have won each of his three postseason starts, and he has allowed only three runs in 19 innings.Strong starting pitching is one reason this is all starting to have a very 2010 feel for the Giants. They’ve played five games since falling behind three games to one to the Cardinals, and in those five games the starters have pitched 33 innings while allowing only two runs.The cumulative score in those five games: Giants 30, Cardinals/Tigers 4.Pretty hard to argue that’s all luck.Another reason to think this is 2010 all over again: Just as they did to the Rangers, the Giants beat up the Tigers’ ace in Game 1, then shut them out in Game 2.In 2010, the Giants followed that up by winning two of the three games in Texas, coming home only for a victory parade. They would love to think this World Series plays out the same way, but all they’ll say now is that they would rather be two games up than two games down.That seems obvious, but remember, the Giants were behind in both of their first two series, including that crazy 0-2 deficit after two home games in a best-of-5 first-round series with the Reds.”0-2? No, that would not be recommended,” Jeremy Affeldt said. “Statistically, it’s probably better to be 2-0 than 0-2.”Statistically, he would be right. Teams that have gone up two games to none have won the World Series nearly 80 percent of the time (41 times out of 52).Logically, he would be right, too. But not all of what has happened to the Giants the past few days has followed any logic.”I’ve never been one to say luck had a lot to do with what happens,” Vogelsong said. “I think you make your own luck. But we’ve had a lot go our way.”The Blanco bunt was the biggest thing that went their way Thursday.In the seventh inning of a scoreless game, the Giants had runners at oungsters as they continue to produce on the pitch.The likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham are starting to reward Frank Lampard’s faith in their talent.With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to come into the team, Cascarino believes the Blfirst and second with no outs. Blanco, the Giants’ best bunter, had a 3-1 count after taking three close pitches and fouling off one bunt attempt.His next bunt went a few feet down the third-base line. It stayed on the dirt, and at AT&T Park, that invariably means it’s bound to roll foul.”That was unbelievable,” said Blanco, who crossed first base and pumped his fist as if he had driven in the winning run. “As soon as I bunted it, I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s going to go foul.’ “Flannery, in the third-base coaching box, was thinking the same thing.”You always have to keep the ball on the grass here, or it will roll off foul,” he said. “I don’t know if it was the rain or what, but it didn’t. As soon as he bunted it, I hoped someone would grab it, because I thought it was going foul.”Tigers catcher Gerald Laird thought the same thing and let it roll — and then watched helplessly as it stopped in fair territory.The Giants had the bases loaded with no outs, and when Brandon Crawford followed with a double-play grounder, the Giants had the only run they would really need.That was true thanks in large part to Bumgarner — and also to that relay that was mostly skill, with perhaps a touch of Giants luck mixed in.Bumgarner had begun the second inning by hitting Fielder with a pitch. Young followed with a shot down the left-field line, and when it took a bounce off the side wall, Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont sent Fielder to try to score the game’s first run.Blanco eventually got the ball in left field and fired it in. He overthrew Crawford, the first cutoff man, and the ball went to Marco Scutaro, the second cutoff man.”I don’t know what Scoot was doing there,” Blanco said. “Thank God he was there.”Luck?”[Blanco] is an outfielder, he doesn’t know,” Scutaro said. “I’m supposed to be there.”In any case, Scutaro took the ball and made a strong throw to catcher Buster Posey, whose swipe tag caught Fielder’s back just before Fielder’s foot touched the plate. Had Fielder slid away from the throw, he no doubt would have been safe. But he didn’t.Saved from the early run, Bumgarner got stronger.”That was huge,” Bumgarner said. “I think that might have been a momentum shifter for me.”It was huge, but it didn’t win the game all by itself, because the Giants still had to score a run, and for six innings against Doug Fister, they couldn’t. Without the bunt that stopped, maybe they don’t score in the seventh inning, either.Luck? Or maybe just a sign that this is all supposed to happen for the Giants?”As the great Carlos Santana — guitar player, not catcher — said in 2010, sometimes you have to know when to get out of the way of yourself,” Flannery said.The Giants are doing that very well. The Giants are basically doing everything very well.No, it’s not all luck.But even the Giants would tell you, it’s not all according to plan, either.

Remember this? Davey Johnson believed playoffs or bust for Nationals in February

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(Getty Images)

The clinched a , marking the first time Washington, D.C., has a postseason team since FDR was living in the White House — 1933, to be exact.

Who saw this coming? The Nationals’ manager, for one.

“We should make tudio Marchisio has paid tribute to Zenit St Petersburg after his departure this week.The midfieldeery pleased for Adam Lallana after the latter scored their equaliser against Manchester United on Sunday.The Englishman came off the bench to change the game in the Reds’ favour, allowing them to get a foothold in midfield that led to their equaliserr was allowed to come off contract on. MondayMarchisio took to social media to thank Zenit and their fans.”You guys really gave me a lot in a difficult he playoffs,” Johnson said in late February (). “There’s no doubt in my mind.”When asked if the season would be considered a failure if the Nats didn’t make the playoffs, Johnson didn’t relent. “No question in ego Godin has enjoyed his first months with coach Antonio Conte.Both men were signed by Inter this summer.“Conte and Diego Simeone are two Coaches with great characters,” the former Atletico Madrid defender told Marca.“Inter have built around Conmy mind,” Johnson said, “and they can fire me.”

It should be noted that the Nats’ big season isn’t a complete shock, but it’s still pretty surprising. I believed the Nationals were very well set up for a breakout season … in 2013. With the innings limit, injuries to and , still only 19 years old and playing in what looked like it would be a very tough NL East, it just appeared the Nationals needed another year of maturity.

Instead, here they are. Just as their manager said they should be.

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Video: Prince Fielder needs a drink

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The cynical oNelson Semedo is prepared to leave Barcelona this summer.The Portugal fullback’s agents have been flooded by offers in recent days, reports Marca.Barca are willing to sell €35m and Semedo would not be against leaving for guaranteed football.The Portuguese right-back would have interest from clubs of the Premier League and Serie A. Semedo is tied to Barca until 2022of VAR.With the Video Assistant Referee now a part of Premier League games, fans must get used to teams celebrating goals only for them to be chalked off by VAR.And Vertonghen believes that while VAR helps get decisions correct, it has taken some asp.bserver will surely see what follows and think it’s all a crafty dodge on the part of slugger … 

The man needed a refreshing drink of water, that’s all! 

The best part Liverpool Echo says young Liverpool duo Rhian Brewster and Kelleher will be allowed to leave the club on loan in the New Year.The pair have featured for the Reds in Carabao Cup this season, and are set to face Aston Villa in the quarter-final on Deceis around 0:46, when the guy handing Prince the cup is barely able to conceal his resigned amusement. 

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