Month: September 2019

Home / Month: September 2019

MLB Teams Hold Up Well After Overseas Travel

September 30, 2019 | zelepmlo | No Comments

This weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will be in Sydney to play Major League Baseball’s Opening Series. MLB’s effort to sell the sport in a new market is seemingly asking a lot of the two teams involved. If either squad gets off to a rough start after returning stateside, you can bet there will be plenty of talking heads ready to blame the jet lag from a 15,000-mile round trip to Australia.We can quickly look at whether past teams put in similar situations suffered. From 2000 to 2012, MLB sent eight teams to Tokyo, which is about 2,000 miles closer to the continental United States than Australia. But Tokyo should still be a decent proxy for the trip the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are making (both flights exceed 10 hours).If you’re not interested the nitty-gritty statistics, skip the next paragraph, but suffice it to say we’re comparing how we would expect these teams to perform to how they actually performed.The nitty-gritty statistics: Using a weighted average of Pythagenpat records from the previous two seasons, I established projected “true talent” winning percentages for the globetrotting teams and their opponents in all April games after they came back to the U.S. I plugged those numbers into Bill James’ Log5 formula (factoring in MLB’s traditional 54 percent home-field advantage) to estimate the number of post-travel games each team should have won. If there was a big difference between the expected win totals and the number of games won, then perhaps there is something to the jet-lag theory.Here are the results: 2000New York Mets0.5630.625 2000Chicago Cubs0.4370.360 2008Oakland Athletics0.4870.593 YearTeamExp. Win %Actual Win % 2004Tampa Bay Devil Rays0.4260.316 2008Boston Red Sox0.5430.593 As it turns out, the teams involved in Tokyo games went on to finish April winning at almost exactly the same clip that was expected from their preseason projection (on average, these teams played about 23 games in April). This is far from a definitive study, but the early returns say it’s unlikely that any residual travel effects will contribute to a monthlong malaise for Los Angeles or Arizona. If either club struggles next month, they probably won’t have the Land Down Under to blame. 2012Oakland Athletics0.5170.455 2012Seattle Mariners0.4310.455 2004New York Yankees0.5390.524 Total0.4950.497 read more

On Wednesday, the Twitter world was in an uproar after linebacker Brandon Spikes posted a homophobic tweet.Spikes tweet read: “I’m homophobic just like I’m arachnopobic. I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders but I’d still scream if I found one in my bathtub!”Minutes after seeing the tweet several followers scolded him for his ill-advised attempt at comedy. That led to him attempting to clarify his intent three hours later by tweeting, “PEOPLE!!!! It’s a joke …seriously a JOKE!!! Chill out.”Spikes, a third-year linebacker out of the University of Florida, was paraphrasing a monologue by British comedian Jack Whitehall. Almost two years ago Whitehall said, “I’m not homophobic. Well, I suppose I’m homophobic in the same sense I’m arachnopobic. I’m not scared of spiders. I’m not scared of gays, but I would scream if I saw one in my bath.”According to Stacey James, Patriots spokesman, “The team has no comment.”On Thursday, during the Patriots media availability, Spikes was not available for comment.Other Patriots refused to comment on the tweet.“I’m just concentrating on Seattle, so I really don’t have any comment at all about it,” wide receiver Wes Walker said.Defensive captain Vince Wilfork was asked if he was embarrassed by Spikes’s tweets, he replied, “If it has nothing to do with Seattle, then I don’t even know about it. I watch SpongeBob SquarePants, you can anybody. So I don’t have time to look at everything else being said [on Twitter], because that’s my life at home.”This is not Spikes first time being involved in ill-advised acts. During his rookie year he was embroiled in controversy for being in a pornographic video that hit the Internet. Later in his rookie season he was suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.He later said in a statement that the substance was a medication that he should have gotten clarification on before using.Spikes is scheduled to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. read more

On Trial For Murder Oscar Pistorius Called A Liar

September 30, 2019 | kzmwuuff | No Comments

Oscar Pistorius’ credibility was under fire at his murder trial Thursday with the prosecution asserting that the star athlete had a string of unlikely excuses for why he was not to blame for murder and the three gun charges he faces.Casting doubt on the Olympian’s honesty while cross-examining him, prosecutor Gerrie Nel was pushing the prosecution’s argument that Pistorius is also lying about killing his girlfriend by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day last year.Nel asserted that the double-amputee Paralympic champion wouldn’t ”accept responsibility for anything” and reacted incredulously to Pistorius’ explanation of why a gun he was handling went off under a table in a packed restaurant, for which he was charged with firing a gun in public without good reason.Pistorius said a friend’s pistol, a Glock, fired while he was holding it but insisted that he hadn’t pulled the trigger. A police expert testified earlier at the trial that the Glock couldn’t be fired without the trigger being pulled.Nel said: ”We have you in possession of the gun, a shot went off, but you didn’t discharge the gun? … I’m putting it to you, you fired that gun. There is no other way,” Nel said. ”You are lying.””I respect Mr. Nel’s comment,” Pistorius replied, ”but I didn’t pull the trigger on that firearm.”The incident in a trendy Johannesburg restaurant happened just weeks before he shot to death his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013.Pistorius also said two witnesses, a former girlfriend and a friend, were both lying about an incident in 2012 when the runner is alleged to have fired his gun out the sunroof of a moving car. He has been charged with a firearms violation in this incident.Pistorius said he wasn’t guilty of yet another charge against him, illegal possession of ammunition for .38-caliber ammunition found in a safe in his home after Steenkamp was fatally shot.Pistorius said his estranged father had put the bullets into the safe and that they belonged to his father. But Nel said Pistorius’ father Henke had ”refused” to make a statement to police on the ammunition being his.”You just don’t want to accept responsibility for anything,” Nel said to Pistorius. Pistorius’ answers to the accusations were short denials.Pistorius, 27, says Steenkamp’s death was a terrible accident after he mistook her for an intruder and fired four times with his licensed 9 mm pistol through a toilet door and into a cubicle. Prosecutors say he intended to kill the 29-year-old after a loud argument heard by witnesses and they charged him with premeditated murder – for which he faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.Pistorius insisted again Thursday that the shooting was an accident and he did not intentionally fire four shots.”I didn’t have time to think about if I wanted to or didn’t want to,” Pistorius said. It was his fourth day in the witness stand, the first two days having been spent being questioned by his own lawyer, Barry Roux.Nel also accused him of egotistical behavior in his relationship with Steenkamp, and described Pistorius’ courtroom apology to his girlfriend’s family on Monday as an insincere ”spectacle” that ignored the feelings of her relatives. Steenkamp’s mother, June, has attended court sessions this week.”Your life is just about you,” Nel said to Pistorius, claiming he wasn’t ”humble enough” to apologize in private to the family and away from the media glare of his murder trial, which is being broadcast live around the world.”That’s not true,” Pistorius replied.Pistorius said his lawyers had been in touch with representatives of Steenkamp’s family, and that he had believed the family of his girlfriend was not ready to meet him.”I completely understand where they’re coming from,” he said. ”It’s not that I haven’t thought about them.” read more

For a long time now, the Golden State Warriors have owned the NBA’s ace in the hole: the Death Lineup. First deployed at the suggestion of assistant coach Nick U’Ren during the 2015 NBA Finals, the lineup quickly became the most dangerous in the league. And it got even scarier when the Warriors swapped out the weakest member of the first iteration of the Death Lineup — Harrison Barnes — for Kevin Durant before the 2016-17 season.Since Durant signed with Golden State, the lineup of him, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green has played 529 minutes during their regular-season run, outscoring opponents by a total of 268 points — and 20.5 points per 100 possessions. Prior to their series-evening Game 4 loss against the Houston Rockets, the group had shared the floor for 317 playoff minutes, outscoring opponents by 121 total points and 16.7 points per 100 possessions.In this year’s playoffs, though, the NBA’s most feared lineup has begun to show signs of vulnerability — and the Houston Rockets have taken advantage. In Game 4, Houston outscored that unit by 11 points across 22 minutes — and that figure includes the 14-8 run with which the Warriors closed the game over the final 5:45. Such a performance for the Death Lineup is — to put it mildly — highly unusual.That unit has now seen the floor together in 32 of the 48 playoff games that encompass the Durant era,1Curry and Iguodala have each missed several playoff games with injuries. and it has been outscored in just seven of those 32 games. When the lineup has shared the floor for at least five minutes, it has been outscored just four out of 23 times. And when that group has played 10-plus minutes together, they’ve been outscored only twice in 13 games.Take a look at the list of seven playoff games in which the Death Lineup has been outscored, though, and see if you notice anything. 2018: conference finals, Game 2Rockets22-18 GameOpponentMinutes+/-Win Playoff games in which Golden State has used the bench for 50 or fewer minutes, 2017-2019 The Death Lineup is killing the wrong teamSince acquiring Kevin Durant, the playoff games in which Golden State’s “Death Lineup” has been outscored, 2017-2019 2019: Round 2, Game 2Rockets50 Source: 2019: Round 1, Game 5Clippers9-8 2019: Round 2, Game 4Rockets47 2019: Round 1, Game 2Clippers4-4 2018: conference finals, Game 4Rockets48 First, and most obviously, the two worst games that group has played have come against the Rockets. Last year, they were blasted by 18 points in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, and Monday night, they were outscored by 11. But you might also notice that of the seven games, four of them are from this year’s playoff run, which right now is only 10 games old.2The Death Lineup was also played to a draw by the Rockets across 34 minutes in Game 3. It’s the only time in 32 playoff appearances that it has played to an exact tie.Part of this may be a product of Steve Kerr and the Warriors leaning too much on the Death Lineup. Before this series, the Death Lineup had never been used for more than 22 minutes in a single playoff game. It has now played 22 or more in all four games against the Rockets, including an all-time playoff high of 34 in Game 3, and the Warriors still managed to lose two of those four games. Those losses dropped their playoff record when the group shares the floor for 20-plus minutes to just 2-3, with all of those games coming against the Rockets.3Meanwhile, Golden State is 8-0 when the Death Lineup plays between 10 and 19 minutes. That’s an odd quirk.That the Warriors have had to use their best lineup more often against Houston than anybody else is perhaps not surprising. The Rockets were fairly open last season about having constructed their team specifically to defeat the Warriors — so open that general manager Daryl Morey declared prior to the start of last season that the organization was “obsessed with ‘How do we beat the Warriors?’”They nearly pulled it off during last year’s Western Conference finals, falling in seven games after taking a 3-2 lead but seeing Chris Paul get injured in the final moments of Game 5. Houston was criticized in some circles for its offseason maneuvers, namely letting Trevor Ariza walk for a deal with the Phoenix Suns. The crowing got even louder when Houston started the season poorly,4The Rockets were 11-14 and in 14th place in the Western Conference on Dec. 8 before finishing the season on a 42-15 sprint, with only the Milwaukee Bucks posting a better record after that date. but here they are again in position to send the Warriors home early. The Rockets don’t have home-court advantage this time around, but perhaps they have another advantage: their bench.Houston’s in-season pickups of Austin Rivers and Iman Shumpert fleshed out their wing depth, and that duo has provided strong minutes during this series. Rivers missed Game 1 with an illness, but the Rockets are plus-17 in his 85 minutes over the past three games. Similarly, they’re plus-15 in 65 minutes with Shumpert on the floor during the series. Nene has been used only sparingly as the Rockets have leaned into small-ball lineups with P.J. Tucker at center when Clint Capela rests, but Houston is nevertheless plus-18 with Nene in the game.The Warriors’ bench, meanwhile, has been a disaster. All five players who have come off the bench for at least 10 minutes during these four games have seen the Warriors get outscored during their time on the floor. It’s getting to the point where Kerr seemingly cannot trust any of them — including previously reliable role players like Shaun Livingston. GameOPPONENTBench Min. 2017: Round 1, Game 1Trail Blazers6-7✓ 2019: Round 2, Game 4Rockets22-11 2019: Round 2, Game 1Rockets44 2019: Round 1, Game 3Clippers2-5✓ 2017: Round 2, Game 4Jazz2-8✓ 2019: Round 2, Game 3Rockets39 Source: Kerr gave his bench guys only 47 combined minutes in Game 4, the third-fewest minutes he has ever given them in 48 playoff games since the team signed Durant. Only five times has he given out 50 bench minutes or fewer, and four of them have come during this series, which is only four games old.With his bench foundering and the Death Lineup no longer delivering its standard kill shot, Kerr is going to have to hope things take a different turn as the series returns to Oracle Arena for Game 5. Maybe that’s Curry busting out of his series-long shooting slump in an even bigger way than he did on Monday night or Klay Thompson finally exploding for the first time in what seems like forever. Maybe it’s figuring out a way to force James Harden into a subpar performance. Maybe it’s something else. But something has to change for them, or else they’re going to be heading home for the summer unexpectedly early. Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

It was the middle of April, and the score was tied between the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners. It was the bottom of the ninth, the bases were loaded, and nobody was out. Marlins masher Giancarlo Stanton was at the plate against Mariners reliever Yoervis Medina, and Medina was ahead one ball and two strikes, in position to put Stanton away and extend the inning. But then he made a terrible mistake with a breaking ball, and Stanton knows what to do to with mistakes.Your browser does not support iframes.That pitch, that was a meatball — a pitch so appetizing a hitter can’t help but think of devouring it whole. And big league batters can eat; they don’t leave many meatballs on the plate.There’s only a limited understanding of what a meatball is. One general definition: “an easy pitch to hit, thrown right down the middle of the plate.” Major League Baseball’s official lingo agrees. Brooks Baseball defines “grooved pitches” as pitches thrown in the middle-middle of the plate, regardless of movement or velocity.But there has been no available resource that shows what happens to meatballs when they’re served up. So I looked at 1.7 million pitches over about six and a half seasons since 2008, culled from PITCHf/x and Baseball Savant, and found that off-speed meatballs lead to the kind of slugs that make highlight reels, but fastballs get swung at and hit more often.Meatballs are subjective enough that there’s no way to separate them from non-meatballs with 100 percent accuracy. But to analyze them I had to at least approximate a definition, so that I could create two buckets: one presumably containing mostly meatballs, the other presumably containing mostly non-meatballs.I’m defining a meatball as a pitch over the middle of the plate, between the thigh and the belt, and one that doesn’t hang around the bottom of the strike zone (because pitchers often throw low on purpose). So my data set includes pitches over the middle third of the plate, in the upper two-thirds of the strike zone, meaning 22 percent of the strike zone is meatball territory. But not all pitches that land in that area are meatballs. I’ve excepted knuckleballs, whose movement is usually too erratic,1Admittedly, a flat, undancing knuckleball can be a meatball made out of filet mignon. and also fastballs over 95 mph, under the assumption that at high enough speeds, meatballs don’t really exist. If Aroldis Chapman lays a 100 mph pitch down the pipe, a hitter barely catches a whiff of meat before the ball’s in the catcher’s glove.This definition includes about a quarter of the homers hit so far this season. But homers aren’t the only reason meatballs are interesting: They’re a vehicle to find out more about a pitcher’s worst mistakes, and how different those mistakes are from his peak performance.Take the chart below, which shows whether batters are more enticed to swing when they see a meatball coming toward them, as we suspect they are. I’ve split up fastballs and off-speed2“Off-speed” refers to both traditional off-speed pitches (e.g. change-ups), and breaking balls (e.g. sliders). pitches to show how they’re thrown and treated differently. The data is also broken down by how the count looks from the pitcher’s perspective3I separated pitches by count-types because hitters vary their aggressiveness depending on the count.: “ahead” refers to pitcher-friendly counts4Those are: 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, 2-2.; “behind” classifies pitcher-unfriendly counts5Those are: 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 3-1.; and “even” encompasses counts where neither hitter nor pitcher is in the power position.6Those are: 0-0, 1-1, 2-1, 3-2. Hitters swing at meaty fastballs, on average, far more frequently than at off-speed meatballs. That feels intuitive, since hitters look for fastballs over the middle, so speedy meatballs are already where hitters expect them to be. With the pitcher ahead, hitters swing at meaty fastballs 93 percent of the time, but at non-meaty fastballs 80 percent of the time. We don’t see these gaps with off-speed pitches. In every case, the rates are just about even, suggesting that breaking balls, on average, may be as deceptive when they’re meaty as when they’re not. Alternatively, batters might not be able to track off-speed pitches as well as they track fastballs.Swinging is one thing, but we mostly care about swing results. We can also look at whether hitters make contact with meatballs more often.When hitters are swinging at off-speed pitches, they’re doing better on the meatballs. In every case, fastballs are struck somewhere between 87 percent to 90 percent of the time. But with off-speed stuff, there are clear differences in the contact rates — the mistakes are getting hit. There’s a reason hanging breaking balls have a bad reputation.So we know that hitters like to swing at fast meatballs and make better contact on off-speed meatballs, but what really matters is which bad pitches are most exploited.It’s no surprise that meatballs are turned around with more success than other, higher-quality strikes. What’s interesting is the extent to which that’s true. The biggest difference is with off-speed pitches in even counts — meaty ones have yielded a slugging percentage 119 points higher than non-meaty ones. In those situations, hitters are neither sitting on a fastball nor looking to swing at anything close.That’s indicative of the main discovery: There’s a far bigger difference for off-speed pitches than for fastballs in every type of count. The average overall fastball gap is 48 slugging points, while the average overall off-speed gap is 104 points.Off-speed pitches lead to more home runs, too. Here’s a table showing home runs per swing attempt:Of course, my analysis isn’t perfect. Meatballs and non-meatballs could probably be separated with greater purity, given infinite hours of time, and a meatball to Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t work the same as a meatball to Ben Revere. Under few circumstances should a pitcher ever want to throw a pitch up in the zone and down the middle of the plate. But as the evidence shows, most meatballs still don’t get punished. Pitchers get away with the majority of their mistakes because hitting is incredibly difficult and the fate of a mistake depends in part on the context. The way pitches are woven together can make a pitch down the middle surprising and effective, even if it wasn’t actually supposed to go there.What a meatball really is presumably changes with every situation. Meaty pitches are hit out of the park more often than non-meaty pitches, and the biggest difference is, yet again, with off-speed pitches in even counts, where a meatball is almost twice as likely to be hit out of the park as a non-meatball. (Note that these home run numbers were included in my earlier slugging-point analysis.)But all types of meatballs hurt somehow. The off-speed ones aren’t swung at as often, but when hitters do make contact, they’re clobbering the ball. The fastball variety, meanwhile, do entice a hitter to take a swing, leading to a ball that’s more likely to find its way around the defense. And whether it’s a fastball or an off-speed pitch, meatballs are still the most homer-friendly pitch I’ve seen.The more I looked into the meatball, the more it confirmed my suspicion: no matter the particulars, it’s the bad pitch we assumed it was. read more

Should Terrell Owens Be In The Hall of Fame? HOUSTON — Great Super Bowls tend to be remembered in miniature: A missed kick. A ball pressed to a helmet. An outstretched arm at the goal line. For this Super Bowl, though, the picture will be bigger and two-sided: the New England Patriots’ furious comeback from down by 25 points to take a title they had no business taking, and the Atlanta Falcons’ attendant collapse. This game’s individual moments, memorable as they were, will likely be pale in importance next to the way the reputations of both teams were affirmed in the strongest possible terms, by the thinnest possible margin.On the Patriots’ side, Belichick and his apostles are up for beatification. Tom Brady led five consecutive scoring drives to stage the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, setting records for pass attempts, completions and yardage in the championship game. Julian Edelman made the cleat catch. And the Patriots defense clamped down to hold the Falcons scoreless in their final four drives. The turnaround was so dramatic that it practically unwound the ESPN win-probability model in real time. These are seemingly acts of a higher power.Except Brady, of course, hadn’t been perfect all game. Before the Patriots offense clicked into action late in the third, Brady missed Julian Edelman badly on a few throws and was making uncharacteristic errors. Partly this was due to the Falcons pass rush getting to him using just four rushers. In the second half, New England’s massive time-of-possession advantage began to show as the Falcons’ pass rush faded. (“I think for sure we ran out of gas some,” said Falcons coach Dan Quinn. “I don’t know what the time of possession was, I didn’t look at that. But I can tell you how hard these guys battled for it.”) But partly Brady’s poor start to the game was simply some bad throws and costly drops at the worst possible time in the season for either.But rather than overreact to a few bad plays, New England stayed the course. “You can decide to say that the game is out of reach,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said after the game, “and start scrambling and going into a two-minute mode earlier than you really want to. At halftime, we definitely weren’t going to do that.”This is the least shocking thing the Patriots could have done. The comeback was prodigious, of course, but everyone in the stadium was watching something they had seen the Patriots do many times before. Brady wasn’t reeling off dazzling, how’d-he-do-that highlights; he was marching the Falcons to their unavoidable doom. Even the team’s ho-hum reactions to Edelman’s time-and-space-defying catch demonstrate the sense of certainty surrounding the Pats:Edelman: “It was 3rd-and-5. We made a decent play. Thankfully, we finished. I was just trying to track it. It was a bang-bang play.”Brady: “Yeah, I couldn’t believe it. It was one of the greatest catches. We’ve been on the other end of a few of those catches and tonight, you know, we came up with it. It was a pretty spectacular catch.”McDaniels: “It was just great concentration. I think to win a game like this, you’re probably going to need a few plays like that, and that was one of them.”Running back James White: “I was actually right in front of him when he caught it. I was pretty sure that he caught it. It was a big play in the game.”Tight end Martellus Bennett: “I was like, ‘OH SHIT HE CAUGHT THAT!’” OK, so not all of them are replicants. But if Brady didn’t quite come away from Sunday with one defining “Isn’t that John Candy?” moment of cool, he got the one thing that solidifies legacies more than iconic moments: luck. The ball finally bounced (or, in Edelman’s case, didn’t) the Patriots’ way, and the same stroke of the divine that stole away a perfect season in 2008 put New England in position to steal a championship back. For a player and a franchise as accomplished as Brady and the Pats, the inescapable conclusion is that the luck you have is the luck you make.But for a team and quarterback that don’t have that luxury, one bad half threatens to peel off whatever veneer of credibility they had constructed on top of the city’s old Loserville neuroses this season. And if the team’s only luck is bad luck, Ryan and the Falcons manufactured it themselves.As you’d probably guess, the biggest postgame scrum for the Falcons coaches wasn’t around Quinn, but around offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The defense was gassed, sure, but how could the high-powered Falcons offense (No. 2 in Football Outsiders’ offensive ranks) have scored its final points with 8:31 left in the third quarter?After the game, the thing most everyone wanted to know — and made sure to ask every Falcon in the building — was just what happened after Julio Jones made a ridiculous catch of his own with 4:47 left in the fourth quarter, putting the Falcons on the edge of field-goal range and in position to go up two scores. Were you too aggressive late? Do you wish you had any of those play calls back? They were polite versions of the obvious question: Just what the hell was Shanahan thinking? Score there and the Falcons are up two scores with just about four minutes remaining. In a game that was over several times before it was truly over, that would have buried the Pats a few feet deeper.“Our goal was to get as many yards as we could,” Shanahan said. “You don’t think, ‘Just run the ball and make your guy kick a 50-yard field goal,’ you try your hardest to give him a great chance to for sure make it, but we ended up getting a sack, and [running the ball isn’t] really an option after that.” Related: Hot Takedown In today’s NFL, a 52-yard field goal is a little under a 70 percent proposition. Scooch up 10 yards, and you’re looking at something closer to 80 percent. Add another five yards onto that and you’re up above 90 percent, turning a not-so-sure thing into one as sure as it’s going to get. The only choice is to try to advance the ball.On first down, Devonta Freeman lost a yard. The Falcons could have taken two more plays to run into the line and taken their chances on the 50-plus-yarder. But when you have the league MVP under center and are gaining 8.8 net yards per pass attempt on the season, and when those 8.8 yards would represent a material improvement to your odds of winning, you stick to what you know. And so the Falcons did what they did all season — they gave Matt Ryan the ball. And then he got sacked. And then Jake Matthews committed his second costly holding penalty. Suddenly, the Falcons had 3rd-and-33, and as the coaches like to say, there’s no play in the playbook for that.The difference between the Falcons and the Patriots is the difference between the Patriots and the Falcons. The Falcons’ inexplicable little foibles, like the repeatedly snapping the ball without milking all the time they could off the clock, doomed them. The Pats’ miscues, like the decision to kick a field goal while down 19 in the fourth quarter should have doomed New England, but the Patriots were saved by a series of miraculous events. Edelman caught the ball; Ryan coughed it up. The Patriots stay the Patriots, and the Falcons surely will stay the Falcons. read more

After ending their three game skid with a shutout victory against No. 4 Denver, the Ohio State men’s hockey team (1-3-0) will go on its first road trip of the season against the Lake Superior State Lakers (4-1-0).OSU started off its season on a low note by getting swept in a two-game series by the unranked Quinnipiac Bobcats at the Schottenstein Center.But the win over Denver at Nationwide Arena should steer the Buckeyes in the right direction. Their next opponent will be their second conference contest of the season.Lake Superior State is coming off of a disappointing 2008-2009 season as they finished with a 9-21-5 overall record, including an 8-16-4 CCHA record. The team’s CCHA preseason ranking was 10 out of a total of 12 conference teams.A stat that defined their unproductive season was their 1-12-0 record in games decided by one goal.A positive note for the Lakers is that they return seven of their eight defensemen, but they also lose three of their top five goal scorers from last season.Key returning players for Lake Superior State are senior forward Zac MacVoy and sophomore forward Fred Cassiani. Also returning is senior goaltender Pat Inglis, who had a 2.01 goals allowed per game average last season.The Lakers have looked to turn the page from their past season, as they have started their season with a 4-1-0 record and are currently riding a three game winning streak.The Buckeyes split their last series versus the Lakers last season, losing 7-3 and winning 4-2 at the Schott.“Based on last year, they are a big and physical team,” sophomore defenseman Matt Bartkowski said. “They really took it to us here. We are just going to try to go in there, punish them, and win.”Coach John Markell said junior Dustin Carlson will start at goalie over sophomore Cal Heeter for Friday’s contest, but he hasn’t decided who will start the second game of the series.“It’s great that we have two goalies ready to go and they will battle it out,” Markell said.“The key for them is that the team that plays in front of them plays hard no matter who’s in the net.”Markell believes that his two goalies are in a “healthy competition.” Both goaltenders have played a game in their two opening series.When asked if Markell needed a true number one goalie, he said he just needs a guy in that position to play well.The Buckeyes will be competing without junior forwards Hunter Bishop and Kyle Reed, both out with injury. Markell believes that this will give other athletes on his team a great chance to gain more experience on the ice.Both contests this weekend will be played at 7 p.m. read more

Blue Jackets lose final game 54 to Sabres

September 28, 2019 | jqykayon | No Comments

The Columbus Blue Jackets lost their final game of the season, 5-4, to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena. “It was a tough season for us. We’re disappointed in the outcome,” Jackets captain Rick Nash said. The two teams got off to a slow start in their second meeting of the season. Neither team was able to get past the other’s defense, leaving the first period of the game scoreless. The pace picked up swiftly in the second, with the first goal of the night by Blue Jackets right wing Derek Dorsett at 4:15, which was answered three minutes later by a goal from Sabre right wing Jason Pominville. “They were always sticking behind us,” Dorsett said on scoring his fourth goal of the season. “So I just took it around the goal.” The Sabres earned their second and third points of the night later in the second period with goals from defenseman Chris Butler and left wing Tyler Ennis. Jackets right wing Jared Boll answered the Sabres’ third goal with one of his own toward the end of the second, bringing the score to 3-2. Great transitions and passing on the part of the Blue Jackets continued into the third period. Columbus left wing Kristian Huselius opened the period with the team’s third point of the night. However, the Blue Jackets’ defense began to lag in the middle of the third, allowing Sabre right wing Drew Stafford and center Paul Gaustad each to score a goal, putting Buffalo up two against Columbus. Huselius was able to score again later in the third, but it wasn’t enough to give his team an advantage, and the Blue Jackets fell, 5-4, to Buffalo. “It was a spirited game,” Jackets coach Scott Arniel said in a postgame press conference. “We really got after them in the third period.” Arniel said the team started out with the goal of making it to the playoffs, but fell short this season. “I have a hollow feeling right now,” he said. “Not playing next week is a little unsettling.” read more

The No. 25-ranked Ohio State women’s soccer team is still sitting on 199 wins in its program history. OSU opened Big Ten conference play on the road Sunday with a 1-1 draw against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Minnesota senior midfielder Shari Eckstrom scored in the 32nd minute to put the Gophers up, 1-0. Eckstrom gained control of the ball and fired a shot from outside OSU’s penalty area to the right side OSU senior goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner. OSU sophomore midfielder Danica Wu delivered the equalizer in the 82nd minute after firing a shot on the run that bounced off of the crossbar and into the goal. The teams then played 20 minutes of extra time and although the Buckeyes took three corner kicks, the teams couldn’t separate themselves. The Buckeyes (5-3-1) will try for win No. 200 for the third time on Friday against Illinois at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. First kick is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. read more