A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
The Mets march on in their difficult season a day after learning general manager Sandy Alderson had effectively stepped down because his cancer has returned. Officially Youth Derrick Nnadi Jersey , Alderson will take a leave of absence, but he said Tuesday that he was essentially ending his tenure both for his health and because he doesn’t think he’s been successful enough to continue. Assistant general manager John Ricco and special assistants J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya will run the club’s baseball operations in Alderson’s absence. Minaya preceded Alderson as Mets general manager, and Ricciardi was GM of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2001-09.
CAIN NOT ABLE
Lorenzo Cain is missing the chance to face his former teammates this week due to a left groin strain. The Brewers center fielder was placed on the disabled list Tuesday, just as Milwaukee opened a series against Kansas City. Cain left the Royals last offseason for an $80 million, five-year deal with the Brewers, and he’s batting .291 with eight homers, 48 RBIs, 16 stolen bases and an .832 OPS for the NL Central leaders.
Indians rookie Shane Bieber is off to a strong start and gets his first interleague test in a game against St. Louis. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA through three starts, including seven scoreless innings against Detroit last time out. Bieber has 22 strikeouts and three walks in 18 1/3 innings after walking just 18 batters in 274 career minor league innings. The Cardinals will counter with another promising young righty, Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.50).
Dallas Keuchel (4-8 Youth Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , 3.90) has been the weakest link in Houston’s rotation – which says more about the Astros than Keuchel – but he’s been sharp of late. Over his past two starts, he’s thrown 12 innings without allowing an earned run, and now he’ll face a Toronto team that struck out 13 times against Charlie Morton in a 7-0 loss Tuesday to Houston.
That seems to be the reaction from everywhere except New England when Pro Picks has asked folks about the prospect of the Patriots being in yet another Super Bowl.
Apparently, they have become the team people love to hate: America’s Team they ain’t.
And they care not a bit about their popularity, or about what they’ve already achieved.
”I think it’s a mistake if you take anything we’ve ever done in the past and translate it to what we’re doing now,” left tackle Nate Solder says.
”I think it’s a different story. We’re writing our own story this year, so what we’re doing is preparing to see the Jacksonville team of this year and how we’re going to beat them and be as ready as we can go to play our best football.”
That might elicit more yawns, but it’s indicative of how things work in Foxborough.
But there’s a sneaking suspicion that the Patriots (14-3) are well aware of what All-Pro safety Jalen Ramsey of the Jaguars (12-6) has been saying about Sunday’s AFC championship game, in which host New England is a 9-point choice. Ramsey guaranteed a Jacksonville victory.
”I think what I have learned for a long time is it’s how you play, it’s not what you say,” Tom Brady said during his weekly radio appearance on WEEI in Boston.
”Everyone has different ways of handling things. Players do Youth Albert Wilson Jersey , coaches do. We do what works for us, other players do what works for them. The game is going to be decided by who plays the best, not who hypes the best or speaks the best.”
This is a meeting of the No. 2 (Jags) and No. 5 (Pats) scoring defenses in the league. It’s also a meeting of Brady against Blake Bortles.
Minnesota (minus 3) at Philadelphia
No shortage of attention here after both of these teams went down to the wire to advance.
This one figures to come down to defense: Minnesota allowed the fewest points in the NFL, 252, while Philadelphia was fourth stingiest.
That could mean it will be decided by the pass rush, and each team has some dynamic sack threats. The Eagles’ Fletcher Cox was sensational against Atlanta last weekend, and is complemented by Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Chris Long. For the Vikings, it’s Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter causing problems.
”We don’t want to steer away from nothing different than what we do,” Graham says Youth Daniel Kilgore Jersey , ”and we’re going to go out there and we’re going to wreak havoc. We’re going to go out there and give it everything because it’s the championship, baby.”
Philadelphia last made the Super Bowl for the 2004 season, losing to New England. The Vikings haven’t been in the big game since – get this – 1977, their fourth loss in as many tries.
That’s ancient history, of course. After what’s been dubbed the ”Minneapolis Miracle” that lifted them past New Orleans last Sunday, they believe anything is possible.
If they do things right.
”What matters is how we play on Sunday, how we execute today in practice, how we do those things,” coach Mike Zimmer says. ”I feel like I have a pretty smart, level-headed football team. They understand the magnitude of things and they know what’s at stake, so let’s just go out Youth Josh Sitton Jersey , let’s continue to do what we’ve been doing all year long, let’s play good, let’s play together as a team, take care of the football. All of the things you talk about all year long, really.”
As they say in politics, this one is too close to call. So going with the hosts.
Last week: Against spread (3-1). Straight up (2-2)
Season Totals: Against spread (122-124-10). Straight up: (165-97)
Best Bet: 10-9 against spread, 11-8 straight up.
Upset special: 10-8 against spread, 9-9 straight up
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