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Cody Bellinger, Mike Trout setting pace one-third of the way into 2019 MLB season

first_img Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels fail to take series in Oakland, lose in 10 innings How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire If the weather cooperates, every major league team will play its 54th game this week, one-third of the way to the regular–season finish line. The standings have a familiar look. It’s a good time to take stock of who’s done what.Think of these not as “midseason awards,” but as a measuring stick of who’s leading the pack in each category – the major Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards, and a few more for good measure.Most Valuable Players: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers (NL) and Mike Trout, Angels (AL)Wins Above Replacement might have existed as a concept 100 years ago, but it was not a mathematically defined metric. As it exists today, WAR rates Babe Ruth’s 1923 season as the best ever (14.1). Walter Johnson’s 1913 season is the best ever by a pitcher (15.1). That makes intuitive sense; when the game was still in its nascent stage, the gap between the best and worst player should have been higher than it is today. Keuchel is undefeated in games started by allegedly inferior starting pitchers. He is the muse of every fan’s imagination, the first stone cast at every general manager who “scrimped” on starting pitching in the offseason. Why didn’t the (insert team here) sign Dallas Keuchel? Keuchel’s stainless record invalidates every rebuttal.Kimbrel is perfect in save opportunities blown by allegedly inferior relief pitchers. He is the reason – all by himself – the average reliever carried a 4.68 earned-run average through Tuesday, up from 4.45 a year ago. Why didn’t the (insert every team here) sign Craig Kimbrel? Fire (every general manager)!Fear not, gentle reader. Teams are able to sign Keuchel and Kimbrel after 9 p.m. PT on Sunday without the penalty of surrendering a pick in next week’s draft.If I must choose winners from the ranks of the employed: Justin Verlander, Astros (AL) and Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (NL). Not far behind: Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, Rays; Mike Minor, Rangers; Jake Odorizzi, Twins; Max Scherzer, Nationals; Chris Paddack, Padres; Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers; Jacob deGrom, Mets; Luis Castillo, RedsRookies of the Year: Brandon Lowe, Rays (AL) and Chris Paddack, Padres (NL)Lowe – pronounced LAU – has been a catalyst for the upstart Rays, with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs in 47 games. That puts him on pace to break the record for most home runs by a rookie second baseman, set by Dan Uggla (27) in 2006. Publicly available metrics like UZR and DRS offer strong endorsements of his defense. It’s early, but the six-year, $24 million contract extension Lowe signed with the Rays in March is looking like a bargain for the team.The National League rookie field is packed. Paddack’s innings limit could work against him in the long run, but he’s shown what he can do on an every-fifth day routine. The 23-year-old right-hander has a 1.93 ERA that would rank second in the National League if he had enough innings to qualify for the title. Not bad for a kid with only seven games of experience above the single-A level prior to this year.Not far behind: Michael Chavis, Red Sox; Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners; Mike Soroka, Braves; Alex Verdugo, Dodgers; Pete Alonso, MetsComeback players of the year: Lucas Giolito, White Sox (AL) and Pablo Sandoval, Giants (NL)Giolito was arguably the worst pitcher in the American League last year (10-13, with a league-high 6.13 ERA and 90 walks). This year he’s among the best (7-1, 2.85, 20 walks in 60 innings). The former top prospect from Harvard-Westlake who came to Chicago in the Adam Eaton trade is throwing harder and with better command, a lethal combination. Giolito is still only 24 years old. Perhaps he’s arriving right on time.Sandoval, still Boston’s fourth-highest paid player, is the most (only?) entertaining member of a Giants team that’s been tough to watch. He’s batting .299 and is on pace for 21 homers – numbers in line with his early-2010s peak. Sandoval even pitched a scoreless inning in a blowout for a team that promises many mop-up innings to come.Related Articlescenter_img Not far behind: Tim Anderson, White Sox; Frankie Montas, A’s; Minor, Rangers; Luis Castillo, RedsMost disappointing team: Washington NationalsAfter winning 82 games last year, the Nationals are on pace for 68 wins in 2019. More than disappointing, they might simply be bad. Start with the bullpen: Nationals relievers have blown more saves (11) than they have converted (10). They have allowed more inherited runners to score (40) than any team in baseball. Throw in a subpar lineup (35-year-old Howie Kendrick is their second-best hitter) and it’s silly to consider that Washington has a starting rotation built to dominate the playoffs. As Jim Mora once asked: “Playoffs?”Most surprising team: Minnesota TwinsThe 2016 Astros were projected by many to contend for a playoff berth, culminating a historic rebuild. Instead, they slipped from second to third in the AL West, injecting some pessimism into their youth movement. A year later the Astros won the World Series. The Twins’ rebuild is suddenly on a similar course: after capturing a wild-card berth two years ago, Minnesota fell below .500 in 2018, fired Manager Paul Molitor, and now is on a 111-win pace. The Twins’ young players (Buxton, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Polanco, Jose Berrios, Miguel Sano) are leading the way behind a young manager (Rocco Baldelli). It’s been fun to watch. Bellinger is on pace for 15.5 WAR through the first third of the season. There will be a time to debate whether he or Trout is the sport’s best player. The question for 2019 is whether Bellinger is having the best season ever, by anyone, and the answer so far is yes. He entered Wednesday with a .382 batting average, 20 home runs, 51 runs batted in and seven stolen bases. He’s the first player to swat 19 home runs and record seven outfield assists in his team’s first 52 games since … Babe Ruth in 1932. The race for NL MVP is not close.The race for AL MVP is always close, with Trout a fixture in each race since 2012. It is a testament to Trout’s greatness that his swing can be “off” and still track for a 36-homer, 90-RBI season. His counting stats would be higher if opposing pitchers weren’t content to walk Trout nearly one out of every four at-bats. His baserunning and center field defense are elite. For now, the gap between Trout and the second-best player in the AL is large enough to make this an easy call.The races for second place: George Springer and Alex Bregman, Astros; Joey Gallo, Rangers; Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco, Twins; Christian Yelich, Brewers; Paul deJong, Cardinals; Anthony Rendon, Nationals; Josh Bell, PiratesCy Young Award: Dallas Keuchel, free agent (AL) and Craig Kimbrel, free agent (NL)It’s amazing what the two pitchers have been able to accomplish without throwing a single pitch in 2019. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Harden surpasses 15,000 points as Rockets trip Nets

first_imgLights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Michael Porter Jr. stays patient as playing time increases Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ Brooklyn ended the run with a pair of free throws but Paul then was fouled behind the line and made all three. He scored the final basket of the period to make it 96-86 when Nene freed him for a layup with a devastating pick on Caris LeVert, knocking him out of the game.TIP-INSRockets: Eric Gordon returned after missing 2½ games with low back stiffness, scoring 13 points. … D’Antoni said F Trevor Ariza (left hamstring strain) still had a little way to go before coming back, saying there was no timetable yet for his return.Nets: LeVert was being evaluated for a possible concussion. … Brooklyn remained without starting F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson because of a right groin strain. Quincy Acy, who had been starting in his place, was sidelined with a sprained right middle finger.HELPING HANDSThe Rockets’ star backcourt got plenty of help from Clint Capela (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Green (16 points). Also, the Rockets outscored the Nets by 17 points during Nene’s 14½ minutes on the court.UP NEXTRockets: Visit Miami on Wednesday.Nets: Visit Detroit on Wednesday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Nonito Donaire vs Naoya Inoue is BWAA 2019 Fight of the Year Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Almazan vows to comeback stronger after finals heartbreak Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives toward the basket as Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll (9) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK — That’s 15,000 points for James Harden, with plenty more to come the way these Houston Rockets can run it up.Harden scored 36 points, reaching a milestone along the way, and the Rockets beat the Brooklyn Nets 123-113 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours “In the first half they were making shots. Second half, especially at the end of the third quarter, we had to lock down, get stops and push the lead ahead,” Harden said.DeMarre Carroll scored 21 points for the Nets and Spencer Dinwiddie added 18 points and nine assists. Brooklyn has lost seven of its last eight.“We never found a solution to stop them, obviously,” Atkinson said. “They made a lot of tough shots.”The Nets had an 84-80 lead when Dinwiddie hit from nearly 10 feet behind the arc with 3:38 remaining in the third. The Rockets charged back with 11 straight points, including two 3-pointers by Gerald Green, to go up 91-84.“We just started getting stops on defense,” Paul said. “All game long it seemed like they were just too comfortable, and they played well. I think you got to give them a lot of credit. They moved the ball well, and then we just locked in defensively, started making some shots.”ADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Magic stun reeling Cavs as LeBron says he’s staying put OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Chris Paul added 25 points for the Rockets, who kept right on rolling in their first game since their nationally televised romp in Cleveland on Saturday.“It’s all coaching out there. You saw that, right?” Houston’s Mike D’Antoni said. “Chris Paul, James, you got those two guys, it’s one or the other. It’s unbelievable.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkBoth teams made 16 3-pointers in an entertaining shootout between D’Antoni’s Rockets and the Nets of Kenny Atkinson, who assisted D’Antoni in New York and has the Nets trying to do some of the things Houston does on offense.But it’s one thing to be like the Rockets and another to beat them. Houston simply went to another gear when Brooklyn took the lead late in the third quarter and never stopped scoring long enough in the fourth to let the Nets get too close. Newsome sets focus on helping Bolts open new PBA season on right track Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Formula One sets July deadline for cockpit device

first_imgFormula One will decide by July which head protection device it favours for 2017 with more testing likely at the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix, race director Charlie Whiting said on Sunday.Red Bull tested an ‘aeroscreen’ fitted to the front of the cockpit in Friday practice at the Russian Grand Prix while Ferrari tried out a ‘halo’ device in pre-season testing in Barcelona.Whiting told reporters in Sochi that it “would be unreasonable” to leave a decision any later than July 1 because teams needed to incorporate the new device into their 2017 designs.New rules, aimed at making cars faster and more exciting with wider tyres and revised aerodynamics, are being introduced for 2017.”There are different load cases for each design because the halo has a central mounting and the ‘aeroscreen’ has two on the sides with nothing in the middle,” Whiting said.Whiting, who also oversees safety for the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), said only one of the two concepts would be taken forward with a likely sole supplier. The FIA’s F1 Commission will make the final decision.Before then, further tests will be carried out to ensure there is no risk of the driver’s head hitting the structure in an impact.”What we are doing is some sledwork with a dummy to try to simulate more precisely just how much room you need in order to make sure that the driver’s head doesn’t make contact with it — as they are both substantial structures,” Whiting added.”That is the next phase of work, which I am told should be completed within two weeks.”advertisementRed Bull were also seeking special coatings for the interior and exterior of the ‘aeroscreen’ to reduce glare and ensure nothing sticks to it. The halo has no screen.”It’s quite difficult where you have tall buildings, trees, low sun, those sorts of effects, that you will probably get in Monaco and Monza, where there are natural features,” Whiting said of the screen.Improving head protection has become a priority after the deaths last year of Briton Justin Wilson, who was hit by debris in an IndyCar crash, and Frenchman Jules Bianchi.Sunday also marked the anniversary of the 1994 death of Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna at Italy’s Imola racetrack.The front wheel of the Williams bounced back in that impact with the wall, with Senna’s helmet penetrated by a suspension arm.last_img read more