Rockies vs Padres

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The San Diego Padres made a few moves ahead of their two-game series with the Colorado Rockies beginning tonight at Petco Park.The San Diego Padres made the previously reported (James E. Clark, EVT) move of calling up Franmil Reyes to make his major-league debut and optioned second baseman Carlos Asuaje (Cassavell, to Triple-A El Paso. This decision likely signifies the permanence of Jose Pirela‘s recent run at the position.

Asuaje, 26, is currently hitting .198 for the season with a .555 OPS. After getting the bulk of the playing time at second for most of the first thirty-odd games of the season, his offensive inadequacies finally caught up to him and he was deemed expendable at this current juncture.

In the ideal-scenario for AJ Preller and manager Andy Green, the Venezuelan native will head down to El Paso with a chip on his shoulder and a head full of determination to get better.With consistent at-bats and the hitter-friendly environment of the Pacific Coast League, Asuaje could get things back on track relatively quickly both through physical results and mental (read: confidence-boosting) effects.

Over the weekend, Asuaje sent out this tweet. Personally, I have faith in his work ethic and his potential for turning things around fairly quickly.

NEW YORK — The Colorado Rockies headed to New York this week fueled by the best run their rotation has enjoyed in almost three years. Maybe some of the Rockies’ success will rub off on the New York Mets’ struggling starting pitchers.

The Mets just might be desperate enough to bank on the power of proximity Friday night when they open a three-game series against the Rockies at Citi Field.Zack Wheeler (2-1, 4.09 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Mets against German Marquez (1-3, 5.14 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.

The Rockies were off Thursday after earning their second straight win Wednesday, when they cruised past the host Chicago Cubs 11-2. The Mets absorbed their first series sweep of the season Thursday when the visiting Atlanta Braves capped the three-game set with an 11-0 rout.

The shutout was the second straight suffered by the Mets (17-12), who fell out of first place while being outscored by the Braves 21-2 over the three games. New York had just six hits in the final two games and didn’t record a hit against Julio Teheran on Thursday until Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-out double in the seventh inning.

The Mets opened the season 11-1 but haven’t won back-to-back games since.”I’m sure there’s guys scrambling — I don’t think everybody’s scrambling,” New York manager Mickey Callaway said following Thursday’s game. “It’s part of a long season, and that’s where processes and routines and making sure that you’re taking care of everything you can possibly take care of, so you can go out there and have confidence, whether you’re going good or bad.”

The Mets’ skid has been deepened by the struggles of the middle and back of its rotation. While aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard have combined to post a 2.46 ERA in 14 starts, the quartet of Wheeler, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Jason Vargas have recorded a 6.29 ERA in 15 starts, including an 8.64 ERA in nine starts over New York’s last 17 games.Wheeler at least provided himself something to build off in his most recent start on Sunday, when he earned the win after allowing two runs over five innings as New York beat the San Diego Padres 14-2.

The rotation hasn’t been an issue lately for the Rockies, whose last four starters (Chad Bettis. Kyle Freeland, Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson) have pitched at least seven innings and allowed three earned runs or fewer — the longest such streak for the team since a four-game run from June 6-9, 2015. Colorado is 5-3 over the last eight games, during which the starters have compiled a 1.68 ERA.

“The momentum is great,” Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado told reporters following Wednesday’s game. “The starting pitching lately has kind of carried us.”

Marquez took the loss in his most recent start last Saturday, giving up three runs (one earned) over six innings as the Rockies fell to the Miami Marlins, 4-1.

Wheeler took the loss in his only previous start and appearance against the Rockies on May 2, 2014, when he gave up seven runs (four earned) over four innings as the Mets fell 10-3. Marquez didn’t factor into the decision in his lone career start and appearance against New York last Aug. 3 when he allowed three runs over six innings in the Rockies’ 5-4 win.Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland responded to a question regarding Noah Syndergaard’s relative underperformance this season by saying Syndergaard hasn’t accomplished much in the majors at all. “He’s spent, what, 2 1/2 years in the big leagues? So I don’t know where all the expectations came from,” Eiland told Mike Puma of the NY Post. “I wasn’t here for all that, but he is yet to do a whole lot at the major league level. Now is he capable of it? Yeah, but he is 25 years old. For the most part every game he’s kept us in it and given us a chance to win.”

Syndergaard, who has a 3.09 ERA (2.78 FIP) and 1.20 WHIP in 46.2 innings (eight starts) this season, has 410.2 regular season major league innings under his belt since making his debut in May of 2015.

Danny Abriano, | Twitter | If Eiland is trying to light a fire under Syndergaard by saying he hasn’t done much, great. If it’s actually what Eiland believes, then that’s another story. And his comment wondering where the expectations came from regarding Syndergaard? That was simply baffling. Sure, relative to all-time greats such as Tom Seaver and current greats such as Clayton Kershaw, Syndergaard’s body of work is tiny. But his body of work compared to his peers who have been in the league about as long as he has speaks for itself. And the fact is that he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. And he has been since first setting foot on a big league mound in 2015

Giro d’Italia 2018

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Giro d’Italia 2018: Live stream, TV channel, route, stages, schedule and more.

When does the Giro d’Italia 2018 start?

The first stage of the Giro d’Italia will get underway on Friday May 4 in Jerusalem, one of three stages in Israel.

The race will then return to Italy over the May 7 rest day for its first home stage starting in Catania on Tuesday May 8.

The champion will be crowned in Rome after the final stage on Sunday May 27.

Giro d’Italia 2018 TV channel

The UK TV rights for the Giro d’Italia have once again been taken up by Eurosport, who will split the coverage across their two channels, on Eurosport 1 (Sky channel 410) and Eurosport 2 (Sky 411).

Viewers without a Eurosport subscription can still get their fix of Giro action with exclusive highlights of the action to be shown live on Quest every day, starting at 7pm on Friday May 4.

Giro d’Italia 2018 live stream

Sky Sports subscribers with Eurosport access on their TV used to be able to access the Discovery-owned channels via Sky Go.

However, that deal has expired and now viewers who want to watch the Australian Open online will have to buy a Eurosport Player pass.

Day passes cost £4.99 while an annual pass costs £29.99 and gives you access to both channels on a range of devices all year round.

Giro d’Italia 2018 route and schedule

Stage 1, Friday May 4, Individual time trial in Jerusalem (Israel), 9.7km

Stage 2, Saturday May 5, Haifa (Israel) – Tel Aviv (Israel), 167km

Stage 3, Sunday May 6, Be’er Sheva (Israel) – Eilat (Israel), 229km

Monday May 7, Rest day

Stage 4, Tuesday May 8, Catania – Catagirone, 198km

Stage 5, Wednesday May 9, Arigento – Santa Ninfa, 153km

Stage 6, Thursday May 10, Caltanissetta – Mount Etna, 164km

Stage 7, Friday May 11, Pizzo – Praia a Mare, 159km

Stage 8, Saturday May 12, Praia a mare – Montevergine di Mercogliano, 209km

Stage 9, Sunday May 13, Pesco Sannita – Gran Sasso, 225km

Monday May 14, Rest day

Stage 10, Tuesday May 15, Penne – Gualdo Tadino, 239km

Stage 11, Wednesday May 16, Assisi – Osimo, 156km

Stage 12, Thursday May 17, Osimo – Imola, 214km

Stage 13, Friday May 18, Ferrara – Nervesa della Battaglia, 180km

Stage 14, Saturday May 19, San Vito al Tagliamento – Monte Zoncolan, 186km

Stage 15, Sunday May 20, Tolmezzo – Sappada, 176km

Monday May 21, Rest day

Stage 16, Tuesday May 22, Individual time trial, Trento – Rovereto, 34.2km

Stage 17, Wednesday May 23, Riva del Garda – Iseo, 155km

Stage 18, Thursday May 24, Abbiategrasso – Prato Nevoso, 196km

Stage 19, Friday May 25, Turin – Monte Jafferau, 184km

Stage 20, Saturday May 26, Susa – Cervinia, 214km

Stage 21, Sunday May 27, Criterium in Rome, 115km

Giro d’Italia odds (Betfair)

Chris Froome 13/10, Tom Dumoulin 13/8, Miguel Angel Lopez 5/1, Thibaut Pinot 11/2, Fabio Aru 7/1 (25/1 bar)

WWE SmackDown Live

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Forget Sunday’s disappointing Backlash pay-per-view, and don’t harp on the mediocre Monday Night Raw a day later. And while you’re at it, if you had any issues with either WrestleMania or The Greatest Royal Rumble, just let it all go.

Why? Because the latest edition of SmackDown Live was a stark reminder that as frustrating as the broken narratives and dubious creative decisions of WWE can be, there is always some silver lining waiting just around the bend with one or two bold decisions.

That’s exactly what we got on Tuesday night. The show accentuated the three most important words in wrestling today: action, opportunity — and Rusev. It was that kind of night. Unlike a week ago, when the majority of SmackDown was wasted by gratuitous chatter and filler material, this episode focused on in-ring theatrics and cohesive storytelling.From The Miz’s performance in the first bout of the night — one that was as solid as the rhetoric that rolls from his mouth — to the work of art from Rusev, who also earned a place in the Money in the Bank match as the curtains closed, this was the finest two hours of WWE action we’ve had in quite some time.

As the show opened, Paige stood in the ring, succinctly reminding us that Backlash and its surrounding storylines had (mercifully) come to an end — and the Money in the Bank chapter was commencing. It was more or less a Cliffs Notes version of the past few weeks, but also an indirect way of acknowledging it was time to move on from a string of underwhelming events.

Have we mentioned Rusev yet? After months of feeling like the creative team was neglecting our pleas for a Rusev push, the Bulgarian phenomenon got his biggest win since moving to SmackDown more than a year ago — and perhaps one of the most crucial victories of his career.

It came against one of most beloved performers on either brand, Daniel Bryan. The moment the match was announced, there seemed to be no doubt that Bryan would end the show by squashing Rusev’s day and punching his own ticket into the Money in the Bank ladder match. There was seemingly no way SmackDown would conclude with anything other than a roar of “Yes!” chants in unison.

But a funny thing happened along the way: Fairly and squarely (well, perhaps with a small assist from Aiden English), Rusev took out Bryan with a devastating “Machka” superkick to earn a spot in one of the most prestigious matches of the year and a possible free shot at the title-holder if he can prevail.

Reds vs Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO — One team happy to be home meets another that’s enjoying itself on the road Monday night when the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds open a three-game series.

The Reds, who had won just eight of their first 35 games in a start that cost manager Bryan Price his job, have been energized by the acquisition of Matt Harvey from the New York Mets, winning their last six games.

The most recent four wins came in a shocking road sweep of the defending National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers, with a suddenly rejuvenated Reds pitching staff allowing a total of nine runs in the four games.

Harvey pitched the second game of the series against Los Angeles, shutting out the Dodgers on one hit in four innings of a 6-2 win. He did not get a decision.

The former All-Star and Cy Young Award candidate is scheduled to pitch the finale of the series against San Francisco on Wednesday.

“It’s a good first start,” Harvey said after his Reds debut. “It’s only four innings. There’s a lot of work and a lot of seasons left.”

The Reds had everything going in their 5-3, sweep-completing win over the Dodgers on Sunday.

Starting pitcher Luis Castillo pitched effectively into the seventh inning and reliever Amir Garrett struck out the side in the eighth to set up closer Raisel Iglesias‘ 1-2-3 ninth.

Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto hit home runs, Alex Blandino executed a suicide squeeze bunt, and Billy Hamilton ran wild on the bases with three steals for the Reds.

Right-hander Sal Romano will get the ball in Monday’s series opener. He has never faced the Giants in his two-year career.

The 24-year-old has pitched well in his last two starts, allowing a total of two runs and seven hits in 11 1/3 innings in wins over Miami and the Mets.

The Giants got a season-best pitching performance from veteran left-hander Derek Holland in a much-needed 5-0 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday that capped a 4-6 trip.

Most important, it snapped San Francisco’s six-game losing streak, making for a happier flight home, where the club will play its next seven games.

The Giants have won their last three home series.

“We needed that in the worst way,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the trip-ending win. “I said it would take a really good pitching effort to get us out of this. Give (Holland) credit. He took over and did a great job.”

The Giants will call upon right-hander Chris Stratton to build upon any momentum gained against the Reds.

Like counterpart Romano, Stratton has never faced the Reds in his career.

Unlike Romano, the 27-year-old has struggled big time in his last three starts, getting roughed up for 14 runs and 17 hits in just 12 innings. The Giants lost two of those games by 15-6 and 11-3 counts.

Former Pirates star Andrew McCutchen had a successful individual homecoming effort in his first return to Pittsburgh since being traded during the winter, stroking four hits, including three doubles, in the three games.

Athletics vs Red Sox

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The Red Sox are heading back home following a long, ten-day trip and are looking to build a little momentum back in the friendly confines. They are also looking for revenge against the team that slowed down their tremendous run in April and the pitcher who held them hitless for an entire game. Grab tickets here and head out to Fenway to root on the good guys.

For the most part, this has been a phenomenal season for Porcello as he has had all of his pitches working and his command has been on another level. He was, of course, a total wildcard heading into the season but he’s been at the highest end of any reasonable expectations. That being said, he’s coming off his worst start of the year in which he allowed five runs to the Yankees in just 5 1⁄3 innings of work. Rough outings are going to happen here and there even for pitchers having great seasons, especially against great offenses like the one in New York. The key is to not let them snowball, so this will be an interesting start for the 2016 Cy Young winner. Porcello didn’t pitch when these two teams met in April.

I think most of us remember Manaea, yeah? The A’s young righty had a hell of an outing against the Red Sox back in April when he held them without a hit, and really that was the start of what’s been a more pedestrian run for the Red Sox lineup. He’s been outstanding pretty much all year with a 2.11 ERA, and though the peripherals aren’t that good his elite control gives him a relatively high floor and he induces some weak contact. His no-hitter against the Red Sox slowed down the offense for a while, so maybe this time around he’ll be the guy to get them to click again and get them looking like it’s early April. Manaea throws a low-90s fastball along with a changeup and a slider.

As is the case pretty much every year, it’s been an inconsistent and frustrating season for Rodriguez. He has certainly shown what he’s capable of here and there, and the potential is there for him to dominate any lineup on any day. That said, he still has a 4.58 ERA on the season and allowed five runs in two of his last three starts. The good news is that his last outing may have been his most impressive of the year when he tossed five shutout innings against the Yankees while allowing just one hit. Hopefully, that is the catalyst for a strong run for the southpaw. Rodriguez, like Porcello, missed Oakland when these two teams last met.

Mengden is hoping to make this his first full season in the majors (he’s pitched partial seasons the last two years), and he’s pitching fairly well en route to that goal. His ERA is a little over 4.00 and a little better than average (105 ERA+), and while he doesn’t miss a lot of bats he also doesn’t put guys on for free and his flyball tendencies can limit hits. The question is how much playing in Oakland keeps his home run rate in check, and whether or not the Red Sox can take better advantage in Fenway. They didn’t take advantage in Oakland, scoring just one run off the righty over 6 1⁄3 innings when they saw him in April. Mengden throws a low-to-mid-90s fastball along with a slider, a changeup, and a curveball.

Wednesday is Sale Day, and the excitement of Sale Days are starting to pick up recently. His last two starts have been his best of the year, and perhaps coincidentally (or perhaps not), Sandy León has been behind the plate for both of them. His last outing looked a little rough until they adjusted their signs, and then the ace flipped the switch. He’s allowed four runs over 16 innings (2.25 ERA) over his last couple of starts with 27 strikeouts and just one walk. When he faced Oakland earlier this year he allowed three runs over seven innings with ten strikeouts and a walk.


Capitals vs Lightning

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Capitals vs Lightning odds, Game 2: Data scientist on 15-4 run reveals NHL Playoffs 2018 picks…
Read and Know More About Capitals vs Lightning- The puck will drop Sunday on Game 2 of the 2018 NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference finals between the Capitals and Lightning at 8 p.m. ET. Tampa Bay is -200 on the money line at home, meaning you would need to risk $200 to win $100, while Washington is +175 (risk $100 to win $175). The Over-Under, or total number of goals Vegas thinks will be scored, is 6.

Before you make your pick, you need to see what SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has to say. The co-founder of AccuScore, Oh has been money on his picks involving the Caps, nailing 15 of his 19 selections for an astounding 79 percent success rate.

But he knows the ins and outs of both teams and has studied all the matchups and trends that will determine the outcome.

Now, using his specialized sports simulations, projections and advanced statistical analysis, Oh has examined Game 2 from every angle. We can tell you Oh is leaning toward the Over and has a strong money-line pick. You won’t discover his reasons buried in any box score. He’s sharing it over at SportsLine.
That’s all well and good. Anger is better than resignation. It is more useful than despair.

But more useful than both are answers, which were in short supply for the Lightning on Monday, 12 hours after they had cleared out of Amalie Arena, having lost two games at home to the surging Capitals and about to head into enemy territory two losses away from their season being over.

It is a startling turn of events, especially for those who watched the Lightning defeat the New Jersey Devils and the Boston Bruins in the first and second rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning both series in five games.

“It’s hard to explain,” Cooper said Monday. “If you could, maybe we wouldn’t be down 0-2.”

Asked if this felt like the same team, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said, “No, obviously not.”

The things they were doing against the Devils and Bruins aren’t what they’re doing against the Capitals. The crispness of passes, the quickness on the puck, the lack of turnovers. It’s vanished for the Lightning, partially because of the opponent, but perhaps more because the Lightning have themselves suddenly become disjointed.

“We’re probably not following our structure the way we have in the previous two series,” Cooper said. “That’s one thing. The second thing you hit on is execution. We get chances to make plays and our team has the ability to make plays and we’re not.

“It’s either pucks in the skates or it’s too far ahead or you’re putting it somewhere where they can’t handle it. It’s just unlike us. In saying that, in an 82-game season I could probably count 15 games where that happens. It happens. Nobody plays the perfect game. Nobody goes 82-0. Nobody goes 16-0 in the playoffs. It’s just heightened when you’re at this time of the year and this time.”

It’s discouraging. It’s the worst time of the season to lose that edge, execution and ability to do all the things that got them to this point. Especially so quickly.

The Lightning are struggling to stop the Capitals, giving them too many turnovers and clear shots at goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. They’re seeing the Capitals clog their defensive zone, use their speed, while the Lightning aren’t using their own. They also are struggling to get chances of their own, especially in Game 1 when Capitals goalie Braden Holtby made 19 saves and barely was tested.

They’ve scored four goals in two games, three on the power play, which is good news for the man-advantage statistics but bad news for a team that also needs to produce at even strength.

“We’ve obviously got to be more consistent over 60 minutes,” Hedman said. “We’re in a hole, but one team that can come out of it is us.”

Hedman believes the Lightning can bounce back and reassert themselves, return to the play that got them to this point. He believes in the teammates and the team that had113 points in the regular season, most in the Eastern Conference.

But he, like the rest of the team, doesn’t exactly have answers.

It has happened suddenly and, suddenly, the Lightning find themselves in a position where adjustments need to be made, perhaps changes. They might not have been panicking after Game 2, but there is a sense of concern, a sense that things have gone awry without a real explanation.

Italian Open 2018

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka’s comeback from injury proved to be short-lived as he fell in the first round of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia in Rome on Sunday. Joining him on the sidelines was former French Open runner-up David Ferrer.

Wawrinka, a runner-up at the Italian capital in 2008, was shown the door 4-6, 4-6 by the 48th ranked Steve Johnson in a contest that lasted 1 hour 21 minutes. The 33-year-old committed 30 unforced errors to Johnson’s 17 and conceded two breaks of serve.

This was the first match for the Swiss since retiring against Ilya Ivashka in his opening match at Marseille in February due to a left knee injury.Wawrinka called time on his 2017 season subsequently to undergo two surgeries on his left knee in August. The Swiss made the decision to resume competitive play in January when he returned to the Australian Open, where he was beaten in the second round.He played three more events to test himself against the top players before going on a three-month sabbatical to give himself time to heal completely.Despite the loss in Rome, Wawrinka insisted the result did not bother him as he started playing only 12 days ago.

The 36-year-old David Ferrer’s first outing in a competitive tournament on clay this year too did not last long as he was beaten 3-6, 4-6 by the 13th seeded Jack Sock. The Spanish veteran was playing his first match since becoming a father at the beginning of this month.Ferrer was last seen in action at the Davis Cup quarter-finals in April, where he beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in a gruelling five-setter to send Spain into the semi-finals.

In some of the other matches of the day, 12th seed Sam Querrey lost 2-6, 6-7(7) to the 53rd ranked Peter Gojowczyk. Ryan Harrison beat Yuichi Sugita 7-6(5), 6-3 and Italy’s World No. 140 Lorenzo Sonego outlasted the 27th ranked Adrian Mannarino 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.ROME — Novak Djokovic was not looking too far ahead after beating Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-3 in the first round of the Italian Open on Monday.

Having failed to reach the quarterfinals in six straight tournaments following a right elbow injury, the 12-time Grand Slam winner doesn’t want to place too much pressure on himself — even though he is a four-time Rome champion.“Rome has always been a place where I’ve felt good, received a lot of support, where I’ve played well and obtained a lot of great results and today’s match encourages me and gives me reason to believe that it can be a good week for me,” Djokovic said.

“I would like to go all the way but at the same time, looking at my results, I have to be a little bit more modest with expectations.”

In the rankings released on Monday, Djokovic fell to No. 18, his lowest standing since 2006 when he was still a rising pro. He could fall further down the rankings if he doesn’t defend the 600 points he earned by reaching the final in Rome last year.Perhaps Djokovic can find comfort in the fact that he has never lost before the quarterfinals in 11 appearances in Rome.

“It is a mental game. Knowing that I’ve reached the biggest heights of this sport and I’ve been consistent with the best possible results for so many years,” Djokovic said. “The bar has been raised so, so high that when I step on the court I expect to win every match against anybody on any surface.”

Djokovic has said he returned to action too quickly following his injury.“I have to understand where the level of my game is and to accept this reality and to accept that there is a process to get where I want to go,” he said.Djokovic improved to 6-0 in his career against Dolgopolov, who himself has been struggling with a persistent injury to his wrist.

Djokovic matched his 14 winners with 14 unforced errors — to Dolgopolov’s 10 winners and 19 unforced errors.

Also, Kei Nishikori defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5), 6-4 for his first victory since reaching the Monte Carlo Masters final last month.

“It wasn’t (an) easy match,” Nishikori said. “It was windy. And he used a lot of slice and great serves. … Luckily I got (the) first set. After that I was more confident.”Lopez argued with the chair umpire after losing a point in which he thought the ball bounced twice before Nishikori hit a half volley.

The 24th-ranked Nishikori will next face third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov.David Goffin swept aside Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-2 and Pablo Carrena Busta beat Jared Donaldson 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.

In the women’s tournament, former U.S. Open finalist Roberta Vinci bid her fans an emotional farewell following the final match of her career.Having already announced that this would be her final tournament, the 35-year-old Vinci was beaten by Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

“I’m crying now but I’m happy. I’m happy for what I’ve accomplished,” Vinci said in a post-match ceremony. “I would have liked to do better but it doesn’t matter that I lost.”Naomi Osaka, who claimed her first WTA title at Indian Wells in March, eliminated former No. 1 Victoria Azaranka 6-0, 6-3.

Also, Madison Keys beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1; Johanna Konta defeated Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-3; and Petra Martic beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-2 and will next face defending champion Elina Svitolina. Open finalist Roberta Vinci will have no regrets when she plays her final match at next week’s Italian Open.The 35-year-old Vinci announced in November that she would conclude her career before home fans at the Foro Italico.

“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and of the career that I’ve had,” Vinci said Saturday. “If I had been told when I was a kid, ‘You’ll enter the top 10, become No. 1 in doubles and win all of the Grand Slams, plus four Fed Cups,’ maybe I would have said there’s something wrong here. Tennis has given me everything and I think I’ve given something to tennis.”Given a wild card with her ranking down to No. 168, Vinci will open the tournament against a qualifier, then could face either 15th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova or Kristina Mladenovic in the second round.

While she hinted that coaching could be in her future, Vinci hasn’t decided on a post-playing career yet.“First I’m focusing on finishing well and enjoying my last days of training,” she said. “Hopefully I can win a few matches and put that last match off a bit.”At the 2015 U.S. Open, Vinci upset Serena Williams in the semifinals to prevent the American from completing a calendar-year Grand Slam. Vinci lost the final to a fellow Italian, Flavia Pennetta.“Certainly the victory over Serena at the U.S. Open is my career highlight,” Vinci said. “That seems obvious.”

Vinci was also ranked No. 1 in doubles and completed a career Grand Slam with partner Sara Errani.Her style of play is a throwback to another era, featuring a one-handed backhand, various spins and opportunistic forays to the net.

“It’s becoming tougher and tougher to do well with a style like mine,” Vinci said. “There were times where I would have preferred to play more of a physical game with a two-handed backhand, rely less on tactics and play more by instinct. Unfortunately I didn’t have those qualities. The game has become more physical and all about power — and less intelligence, I think.”

On Italy’s Fed Cup team, Vinci teamed with Pennetta, Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani — each of whom either won a Grand Slam or reached a Grand Slam final.Pennetta retired shortly after winning the U.S. Open while Schiavone and Errani also have wild cards for the Italian Open.

“It will be difficult,” Vinci said, “to recreate the success that we achieved.”More AP tennis coverage: Dampf on Twitter: 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rays vs Royals

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Monday night’s game will be shown on ESPN for everybody to see. The matchup will see lefties Ryan Yarbrough and Eric Skoglund face off. Skoglund has 50.2 innings of major league experience, and Yarbrough has 29.1. Skoglund has an ugly 7.46 ERA, but his 4.83 FIP is much more palatable. Skoglund is coming off one of his better MLB starts, holding the Baltimore Orioles to three runs in 6.1 innings. Skoglund has been beaten up by batters of both hands, but lefties have hit an impressive .296/.441/.462 and .398 wOBA over a very small 34 batter sample.

Ian Kennedy has been a solid performer in his major league career. Teams employ him for the quantity of innings more than quality these days. In his last start he got hit around by the Orioles for nine runs in 4.0 innings. Last August the Rays got the best of Kennedy putting up seven runs in 2.2 innings. Kennedy has had a minimal platoon split allowing a .323 wOBA to right handed bats and a .322 wOBA to left handed bats.

Jason Hammel was drafted twice by the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They ended up signing him after selecting him in the tenth round of the 2002 MLB draft. Between 2006 and 2008 he made 28 starts and 45 relief appearances for the Tampa Bay franchise. Hammel has been an effective major league pitcher much like Kennedy. He’s above replacement level, but below average. He allowed nine runs in 3.2 inning in his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Last May he threw seven innings against the Rays, but they were able to tag him for seven runs.

The narrative has been to give the Royals credit for building the elite bullpens that most teams are trying to put out there these days. In their heyday Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera would end games after six innings most of the time. Herrera is the last man standing in Kansas City. Herrera will be a free agent at the end of the year, so he’s likely to be out of town by August.

This year the Royals bullpen has put up the worst results in the league with a 5.76 ERA and 5.10 FIP. Both results are the highest in the majors. Their 6.24 K/9 is the lowest and along with the Oakland Athletics are the only relief corps to put up fewer than 8.0 K/9. Combine the lack of strikeouts with a high walk total (3.91 BB/9) and you can see why they’re at the bottom.

Blaine Boyer is the only other reliever with more than 100 innings of major league experience.

Herrera has a 0.62 ERA and 2.12 FIP and picked up eight of the ten saves.

The Royals bullpen has had to pick up a lot of innings over the past weekend, but only Burch Smith has thrown twice over the last three days. Their bullpen is pretty fresh right now, but could really use a big start tonight from Skoglund.
KANSAS CITY — The Rays bounced back from Sunday’s lopsided loss by playing a clean, well-pitched game in a 2-1 win over the Royals Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Rays lost 17-1 to the Orioles on Sunday, but any residual effects were seemingly flushed from the team’s collective mind, setting up Monday night’s win.View Full Game Coverage”Anytime you come off a loss like we had in Baltimore, for the guys to be locked in and no margin of error, it shows a lot,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “They come in prepared, quickly washed away what happened in Baltimore on Sunday and found a way to win a one-run game.”But the win did require some last-minute heroics.

With one out in the ninth, Jon Jay tripled to left off Rays closer Alex Colome. The Rays pulled their infield in, but the adjustment wasn’t needed as Colome caught Ryan Goins looking at strike three for the second out. Alex Gordon then grounded out to end the game.

At 16-22, the St. Petersburg Devil Rays march to Kansas City to do Putin’s bidding. In this three-game series, the Rays hope to lay waste to the lowly Royals, enabling them to gain ground in the American League East (no one knows how these Russkies got into the American League), a division in which they find themselves fourth, trailing the betrothed Yankees and Red Sox by a full 11 games.

If there is one thing for which Vladimir Putin will not stand, it is failure whilst representing Mother Russia. These Devil Rays no doubt feel his watchful, vengeful eye turned upon them. As the pressure mounts, things could get ugly.Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

Rangers vs Mariners

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Harvey, a former All-Star who helped the Mets reach the World Series in 2015, was designated for assignment last week after registering a 7.00 ERA in eight appearances this season. He was moved to the bullpen after surrendering six runs in an April 19 start against the Braves.“This was a long time coming,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said about the move at a press conference last week. “This is something we’ve tried to address, we’ve struggled with, we’ve wrestled with over two managerial regimes.”
Multiple teams have shown interest in Harvey, including the Rangers, according to a report by the MLB Network. Texas assistant pitching coach Dan Warthen was with New York from 2008-17.

The Mariners broke a three-game skid behind a decent outing from Felix Hernandez, who allowed two runs, both earned, on four hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. Hernandez faced a potential hard-luck loss before Mitch Haniger tied the game at 2 with a solo homer in the eighth.
Haniger redeemed himself after running into an out in the second inning, when he led off with a double but was picked off trying to steal third.
Whether making self-inflicted outs or just falling to hit-robbing defense, the Mariners kept misfiring in Friday’s first eight innings. The troubles began when Nelson Cruz hit a would-be RBI double into the glove of an almost completely horizontal center fielder Drew Robinson, diving to his left for the second out in the first inning.

The Rangers also turned a double play to end the third, and first baseman Ronald Guzman made a nifty diving stop and threw to pitcher Mike Minor to end the fourth.Seattle was unable to capitalize on six hits and a walk off Minor, who also lasted 5 1/3 innings. The Mariners had at least a runner on second and less than two out in five of the six innings Minor started.”We certainly had a lot of chances earlier in the ballgame,” Servais said. “Our situational hitting and some of the other stuff, our execution wasn’t really good early.”The Rangers had a chance to retake the lead in the eighth, just after Haniger’s homer knotted the score, but Cano made two nice plays to preserve the tie. Against reliever Juan Nicasio, Jurickson Profar led off the inning with a single but was forced out on Nomar Mazara’s grounder to Cano. The Gold Glove second baseman then ended the inning with a gorgeous diving stop to his left and a quick throw from his heels to Segura, who relayed to first for the out.

“Robby brought the leather tonight,” Servais said. “He made a couple plays — as Robby does, he always makes it look easy and those plays aren’t easy.”
That put runners on second and third, and Jean Segura tied the game with a double to left. Cano followed with a high fly ball down the right-field line for a two-run home run and that was it for Claudio. Cano had one single in 12 previous career at-bats against Claudio before the home run.One of those situations as a manager where you look at Bush is good, Claudio is still good,” Banister said in explaining the pitching change. “And you play a little bit of the matchup situation there. Maybe put that one on me tonight. I went ahead and made that move and put our guy in there who has been good against that set of hitters. Maybe it’s the fact that those guys have seen him and seen him recently.”Claudio now has an 8.10 ERA after 12 appearances and opponents are hitting .395 off him. He had a 2.50 ERA and opponents hit .235 off him last season when he was the Rangers’ Pitcher of the Year.

He made some good pitches,” Chirinos said. “He got a ground ball on the first guy. Dee Gordon kind of threw his bat out there. After that, he missed a slider to Segura and then the Cano home run. He has been working to get those pitches down and tonight they were up.”Martin took over, but he gave up a two-out home run to Haniger to give the Mariners a 9-6 lead.
MLB wants to continue experimenting through additional means of delivering baseball broadcasts to a large and diverse audience,” the Rangers said in a release. “As well as utilizing new creative broadcast production elements to learn how fans want to consume and interact with games on a social platform.”The Giants-Phillies game today (Thursday, May 10) aired on Facebook. At least 25 games will be shown exclusively on Facebook in 2018. Other games schedule for digital-only availability include the Angels-Blue Jays on May 24 and the Cardinals-Brewers on May 30.Moore gave up three runs over three innings in his shortest start of the season. He faced 18 batters and allowed nine to reach base on six hits and three walks. Moore, who struck out five, also threw 72 pitches, which comes out to an unsustainable 24 per inning.
Moore still felt he had the best stuff he’s had in a game since his only win of the season against the Rays on April 17.

“The stuff coming out today felt like the swing-and-miss stuff,” Moore said. “The fastballs were getting swung through, the changeups — I had thrown four or five breaking balls, not many — but that type of stuff was encouraging. I felt like I had good stuff heading into [the game].”Chavez took over in the fourth and delivered three scoreless innings while striking out four. The only baserunner reached on an error by third baseman Adrian Beltre. After a rough start to the season, Chavez has a 3.19 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP over his last nine relief appearances.”I thought Chavez threw the ball extremely well,” Banister said. “It was a very competitive outing, one we have seen from him in the past. It was a good positive day for him.The Rangers signed Chavez with the possibility he could be used as either a starter or reliever. He threw 40 pitches on Sunday, so he is not that far removed from being stretched out as a starter if the Rangers are inclined to make a switch.”We’ll continue to evaluate that,” Banister said. “I’m not in a position to make a decision at this time.”

Moore started the day with two scoreless innings, although he had to strand two runners in each frame. He ran into trouble in the third because he started falling behind in counts.Alex Bregman began the inning with a walk, and then Carlos Correa worked the count full and was able to get Bregman to third on a hit-and-run groundout to Beltre. Bregman scored on a single by Yuli Gurriel. Marwin Gonzalez was also able to work the count full and move Gurriel to second on a hit-and-run grounder to Beltre.Evan Gattis followed with a high fly ball to left that landed in the seats for a two-run home run.
The first couple of innings were really good,” Banister said. “In the third inning, he started working from behind, missing out over the plate, deep counts. Lost a little bit of the delivery. The execution wasn’t where it needed to be in the third inning.”Same situation with Willie Calhoun and his outfield defense. The Rangers have some things they want Bush to work on, and they are going to give him the time to do so. Remember, Bush came up two years ago with relatively little Minor League experience, and he did well on the force of his sheer talent. It is time now for some refinements, because Texas still expects Bush to be an impact late-inning reliever again.

Cavaliers vs Celtics

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NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Cavaliers vs Celtics…
Read and Know more About Cavaliers vs Celtics-If you believe defense wins championships, the Celtics’ gameplay today made you even more of a believer. Boston shut down the Cavs in all shapes and forms, including giving us one of the worst games we’ve seen from LeBron James in quite a while. James was a -32 for the game with seven turnovers. While he had 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists he also shot 0-of-5 from behind the arc and 5-of-16 from the floor. Credit the Celtics defense for switching and sending roamers at LeBron to make his entire day difficult. The on-ball defense on LeBron was impressive as well, with Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Marcus Morris getting numerous deflections and steals.
The rest of the Cavs were quiet as well, with George Hill, Kyle Korver, and J.R. Smith combining for 14 total points. Cleveland as a team went 4-of-26 from the three-point line and shot 36 percent for the game. While it was obvious off day for the entire Cavs team based on what we had seen against Toronto, you have to credit the Celtics for causing that environment.

Meanwhile, the Celtics had an extremely balanced attack:
Jaylen Brown: 23 points and 8 rebounds
Marcus Morris: 21 points and 10 rebounds
Al Horford: 20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists

The Celtics had everything going for them in Game 1 in an impressive wire to wire blowout. When the Cavs got within 14 points at the end of the third quarter, the Celtics came out with a 7-0 run that essentially ended the game. It’s likely that this is a long series and anything can happen in Game 2 but the Celtics sure put their stamp on this one.
Celtics 78, Cavs 64 – End of 3Q
Well … the Cavs have cut a 28 point lead down to 14. They had 29 points in the third quarter after scoring only 35 in the entire first half.

Jaylen Brown has 23 points and Al Horford has 20 points for Boston. Kevin Love leads the way for Cleveland with 17 points and LeBron James has 15.
Celtics 67, Cavs 47 – 6:54 3Q
The lead was as high as 28 but the Cavs are chipping away ever so slightly. LeBron James still only has 10 points midway through the third quarter and the Cavs are still shooting 2-for-18 from the three-point line.
Celtics 61, Cavs 35 – Halftime
Wooooow. Boston is torching Cleveland so far in this one. The Celtics are forcing anyone but LeBron James to score, and the rest of the Cavs have not come through yet. One on one defense on LeBron has also been spectacular, holding James to only seven points so far, and for the Cavs as a whole to be shooting 34 percent.

Meanwhile, the Celtics have 34 points in the paint and 12 layups. Jaylen Brown has 18 points, Al Horford has 14 points and he’s yet to miss a shot.

This one is all Celtics right now.LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers attempt to make to the NBA finals for the fourth straight year as they take on the Boston Celtics in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.

The two teams have met 244 times all-time, including 39 games in the playoffs.

Cleveland has a 20–20 record in the playoffs against the Celtics, but have three series victories compared to Boston’s four.