Tom Brady Throws 3 TDs as Patriots Rout Struggling Broncos, Move to 7-2

The red-hot New England Patriots won their fifth game in a row Sunday with a 41-16 victory over the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  

Tom Brady went 25-of-34 for 266 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions as New England improved to 7-2 and tightened its grip on the AFC East. According to NBC’s broadcast, Brady recorded his 86th road victory as a starting quarterback, which surpassed Peyton Manning‘s total for the most in NFL history.

This year’s Broncos didn’t look anything like Manning’s Super Bowl-champion version as they dropped their fifth straight contest and fell further out of the AFC playoff race at 3-6.

The game went off the rails for the slumping Broncos on special teams right out of the gate.

Isaiah McKenzie muffed a punt after Denver’s defense forced a three-and-out on the opening possession, and New England recovered and parlayed it into a Rex Burkhead touchdown reception.

Burkhead got involved in the special teams onslaught as well by blocking a punt, which led to Stephen Gostkowski’s second of two field goals. According to The Ringer, Burkhead became the first player since 1977 to block a punt and catch a score in the same contest. He had 27 receiving yards and 36 rushing yards.

Dion Lewis tallied a 103-yard touchdown return on a kickoff in between Burkhead’s touchdown and blocked punt, continuing the theme of special teams domination.

Troy Renck of Denver7 noted those particular struggles were nothing new for the Broncos:

New England seized a 27-9 halftime advantage after Dwayne Allen’s touchdown reception, and the only reason it was even that close was wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders consistently torching New England cornerback Malcolm Butler. Sanders finished with six catches for 137 yards, and NFL Research noted he became just the 22nd active player to surpass 6,000 receiving yards in his career.

Sanders’ performance was a silver lining for the Broncos, who received 221 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception from quarterback Brock Osweiler, and 54 rushing yards from C.J. Anderson and zero scores on the ground in defeat.

It appeared as if Osweiler would make it a game when he found Demaryius Thomas in the third quarter for Denver’s only touchdown of the contest to pull within two scores, but the members of New England’s backfield outside Burkhead took matters into their own hands down the stretch.

A touchdown run from Lewis, who finished with a game-high 55 rushing yards, and a touchdown catch from James White put the contest on ice and sapped it of any late drama, as the Patriots shifted into cruise control for the majority of the second half.

The only nervous moments came when umpire Jeff Rice was carted off the field with what appeared to be a head injury. According to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, a Patriot accidently blindsided Rice while blocking following a punt.

However, Rice appeared to be OK in the aftermath:

On the field, the Broncos will look to turn things around with a home clash against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11, while Brady and the Patriots will put their winning streak on the line against the Oakland Raiders.

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Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2743930-tom-brady-throws-3-tds-as-patriots-rout-struggling-broncos-move-to-7-2

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Jerry Jones Says He Didn’t Speak with Arthur Blank Amid Roger Goodell Dispute

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he didn’t talk to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank before Atlanta’s 27-7 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday.

Jeff Darlington of ESPN shared the news, noting Jones called it “rare” for two owners not to speak with each other before their teams play.

“Jones and Blank are currently embroiled in [a] sticky situation regarding [the Roger] Goodell contract,” Darlington wrote.  

Clarence E. Hill Jr. and Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram explained the two owners “are at odds” over the topic of Goodell’s potential extension. A SportsDay article noted Blank is the compensation committee chairman of the owners who will decide on the extension, while Hill and Davison pointed out he removed Jones as an ad hoc member of the committee.

According to Hill and Davison, Blank did so “after Jones threatened to sue the league” regarding the extension. “Jones contends that Blank has misled owners about having the unanimous approval of the six-man committee to extend Goodell.”

Hill and Davison pointed out Jones is concerned with the power of the commissioner’s seat and doesn’t think there is a need to get an extension done in the immediate future with Goodell set to remain in his position for 18 months.

According to SportsDay, Jones made it clear his hesitation regarding the extension is not a result of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension and the ongoing legal battle with the NFL.

Dallas looked lost on offense at times Sunday without Elliott and fell to 5-4 in the process.

The Falcons improved to 5-4 as Matt Ryan threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns, but defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn stole the show with six sacks and a fumble recovery while helping the defense hold Dak Prescott to just 176 passing yards and zero touchdown throws.

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Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2743900-jerry-jones-says-he-didnt-speak-with-arthur-blank-amid-roger-goodell-dispute

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Once Again in the Belichick-Brady Era, Patriots Proving They’re the Team to Beat

The New England Patriots wouldn’t dare use words to tell us that they remain the king of the NFL hill. The Pats are on to Mexico to face the Oakland Raiders in Week 11, but their actions in a lopsided Week 10 victory over the Denver Broncos were loud enough to get the message across. 

A 41-16 victory confirmed that the Patriots belong atop the NFL’s totem pole. 

It just wasn’t supposed to be so easy. In their last five games against the Broncos (regular season and playoffs), the Patriots had a 2-3 record, with quarterback Tom Brady completing just 55.7 percent of his passes for 6.3 yards per attempt and a 82.6 rating in those five affairs. 

This Broncos team hasn’t been as good as those squads, but they still entered Sunday’s game with the league’s No. 2-rated defense. And in terms of DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), Football Outsiders had them ranked sixth on that side of the ball prior to Week 10. 

This was a must-win game for the Broncos, at home, in prime time. And New England dominated them in every in every phase, with Brady completing all but nine of 34 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns in a turnover-free effort. 

It was one of the most impressive performances of a 290-performance career, and another indication that Father Time has yet to gain an advantage over the oldest position player in the NFL. 

But more broadly, it was another indication that the Patriots dynasty remains as strong as ever. So long as Brady continues to mock the notion of his mortality and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick continues to be referred to as “Patriots head coach Bill Belichick,” the Pats will be the league’s one true team to beat.

“There’s nothing they don’t do right in Foxborough,” said NBC’s Al Michaels in the dying moments of Sunday night’s blowout. And this beatdown really exemplified that. The defense surrendered just one touchdown, the Patriots directly or indirectly created 17 points on special teams (kick return touchdown, muffed punt leading to a touchdown, blocked punt leading to a field goal), and at one point, the offense scored on seven consecutive possessions.

But this was just the reminder some of us needed, especially because the abuse took place on national television. It’s become easy to lump every contender together this season, because the league is drunk on parity. We keep hearing that everybody is hurt and everybody is flawed. And that might be truer than ever, but it’s become obvious that the Patriots are less flawed than everybody else, regardless of how hurt they are. 

And they are hurt. They’re doing this without their defensive linchpin, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who has played in just two full games this season and is now on the fritz for the remainder of the year due to a torn pectoral muscle. 

That injury was supposed to humanize a superhuman team, especially since its early-season struggles had many concerned that the defense could be a fatal flaw.

Nope. After surrendering a league-second-highest 32.0 points per game during the first four weeks of the season, the Patriots have given up just 13.4 points per outing during their current five-game winning streak. And since losing Hightower, they’ve allowed just four touchdowns and 36 points in nine quarters. 

Nobody overcomes major injuries as adeptly as the Patriots, who lost superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski at around this point last season but somehow went 11-0 without Gronk in the lineup before lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. 

The rest of the AFC failed to kick the Patriots when they were down after a 2-2 start, and now it looks as though the defending Super Bowl champions are primed to pull away again, despite Hightower’s absence. They’re the league’s smartest team, and with more time and tape to work with, Belichick becomes nearly unbeatable. 

The communication issues that plagued the defense during that slow start are ancient history, and Belichick’s machine is more efficient each week. The Pats have opened up a two-game lead in the AFC East and have a heck of a lot more momentum than a Pittsburgh Steelers team that matches its 7-2 start but struggled to beat the lowly Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. 

The Patriots also started 2-2 in 2014. They went on to win 13 of the next 15 games, including Super Bowl XLIX. 

They started 3-1 in 2016, then won 13 of the next 15 games, including Super Bowl LI. 

They started 2-2 again this year. They’ve now won five in a row. Brady is again an MVP candidate, Belichick is again the league’s most feared non-player, Gronkowski is healthy and the defense looks as strong as it did when it led the league with 15.6 points per game allowed last year. 

This might be the year of the injury, and parity might be wreaking havoc on many of our preseason expectations. But don’t let that fool you into believing that the path to Super Bowl LII won’t run through Foxborough, Massachusetts. 

     

Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012.

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Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2743919-once-again-in-the-belichick-brady-era-patriots-proving-theyre-the-team-to-beat

Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett Chet Lemon Luis Aparicio Kiki Cuyler Hugh Duffy Frank Chance Brian Downing John McGraw Vada Pinson Joe Tinker Gene Tenace King Kelly Johnny Evers Joe Sewell Tony Lazzeri Bobby Doerr Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett Chet Lemon Luis Aparicio Kiki Cuyler Hugh Duffy Frank Chance Brian Downing John McGraw Vada Pinson Joe Tinker Gene Tenace King Kelly Johnny Evers Joe Sewell Tony Lazzeri Bobby Doerr Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips

Danny Green Out vs. Bulls with Hamstring Injury

San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green will miss Saturday’s game against the Chicago Bulls due to a hamstring injury, according to the San Antonio Express-NewsJeff McDonald

“It’s not major, just don’t want to risk it right now,” Green said, according to the San Antonio Express-NewsTom Orsborn

The 30-year-old has long operated as one of the NBA‘s more established three-and-D threats, but his reputation has taken a hit over the past two seasons—namely because his efficiency from beyond the arc has dipped. 

After making at least 41 percent of his threes in four straight seasons from 2011-12 to 2014-15, Green’s production fell off a cliff in 2015-16 when he shot a full-season career-worst 37.6 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from three. 

Those struggles carried over to last season, when Green averaged 7.3 points on 39.2 percent shooting from the floor and 37.9 percent from distance. 

Now in the third season of a four-year, $40 million deal he signed prior to the 2015-16 season, Green has looked rejuvenated as he’s averaged 11.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game on 43.7 percent shooting from the field and 38.9 percent shooting from deep. 

With Green out and Manu Ginobili on a rest day, per McDonald, it will be on Bryn Forbes to pick up the slack on the wing. 

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Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2672474-danny-green-out-vs-bulls-with-hamstring-injury

Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett Chet Lemon Luis Aparicio Kiki Cuyler Hugh Duffy Frank Chance Brian Downing John McGraw Vada Pinson Joe Tinker Gene Tenace King Kelly Johnny Evers Joe Sewell Tony Lazzeri Bobby Doerr Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett

Kyrie Irving Leaves vs. Hornets with Possible Concussion After Aron Baynes Elbow

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving was forced to leave Friday’s home game against the Charlotte Hornets at TD Garden after being struck by an accidental high elbow from teammate Aron Baynes.

Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald noted the Celtics ruled the guard out for the rest of the game as he gets checked for concussion symptoms.

Irving is averaging 22 points and 5.7 assists in his first year with the Celtics after stepping out of the shadow of LeBron James.

The 25-year-old was a four-time All-Star in six seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning a Rookie of the Year award, an NBA title and an All-Star game MVP in this stretch. He set a new career high with 25.2 PPG last season, helping lead the Cavs to the NBA Finals for the third year in a row.

Despite his success, he put in a trade request in the offseason in an effort to maximize his individual potential, becoming a true leading man for a contending squad.

He got that opportunity when he was dealt to the Celtics for a package that included Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder.

Unfortunately, Boston could be in trouble if Irving is forced to miss time due to the latest injury. The team does have depth in the backcourt with Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier both able to play point guard. They could split ball-handling duties for the time being.

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Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2691240-kyrie-irving-leaves-vs-hornets-with-possible-concussion-after-aron-baynes-elbow

Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett Chet Lemon Luis Aparicio Kiki Cuyler Hugh Duffy Frank Chance Brian Downing John McGraw Vada Pinson Joe Tinker Gene Tenace King Kelly Johnny Evers Joe Sewell Tony Lazzeri Bobby Doerr Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker

Giancarlo Stanton Trade Rumors: Cardinals to Be ‘Prime Player’ for Marlins Star

The St. Louis Cardinals have reportedly emerged as an early favorite to land reigning MLB home run champion Giancarlo Stanton in a trade from the Miami Marlins.

On Thursday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports noted the Cardinals are a “prime player” in the Stanton sweepstakes along with the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. He added the Marlins would “most like” to make a deal with the Cards due to their numerous top-tier pitching prospects.

The 28-year-old slugger is coming off a big year in Miami. He posted a .281/.376/.631 triple-slash line with 59 homers and 132 runs batted in. His 1.007 OPS ranked fourth in baseball behind only the Los Angeles Angels‘ Mike Trout, New York Yankees‘ Aaron Judge and Cincinnati Reds‘ Joey Votto.

Despite those huge numbers, Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported moving Stanton, who’s heading into the fourth season of a 13-year, $325 million contract, is part of the new owners’ plan to reduce payroll to $90 million for 2018.

The California native owns a complete no-trade clause, but he suggested to Heyman in September he’d be willing to move on if the Marlins are planning another long rebuilding project.

“I don’t want to rebuild. … I’ve lost for seven years,” Stanton said.

St. Louis looks like an ideal fit from both teams’ perspectives. The Cardinals need more power after finishing 18th in home runs during the 2017 season and also have an opening in right field alongside Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham in the outfield.

Meanwhile, the Marlins could push for at least one of the Cards’ highly touted young pitchers, a group headlined by Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty, as the cornerstone of the return package.

The question is whether Stanton would accept a deal to St. Louis. Heyman pointed out sources suggest the outfielder “would prefer to go to one of the coasts,” though he hasn’t publicly discussed his intentions. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2743358-giancarlo-stanton-trade-rumors-cardinals-to-be-prime-player-for-marlins-star

Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett Chet Lemon Luis Aparicio Kiki Cuyler Hugh Duffy Frank Chance Brian Downing John McGraw Vada Pinson Joe Tinker Gene Tenace King Kelly Johnny Evers Joe Sewell Tony Lazzeri Bobby Doerr Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett

MLB Trade Rumors: Athletics Interested in Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna

The Oakland Athletics reportedly have their eye on multiple Miami Marlins outfielders.

On Wednesday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Athletics are interested in a potential trade for either Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich. Slusser explained “Oakland will have money to spend after trading many of its higher-priced players in July” and with Billy Butler no longer under contract.

The team isn’t looking to move any of its “core young major-leaguers, apart from designated hitter-corner infielder Ryon Healy” although it would possibly trade some minor leaguers.

Slusser noted trading Healy would open up the designated hitter spot for Khris Davis, which would in turn create the need for another outfielder the team could potentially address with Ozuna or Yelich.

Yelich is only 25 years old, while Ozuna is 26, and they would each figure to cost the Athletics or other suitors a significant package in return. However, there may be some leverage in trade talks with the Marlins, considering it is no secret they are looking to shed payroll.

Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported the team’s new ownership wants to trim payroll to $90 million and would even be willing to move slugger Giancarlo Stanton to accomplish the task.

If the Marlins shed payroll by trading the Athletics either Yelich or Ozuna, the American League West team would add a young talented outfielder in its quest to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2014 season.

Yelich slashed .282/.369/.439 with 18 home runs, 81 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 2017 and won a 2014 Gold Glove and 2016 Silver Slugger. Ozuna, who has been an All-Star in each of the last two years, slashed .312/.376/.548 with a career-high 37 home runs and 124 RBI. He also won a Gold Glove in 2017 and tallied a career-best 11 total defensive runs saved above average in left field, per FanGraphs.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2743300-mlb-trade-rumors-athletics-interested-in-christian-yelich-marcell-ozuna

Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett Chet Lemon Luis Aparicio Kiki Cuyler Hugh Duffy Frank Chance Brian Downing John McGraw Vada Pinson Joe Tinker Gene Tenace King Kelly Johnny Evers Joe Sewell Tony Lazzeri Bobby Doerr Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen

44-Year-Old Bartolo Colon Plans to Pitch in MLB for 2018 Season

Bartolo Colon isn’t looking to end his MLB career. The 44-year-old pitcher reportedly plans to pitch in the 2018 season if he’s signed as a free agent. 

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported the news.

Colon, who made his MLB debut in 1997, split the 2017 season with the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins. He posted a 7-14 record with a 6.48 ERA and 1.59 WHIP.

Twins fans gave Colon a standing ovation in his final start with the team last month as an apparent farewell.

“It was amazing,” Colon told reporters. “For them to do that for me almost made me want to cry. It was a beautiful moment for me.”

While far from his peak, Colon was much better in Minnesota than he was with the Braves. He posted a 5-6 record with a 5.18 ERA in Minnesota, compared to a 2-8 record and 8.14 ERA in Atlanta.

Read more Baseball news on BleacherReport.com

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2743077-44-year-old-bartolo-colon-plans-to-pitch-in-mlb-for-2018-season

Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett Chet Lemon Luis Aparicio Kiki Cuyler Hugh Duffy Frank Chance Brian Downing John McGraw Vada Pinson Joe Tinker Gene Tenace King Kelly Johnny Evers Joe Sewell Tony Lazzeri Bobby Doerr Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons

Resetting Liverpool’s Targets for the 2017/18 Season

International breaks may frustrate the majority of fans these days, but the time away from club football allows the opportunity to assess how your team is faring so far this season.

For Liverpool, the opening months have included some wonderful highs and a few woeful lows. Their topsy-turvy form has been a cause of frustration, yet they’ve still only lost three times in 18 games.

During the gap between Premier League games, Bleacher Report decided to assess the early going and, in the process, set out aims for Jurgen Klopp‘s squad to achieve the rest of the way.

We’ve picked six targets, all well within the realms of possibility, that they can hit before next May.

         

1. Finish in the top four

This one hasn’t changed from the start. Understandably, there is a desire from supporters to see year-on-year progression. By finishing fourth last season, Liverpool raised the bar and increased expectations.

Klopp‘s charisma and general positivity gives you reason to believe the club is on an upward curve. Yet anyone who had ideas of a title tilt was thinking a little too far ahead. The new recruits in the summer transfer window were rightly welcomed but never looked enough to move the team to the next level.

In contrast, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United spent heavily. Mohamed Salah was the only starter added by Klopp, albeit an attempt to bring in Virgil van Dijk was badly botched by the club.

The addition of midweek UEFA Champions League fixtures to the schedule led some to worry about whether Liverpool could maintain their top-four status, never mind make a push to finish further up the standings.

Then there were the memories of the last time the Reds competed in Europe’s top-tier club competition. Having gone so close to winning the league in 2013/14, they slipped all the way down to sixth the following campaign and never made it out of their Champions League group.

It is imperative history isn’t repeated. Even though there’s been a worrying lack of consistency to Liverpool’s league form (they’re yet to win three in a row domestically this season), they still sit only four points behind second-placed United.

This group of players are capable of producing scintillating performances on any given day. What is crucial, though, is making sure they develop the key habit of grinding out results when not at their peak, particularly on the road. If they can do that, they can secure a top-four finish again.

          

2. Make a statement in Europe

Having fought so hard to get into the UEFA Champions, both last season in the Premier League and also in their two-legged play-off against Hoffenheim in August, Liverpool made a shaky start in Group E.

After a kind draw had raised the prospect of reaching the knockout stages, they let slip a winning position against Sevilla in their home opener before somehow failing to win away in Spartak Moscow when they dominated from start to finish.

A tally of two points after as many matches was worrying, yet back-to-back fixtures over Maribor helped right the ship. A combined 10-0 aggregate score against the Slovenians has Liverpool sitting pretty at the top of the table. While Sevilla away next will be tricky, beating Spartak at home should be enough to progress to the next round.

But Klopp will not just be content to make it to the last 16. This is a coach who took his previous club all the way to a Champions League final—he relishes the chance to take on Europe’s heavyweights.

While a repeat of Borussia Dortmund‘s run to the 2013 showpiece seems unlikely for Liverpool, there is no reason to believe they cannot claim a big scalp or two before their run comes to an end.

Klopp was at the helm for the last famous European night at Anfield. The Europa League comeback against Dortmund in April 2016, when Dejan Lovren scored in injury time to secure a place in the semi-finals, was a reminder of how special the atmosphere can get inside the famous stadium.

Liverpool’s Champions League experience this season shouldn’t just be about lining the club’s pockets—it’s also about making a statement that the club are back where they belong.

      

3. Tighten up at the back

This feels like a target so distant NASA don’t have a telescope strong enough to spot it. Of course, Klopp is not the first Liverpool manager to be plagued by questions about a supposedly leaky backline.

The Reds haven’t had a reputation for being defensively sound since Rafa Benitez’s days in charge. They’ve conceded 40 or more goals in the last seven straight Premier League seasons, while 17 have already nestled in their net in this campaign (and we’re only 11 games in, too).

Yet the numbers don’t truly highlight the underlying problem.

It’s not that Liverpool cannot defend full stop, it’s just they seem to occasionally forget how to do it. As Chris Bascombe wrote in The Telegraph: “Those suggesting Liverpool’s defence is consistently awful are palpably wrong. The problem is they are occasionally horrific, and nightmares linger.”

Fans could wipe away the memory of the 5-0 loss at Manchester City due to playing over 50 minutes with 10 men, but the harrowing 4-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur led to a few sleepless nights in the aftermath. Some still wake in a cold sweat after a horrible flashback to Harry Kane’s opener at Wembley Stadium.

“The only way to fix it is to stay strong and work on it. That’s what we’ll do. We have to show a reaction,” Klopp said after the Spurs debacle, per Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail.

Since that game at Wembley, Liverpool have won three straight by a combined 10-1 score. Unable to sign new personnel until January 2018, Klopp has instead tweaked the team’s setup. Notably against West Ham United last time out, he switched to a 4-4-2 system that included two deep-lying central midfielders.

The manager can only do so much, though; those on the field have to be smart in the heat of battle (I’m looking at you, Dejan) and also be switched on in key moments, particularly at set-piece situations.

     

4. Get up for the FA cup

Despite a proud history of winning trophies, Liverpool haven’t picked up any silverware since 2012.

With that in mind, the FA Cup should be a priority in 2018. The Premier League crown already appears out of reach, the Champions League always looked a long shot and the Carabao Cup run ended far too early.

Klopp has previously used the famous competition to blood some of the club’s promising youngsters. For the third-round tie against Plymouth Argyle last season, he fielded a starting lineup with an average age of 21 years and 296 days.

In his two years in charge, the Reds have fallen in the fourth round. On both occasions, Klopp could point to mitigating circumstances—Liverpool were in the midst of an injury crisis in 2016, while last season they prioritised league points and a League Cup semi-final with Southampton (which didn’t go well).

You expect the manager may again see the FA Cup as an opportunity to rest and rotate, and much will depend on the luck of the draw.

But there’s no reason to believe the squad cannot cope with the task of fighting on multiple fronts. Klopp has lost two cup finals since taking charge, hopefully he can make it third time lucky at Wembley next May.

          

5. Finish with a 20+ goalscorer

In the 2013/14 season, the prolific Luis Suarez bagged 31 league goals for Liverpool. In the three years since the Uruguayan ran amok against Premier League defences up and down the country, the club’s top scorers in the competition have managed a combined total of 32.

Steven Gerrard topped the charts with nine the year after Suarez left, Roberto Firmino just reached double figures in 2015/16, while Coutinho and Sadio Mane split the honour with 13 apiece last season.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing around the scoring duties, and the current squad contains plenty of players who can contribute in the final third. Neighbours Everton are a shiny, struggling example of how badly things can go when you become overreliant on one man to provide the majority of your goals.

Having said that, the strongest teams tend to have someone who scores 20 or more in a campaign. Chelsea (Diego Costa with 20), Tottenham (Harry Kane with 29) and Manchester City (Sergio Aguero with 20) all had a player reach that target in 2016/17.

Goal-getters can help paper over cracks. Liverpool need to improve defensively, yet the best way to ease the pressure on the back four is by building a lead at the other end. The goal conceded against West Ham was poor, for example, but lapses don’t tend to be highlighted when you’ve scored four at the other end.

Firmino—Liverpool’s leading man up top—does many things well but isn’t prolific. While Daniel Sturridge is a better finisher, the England international lacks the work rate and mobility that Klopp wants from his centre forward.

Instead, Salah looks the most likely to break through the 20-goal barrier. The Egyptian has been a revelation since his arrival from AS Roma, reaching double figures in all competitions already.

He’s scored seven in the Premier League, five of them coming on the road. If Salah‘s finishing had been a little more clinical—and his penalty against Huddersfield Town hadn’t been saved—he’d surely be in double figures already.

Per BBC Sport, the former Chelsea player’s 12-goal tally in his first 17 games in all competitions means he’s had a better start to life at Anfield than the aforementioned Suarez, as well as Fernando Torres.

Salah‘s electric speed and smart runs, often from out to in, suggest that, provided there are no fitness issues, Liverpool possess a player who can be in the running to win the Premier League’s Golden Boot.

           

6. Make key decisions over personnel

The beauty of Klopp‘s team is that it is exactly that—a team. While some players are more important than others, the system can cope with key absences. Remember, both Coutinho and Mane missed chunks of the previous season, yet a top-four berth was still secured on the final Sunday.

For certain individuals, the next few months will be crucial to working out their long-term futures on Merseyside. Here is a quartet who, despite featuring regularly, Liverpool must decide what to do with:

Emre Can—The midfielder’s contract situation continues to drag on. For whatever reason, the two sides have yet to agree a new deal…and now the clock is seriously ticking. Per Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star, the German could end up moving to Manchester City next summer on a free transfer.

Philippe CoutinhoLiverpool swatted away Barcelona’s interest in the last window, standing firm in the face of heavy pressure from both the Liga club and the player’s representatives to hold on to their prized asset. The Brazilian has got on with his job since, yet speculation continues to persist in the background.

Dejan LovrenThe failed attempt to sign Van Dijk in the summer shows Klopp wants an upgrade at the back. Lovren‘s dire display against Tottenham was seen as the last straw for many, though he will still be needed this season. After that? Who knows. It would help the Croatian’s cause if he could get fully fit.

Simon MignoletThe Belgian goalkeeper won’t ever convince some he’s up to the job. For every stretch of good games he has, it always feels like a mistake is around the corner. Could Loris Karius‘ appearances in the Champions League be a precursor to him taking over as No. 1 on a permanent basis?

Klopp is a players’ coach, you only have to see how he interacts with them after games to appreciate that, but he won’t allow sentiment to cloud his decision-making. If the German feels a player isn’t fully committed or up to the task, he will not hesitate to make a change.

Read more Soccer news on BleacherReport.com

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2743872-resetting-liverpools-targets-for-the-201718-season

Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell Sal Bando Willie Randolph Bobby Wallace Jimmy Wynn Dave Winfield Sammy Sosa Jeff Kent Mike Piazza Sherry Magee Jack Glasscock Andruw Jones Ken Boyer Richie Ashburn Bid McPhee Zack Wheat Willie Stargell Will Clark Todd Helton Billy Williams Willie Davis Vladimir Guerrero Bobby Abreu Darrell Evans Bobby Bonds Hank Greenberg Andre Dawson John Olerud Elmer Flick Joe Medwick Lou Boudreau Billy Herman Joe Torre Joe Kelley Bill Terry Robin Ventura Jack Clark Joe Gordon Stan Hack Carlos Beltran Bill Dickey Enos Slaughter Bob Johnson Jimmy Collins Norm Cash Minnie Minoso Jason Giambi Jose Cruz Bob Elliott Harry Hooper Cesar Cedeno Buck Ewing Ron Cey Jimmy Sheckard Mickey Cochrane Tommy Leach Sam Rice Ted Simmons Ichiro Suzuki Max Carey Fred McGriff George Sisler Tony Perez Gabby Hartnett Chet Lemon Luis Aparicio Kiki Cuyler Hugh Duffy Frank Chance Brian Downing John McGraw Vada Pinson Joe Tinker Gene Tenace King Kelly Johnny Evers Joe Sewell Tony Lazzeri Bobby Doerr Ellis Burks Hughie Jennings Tony Phillips Fielder Jones Larry Doby Larry Doyle Fred Lynn Bernie Williams Cupid Childs Mark Grace Toby Harrah Harry Stovey Edd Roush Orlando Cepeda Mike Cameron Johnny Damon Sam Thompson Babe Ruth Barry Bonds Ty Cobb Willie Mays Hank Aaron Honus Wagner Tris Speaker Stan Musial Rogers Hornsby Eddie Collins Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Lou Gehrig Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith Jackie Robinson Goose Goslin Joe Jackson Joe Cronin Scott Rolen Ryne Sandberg Dwight Evans Yogi Berra Jake Beckley Graig Nettles Harmon Killebrew Dick Allen Keith Hernandez Willie Keeler Buddy Bell

Remembering Baseball Legend Roy Halladay: Friend, Father, 5 a.m. Workout Warrior

What I remember most is the early mornings, spring of 2010.

This was away from the noise of Roy Halladay‘s two Cy Young awards, eight All-Star appearances and the absolute brilliance of what would come some eight months later, when he no-hit Cincinnati in Game 1 of the Cincinnati Reds-Philadelphia Phillies Division Series, his first-ever postseason appearance.

No. This was 8 a.m., just after the Phillies’ clubhouse opened to the media at their spring training home in Clearwater, Florida. Following more than a decade with the Toronto Blue Jays, Halladay was 33, wanted desperately to win and had engineered an offseason trade to the Phillies for two reasons.

One, they were coming off consecutive World Series appearances in 2008 and 2009. And two, because he lived with his wife and two young sons just a short drive from Philadelphia’s camp and wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.

Inside that mid-February clubhouse what the Phillies couldn’t stop talking about regarding their new ace was how early Halladay arrived every day.

Like, 4:30-or-5-in-the-morning early.

A minor leaguer named Phillippe Aumont told me he had been in town three weeks and had yet to beat Halladay to the Phillies’ workout facility in the morning. Veteran closer Brad Lidge told me of Halladay’s legendary workouts, “when I’m getting here at 9 in the morning, he’s finishing up.”

Greatness becomes publicly visible in front of 47,000 standing, frenzied fans during the maw of a no-hitter, or in the throes of a perfect game, or in the plow horse workload of eight 200-inning seasons.

But greatness begins at home, before dawn and alone. It feeds on drive, and it is fueled by ambition.

Roy Halladay, who died Tuesday unspeakably early, at the prime-of-life age of 40, when the small aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, tapped into those things as much as any ace of his generation.

He was great for the Toronto Blue Jays for most of a decade, he was great for the Phillies from 2010-13, and when his shoulder frayed and the hop disappeared from his fastball following all of those innings and finally led him into retirement, he was great with his family.

He reappeared this spring talking about it. He always said he’d be back one day, that baseball always would be in his blood, but worn out from the weight and expectations of two organizations upon retirement, first he needed to go home and be a dad and a husband. And when he finally came back this spring to help with the Phillies’ pitchers, he was essentially moonlighting. His real job was as the pitching coach at Calvary Christian High School, a mere mile away from the Phillies’ complex, where his son Braden, 16, was a sophomore pitcher. His other son, Ryan, is now 12.

As a competitor, as a father, as a friend, as someone who gave of his time to charity, Halladay earned rave reviews from whichever clubhouse he called home. He led by example and was widely admired, and with baseball’s family scattered for the winter following the conclusion of the World Series last week, the shattering, sickening news spread quickly, and the reactions only reinforced it.


Another spring morning, this one in 2009.

Halladay ran through a workout with Toronto in what would be his final spring with the Blue Jays. Indications were growing that he would be traded within the next year. The Canadian dollar had taken a beating in a slumping economy and the Jays were forced to slice payroll. The club’s owner, Ted Rogers, had died months before. Meanwhile, Halladay wasn’t getting any younger. But when I caught him at the end of the team’s workout, he still hadn’t run through his own individual workout. If you want to hang around, he told me, I’ll talk. But he warned: It’s going to be a while.

I went out and grabbed a sandwich, drove back to Toronto’s facility and, finally, some 90 minutes after the team had finished working out, Halladay was finishing up. The rest of the Jays had a free afternoon and plans. Halladay had a weight room and lifting.

“I want to be a part of this team making that push,” Halladay told me after morning had faded into afternoon as we talked the one subject he always came back to: winning. “It becomes important for any player. Your priorities change. When you come up, you want to establish yourself. Now, after you’ve been around awhile, all you want to do is win. And the shorter the window, you start getting a little anxious.”

He was a big man, 6’6″, and could be intimidating. His fastball sizzled. His presence dominated. But he also had one other weapon he utilized, one that not every big flamethrower will: his mind. Early in his Toronto career, after the Jays dispatched him back to the minors when he was still trying to establish himself, he sought out a man named Harvey Dorfman, who was a pioneer in the field of sports psychology.

It was Halladay’s wife, Brandy, who actually gets credit. Browsing at a bookstore, she happened upon one of Dorfman’s seminal books, The Mental ABC’s of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement, and picked it up, thinking perhaps it would help boost her husband’s confidence. He devoured it, became a Dorfman disciple and rocketed to superstardom shortly thereafter.

By the time he finished, he had thrown a whopping 67 complete games and 20 shutouts.


In his spare time he loved flying, and he purchased the ICON A5 only a few weeks ago that crashed:

His own kids older now, Halladay’s return to the game this spring was viewed as the first step to what eventually would have become a more permanent role with the Phillies.

Instead, news of Halladay’s death was sudden, stunning and horrible. And as it soaks in, I think back to Aumont, who remained with the Phillies through 2015, lived his dream of playing with Halladay and retired this summer after landing in Charlotte, North Carolina, Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

“When I get to Canada, that’s all I hear, Halladay, Halladay, Halladay,” Aumont, a Quebec native, told me on that long ago February morning. “Now I get to be in the same clubhouse with him. I’ve watched him since I was 15 years old. And now, five or six years later, you’re together in the same clubhouse.”

And I can’t help but think back to the solitude of those spring mornings, Halladay hard at work, the horizon wide open, open to whatever he would make of it.

Around the memories, through the tears, a legacy now carries on in a wholly different way than ever intended.

      

Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2743074-remembering-baseball-legend-roy-halladay-friend-father-5-am-workout-warrior

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