Los Angeles Dodgers sweep San Diego Padres to make NLCS

The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a division-series sweep of NL West rival San Diego with a 12-3 victory Thursday night, setting up an NLCS showdown against the only other unbeaten team this postseason, the Atlanta Braves.

The two best teams in the National League will square off in a seven-game series starting Monday. The ALCS, featuring Houston and the winner of New York and Tampa Bay’s ALDS Game 5, will begin Sunday.

“We obviously feel really confident about our club, [but] we’ve still got a lot to work to do though,” A.J. Pollock said. “We did what we wanted to do, we did what we’re supposed to do. We’re going to celebrate that, but we expected it.”

The Dodgers remain the clear favorites to win the World Series, and after watching how they blunted the Padres over three games, it’s easy to see why.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Every game, the Dodgers exhibited championship-caliber characteristics. Their pitching shut down the Padres’ dangerous lineup in Game 1. Their home run-robbing defense preserved a close win in Game 2. And in Game 3, the Dodgers’ offense, relatively dormant in these playoffs, awoke with fury, led by Will Smith, who became the first catcher and ninth player ever to record five hits in a postseason game.1

Smith capped his outburst with a bases-loaded double in the ninth inning and finished 5-for-6 with three RBIs. Los Angeles’ four runs in the ninth inning were a nice bookend to the third inning, when the Dodgers put the game out of reach.

Trailing 2-1, Los Angeles plated five runs, three of them coming with two outs and after a curious intentional walk. Rather than face Cody Bellinger, the Padres allowed Pollock to lace a run-scoring single to left field before Joc Pederson followed with a two-run single to extend the lead to 6-2.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“Our offense was great. We had big plays, big moments from a lot of different guys throughout the series,” Pollock said.

From there, the Dodgers set it to cruise control and returned to the NLCS for the fourth time in five years and the 14th time in franchise history. In 2016, they lost to the Chicago Cubs. In 2017 and 2018, they won the pennant only to fall to the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, both of whom later were disciplined by the commissioner’s office for illicit sign stealing. Last year, they were ousted in spectacular fashion during the division series by the eventual champions Washington Nationals.

This season, the Dodgers ensured they would suffer no such fate. Their 43-17 regular-season record secured the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason, and Los Angeles quickly took care of Milwaukee in the wild-card round. The Padres, their NL West rivals, were a greater threat but a hobbled one. Their best starter this season, Dinelson Lamet, did not pitch in the postseason because of an arm injury, and Mike Clevinger, the starter they acquired at the deadline, left in the second inning of Game 1 because of arm troubles.

The Dodgers have spent the season relatively healthy, and it allowed them to weather the barrage of looks San Diego threw at them in Game 3. The Padres used a playoff-record 11 pitchers and 24 players in the game. The volume couldn’t match the Dodgers’ excellence.

They move to the NLCS with one pertinent question — will longtime closer Kenley Jansen keep his job after a troubling downtick in velocity? — and a few smaller ones that tend to answer themselves. The overarching questions are all answered.

Manchester City close to signing Benfica defender Ruben Dias – sources

Manchester City are closing in on the signing of Benfica defender Ruben Dias, sources have told ESPN.

City have been given permission to speak to Dias about a deal that could see Nicolas Otamendi join Benfica.

Pep Guardiola has already added defender Nathan Ake to his squad this summer, but City are set to splash out on another centre-back to further bolster their defence.cheap nfl nike jersey

Sources told ESPN on Friday that Sevilla remain braced for a second, improved bid from City for Jules Kounde. They rejected an initial €55 million City offer for Kounde last week, believing they’ll be able to sell him for more next summer.4

Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez were also considered during the transfer window but City’s refusal to meet the asking price for either saw them move on to Dias.nfl cheap jerseys nike

The 23-year-old, who has been capped 19 times by Portugal, is set to arrive in Manchester this week to finalise the move.

Otamendi, 32, is yet to feature for Guardiola’s side this season. City are prepared to let the Argentina international leave after five years at the club following his move from Valencia in 2015.

Leicester thrash Man City as Vardy hits hat trick

A Jamie Vardy hat trick and goals from James Maddison and Youri Tielemans helped Leicester City beat Manchester City 5-2 on Sunday.

Ederson could do little in the City goal as Vardy and Tielemans fired three penalties past him. Vardy and Maddison added two from open play while goals from Riyad Mahrez and Nathan Ake goals did little for City’s hopes.

City had not conceded five goals in a home game since February 2003 against Arsenal and it was the first time their boss Pep Guardiola had seen a side he is managing concede five in what was his 686th game in the dugout.

The hosts came out of the blocks the much better team at the Etihad Stadium out of the blocks the much better team, opening the scoring through former Leicester City player Mahrez on four minutes.nfl cheap jerseys nike

A perfectly weighted corner from Kevin De Bruyne was headed out of the box by Leicester but only as far as Mahrez who, unmarked, waited for the ball to bounce before curling it beautifully into the top right corner with his left foot.

City went on to enjoy over 80% of the possession in the opening 25 minutes but failed to capitalise on that time with a goal.

Rodri appeared to have scored after 35 minutes when he got his head to a De Bruyne free kick but replays showed he was offside and the goal was disallowed.3

Eric Garcia conceded a second City penalty on 57 minutes when he brought Vardy down in the box. The 33-year-old stepped up once again and while Ederson went the right way, there was no way he could stop Vardy’s fast and low shot going into the bottom right corner.

Maddison added Leicester’s fourth on 77 minutes after receiving the ball in space on the left. He cut inside and curled the ball past Ederson with his right foot.cheap nfl nike jersey

Ake managed to pull one back for City on 84 minutes after he headed the ball into the net from a set piece but it wasn’t to be enough as Tielemans converted a penalty moments later.

“We have set up to infuriate them and it has worked a treat. We knew if we stuck to our plan we would get some chances,” Vardy said after the game.

“It’s always cat and mouse. It’s a gamble both ways. I know where I am going to put it and he knows where he is diving. [I’m] over the moon to get the goals.

“It’s only a start. The way we finished last season was not good enough so we have to keep it going now.”

Despite looking uncomfortable in his movement in the latter stages of the match, Vardy confirmed that it was a minor bone issue that was niggling at him and not something more serious.

The defeat snapped City’s 11-match unbeaten home run in the league dating back to last season, while it was also their first defeat in an opening top-flight home game since a 2-1 loss to Southampton in 1989.

Tigers use big first inning to edge Royals 4-3

Niko Goodrum and Austin Romine keyed a three-run first inning, and the Detroit Tigers edged the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Saturday night.

The Tigers made the third start for Kansas City right-hander Carlos Hernandez one to forget. Detroit got to Hernandez in the first inning on Goodrum’s RBI single, and Romine followed with a two-run double.

Willi Castro’s RBI single in the second made it 4-1.

“Eric Haase called a great game, Austin Romine called a great game, we played great defense,” said Matthew Boyd., who earned the win “We came out hot on a guy that has some really good stuff. It was a good team win.”

Hernandez (0-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“They were seeing him very well, and he had trouble. Gordo had a great play, but just one of those nights and use a learning experience,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “The look he gave us this year that make us believe he will have success at this level.”

Adalberto Mondesi homered to left in the first inning to get the Royals on the board.4

“He’s seeing the ball so well, and he had a game plan and took the barrel, and the ball carried for him,” Matheny said of Mondesi. “He continues to make us shake our head and wonder if we had a full season what type of year he would’ve had.”

He added an RBI double and scored on a single by Maikel Franco to cut the lead to 4-3 in the third.

Boyd (3-7) pitched six innings, allowing five hits and three runs with three strikeouts for Detroit.

“It was a performance that we certainly needed,” Tigers manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He really stepped up and gave us six solid innings because out bullpen was a little thin tonight and also considering that we may have to play Monday, so he did a great job for us.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The Tigers’ bullpen tossed three shutout innings. Bryan Garcia pitched the ninth for his fourth save of the season.

The Royals stranded seven men, but their bullpen kept them in the game. Mike Montgomery, Jake Newberry, Josh Staumont, and Tyler Zuber tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, allowing just three hits.

Celtics ‘played with the right mentality’ in Game 3 win following recent collapses, locker room outbursts

For the past two days, the basketball world waited to see how the Boston Celtics would respond to both collapsing down the stretch for a second straight game to open the Eastern Conference finals and the emotional outbursts in the locker room that followed.

But after the Celtics got themselves back into their series against the Miami Heat with a 117-106 victory on Saturday in Game 3, Boston said its response is proof that there is more than enough resolve within this team for it to turn this series around and win it.nike cheap nfl jerseys

“There are some great guys in that locker room,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said after leading Boston with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot in 42 minutes. “A lot of emotion, a lot of passion. But we’re a family. We’re here for each other at the end of the day. We exemplified that when we came out together. We stayed together during some tough moments.

Still, the Celtics could take solace in the fact that they controlled large portions of those games. They then proceeded to come out and do the same thing in Game 3, except this time they managed to close the door on Miami, despite a brief scare when the Heat got within five points inside the final minute.3

The difference? In Game 3, rather than falling into large stretches of passive play, as it did in the first two games, Boston was relentlessly aggressive in attacking the paint. Doing so produced a ridiculous 60-36 margin in points in the paint in Boston’s favor, allowing the Celtics to dictate the tempo of the game and keep the Heat on their heels.

“Our whole team was aggressive,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Our whole team played with the right mentality.”

That mentality was lacking in the first two games, which led to frustrations bubbling over in the locker room afterward, notably with Marcus Smart being heard among several players yelling at one another. But after the Celtics spent last season as a disjointed group that went through numerous locker room spats during the season, this version of the team has had practically no such moments.

After the Celtics responded with an impressive performance Saturday, the players shrugged off the idea that there would be any long-term issue as a result of this moment of turbulence.

“It’s been normal,” said Jayson Tatum, who had 25 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists in 41 minutes. “Anybody that’s played sports, played in a team game, we’re not supposed to be happy being down 0-2. If you are, then you don’t care. We care about this.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“Basketball is a game of emotions. So we want guys to be frustrated, be upset, to care. It’s nothing personal. We just have to figure some things out. It’s nothing more than that.

“You’re supposed to talk it out, figure it out and come together for the next game. Leave what happened in the past in the past because you can’t change it.”

Toronto Raptors’ Serge Ibaka plays vs. Boston Celtics despite ankle sprain

Despite his sprained left ankle, Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka played in Wednesday night’s double-overtime victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Ibaka came off the bench and played 21 minutes, contributing 13 points, three rebounds and three blocks as the Raptors won 125-122 to even the series at 3-3.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

Ibaka was in a walking boot while he addressed the media on Tuesday.4

Coach Nick Nurse said pregame that Ibaka was “OK” and that there wouldn’t be any limitations on him.

Ibaka, who has not started any games for the Raptors in this playoffs but serves as a key figure off the bench, is averaging 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game against Boston this series while shooting 49.7% overall and 49.4% from 3-point range. He also had three 20-point games in the Raptors’ first-round sweep against the Brooklyn Nets.

On Tuesday, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said he was confident that Ibaka was going to play because of how well Ibaka takes care of himself.nfl nike jersey cheap

“Obviously we need him out there,” VanVleet said on Tuesday afternoon. “I haven’t spoken to him about how he’s feeling or anything, but just knowing him personally, I would be surprised if he wasn’t out there. Serge is probably the best I’ve ever seen at taking care of his body and recovering and following his routine. Hopefully he can get back feeling good today and be ready for us tomorrow.”

Source: Braves signing free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig

Free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig is signing with the Atlanta Braves, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by MLB.com.

The agreement comes after Braves outfielder Nick Markakis opted out of the 2020 season earlier this month.

A major league All-Star in 2014, Puig, 29, batted .267 in 149 games last season with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. He hit .297 with Cleveland after being acquired on July 30 and gave the Indians an infusion of power and energy, helping their ultimately fruitless surge to catch the Minnesota Twins for the American League Central title.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The boisterous right fielder was part of a wild fight between the Reds and Pirates mere hours before he was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade that sent right-hander Trevor Bauer from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Puig was suspended three games for his aggressive actions on what turned out to be his final day with the Reds.

Puig, who joined the Reds in a December 2018 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has a career batting average of .277. Perhaps his best overall offensive season was in 2017, when he batted .263 with a career-high 28 home runs and 74 RBIs.

The National League East champion Braves were facing a depth problem in their outfield even after they signed Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million deal in the offseason.4

Markakis opted out of the season before summer camp. Ozuna or Adam Duvall could be needed as the designated hitter in the shortened 60-game season.

The team’s shortage of outfielders was highlighted when rookie Cristian Pache jammed his right ankle in Monday night’s intrasquad game and was not available Tuesday.

“We’re thin a little bit,” manager Brian Snitker said Tuesday. “We started this thing feeling really good about the depth, and we’ve used all of it already, as I think a lot of teams have. We’re stretched a little bit.”nike nfl cheap jerseys

If Ozuna is the primary designated hitter, Puig could join Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ender Inciarte in a starting outfield.

Duvall, who has been most productive against left-handers, and Markakis might have split time. Puig, who has a .285 career average against right-handers, will be expected to replace Markakis’ production.

Puig, who defected from Cuba in 2012, was popular with Dodgers fans during his six years in Los Angeles for his colorful personality, home run trots and ability to throw runners out from right field. He made headlines away from the field when his Los Angeles home was burglarized multiple times.

At the ballpark, he was benched at times, and the team considered trading him long before it did because of his perceived lack of hustle or interest in following orders.

Source: Willie Cauley-Stein opts out of restart; Mavericks to sign Trey Burke

Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein informed the team that he will opt out of the restart of the NBA season, opening up a roster spot the Mavs intend to fill by signing point guard Trey Burke, sources said.nike jerseys nfl cheap

Cauley-Stein, who expects to become a father in July, averaged 5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 13 games for the Mavs after being acquired in a January trade with the Golden State Warriors.4

Burke, 27, who was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers in January, averaged 9.7 points and 2.6 assists in 25 games for the Mavs last season.nike cheap nfl jerseys

Dallas had a need for point guard depth because backup Jalen Brunson underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in March.

Mavs shooting guard Courtney Lee will also be unavailable for the restart of the season due to a calf injury suffered recently.

The Athletic first reported Cauley-Stein’s intention to sit out the rest of the season.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott signs exclusive franchise tender

The Dallas Cowboys have officially received Dak Prescott’s signed, $31.4 million exclusive franchise tender.

The two sides have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal, otherwise one cannot be done until after this season. News of Prescott’s intention to sign the tender first broke on Sunday.
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The quarterback appeared to make reference to the signing with an Instagram post later Monday.

Prescott’s decision eliminates the worst-case scenario for the team — the quarterback missing training camp and signing right before the season-opener, a strategy Prescott clearly never intended to pursue as he will now be required to attend training camp.4

The fact Prescott will be one of the highest-paid players in the NFL — and the potential his franchise tag increases by a mandatory 20% next season to $37.7 million with a flat or lower cap in 2021 — is the incentive for the Cowboys to secure a long-term deal before July 15.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

Said one source of the pressure on the Cowboys: “Their problem is the second year because this salary cap is going to crash unless there’s an intermediate deal. They would have to gut their team to keep him then. So there’s even more incentive for the Cowboys to do a long-term deal with Dak because of the coronavirus and where the cap might be next year.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones have repeatedly expressed their belief that Prescott is the team’s quarterback of the future and capable of leading the franchise back to a Super Bowl.

Prescott, who turns 27 on July 29, has said on multiple occasions that he never wanted to leave the Cowboys.

Report: Tom Brady part of Bucs’ group workout despite recent positive coronavirus tests

Despite seeing two players diagnosed with the coronavirus and an assistant coach test positive last week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers players are continuing to hold group workouts at a local high school.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that quarterback Tom Brady and several teammates were working out at Berkeley Prep on Tuesday morning, despite the NFL Players Association advising against such workouts.

Brady was seen practicing Tuesday with Rob Gronkowski, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Mike Edwards, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin and Ryan Jensen.nfl cheap nike jerseys
“Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts,” Mayer said. “Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months.3

“We are working on the best mitigation procedures at team facilities for both training camps and the upcoming season, and believe that this is in the best interest of all players that we advise against any voluntary joint practices before training camp commences.”

The league office has been made aware of the workouts, as has the NFLPA and the Buccaneers, who officially reopened their team facilities on June 10. Bucs coaches returned to the facilities June 15, but players still are not permitted to enter unless they are receiving medical treatment.
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“Everyone associated with the NFL should follow the recommendations and guidelines of state and local authorities and medical experts, including the NFLPA,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN. “The league is working with the NFLPA to conclude the remaining protocols and finalize arrangements for the safe opening of training camps next month.”

“We have no further comment at this time outside of the statement we released through Dr. Mayer,” an NFLPA spokesman told ESPN.

Infections in the state of Florida and in the Tampa Bay region are on the rise. The Hillsborough County government released a public service announcement on social media Saturday featuring Bucs coach Bruce Arians encouraging residents to take precautions, just as the state eclipsed 100,000 infections, with a record one-day surge of 4,000 new cases.

“During these difficult times, it is important that we all show we care about our community’s health,” Arians said in the video. “You could spread COVID-19 without knowing it. Wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance from each other, stay strong, and go Bucs.”

Since Florida’s reopening, younger people make up a significantly larger portion of new infections. The average age of infections is now 37 in Hillsborough County.