Read more: Mets Pitchers Have Found Their Kryptonite Today is an off day for the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets, but not for us. As the teams traveled to New York City to resume the World Series on Friday with the Royals leading by two games to none, ESPN.com editor and writer Christina Kahrl joined FiveThirtyEight’s biggest baseball obsessives from her Kansas City hotel to look ahead to Game 3. As usual, the transcript below has been lightly edited. Carl Bialik, lead news writer: Welcome, baseball fans! Historically, five out of six teams down two games to none in a best-of-seven series go on to lose. Can the Mets be the one out of six? Is there anything you see that makes that look likely?Neil Paine, senior sportswriter: Well, according to ESPN Stats & Info, the last time the Mets were outscored by exactly seven runs in the first two games of a World Series was in 1986, and we know what happened then. (But seriously, they are in deep trouble.)Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com editor and writer: Hrm. 1986: John McNamara, Red Sox manager and a model manager if tactical passivity is your thing. 2015: Ned Yost, Royals manager and a model manager if tactical passivity is your thing. I’m sensing a trend.Nate Silver, editor in chief: Well, the Mets are playing at home. They probably have the best of the starting pitching matchups in Games 3 and 4, especially with Chris Young coming into Game 4 with some extra mileage on his arm.Harry Enten, senior political writer: Let me offer this piece of hope for the Mets (because, as Neil notes, they are in trouble): The Royals are hitting at about their average through the small sample size of two games (.721 OPS vs .734 in the regular season), while the Mets are hitting quite below their average (.432 vs. .712 in the regular season).Neil: Yeah, perhaps one ray of sunshine is that the Mets were this close to getting a split in KC, if Jeurys Familia doesn’t make that one mistake. And that was with Mets bats underperforming.Harry: And then, surely Yost is bound to cost the Royals. Right?! Right?!Christina: Actually, the thing you can say for Yost is that, a little like Tony La Russa in 2011 or Bruce Bochy in any World Series, he’s been working with what he’s got this postseason. Chris Young probably won’t have to face the Mets a third time through the order, he’ll be out and the Mets will be dealing with Kris Medlen or Danny Duffy in the middle innings.Harry: Christina, you mentioned that Yost wouldn’t stick with Chris Young. The Mets bullpen is so weak that they had to bring in Jon Niese again in Game 2. And while it worked for one inning, it killed them in that second inning.Carl: The starting-pitching matchups look good for the Mets on paper, and it does seem like the Mets bats are due to regress upward (progress?). So to what extent do we say the first two games were fluky, and to what extent do we reconsider our assessment of the two teams? Is Thor’s fastball advantage neutralized because of what we’ve seen Royals bats do to fastballs in the first two games?Nate: The prior for anything that happened in a two-game series is pretty much always that it was random. These are two fairly evenly matched baseball teams. The coin came up heads twice. There were some interesting strategic decisions in Game 1: I think Yost was smart to bring in Chris Young, for instance, and the Mets might have been better off with Steven Matz or Thor in the game. But basically, this stuff is random. Also, I’m in the Ned-Yost-is-not-a-moron camp. He’s actually pretty laissez-faire, other than using his bullpen fairly aggressively. There are a lot of worse things to be.Christina: The Mets pen — and Terry Collins’s remarkably retro usage pattern of his relievers, because he just hasn’t done the situational specialist thing with a guy like lefty Sean Gilmartin all year — is not really a significant asset. It makes for some interesting stuff to speculate about as far as the aggregate value of a skipper, as Nate just pointed out.Dave Schoenfield and I were both scratching our heads about the decision to pull Niese as quickly as he was pulled in Game 1; he looked great, and if the alternative is feeding Bartolo Colon to that lineup …Nate: The Niese decision also strikes me as having been dumb. Someone out there needs to put together a primer on extra-inning bullpen strategy; teams sometimes seem to forget that the average extra inning starts with a leverage index of 2.0 or so.Carl: Part of the fun of a 14-inning Game 1 was how it generated so many tactical decisions we could debate afterward. We know from more than just the last two games that KC’s bullpen > Mets’ bullpen, as Christina mentioned. Were you surprised Yost left Johnny Cueto in for all nine innings in Game 2? How important is it to rest a bullpen after an epic game? And Neil, any evidence Yost and Collins aren’t headed for the Hall of Mediocrity you’ve written about?Christina: I’d also put myself in the “Ned knows what he’s doing” camp. Is it more sort of a Burt Shotton thing, where he’s pretty easygoing? Yes. Are people over-freaked on his sporadic bunting? Yes — the Royals got just 32 sacrifice bunts from non-pitchers this year, which ranked sixth in the AL, behind the smart guys in Cleveland and Toronto, among others.Harry: Soon enough, Yost will be wearing a bow tie in the dugout.Neil: FWIW, I think both managers have squeezed a lot out of their talent this year. For Yost, this is part of a two-year pattern, so there could be something there.Nate: One thing I’ve wondered about, Carl, is how leaving the pitcher in longer affects his next start. Cueto threw 122 pitches in a lopsided game. Is he 3 percent worse in Game 6 as a result? That’s not trivial, on the scale of these things. Maybe Yost was a little too laissez-faire in this case.Christina: I loved Yost’s decision to stick with Cueto, both for what it did for the rest of the pen, but also because it was an endorsement of sorts. Much as he had during his bad patch in August and September, Cueto seemed to struggle with slider location, but he nevertheless did a superb job of keeping the Mets guessing. And remember, he will get an extra day’s rest before his next start, if it ever comes.Neil: Right — maybe in that situation, you see the lead ballooning, so you know you’re on the verge of being up two games to none. The probability of needing another Cueto start goes down, but you can shield the weaker parts of the bullpen for later and simultaneously give Cueto that vote of confidence.Carl: Endgame strategies certainly take a new shape when they could be endseason strategies. Cueto might not throw another meaningful pitch until spring.Christina: I think my other big takeaway from Game 2 was that the Royals gave us a demonstration of one of the other important tactical factors that went into Terry Collins’s Game 1 lineup, which is that a bum wing handicaps Juan Lagares’s arm in center. With nobody aboard, no biggie, but it was part of the problem in that fifth inning. In that, you can feel badly for Collins — he “guessed” wrong in consecutive games, but he had good reasons both times for doing what he did, only to see the Royals exploit both options.Neil: Game 1 showed us what can happen with Yoenis Cespedes in center field.Christina: Exactly.Harry: It’s amazing how that cost the Mets not once but twice. If you look back at the highlight reels of Cespedes’ great throws, he often boots it before firing out of his cannon, like he booted it in Game 1. Yet I think Johnny Damon may have a better arm than Juan L. (Kidding.)Nate: I’m still having nightmares of watching Kyle Schwarber in left field. Compared to him, Cespedes looks like Willie Mays out there.Neil: And, in fact, he made a Mays-esque catch last night.Carl: Will it help the Mets to return to the outfield they’re more familiar with? Are there any other ways home field might help?Nate: Citi Field is a quirkier ballpark than you might think — and, sure, it helps the Mets to know the outfield angles pretty well. But it’s also a park that suppresses run scoring, and that could make bullpen and endgame strategy more important, possibly to KC’s benefit.Christina: I wonder if the Royals won’t profit here, as well. The Mets don’t really “do” the situational lefty thing, so the Royals could stack their lefties in the lineup even without Kendrys Morales and not have to worry too much about an in-game tactical penalty. I mean, Alex Gordon batting eighth is … simultaneously silly from our point of view, perhaps, but a reflection of how deep that lineup is in terms of not having one or two guys you can blow away handily.Neil: Also, home-field advantage probably shows up in how the umps call the strike zone as anywhere else. And the Mets need strikeouts. They need to avoid putting KC in hitter’s counts. (Then again, there isn’t much strike-zone home-cooking can do about allowing first-pitch contact.)Harry: The Royals have struck out just 10 times compared to the Mets’ 19 through two games. The Mets starting-pitching speciality is pitching the fast ball. Thor, who throws the fastest of any of the starters, is going in Game 3. This is not good. But then again, they play the game for a reason.Christina: Alcides Escobar: Positively ump-proof.Carl: We’ve praised the Royals lineup for handling the Mets heat so well. Why haven’t the Mets been able to hit for the last 16 innings or so? They obviously miss the home-run-a-game pace Murphy couldn’t sustain (to no one’s surprise), but what about everyone else? I mean, when a Lucas Duda infield single is about as good as it gets …Harry: Duda is hitting .444 (or 4 for 9) this series. Every other Met who started both games is hitting .222 or lower. My goodness.Christina: I can totally see a situation where Thor gives the Mets a great six innings, and maybe that’s enough to win with some run support. But the Royals are even better at making good contact against lefties, so I’m not wild about Matz’s chances if that makes the Mets defense a factor again.Harry: Matz has not been very good this postseason. Yes, he hasn’t given up the long ball, but his WHIP is 1.45. I mean, he just doesn’t strike people out. But that may actually be a good thing given the Royals can’t be struck out. But as Christina points out, you can forget about the Mets if they don’t start hitting. That’s their problem right now. I don’t care if you have Sal Maglie going in Games 3 and 4; you don’t hit, you don’t win.Christina: I also wonder if we weren’t oversold on Michael Conforto. His homer against Zack Greinke earlier this month is no small thing, but he fattened up on teams like the Phillies after his call-up. Cespedes is a notorious streak hitter; if tomorrow is the start of a hot streak, he could change up this source of concern in no time flat. And it is supposed to be warmer in New York than it was here in K.C., which ought to help.Nate: One theme I’m picking up in several threads here is that the Royals, top to bottom, are a really hard team to exploit. Which, if you’re into game theory and all that, is one hallmark of having a highly effective strategy.Harry: Here’s another question: How many runs has the Mets defense cost them? At least the first and last runs of Game 1. Beating a team that puts the ball in play like the Royals likely requires a good defense. The Mets defense has been “meh.”Christina: Murphy costs you every time out there; he’s just not a good second baseman. Add that to Wilmer Flores’s inadequacy at short, and it’s hard to see the defense conjuring up anything like a Goins-Tulo ballet on the double play to save somebody’s bacon.Harry: Such a change from the ‘99 Mets.Neil: Yet the Royals’ offensive batting average on balls in play hasn’t been notably great in the series as a whole. (Even if you count that Escobar inside-the-park home run as a “ball in play.”) The Mets haven’t been great situationally on defense, though — they’ve often had their struggles in bunches. Which goes to something KC has done all year: sequencing, bunching hits, etc.Carl: The Mets are struggling at pitching, fielding and hitting; the Royals are looking like a team with no exploitable weaknesses after being two innings from elimination against the Astros. Most sports books have the Royals as 1-4 favorites. Would you take those odds? And how many games do you think we have left in this series?Harry: I would bet on the Mets at those odds because they are a better team than they have shown so far. Now, maybe they end up dropping the next two. It’s happened before. But the pre-series statistics showed the Royals and Mets to be pretty even. If you assume each game is a tossup, then the Mets have a 25 percent chance to win both of the next two games. It’s probably a little higher at home. Then who knows in a best-of-three?Christina: I think if the Mets win Game 3, things get interesting, because I don’t know if anybody knows what to expect from Edinson Volquez in a Game 5.Carl: Yes, when Volquez was last pitching, in Game 1, he hadn’t heard the awful news that his father died just before the game. It’s uncharted territory for Kansas City and for Fox, which didn’t mention it on air until Volquez knew, at the Royals’ request.Christina: Indeed. Plus two flights to/from the Dominican Republic for Volquez, and what that does to a body. That’s where we just have to sit and watch, but how much Game 4 is won (or lost) by the Royals pen could be a factor in Game 5.Neil: I think about 4-to-1 odds of a Mets comeback make sense. I think the Royals probably win in 6 now.Christina: I’d subscribe to that line of thought, Neil. I can see the Mets winning two of three to get this back to K.C., but I still see this as a series the Royals ultimately win.Nate: I’ll take Mets in 11.
Redshirt freshman Torrance Gibson (6) and freshman Austin Mack (11) work together during spring camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Lantern File PhotoFootball players switching positions in college is nothing new in the world of sports, and Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer has a history of players swapping spots on the field successfully.Most recently, former OSU wide receivers Braxton Miller and Jalin Marshall, both former quarterbacks, were signed to NFL teams in their new positions. Miller was drafted in the third round of the NFL draft, while Marshall was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent.Departed Darron Lee was a quarterback and defensive back in high school before becoming a linebacker under Meyer at OSU, and current Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden used to call the plays for Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Maryland, before becoming a cornerback under Meyer at Florida.Another former quarterback, redshirt freshman Torrance Gibson, made the switch from signal caller to pass catcher in Columbus. Last season, he redshirted following an ankle injury and some problems in the classroom. Gibson was not always open to the idea of changing positions.“My first reaction was no,” Gibson said. “But when I really thought about it, I was being selfish. That’s when I made the switch.”This year, Gibson is expected to make his debut in scarlet and gray as a wideout during the regular season after spending a year healing his injury and learning the position. Admittedly, Gibson said he would line up during practice last year and wonder what route he was supposed to run, or what his blocking assignment was. The time he spent away from the field during 2015, he said, has helped immensely. While he will be on the field to contribute as a wideout, Gibson has missed some time during camp due to a hamstring injury. “Torrance missed about 10 practices,” Meyer said. “He just went for the first time in a week so it’s been a tough go for him.”After an impressive spring game, where he notched two touchdown receptions, the redshirt freshman said he could still tweak some aspects of his game. “I think I could have done a little more of attacking the ball,” Gibson said. “Coach Meyer gets on me everyday about attacking the ball. I wait on it too much. That’s my biggest weakness right now.”Gibson hopes to join good company of athletic playmakers to make the switch from quarterback under the Meyer regime.Gibson and the rest of the Scarlet and Gray begin the season against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
Trevor Thompson (right) talks with OSU men’s basketball coach Thad Matta during the 2014 Spring Game April 12 at Ohio Stadium. Thompson announced his decision to transfer to Ohio State April 13.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorSeniors Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. might be gone, along with junior LaQuinton Ross and sophomore Amedeo Della Valle, but Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta is not wasting any time filling those vacancies.After announcing that former-Temple redshirt-junior forward Anthony Lee would transfer to Ohio State last month, Matta has secured another inside presence in Trevor Thompson.Thompson, who spent his freshman season with Virginia Tech, can start playing for the Buckeyes beginning in 2015-16 after sitting out for a season per NCAA transfer rules.Thompson tweeted his excitement in joining the Buckeyes on April 13, a day after attending the 2014 Spring Game at Ohio Stadium.“Well it’s official I’m a Ohio State Buckeye Show Me Love #BuckEyeNation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Thompson tweeted from his personal account, @TrevBallinTrey2, at 1:29 p.m. April 13.During 2013-14, Thompson started 11 times for Virginia Tech, averaging five points and 4.7 rebounds per game.“Trevor has proven he is capable of competing at our level,” Matta said in an OSU press release. “He will be a very athletic big man for us. We are looking forward to having Trevor in our program.”Last season, OSU finished ninth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin, only grabbing 0.3 more boards per game than their opponents, and the Buckeyes are likely to benefit from Thompson’s ability on the glass.With the Buckeyes’ top two centers from last season, juniors Trey McDonald and Amir Williams, entering their final year of eligibility next year, Thompson is set to join David Bell, a member of the 2014 recruiting class, as one of only two centers on the roster.
OSU freshman running back J.K. Dobbins (2) carries the ball during the Spring Game on April 15. Scarlet beat Gray 38-31. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorBLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In Ohio State’s first game of the season, freshman running back J.K. Dobbins took the field for the opening drive against Indiana instead of Mike Weber, the listed starter at running back.During Monday’s press conference, coach Urban Meyer said that Weber was close to being 100 percent after dealing with a hamstring injury earlier in fall practice. Meyer did not say at the time whether he believed Dobbins would be taking the field to start against the Hoosiers.Dobbins — a four-star running back recruit and second-best all-purpose back in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports Composite rankings — has been talked up by running backs coach Tony Alford as one of the most prepared players he’s coached in his 22 years in the industry. Throughout fall practice, Alford said Dobbins was one of the best freshmen he has ever seen citing not only his athletic ability, but also his knowledge of the offensive schemes.
New Juventus signing Mattia Caldara says he is ‘very excited and curious’ about learning from Cristiano Ronaldo, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli at Juventus.The defender also stressed that he made the right decision by giving everything to the Atalanta, confessing ‘I wasn’t ready’ to leave Atalanta.“It’s a very important time for me, I’m aware of it,” he began at his official unveiling on Friday as quoted in Football Italia.“I know I’m at a great team, I’ll have to show why I deserve to be here every day. I’m also very excited and curious to see how Cristiano Ronaldo trains and understand how he can stay at these levels for so long.“Continassa? This is a training complex of the highest level, with perfect pitches and structure, as well as a great gym.“Mentality? It’s enough to see how Chiellini and Barzagli work to understand the winning mentality of this team.Fiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.“I could’ve joined a year ago, but I always gave everything for the Atalanta shirt. I think Perin is right when he says that the Juve train passes only once in a lifetime.“My lawyer, family and I decided to wait, I wasn’t ready. It’s a big change, especially in terms of mentality, so it was the best choice for everyone.“Nesta and Chiellini? My idol has always been Nesta, that’s why I chose the No 13. Over the years, I’ve also learned to value Chiellini. I have his poster in the room.“Playing with him fills me with pride, and he’s already helping me a lot in training. There’s a lot of competition here, there are some good players in my position, but it makes me want to give more and improve myself.“I’m happy to be here, and I’ll need [that motivation] to get higher and higher. From Chiellini, I have to learn how he marks his man. He’s unique for that.“As for Barzagli, I admire how he reads the ball, both in possession and not so.”
Juventus hitman Cristiano Ronaldo has sparked an angry reaction from Real Madrid fans after he said Juventus were more of a team than his former club, Real Madrid.Ronaldo told Express:“It isn’t right to name someone specific but I can say that this is the best group in which I’ve played.“Here, we are a squad, elsewhere, some players feel bigger than the others. Instead, here, everyone is on the same level, they are humble and want to win.“If [Paulo] Dybala or [Mario] Mandzukic don’t score, they are still happy and you see them smile.“For me, it is beautiful, to feel that difference. Also at Madrid they are humble, but here I feel that sense more.Lukaku backed to beat Ronaldo in Serie A scoring charts Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Former Inter Milan star Andy van der Meyde is confident Romelu Lukaku will outscore Cristiano Ronaldo in this season’s Serie A.“It’s very different to Madrid, here it is more of a family.”And Perez has now responded, insisting Real ARE a family club.Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has responded saying their success in both football and basketball speaks volumes.“We are champions at the same time in football and basketball, showing that nothing is impossible.“This stage of existence is thanks to the unity of Real Madrid, but you also know that there is no comfort here and we are already thinking about winning the Club World Cup.“This team will give everything again.”
Barcelona legend Carles Puyol is certain Lionel Messi remains as hungry as ever to win silverware for Argentina ahead of his comeback game.The 31-year-old forward’s Argentina future had been in doubt for nearly nine months following last summer’s World Cup last-16 exit to eventual winners France.Messi had since skipped the last four international breaks and refused to comment on his plans, despite the Argentine Football Association (AFA) repeatedly attempting to assure fans of his return.However, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is now back in the international fold and Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni is expected to name him as a starter for tonight’s friendly against Venezuela.And Puyol is delighted his former Barcelona team-mate decided to not call it a day on his international career.“The fact Messi’s returned to the national team is great news for Argentina and for football lovers. The more matches we see from Messi, the better, because it’s a delight to watch him play,” said Puyol, according to Sport.La Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…“It’s incredible how they much they live for football in Argentina. I understand how they might get angry with their team but they can’t place all the responsibility on Messi. For me, he’s the best player of all time but one person alone can’t win anything.”Messi has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Barcelona, where he’s won an incredible nine La Liga titles, six Copa del Reys and four Champions League crowns.Aside from an Olympic gold medal in 2008, though, Messi has never won a major tournament with Argentina after losing three Copa America finals and the 2014 World Cup final.Puyol added: “I believe that Leo plays with the same intensity for Argentina that he does with Barcelona.“I know how he feels about his national team, it’s everything, he can’t wait to win a trophy with the national team. The others need to help him out.”The Argentina and Venezuela friendly will take place at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with kick-off set for 21:00 (CET).BARCELONA, SPAIN – JANUARY 27: Lionel Messi (L) of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammate Carles Puyol after scoring his team’s second goal from the penalty spot during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and CA Osasuna at Camp Nou on January 27, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNovember 11, 2014 – Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (Digicel Press Release) – Digicel and interCaribbean Airways have teamed up to give customers the opportunity to walk away with a roundtrip ticket and spending money to popular destinations- the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica.The month of October saw Sara Divert, a student at the TCI community College walking away with the second of the three prizes – a roundtrip ticket to Haiti and $500 Cash. All customers have to do is text play to 7171 from their Digicel phone for a chance at walking away with the grand prize. The cost to play is $0.75 per text. Games run for a month long period. Currently the game for a roundtrip ticket to Jamaica and $500 cash is live and will end on November 30.Head of Marketing for Digicel, Ava-Dayne Fulford says, “This partnership with interCaribbean Airways gives our customers the opportunity to walk away with a very exciting prize package of a trip plus spending money! I’m sure this will come in handy for a number of persons who would love a Christmas trip back home or someone who wants a nice getaway vacation – either way, it’s a great package.”Yvonne Rankine of interCaribbean Airways, during the presentation to Octobers Prize winner, said “interCaribbean likes to be associated with winners and we are happy to be able to present Sara with her prize and we hope she enjoys her trip.”To find out more about the promotion like DigicelTCI and interCaribbean on Facebook. Related Items:ava-dayne fulford, christmas trip, digicel, games, Intercaribbean Airways, yvonne rankine Recommended for you Thousands without power in TCI Digicel T&T Donates Supplies to Anguilla and British Virgin Islands TCI Govt meets with Digicel and Carnival Cruise Lines