Three reasons why the Astros will keep improving this season

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Some baseball fans may be surprised that the Houston Astros still own the best record in baseball. Not only are the Astros for real, they are just getting started.

In demolishing the Twins 17-6 Wednesday afternoon, the Astros improved to 38-16 this season. They are now on pace to win 114 games, which would tie the 1998 Yankees for third most all-time.

Wednesday’s win was Houston’s seventh straight victory. It raises the question whether or not the Astros have already reached their peak. The simple answer is no, they most certainly have not.
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Here are three reasons why the Astros can still get better this season:

A hitter-friendly ballpark such as Yankee Stadium has inflated his ERA. His home ERA is 3.77 and his ERA on the road is 2.08. In total, hitters are slashing .220/.271/.343 with an wOBA (weighted on-base average) of .269. He’s really managed the strike zone well, as shown by his 69/15 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s striking out hitters 27.8 percent of the time and they’re hitting ground balls 54.4 percent of the time.

Every time he steps foot on the mound, his team feels like they have a great chance to come away with a win. He’s been showcasing a type of confidence that is what you’d want out of a young star like him.

Even with the grueling times of 2016, Severino has displayed that he is the ultimate workhorse of the Yankees’ rotation and could go a long way toward helping the team return to the postseason.

Cortez Kennedy’s death led to outpouring of support from the NFL world

The NFL lost one of its best on Tuesday, when Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy died at just 48 years old. Kennedy anchored the Seahawks defensive line in the 1990s.

Kennedy was a great player on the field. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro, and the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992. After he retired, the Cowboys offered him $1 million to play the final five games of the season, which he declined. According to Gil Brandt, Kennedy said it would have been “stealing money.”

Off the field, Cortez worked as an adviser for the New Orleans Saints, where he also made an impact.

When Garrett’s name was called on draft night, Smith was in the room and saw the joy and relief of the entire Garrett family. It reminded him of 1985, that wondrous feeling of a dream fulfilled with realization that it is only a beginning.

“These young players have access to so much, and that’s great,” Smith said. “When I came out, football was not necessarily a year-round job. Look at the weight rooms today, the nutrition programs, the tablets and technology they use now. We had projectors. But these young men still have to work. I know the safety of the game is important, but putting on pads and hitting is a necessary evil and if you don’t, the quality of the game, the execution and fundamentals are compromised.

“The NFL should use former players and Hall of Famers more. It is our duty to help these young men. There are invaluable lessons to be taught. I wish I had a Deacon Jones in my first or second year in the league. I hope the time spent with Myles will help him become an impact player faster in the league.”

Slow motion has its place in the NFL learning curve.
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Richard Sherman upholds promise to give college scholarship to girl

Richard Sherman kept true to a big promise he made to a high school girl.

Elite Kids Adam Eaton Jersey The Seahawks cornerback would give high school graduate Hershai James a college scholarship if she was an honor student during her senior year, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The team drafted Washington in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. He was an All-Pro during the 2012 season, with nine sacks and one pick.

Hidalgo says Kaepernick isn’t training like a backup.

Newton is clearly living his best life before the football season starts. He’s on a yacht, in a spectacular location, having fun with his friends and wearing clothes nobody in the NFL can pull off except Cam.

Youth Jeremy Kerley Jersey Being an NFL quarterback and Nickelodeon star, Newton knew he needed to tweak 2 Chainz’s lyrics juuuust a touch. The original song says All I want for my birthday is a big booty ho,but Cam censored the word ho,so all he wants is a big booty.

DePaula reports that Beckham’s deal with Nike was set to expire on May 1. He and his agent, Zeke Sandhu, heard pitches from both Nike and Adidas. Adidas had offered Beckham a deal, and Nike had 10 days to match the offer, similar to how restricted free agency works. Nike opted to match that deal on Tuesday.

If you’re an a-hole, it’s going to be known and shown you’re an a-hole but if you’re a down-to-earth person and so many people I run into that meet me for the first time, they can’t believe the type of person I am and I’m a regular person, you just happen to see me on TV and I just happen to be lucky and blessed to have a career that I have but I shop by myself, I go to places by myself, I’m out in the public.

Kevin Turner challenged the NFL’s settlement of the class-action concussion lawsuit based on his post-career struggles.

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Shane Vereen Jersey Fates, which once seemed just consequences of age or bad luck or tragic personal problems, now are unveiled as connected to the sport they played for America’s entertainment.

Sayers is 73. Another Hall of Famer from his heyday, tight end John Mackey, lost his battle with dementia six years ago, at 69. Sayers’ story mimics Mackey’s in numerous disturbing ways: public appearances where he didn’t recognize friends or acknowledge fans or connect with highlights of his own career.

Kevin Turner challenged the NFL’s settlement of the class-action concussion lawsuit based on his post-career struggles. After he died a year ago this month, the renowned researchers at Boston University discovered Turner actually had CTE, which produced symptoms almost identical to those associated with ALS.

The fan base plans to take it out on president Bruce Allen — who, by recent accounts, flexed his internal muscle way too hard to bring everything to this point — in Friday’s proposed protest march at the team’s suburban headquarters. Shades of Lions fans rebelling against Matt Millen. By extension, of course, the secondary target will be owner Dan Snyder, so a reference to Orioles fans once marching against Peter Angelos fits here, too.

Whatever the direct motivation, though, this is fairly safe to guess: More than a few marchers will be wearing Griffin or Cousins jerseys.

There are too many ingredients in this nasty stew to separate out a main one. But the actual on-field product, and the players brought in to improve it and bring it back to the standards the D.C. metro area once took for granted, stands out among them all.

Phillies minor-leaguer who lost eye in training accident retires

The Phillies minor-leaguer who lost an eye in a freakish training accident last summer announced his retirement Wednesday in an emotion-filled essay on ESPN.com .

Matt Imhof lost his right eye last June after a resistance band he was using in a workout in Florida snapped off the wall and a metal piece hit him in the face. Doctors were unable to salvage his eye.

He wrote Wednesday under the headline I won’t be defined by my worst day.

Imhof, 23, offered his gratitude to the doctor who performed one of the surgeries that replaced the damaged eye with a prosthetic one, admitting that he was angry, depressed, confused but mostly, I was scared.

Elite Kids Quincy Enunwa Jersey But even with a schedule change, I don’t know that the WBC would get any more interesting or compelling. Maybe baseball just isn’t a sport that can make for good tournament-style play. This is probably why it’s been on and off as an Olympic sport for a long time. Even the College World Series has limited appeal beyond the participating schools, with nowhere near the wide interest and enthusiasm of the NCAA basketball tournament or even the College Football Playoff.

With respect to Manfred, I would be fine if the 2017 World Baseball Classic was the final one. I suspect a lot of others feel the same. I’ve seen no indication of a swell of enthusiasm among MLB fans, and I don’t think the tournament affects baseball’s international appeal either way. The whole thing is just kinda meh.

Elite Kids Larry Murphy Jersey As for the games set to start March 6, I’ll take a peak every now and then. But real baseball starts on opening day.

Browns GM Sashi Brown says trade rumor about Kirk Cousins is ‘bad reporting’

During the madness of the NFL Draft, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport had a surprising report: The Browns were trying to trade for Redskins QB Kirk Cousins.

Once the draft was over, Browns general manager Sashi Brown spoke to reporters to address questions about the team’s picks, and briefly about the Cousins rumor. According to The Chronicle-Telegram, he called the speculation “bad reporting.”

“There’s no specific deal in place or plan in place to go acquire a veteran QB at this point,” he added.

The 5-11, 186-pound Brooklyn native is also lightning fast and ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He’s a dynamic playmaker, especially in the open field, and could have an immediate impact as a kick returner like Tyreek Hill did last season for the Chiefs.

“He can run like a deer,” former Jaguars receivers coach Jerry Sullivan told Omnisport when asked about Samuel. “It’s going to take some time for him to get comfortable at the position, but I think he’s got some tools to work with.”

What’s intriguing about the pick is the similarity between Samuel and Carolina’s first-round pick, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.

In Carolina, Samuel will have the chance to help Panthers quarterback Cam Newton at receiver, but the Panthers could also use him as an explosive option out of the backfield.

With big receivers outside in Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess and Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, the Panthers will be a difficult team to gameplan against with their two new playmaking rookies. nike_steelers_2063

We could be seeing a changing of the guard in the NFL soon.

Nobody will argue Lynch over Peterson as an all-time NFL rusher, but the former is 13 months younger than the latter and is not coming off a season marred by a knee injury. The 2017 season will be Peterson’s 11th in the league.

Kids Mike Purcell Jersey In the mind of SN’s Vinnie Iyer, Peterson, a physical running back whose size is comparable to that of Lynch, makes total sense for the Raiders. In fact, Peterson is the only person on this list who makes as much (if not more) sense than Lynch.

Both teams entered 2017 with a lot of salary cap space and both were aggressive early in free agency. The Jaguars added defensive help in the form of defensive lineman Calais Campbell, safety Barry Church and cornerback A.J. Bouye.

The Browns bolstered their offensive line by signing former Packers center JC Tretter and former Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler. The Browns also re-signed guard Joel Bitonio. Then the Browns traded for quarterback Brock Osweiler from the Texans in a deal that was more about acquiring another second-round pick next year than it was about getting Osweiler, who will probably never suit up for the Browns. Cleveland now has eight first- and second-round picks over the next two years, meaning the Browns could actually be a contender in the AFC North by 2018.
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We could be seeing a changing of the guard in the NFL soon. Heck, even the Rams made some decent moves in signing offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth from the Bengals and former Bills wideout Robert Woods.

Astrodome finally granted historic landmark status by Texas commission

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After nine years of efforts by supporters, the Astrodome has finally been declared a state antiquities landmark in Texas.

Yes, apparently the process to gain landmark status in Texas is so arduous that even famous domed structure once known as the Eighth Wonder of the World wasn’t a gimme. It almost makes you wonder about that little Alamo place in San Antonio and that big domed building in Austin.

For people to try to second-guess something he did, even though we won, you kind of just laugh at it. We ride and die on his every move, and he’s the ultimate captain of our ship. Without him and the tone he sets, none of us would be doing what we do.

Critics roasted Maddon’s strategy in the final two World Series games, particularly his use of closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman himself threw more gas on that fire, telling reporters, He abused me a bit on how much he made me pitch, and sometimes he made me pitch when I didn’t need to pitch.

Pitching coach Chris Bosio said he understands Chapman is a warrior, but his words about Maddon were unfair.

Carlton Fisk Game Jersey The bottom line is we got it done, Bosio said. You can’t fault anybody or pick anybody apart when you win it all, especially with what we had to overcome.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he understands the continued second-guessing of Maddon’s strategy is just part of sports.

Listen, the great part about the game is everyone manages along with the manager, (and) second guesses, Epstein said. Everyone ‘GMs’ along with the GM and second-guesses. Ultimately, you do a great job and win. That speaks for itself. He has the ultimate defense.

Watch Orioles pitcher Wade Miley get hit by back-to-back line-drives

Wade Miley had a very short — and painful — start Friday night.

The Orioles starter took not one, but two line-drives on consecutive batters in the second inning vs. the White Sox.

The first liner came off the bat of Jose Abreu, and looked to catch Miley right in the wrist.

It’s not often you see a pitcher hit by one comebacker, but two in one night? Talk about an unlucky evening.

The Braves and Dodgers fought a seesaw battle down the stretch, with the race for the 1982 NL West title coming down to the final day of the season.

Coincidentally, for Diamond and for the Braves, the regular season concluded in the same place it began: San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium.

The Braves, entering the day with a one-game lead, lost to the Padres 5-1 and had to wait for the conclusion of the Dodgers’ game against the Giants to determine whether they’d soak themselves in champagne or travel to Los Angeles for a one-game playoff the next day.

Nobody wanted to play a Game 163.

Thankfully for the Braves, just moments before their game’s final out, Joe Morgan put the Giants ahead late with a three-run homer.
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Limited Youth Cory Schneider USA Jersey But those Dodgers were pesky, so nobody took anything for granted.

Billy Beane just keeps wheeling and dealing. The A’s signed Trevor Plouffe to a decent contract, and same with Rajai Davis. While Oakland is seemingly adamant on rebuilding around Sonny Gray in the rotation, it still would shock no one if Beane decided to trade him at the deadline for more youth. But, for now, the A’s might have just enough in the offense and pitching to bug some teams in the AL West.

Cutler will be supported by play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and color commentator Charles Davis.

Unlike former Bears QB Jay Cutler, Romo is joining a No. 1 announce team, not a No. 2. That means he’ll be working the biggest games that go out to the largest amount of viewers.

Limited Mens Eli Rogers Jersey Romo also be in a two-person booth with Nantz. Cutler will be supported by play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and color commentator Charles Davis.

Simms, who held CBS’s No. 1 game analyst job for 20 years, has been moved to The NFL Today pregame show to make room for Romo. So Romo will have to grow and make mistakes on the job with his predecessor looking over his shoulder.

Another challenge for Romo, who spent his playing career in the NFC: He’ll be calling CBS’s AFC package, where he’s not as familiar with the players, coaches and teams.

If Kizer busts, then it’s not that big of a deal. He’ll simply be added to that alphabet soup of former Browns’ quarterbacks.

The potential payoff, however, isn’t all that different than the scenario in which the Browns could have taken Mitchell Trubisky. Kizer is from Toledo, Ohio. Kizer had two years as a starter at a major program, and he has shown potential in the down-field passing game. A redshirt year or two in Cleveland wouldn’t hurt, but that’s hard to come by. Kessler didn’t get it.
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It’s difficult to envision Kizer as a franchise quarterback, given the 4-8 record he led the Irish to last season, and it seems unlikely he’s the lottery ticket the Browns have been looking for. There’s still an intrigue, and it’s worth a shot to see if there’s any value there.