David Price started off well in the Major League Baseball playoffs.
Then he became a starter.
Since his auspicious postseason debut with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, the Vanderbilt great is winless when it matters most.
He made his sixth career playoff start Thursday for the Toronto Blue Jays, who lost the opener of their American League Divisional Series 5-3. He’s now 0-6 with 5.23 ERA as a playoff starter with three different franchises, a confounding statistic for a five-time All-Star who might win his second Cy Young Award later this year.
“I know it's there, I know it's there," Price said when asked about his postseason reputation, reported MLB.com. "Hopefully it comes on my next start. If not, then my next one, or my next one, or my next one. I don't have an answer for you, to be honest. But I'm going to get better.”
The first overall pick in 2007 registered a win and a save in five relief appearances when the Rays reached the World Series in 2008. Since then he has started four games for Tampa and one each for Detroit and Toronto with no success.
A game-by-game look at David Price’s six career starts in the Major League Baseball playoffs:
2010 ALDS Game 1
2010 ALDS Game 5
2011 ALDS Game 3
2013 ALDS Game 2
2014 ALDS Game 3
2015 ALDS Game 1
The Texas Rangers have been a consistent problem.
Thursday was the fourth time they have faced Price in the postseason. They had just five hits in seven innings, their lowest total of the four, but they took advantage of two walks and two hit batters with a pair of home runs that accounted for three of their five runs.
Price has allowed at least one home run in five of those six games and more than one three times.
"It's been about seven years," Price said of his last postseason victory. "I want that monkey off my back and I expect to have better results out there on the field. I didn't throw the way I am capable of (Thursday) and I'll be ready to go whenever it's my turn again."
(Photo: Getty Images)
It won’t be a sprint to the finish for the Tennessee Titans.
With their bye week now behind them they have 13 straight weeks with a game, beginning with Sunday’s contest against the Buffalo Bills at Nissan Stadium (noon, CBS).
The last time they had an open date this early was 2007. Then, they went 2-1 before the opening in the schedule and 8-5, with four wins in the last five weeks, after that.
Their hope is that they can show similar – or even better – staying power this time.
A look at some other notable numbers going into this contest:
3 – rushing touchdowns for Buffalo rookie running back Karlos Williams (pictured). No other rookie currently has more than two. His 41-yard touchdown run against Miami (Week 3) is the longest scoring run by a rookie. Buffalo has allowed one rushing touchdown in its four games.
7 – receptions of 20 yards or more by Buffalo’s Charles Clay, which is tied with New England’s Rob Gronkowski for the most by a tight end. No one else has more than five. Clay is tied for the AFC lead for receptions by a tight end with 21, which means one-third of his catches have gone for gains of 20 yards or more.
8 – different Tennessee players who have at least one reception of 20 yards or more through the first three games, which matches the number for all of last season. That group consists of three wide receivers (Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas and Justin Hunter), three tight ends (Delanie Walker, Anthony Fasano and Craig Stevens) and two running backs (Bishop Sankey and Dexter McCluster).
30 – passes defensed by Buffalo’s defense, which leads the league. That’s an average of 7 ½ per game. By comparison, the Titans have 11 total, albeit in one fewer game. The Bills also have six interceptions, tied for third in the league.
99 – consecutive games played for Titans kicker Ryan Succop (the last 19 with Tennessee). That’s the third longest active streak in the league but Pittsburgh just released Josh Scobee, second at 123. Given that kickers missed a combined 18 kicks (14 field goals, four PATs) last Sunday, the kind of consistency and reliability Succop provides is invaluable.
110.3 – Marcus Mariota’s current passer rating, which is fifth in the league. The top four include three quarterbacks who have won Super Bowls (New England’s Tom Brady, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers). The other is Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, who has led his team to the playoffs in all four years of his NFL career.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Mookie Betts will compete in the World Series after all.
No, not that one.
With the Major League Baseball regular season complete and his team, the Boston Red Sox, having finished well out of playoff contention, the 23-year-old outfielder accepted an invitation this week from the Professional Bowlers Association to compete at the Geico World Series of Bowling, Dec. 7-19 at Reno, Nev.
From the PBA:
Betts is a former standout youth bowler who averages in the plus-200 range. He has bowled a pair of certified 300 games and finished third in the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association state championships individual event as a junior at Nashville Overton High School in 2010, earning Tennessee Boys’ Bowler of the Year honors after setting Tennessee high school records with a 290 game and 827 series.
The World Series of Bowling is the richest event on the PBA Tour. It consists of five different championships capped by the PBA World Championship.
This year’s tournament will attract more than 200 bowlers from 20 different countries – plus one professional baseball player.
An Overton High School graduate, Betts just completed his first full MLB season. He batted .291 with 18 home runs and 77 RBIs. He led the Red Sox with 92 runs scored and 21 stolen bases.
In numerous profiles during the season he mentioned his love for, and proficiency at bowling. That caught the attention of PBA officials who then seized the opportunity to create a little publicity by extending the invitation.
(Photo: Getty Images)
It looks as if John Jenkins is going to get a legitimate shot to stick with the Dallas Mavericks.
It will help if he’s asked to shoot the ball more than anything else.
In a preseason loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard had a game-high 19 points. He made three of nine 3-point attempts and six of 14 total shots.
A night earlier in a loss to Denver, he had 16 points – but also seven turnovers – in a loss at Denver. He has averaged 29.5 minutes of playing time in those games.
“Just for me, getting game reps is very important,’’ Jenkins said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’m in a situation right now where I’m able to play, and play different positions, so I’m enjoying it right now.’’
One of those positions is point guard, which he played some in the game against Denver, which is part of the reason his turnover total was so high.
“It’s a little unfair putting him there for the last nine minutes of the game at point [guard], which he’s never played,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “That said, he did a very solid job handling the team.’’
Jenkins, 24, is one of the best 3-point shooters in Vanderbilt history and a graduate of Station Camp High School.
He signed a one-year deal with Dallas in July after three seasons with Atlanta, where he averaged 5.6 points per game. The Hawks drafted him in the first round (23rd overall) in 2012.
“I really like Jenkins, and Jenkins has played a real aggressive game both of the last two nights,’’ Carlisle said. “He showed he can handle the ball a little bit.
“So he’s done a good job and he’s got to continue doing what he’s doing.’’
(Photo: Getty Images)
In this week's massive Scene Best Of issue, I preview the Preds season. Even though Peter Laviolette brought a new look and a new style to the team in 2014-15, success stems from where it always has for Nashville:
But as ever with Nashville, it comes back to Rinne. If he can stay healthy and stay at the top of his game all the way through the season, the Predators should compete for the Central. In the preseason, scoring wasn't a problem, and Forsberg eased any fears of a sophomore slump, continuing to rifle pucks like Lucas McCain armed with a Winchester.
But the Central is still hockey's toughest division. Last season, Dallas was the second-highest-scoring team in the league and had the NHL's leading scorer, and they finished next-to-last in the division, ahead of Colorado, the defending divisional champ, who finished with 90 points and 39 wins. That's 19 more points and nine more wins than any other last-place team. The division also includes Cup champ Chicago, defending divisional champ St. Louis, perennial nearly-men Minnesota and Winnipeg, who made the playoffs and would have been the shock of the Central but for Nashville's resurgence.
"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose," the saying goes. Even a newly tooled Nashville team faces the same hurdles it always did, and the key to winning is still the same guy wearing the mask and the number 35. The Preds could be better than last year, and still finish worse.
A pair of Notre Dame football fans got caught in the rain Saturday following their team’s loss at Clemson.
Then they caught a ride from an unexpected source.
Former Vanderbilt head coach Robbie Caldwell offered a ride to brothers Larry and Tony Luppi, who flew from Southern California to see the game.
From The (Charleston) Post and Courier:
After Clemson’s 24-22 win went final at 11:42 p.m., the Luppis’ plan was to ride a shuttle back to their hotel in Seneca and drive their rental car to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in time to catch a 7:30 a.m. Sunday flight.
They never saw the shuttle, and traffic was impossibly congested due to the exodus of fans trying to escape the weather. So the Luppis began hiking in the dark and the rain. According to MapQuest, their rental car at the hotel was 9.75 miles west of Memorial Stadium.
“The plan was idiotic,” Larry wrote in an email to The Post and Courier. “Thankfully, the cars were passing by sporadically, which gave Tony and I enough time to jump into the grass next to the guardrail to avoid the cars. Clearly, all of our common sense had gone out the window by this point.”
Caldwell encountered the pair at 2 a .m. at convenience store, where he stopped for gas on the way home.
“Honestly, when he walked past us, I thought he was just a fan,” Tony told the newspaper by phone Tuesday. “On his way out, he asked, ‘Do you guys know where you’re going?’ I said, ‘Actually, we’re waiting on a cab, but we’ll pay you for a ride.’”
After reaching the hotel, Caldwell gave the Luppis directions to return to the highway toward Atlanta, stayed until their rental car started and refused to accept any compensation.
The men made their flight on time.
The Luppis promised to send Caldwell a handwritten thank-you note — “I don’t know if he can receive gift cards, but he said he likes fishing, so maybe we’ll get him a Bass Pro Shops gift card,” Tony said.
It remains to be seen what Metro government will do with Greer Stadium, the former home of the Nashville Sounds.
As for Metro Parks and Recreation Director Tommy Lynch, well … he’s seen enough of the ballpark that was built in 1978 as home to the minor league baseball franchise. Currently the venue is vacant.
"Something needs to be done there, but that stadium needs to go away," Lynch told The Tennessean. "It needs to be demoed. That's why the Sounds moved. It's no longer in good physical condition. It's an attractive nuisance.”
According to the newspaper’s report, a recent study raised concerns about demolition because of asbestos within the structure and concluded that the facility could be restored to a functional level.
Lynch was not swayed by the analysis. His department has asked Mayor Megan Barry for $800,000 in order to tear down the entire seating area, et. al. and use the area around the playing field to expand the amount of useful green space at the site, The Tennessean wrote.
"There's no need for the city to have an abandoned stadium out there," Lynch said. "We felt, well, let's just skip that process and go to the next process and plan on the future of that site. But we do fully intend to save the green space."
There is an undeniable Kentucky flavor to the Ohio Valley Conference’s seven-game men’s basketball broadcast package with CBS Sports Network.
Six of the seven games feature one of the OVC’s three member institutions from the Bluegrass State, and two of them will be matchups between two of those teams.
The package commences with one such game, Morehead State at Murray State, on Jan. 2.
Belmont, the conference’s most successful program in the three years since it left the Atlantic Sun Conference, will be featured just once, Feb. 13 at Morehead State. The Bruins, however, are a focus of the OVC’s four-game men’s basketball slate on ESPNU
2015-16 OVC CBS Sports Network Television Schedule
(All times Central)
Saturday, Jan. 2 Morehead State at Murray State, 2 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 14 Eastern Kentucky at Eastern Illinois, 8 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 28 Southeast Missouri at SIUE, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 30 Murray State at UT Martin, 3 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 11 Eastern Kentucky at Morehead State, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 13 Belmont at Morehead State, 11 a.m.
Thursday, Feb. 25 Murray State at Eastern Illinois, 7:30 p.m.
The University of Tennessee as chosen to run the ball more than it has thrown it this season.
That’s not likely to change now that coach Butch Jones has thrown one of his top receiving threats out of the program.
Jones announced Wednesday that Alton “Pig” Howard was dismissed for a violation of team rules. The third-year coach declined to say what the violation was but acknowledged that he learned of the transgression earlier in the day.
Howard was suspended for the season-opener against Bowling Green and missed the last two contests due to injuries, including a concussion.
“He has been dismissed from the football team and [that is] totally unrelated to his injuries,” Jones said.
In two appearances this season Howard had one reception for eight yards.
He was the team’s leading receiver in 2014 with 54 catches for 618 yards and one touchdown. The senior wide receiver finished his career with 112 receptions – tied for 12th all-time in program history – for 1,068 yards and five touchdowns.
"You try to impact every person that comes in your program," Jones said. "It's all about choices and decisions. It's unfortunate, but we have to continue to move forward."
Sophomore wide receiver Josh Malone and tight end Ethan Wolf each have a team-high 12 receptions for the Volunteers, who have run the ball an SEC-high 242 times (only seven FBS teams have run it more often) and thrown it just 139 in their five games.
(Photo: Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators decided to stick with largely the same roster they had a year ago.
That group was good enough to have one of the league’s best records throughout the first three-quarters of the 2014-15 season but ultimately did no better than second place in the division and a first-round playoff exit.
Collectively, therefore, this team will have to find a way to be better than it was.
Here is what the Predators need from each individual for that to be the case:
• Mike Ribeiro: Lead the team in assists. Whether he plays with James Neal, Filip Forsberg or both he needs to be the facilitator he’s always been and allow those guys to score.
• Mike Fisher: Fight the effects of time. He’s 35 years old and missed 23 games last year. This team cannot afford for him to finally act his age.
• Cody Hodgson: Forget last season. He averaged 18 goals and 39.7 points over a three-year span before he slipped to six and 13, respectively, in 2014-15.
• Paul Gaustad: Win faceoffs. Whatever points he scores, the toughness he provides are secondary to the need for him to get possession of the puck for a team that relies on that very thing.
• Filip Forsberg: Avoid the sophomore slump. He has to be even better than he was last season when he had 26 goals and 63 points if this team is going to take a step forward.
• James Neal: Stay healthy. He has shown he can score from almost anywhere on the ice. He can’t do it from the sideline, which is where he was for 15 games last season.
• Colin Wilson: Keep it steady. His career thus far is a study in streaks. He finished last season on a playoff hot streak but he has to avoid the lengthy scoring droughts that have happened all too frequently.
• Craig Smith: Go forward. There’s no questions about his speed or his ability to finish. He has to make sure his intensity does not waver as it sometimes has in the past.
• Viktor Arvidsson: Keep it simple. He can skate and he can shoot. As long as he does those two things he can figure out the rest in his first NHL season.
• Calle Jarnkrok: Stay flexible. He’ll start the season as a wing but if a center gets hurt or slumps he will be the first to fill in. So he will have to change positions smoothly.
• Gabriel Bourque: Production. He is going to give effort but he dipped from .39 points per game in his first 108 NHL appearances to .19 per game last season. No one expects him to lead the team in scoring but he has to chip in.
• Eric Nystrom: Defense. He can do a lot of things but his primary role will be as a checker on the fourth line – and he must do it well.
• Austin Watson: Seize the opportunity. The 2010 first-round pick has waited a long time for his opportunity. He might not get another one with Nashville.
• Shea Weber: Leadership. There’s no doubt what he’ll deliver on the ice but the captain since 2010 needs to hold the rest of the team more accountable on the bench and in the locker room.
• Roman Josi: Prove last season was no fluke. His style of play has taken away from Weber’s offense, which is OK as long as he remains one of the NHL’s highest scoring blue liners.
• Seth Jones: Continue to grow. The fourth overall pick in 2013 has had his rough spots. There were fewer last season than his first. He needs to reduce that number even more.
• Ryan Ellis: Score more. He’ll never recreate the absurd point totals he produced in junior hockey but this team counts on its defense to score more than most – and there’s more Ellis can put up more than 27 points as he has each of the last two years.
• Mattias Ekholm: Make a name for himself. He’s been somewhat overlooked among this group but he has the size, skill and surprising toughness to be a star in his own right.
• Barret Jackman: Quality minutes. He shouldn’t have to play more than 10-12 minutes per game. In that time he has to provide high quality defense and penalty killing.
• Victor Bartley: Stay ready. There’s a reason he’s the seventh defenseman on this team, but he’s also given teammates and coaches reason to trust him when he is needed.
• Anthony Bitetto: Toughness. There’s plenty of skill in Nashville’s defense group but there are times when real grit is needed. Bitetto can be that guy.
• Pekka Rinne: Consistency. Typically, he’s a slow starter who plays his best late. Last season it was the reverse. He needs to play well throughout and deliver occasional great performances.
• Carter Hutton: Start fast. He typically plays better once he gets some regular action. If things go according to plan, he’ll only see spot duty.
(Photo: Getty Images)
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