World Series jitters just add to show

first_img 0 Comments Share your thoughts HOUSTON — World Series nerves? Justin Verlander is ready for it, and his Astros manager A.J. Hinch says bring it on.The American League champions may be accustomed to a wealth of big games over the past three seasons, that have included ALCS championship appearances in each of them, and this a second trip to the Series.But that doesn’t mean the Fall Classic doesn’t bring its own dose of anxiety. The key is channelling it in a positive direction, apparently.“You know that the nerves are going to be higher and your body knows it’s not a regular start,” said Verlander, who will get the start for the Astros in Game 2 on Wednesday. “Going to sleep tonight is not going to be the same as normal. But having done it before — I don’t know if it helps — but I know what to expect going into it.”Baseball being a game of routine, Verlander said he will do his best to keep his game prep work as normal as possible despite the presence of family and friends and the overall hoopla the World Series begins.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Hinch noticed a difference in the clubhouse when he wandered in hours before Tuesday’s series opener. And he liked what he saw and felt from his team.“I want the nerves,” Hinch said. “I want our guys to be a little bit on edge. We’re playing in the World Series. It should feel like a big deal. It should feel like something extra special and once the game settles in, I want our guys to be themselves.“But I kind of dig seeing a bunch of guys that are successful, they’re big, big personalities, we’ve all got egos, we’re in the big leagues. Be nervous, man. Enjoy it. Enjoy the uniqueness of being in the World Series. It doesn’t come around often enough.”Meanwhile, the Nationals’ Game 2 starter, Stephen Strasburg, said he’ll just roll with the emotions as best he can in his World Series debut.“There are going to be butterflies, but it just shows that you care,” Strasburg said. “Everybody in this clubhouse cares, we care about each other.“I know what I expect of myself. I’m going to hold true to that. That’s all I can really control.”YULI UNIQUEThe more he has been around Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, the more Hinch has been able to appreciate the veteran Cuban star.In particular, Hinch loves Gurriel for his ability to hit all type of pitching.As if on cue, hours after his manager pumped his tires, Gurriel rocked a double off the wall to drive in a pair of runs for the first scoring play of the 2019 World Series.“He’s one of the most dangerous hitters on our team and that’s among a lot of dangerous hitters,” Hinch said. “Yuli puts the ball in play and he can hit virtually every pitch, indicated by his homer the other day (a three-run shot in the first inning of Game 6 of the ALCS) was a neck-high fastball that few guys can keep fair.“His presence in our lineup is huge. If you ask around the league, a lot of managers, a lot of pitchers, a lot of players will talk about the fear they have when he comes to bat because he can cover every pitch depending on what his plan is.“And that will be critical this series when you’re facing such top-end pitching.”DREAM MATCHUPNationals manager Dave Martinez wasn’t going to have the luxury of enjoying Game 1 as a fan, but he expects most who love the game will.With Gerrit Cole of the Astros facing Max Scherzer of the Nationals for the curtain-raiser of the 115th edition of baseball’s championship, it was difficult not to appreciate the arms showdown.“I wake up this morning and I say, ‘You’ve got (Max) Scherzer against (Gerrit) Cole. Wow.’ If you’re not a baseball fan right now, man … this is exciting times.”While appreciative of the Astros — who owned home-field advantage on the basis of their MLB-best 107-win regular season — Martinez wasn’t about to undersell his team’s outlook.“I really like our guys,” Martinez said. “I like our guys. They came out here loose (on Monday’s workout day) and were having fun. It’s pretty cool just kind of watching them relax and go out there and do their thing.”AROUND THE BASES— The winner of Game 1 of the World Series has won 25 of the previous 33 editions, including the Red Sox in 2018.One of the exceptions? That would be your 1992 Toronto Blue Jays, who overcame the Atlanta Braves’ home-field edge.— Hinch said he plans to go with a “bullpen day” for Game 4 of the series back in Washington, a plan that is subject to change pending the results of the first three games.— The Astros and Nationals combine to have 20 non-U.S. born players — six from Venezuela, four each from Cuba and the Dominican, three from Mexico, and one from Brazil.— Martinez on whether he used the downtime from his team sweeping the Cardinals to watch the ALCS between the Astros and Yankees: “I watched most. Some of those games went on pretty late. Couldn’t keep my eyes open, I’m not going to lie to you.” center_img Houston Astros Justin Verlander Major League Baseball Washington Nationals World Serieslast_img read more

ESPN Computer Updates Big 12 Champion Prediction After Week 6

first_img Texas comes in at second with 10.1-percent, while 5-0 Baylor has a 8.5-percent chance. Iowa State is the only other Big 12 team with a greater than 1-percent chance at 4.4-percent.TCU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State were given slim but slightly-above-zero chances of winning the title.West Virginia, Kansas, and Kansas State were all given a zero-percent chance of winning the Big 12.[Related Article: ESPN Predicts When Undefeated Top 25 Teams Will Lose First Game]But there can be no doubt that these numbers may change in a huge way depending on the results on this weekend’s games. Oklahoma-Texas, Texas Tech-Baylor, and Iowa State-West Virginia could all have a big impact on the numbers. A closeup of a football pylon with Oklahoma's logo on it.NORMAN, OK – SEPTEMBER 29: An end zone pylon during the Baylor Bears vs. Oklahoma Sooners game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Baylor 66-33. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***Saturday’s Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas could very well be a Big 12 Championship Game preview. The two teams are a combined 9-1 overall and 4-0 in the Big 12.But there are a few other teams – namely Baylor and Iowa State – that have been making a push in the Big 12 as well. Baylor is currently undefeated while Iowa State can conceivably make a run in conference play.With Week 6 in the books, ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) computer model has updated its Big 12 champion prediction.The computer model gives the Oklahoma Sooners a resounding 75.6-percent chance of winning the Big 12 title. Only Clemson was given a bigger chance to win its respective conference.With such a huge margin for Oklahoma, there’s very little difference in odds between the other contenders.last_img read more

49ers think they have quite a catch in UW’s Pettis

first_img “Anyone who’s missing reps right now is missing valuable time,” said Saleh. “If you’re not getting your practice reps, someone’s going to pass you up. But, at the same time, those guys are doing a great job in walk through and meetings and making sure they’re getting all of their mental reps so that when they do come back, they won’t skip a beat.” Share: “If you can make guys miss with your feet when you have the ball in your hand, you should be able to do it in routes, too,” Shanahan said. “To combine that with his speed and his hands and his intelligence, which he is very smart, you feel pretty confident that he’s going to continue to get better.”The 49ers traded up 15 spots in the second round to draft Pettis to add to a receiving corps headlined by dependable veteran Pierre Garcon and speedster Marquise Goodwin, who has also looked good during recent practices.Shanahan is hoping the offense can continue to progress after ranking third in yardage (410) and fifth in points per game (28.8) during the five-game winning streak with Garoppolo as a starter to end 2017.While Goodwin, a former Olympic long jumper, has textbook sprinting form, Pettis has anything but. He has long limbs and an awkward running style. But he still finds ways to move efficiently and get separation from defenders. He first figured out he had unique movement skills in the seventh grade. 3 Photos By CHRIS BIDERMAN, Associated Press The Columbian is becoming a rare example of a news organization with local, family ownership. Subscribe today to support local journalism and help us to build a stronger community. GO Share: Subscribe Todaycenter_img Published: August 3, 2018, 5:39pm 49ers think they have quite a catch in UW’s Pettis Former Husky is turning heads at training camp San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis runs during NFL football practice at the team’s headquarters Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) Photo Gallery By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. “I would watch film of me running and I was like, ‘Why do I run so different than everybody else?’ I didn’t really get it and then I was just like ‘All right, that’s just how I run’ and kind of accepted it,” said Pettis.Recent 49ers first-round draft picks have been bitten by the injury bug. Guard Joshua Garnett hasn’t practiced since banging knees with a teammate Saturday and is listed as day to day.Jimmie Ward has been sidelined since midway through Tuesday’s practice with a hamstring injury, though he could return as soon as Friday. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead is also dealing with a hamstring issue and has been listed as week-to-week.Ward and Armstead are expected to have significant roles for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who indicated he’s not overly concerned about their absences from camp. But given NFL teams are allowed just 14 padded practices during the regular season, they are missing opportunities to hone their crafts. Receive latest stories and local news in your email: SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The 49ers appear to have found a promising piece for second-year coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense if the first week of training camp is any indication.Rookie Dante Pettis, a receiver drafted in the second round out of Washington, has been a quick study in Shanahan’s complex scheme. He’s also been a tough cover for opposing defensive backs, evident by his string of catches against the starting defense in full-team drills.In fact, Pettis closed Wednesday’s practice by catching a 45-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo, speeding by promising second-year player Ahkello Witherspoon, after earlier beating All-Pro Richard Sherman for a catch on a crossing route.Pettis’ ability to get open against physical NFL cornerbacks was a question mark after he was drafted. But Shanahan made a sizable bet that Pettis could do it given his work as a punt returner. Pettis set the NCAA record with nine punt return touchdowns during his four college seasons. He has been difficult to jam at the line of scrimmage in the early going.last_img read more