Subway Series ends in dramatic fashion

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Subway Series ends in dramatic fashion

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Russell Martin and the homer-happy New York Yankees appeared a little out of practice when it came to celebrating a game-winning homer. Martin led off the ninth with his second homer of the game and the New York Yankees took advantage of some shoddy infield defense to beat the Mets 5-4 Sunday for a three-game sweep. The catcher rounded third as a sold out Yankee Stadium roared and jogged toward his joyous teammates waiting at the plate. He took a big hop and fell as he landed on the plate and grabbed his leg, putting a momentary stop to the bouncing party. "I tried to jump in the air to celebrate, and I got about 2 inches off the ground," Martin said. "But I still managed to touch home plate and it feels good." Martin's fall might've given his teammates a sudden reminder of what happened to Kendrys Morales. The Los Angeles Angels star broke his leg hopping on home plate during a walk-off win in May 2010 and missed almost two seasons. "I worried, yes," manager Joe Girardi said. "I saw him go down a little bit, but someone pulled him up and he walked quickly, so my worries went away." The homer on a full-count pitch off Jon Rauch (3-6) was the Yankees' first walk-off homer since Sept. 8, 2010. The Yankees took advantage of errors by David Wright and Omar Quintanilla to rally from a 3-0 deficit and take a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a single by Alex Rodriguez. But Rafael Soriano blew his first save since he started finishing games when Mariano Rivera was lost to season-ending knee injury. Soriano gave up a tying double in the ninth to slumping Mets first baseman Ike Davis, a defensive replacement in the eighth. He got some help keeping it tied 4-all from shortstop Jayson Nix, who threw to third to get the lead runner on a grounder by Quintanilla. "Any play he makes that's a heads-up play doesn't surprise me," Girardi said, "because he's been around the game and understands what he needs to do." Boone Logan (1-0) got two outs with runners on first and third for the win. The Yankees are 7-2 in June. The Yankees hit eight long balls in their first Subway Series sweep of the Mets in the Bronx since 2003 -- that series included a fourth, makeup game that was played at Shea Stadium as part of a two-stadium doubleheader. It was their first win in their last at-bat against the Mets since June 12, 2009, when Luis Castillo dropped Rodriguez's potential game-ending popup, allowing two runs to score. The Mets took a 3-0 lead against Andy Pettitte in the second inning with help from second baseman Robinson Cano's fielding error and Jonathon Niese pitched repeatedly out of trouble for much of the day to make it stand up for seven innings. "Definitely a tough one, the way Jon Niese threw the ball," Wright said. Pettitte gave the Yankees a scare in the sixth when he snared Scott Hairston's comebacker with his bare hand and threw him out. Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue raced out to the mound and after several minutes of deliberation and a few practice pitches, Pettitte remained. He retired the side in order then was greeted by a pat on the shoulder by Derek Jeter at the dugout. His left hand bandaged heavily, Pettitte said he'll be able to make his next start, which is scheduled to come after he turns 40 on June 15. X-rays of the hand were negative. "He's got an extra day here. So he should be OK," Girardi said. Girardi said Hiroki Kuroda will make his next scheduled start after he was hit on the foot by a sharp grounder Friday night. Trailing 3-0, in the seventh, Martin hit a two-run drive off the top of the wall in right field after Wright's throwing error extended the seventh inning. Many of the 49, 010 -- the third straight sellout -- paused to wait and see if the leaping Hairston caught the ball. "That was hard to take," Hairston said. "Guess a lot of those things happen in this ballpark." Martin, who was hitting .173 entering play May 25 has four homers in his past six games and 10 RBIs. He's raised his average to .216. "I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable at the plate," Martin said. "I made a couple of adjustments and, hopefully, I'll just keep doing what I've been doing now." Jeter led off the eighth with a slow hopper that went under Qunitanilla's glove and rolled into the outfield. Jeter was given a single and he hustled into second base with a headfirst dive on the error. Curtis Granderson then hit his second opposite field single of the game to left, off Bobby Parnell, to put runners on first and third. Mark Teixeira followed with a tying hit a day after he gave the Yankees the lead with a two-run homer. The Mets scored more than three runs against the Yankees for the first time in 11 games and for the first time in their past five games this season, but have lost six of seven overall. Making his 51st interleague start, matching Livan Hernandez for most all time, Pettitte raced through the top of the Mets order with only seven pitches in the first. He then needed 36 pitches in the second as the Mets scored three runs. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- and struck out eight in six innings. The Yankees put the leadoff batter on against Niese five times in seven innings but came up empty until the seventh. The Yankees hit into three double plays to help quash threats. Given an extra day of rest after leaving his most recent start with an accelerated heart rate, Niese appeared to get out of seventh inning when Andruw Jones hit a grounder to Wright. Wright spun and made the throw into the dirt. Martin followed with his homer. His home run in the ninth was the third walk-off homer of his career. NOTES: The Yankees reinstated pitcher Freddy Garcia from the bereavement list and sent Ryota Igarashi to Triple-A Scranton-WilkesBarre. ... Jeter has grounded into 11 double plays this season. He had 10 all last year. ... Rodriguez moved past Eddie Murray for seventh on the career RBIs list with 1,918.

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2016-17 Season Preview: Philadelphia Flyers

2016-17 Season Preview: Philadelphia Flyers

It still feels like the season just ended, but with the draft and free agency already behind us, it's time to look forward to the 2016-17 season. We will preview every team in the NHL throughout August and take a look at what the new season may hold.

Team: Philadelphia Flyers.

How they did last season: 41-27-14 (96 points); 5th in the Metropolitan Division; 7th in the Eastern Conference. Lost in the first round to the Capitals, 4-2. 

Notable acquisitions: RW Dale Weise; C Boyd Gordon; D T.J. Brennan (two-way contract); and LW Roman Lyubimov (two-way).

Notable departures: C Sam Gagne; C Ryan White; C RJ Umberger; and D Evgeny Medvedev.

When they will play the Caps: Dec. 21 in Philly; Jan. 15 in Washington; Feb 22 in Philly; and March 4 in Philly.

Analysis: The Flyers surged into the playoffs last spring, riding a 15-6-2 hot streak ignited, in part, by no-nonsense first-year head coach Dave Hakstol, the emergence of rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (46 points), a career-year from Wayne Simmonds (32 goals) and a breakout campaign from Brayden Schenn (59 points).

After pushing the Presidents’ Trophy winning Capitals to six games in April, the Flyers had the look of a team that was a tweak or two away from being really good.

Then the offseason came and went without a whole lot happening. It shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise given the Flyers’ proximity to the salary cap ceiling. But it was still, in a word, underwhelming.

GM Ron Hextall’s biggest moves, in fact, were the signing Weise and Gordon, a pair of bottom-six forwards. Weise had one goal in 19 regular season and playoff games for Chicago after the Blackhawks acquired the big winger at the deadline from Montreal. Gordon, on the other hand, is a 32-year-old fourth-line faceoff specialist who broke into the NHL with the Capitals. 

So, yeah, that’s pretty much it.

Are the Flyers any better off? Marginally. Maybe. 

The grand plan, it seems, is for the improvement to come from within the organization in the form of a bounce back seasons from a few key vets and the emergence of a prospect or two.

Topping the list of bounce back candidates is Jakub Voracek, who missed nine games and saw his point total side from 81 to 55. It could be argued that Claude Giroux belongs in this category, too. His point totals have gone 86-73-67 the past three years. The 28-year-old team captain possesses top 10-scoring talent; the Flyers need him to get there again.

As for the prospects, the Flyers have one that many believe is ready to contribute: defenseman Ivan Provorov, the No. 7 overall pick in 2015. If the 19-year-old proves he belongs, there’s a chance Provorov (21 goals and 52 assists in 62 games for Brandon of the WHL) could give the Flyers’ blue line an offensive jolt similar to the one it got from Gostispehere last year.    

Season prediction: I’m not confident in the Flyers’ chances of returning to the postseason.

If goalies Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth—both in the final year of their contracts—push one another, I suspect Philly could squeak in again. Philly finished tied for fifth in team save percentage last season (.917).

If they just miss out, it’ll be due to one reason: After finishing 22nd in goals (2.57 per) last season, they needed to add some proven scoring talent and they did not. Hextall wanted in on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes, but the Hobey Baker winner ended up signing with the Rangers.

In a league where goals are increasingly difficult to come by, the Flyers need more of them. And, after poring over the projected lineup for the 2016-17, it’s hard to see where those goals are going to come from.

2016-2017 NHL TEAM PREVIEWS

Pacific Division
— Anaheim Ducks
— Arizona Coyotes
— Calgary Flames
— Edmonton Oilers
— Los Angeles Kings
— San Jose Sharks
— Vancouver Canucks

Central Division
— Chicago Blackhawks
— Colorado Avalanche
— Dallas Stars
— Minnesota Wild
— Nashville Predators
— St. Louis Blues
— Winnipeg Jets

Atlantic Division
— Boston Bruins
— Buffalo Sabres
— Detroit Red Wings
— Florida Panthers
— Montreal Canadiens
— Ottawa Senators
— Tampa Bay Lightning
— Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division
— Carolina Hurricanes
— Columbus Blue Jackets
— New Jersey Devils
— New York Islanders
New York Rangers
— Pittsburgh Penguins (coming Aug. 29)
— Washington Capitals (coming Aug. 30)

RELATED: 2016-17 NHL Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

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Harbaugh calls for changes to NFL preseason format

Harbaugh calls for changes to NFL preseason format

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh believes the NFL preseason needs to be shortened, and perhaps even eliminated.

This is more than a knee-jerk reaction to tight end Ben Watson suffering a season-ending torn Achilles injury Saturday night, or running back Kenneth Dixon suffering a knee injury, or Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffering a back injury Friday night. Harbaugh had already concluded that a four-game preseason schedule preseason was no longer worth the risk for players.

“It’s not a reaction to any injuries we had tonight, or anybody else had,” Harbaugh said, following Saturday night’s 30-9 victory over the Lions. “I know the league and the (NFL) Players Association is working very hard and trying to figure out ideas to work out the preseason.

“These guys playing in these preseason games – it’s tough and they’re not meaningful games. They are important to get better, and they improve us. But we football coaches can find ways to get our guys ready and get our players evaluated without the kind of risk that a game necessarily entails. I’m really hopeful that the union and the league can get together and do something that’s good for everybody – especially what’s good for the players and for the fans.”

Harbaugh indicated he would be in favor of expanding rosters, lengthening the regular season, and shortening the preseason.

“If you go more games, fewer preseason games, and bigger rosters, that’s good for everybody,” Harbaugh said.

Asked how many preseason games he would like to see, Harbaugh gave a definite answer.

“If I had my choice, I’d go none,” Harbaugh said. “That might be an extreme point, but we could run scrimmages, or we could run practices against other teams and figure it out. We’d all be in the same boat. That’s for people higher up than me to decide.”

RELATED: Ravens win game, but lose TE Watson for season

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Redskins' staring defense is sharp in small preseason sample of work

Redskins' staring defense is sharp in small preseason sample of work

Judging by the small sample size that the NFL preseason has become it looks like the Redskins’ starting defense is ready to go for the start of the NFL season.

The Redskins’ opponents had six possessions with their staring quarterbacks in the lineup, which usually means that those teams had all of their healthy starters in the game. In those six possessions the Redskins’ opponents mustered 53 yards of total offense.

As far as the starting quarterbacks, the Redskins didn’t face anyone who is bound for Canton five years after retirement. But there wasn’t a Case Keenum in the group either. Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Matt Ryan combined to complete six of 18 passes for 46 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns. That comes to a combined passer rating of 33.3.

This is a major improvement over the 2015 preseason when starting quarterbacks were much sharper against the Redskins’ defense. Josh McCown, Matthew Stafford, and Joe Flacco completed 19 of 26 passes for 248 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a passer rating of 73.1. That’s not stellar but still effective.

This year the other teams apparently wanted to get the QBs some work and didn’t run a lot. The Redskins gave up 36 rushing yards on eight attempts. That’s an average of 4.5 yards per attempt. Over a year that would be an improvement over last year (4.8 per carry) but still well above the league average (4.1).

It’s hard to overemphasize the small sample sizes involved here. It would be a mistake to draw any sweeping conclusions from a few dozen snaps. But among the goals of the preseason are to look competent and, as Jay Gruden said, create some “positive vibrations”. The Redskins defense can check the boxes next to both of those.