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lw789 wrote 1 articles and got 0 comments. The last article was submitted on 07/28/18

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ford received 57 first-place votes and

28.Jul.18, 11:09; Icon 48; Date 0; Attitude +0 | 0 | -0

Its tough enough for the Blue Jays to be playing in the American League East to get even a sniff of the postseason. Then youve got to worry about the other up and coming teams in the two weaker divisions in the "Junior Circuit". If you had to peg one team whom the Blue Jays will have to reckon with in 2014, it would be Kansas City. The Royals finished with an 86-76 record a year ago and missed the playoffs. However that record was 12 games better than the Jays 74-88. One bad month really cost KC a spot in the playoffs a year ago. They went 8-20 in May. Every other month, they were over .500 including 17-10 in September. Kansas City scuffled a bit to score runs in 2013 averaging four per game, but the Blue Jays werent all that much better at 4.40 runs per game. The big difference was in runs allowed by the starting rotation and the bullpen. The Royals starters had an ERA of 3.87 to the Blue Jays 4.81 which was well above the American League average of 4.17. As highly touted as the Blue Jays bullpen was, its ERA of 3.37 was no match for the Royals 2.55. This is in part because of the Royals spacier ballpark, but KC only gave up 155 home runs over the course of the season to the Jays ugly total of 195. If you want to talk team speed, the Blue Jays stole 112 bases, which was better than the league average of 95, but the Royals were even better swiping 153. You could argue the Royals will be even better in 2014. Although they lost Ervin Santana as a free agent, they added durable lefty and former Angel Jason Vargas to plug into the rotation. They also have an elite closer in Greg Holland who saved 47 out of 50 a year ago and a workhorse starter to lead the rotation in James Shields, who through 228.2 innings last season. The Royals also upgraded at second base and right field. They filled a major hole at the keystone by signing former Tiger Omar Infante to a four-year deal worth $30.25 million and traded for speedy right fielder Norichika Aoki, who will take over as their leadoff hitter. KCs secret weapon might just be 22-year-old right-hander Yordano Ventura. Though only 511", he throws consistantly in high 90s and has been known to hit between 100 and 102mph on occasion. Hes already earned a spot in skipper Ned Yosts rotation and is being touted as one of the top candidates for rookie of the year. Since Pittsburgh made the playoffs last season, Kansas City and the Blue Jays are the two teams that have gone the longest between post-season appearances. The Royals havent made it since they won the World Series over St. Louis in 1985. The Blue Jays of course, havent made it since winning their second straight World Series in 1993. The Blue Jays play the Royals seven times this season, from April 29 through May 1 in Missouri and then back in Toronto from May 29 through June 1. Those are seven games of their first 58 that could well prove whether the Jays are good enough to contend for a Wild Card spot, or which team of these two will wind up with the longest postseason drought when the 2014 season is all said and done. Around Spring Training Injuries turned right-hander Josh Johnson into arguably the biggest disappointment of the Blue Jays season a year ago. Unfortunately his luck hasnt changed much in San Diego. The 30-year-old right-hander is going to be out 4-to-5 weeks with a strained right forearm. Tough blow for the Texas Rangers. Their young second baseman Jurickson Profar is out 10 to 12 weeks with a slight muscle tear in his right shoulder. Profar was expected to shoulder the load at second since Ian Kinsler was dealt to Detroit as part of the Prince Fielder deal. Profar hasnt proven himself as a big league hitter yet, but his glove and arm are world class. Yes, its only spring training, but the Yankees have got to be a bit concerned that Derek Jeter is only hitting .114 and Mark Teixiera only .120. Great to see David Ortiz is probably going to end his career in Boston. After all hes been pretty much the face of the franchise for the last 10 years. Ortiz agreed over the weekend to a one-year, $15 million extension for 2015. He also has a vesting option for 2016 and there is a club option for 2017 by which time Ortiz will be 42 years old. Erik Bedard is looking for new gig. The 35-year-old southpaw and native of Navan, Ontario opted out of his deal with Tampa Bay after the fifth starters job went to 24-year-old Jake Odorizzi. Bedard just didnt want to go back to Triple-A at this stage of his career. Experienced Help We mentioned a couple of articles ago that a former Blue Jays third baseman, Roy Howell, was managing in Triple-A this season at Tacoma. Now another Ex-Jay, Tom Lawless, has taken over as interim manager at Oklahoma City in the Pacific Coast League. Lawless will be filling in for Ton DeFrancesco who was diagnosed with cancer while working in the parent Astros camp this spring. DeFrancescos cancer was caught early enough that he is expected to make a full recovery. <a href="www.footballsteelerstore.us Rudolph Steelers Jersey</a>. Best has been bothered by concussion problems and hasnt played since Oct. 16, when the Lions lost to San Francisco. After starting 5-0, Detroit has lost four of six, beginning with that game against the 49ers. <a href="www.footballsteelerstore.us Edmunds Steelers Jersey</a>. -- Theres nothing like winning to bring hope for a struggling team. www.footballsteelerstore.us Bjoerndalen broke the record he shared with cross-country skiing great Bjoern Daehlie, also matching his fellow Norwegians record of eight gold medals. Bjoerndalen earlier won gold in Sochi in the mens sprint biathlon. <a href="www.footballsteelerstore.us Washington Steelers Jersey</a>. Ireland was the last unbeaten side in the championship after France fell to Wales on Friday, and was favoured to end a three-match losing run to England with a side with more than twice as many caps, rampant momentum, and added incentive to celebrate Brian ODriscolls world record-tying 139th test cap. <a href="www.footballsteelerstore.us Haden Steelers Jersey</a>.com) - John Wall supplied 24 points and 11 assists in leading the Washington Wizards to a 102-91 win over the New York Knicks on Christmas Day.LOS ANGELES -- Just as he has to wait to come into games, Jamal Crawford had to be patient about receiving the NBA Sixth Man Award. The 34-year-old guard was honoured on Thursday, a week later than usual. The delay was caused by the controversy involving team owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life by the NBA after a recording surfaced in which he made racist comments. "Weve known it for a while, but obviously with all the stuff going on we decided to try to let it die down before we gave him the award or he would never be able to talk about the award," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "Im glad were finally able to do this." Crawford became the oldest recipient and the first to win with different teams. He also was honoured as the leagues best player off the bench while with the Atlanta Hawks in 2009-10. "Its pretty cool," he said during a presentation at the teams practice facility, with teammates including Chris Paul and Blake Griffin cheering him and poking fun of his suit and tie. "I didnt know what a family was on the court until I got with these guys," an emotional Crawford said. "Ive been on a lot of teams and usually guys, they go their own way. But with us, everybody is included, everybody is a part. They make everybody feel like family." Crawford led the leagues reserve players in scoring this season, averaging 18.6 points. He came off the bench in 45 of 69 games he played in, helping the Clippers to a 57-25 record, their best regular-season mark in franchise history. Crawford went so far as to say he hopes to spend the rest of his career with the Clippers, an organization roiled by Sterling telling his friend V. Stiviano that he didnt want her to bring black people to Clippers games. "As long as Im with this group of guys and with Doc leading us, everything else will work itself out," Crawford said. The Clippers had a 31-14 record when Crawford came off the bench this season. Crawford set the single-season franchise record for 3-pointers made witth 161.ddddddddddddThat surpassed his record from last season, his first in Los Angeles, when he was runner-up for the Sixth Man award. "He can score in his sleep," Rivers said. "Ive never seen a guy that can sit for 15 minutes and literally be on the floor for a half-second and they swing him the ball and hes ready to shoot and make some shots." Rivers even made an exception to his policy of not running a play for someone when they first enter the game. "Hes a lethal scorer, but he adds more value when he does other things," the coach said. Rivers was among those in the NBA who knew Crawford by reputation, a player who only wanted to score and not defend. But Crawford put that to rest this season, especially when Paul was injured. "This year hes ran the point guard position, hes been my best passer at times when C.P. was out," Rivers said. "Hes been our defender, hes in the right spots. Hes been a complete team guy, so Im really happy for him." Crawford received 57 first-place votes and 421 total points from a panel of 125 sports writers and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and Canada. He joined Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce and Detlef Schrempf as two-time winners. Taj Gibson of Chicago finished second with 395 points and San Antonios Manu Ginobili was third with 138. Crawford had his best month in January, scoring in double figures in 15 of 16 games and helping the Clippers go 12-4 that month. On Jan. 25, he had 37 points and 11 assists in a win over Toronto -- the most points he scored off the bench in his career and his most with the Clippers. It was the second time this season he had that many points and assists; he totalled those numbers against Sacramento on Nov. 29. Crawford missed 13 games in March and April because of a sore Achilles tendon, but rallied to return in time for the playoffs. The Clippers and Thunder are tied 1-1 in their Western Conference semifinals series. The award sponsor Kia will donate a 2015 vehicle to a charity of Crawfords choice. <a href="www.chinawholesalejerseysnfl.com Jerseys</a> ' ' '




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