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last updated: Mon, 02 May 2016 00:39:46 -0400

NBA's Warriors keep cruising, Heat and Raptors book clash

Klay Thompson scored 37 points as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors leapt to a quick leadKlay Thompson and Draymond Green made sure the Golden State Warriors barely missed injured superstar Stephen Curry in a 118-106 victory over Portland in the first game of their NBA Western Conference second-round playoff series. Thompson scored 37 points and Green notched the first post-season triple-double of his career as the reigning champion Warriors leapt to a quick lead and never looked back on their home floor in Oakland, California. Thompson drained a three-pointer 17 seconds into the contest and the Warriors rolled from there.


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Wash Post Sports
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NCAA basketball: Navy women beat American, earn first NCAA tournament bid
Navy seniors Angela Myers and Cassie Consedine were the first to embrace at center court following a 47-40 victory over American in the Patriot League final Saturday at Alumni Hall. Their improbable journey from the depths of the league standings four seasons ago to champions was complete, and ah...

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Sport | The Guardian
last updated: Mon, 02 May 2016 11:01:14 GMT2016-05-02T11:01:14Z

NFL draft winners and losers: bongs, second-round kickers and the next Brady

Who came out on top (and who dropped the ball) as the league’s teams got to grip with the latest crop of talent?

Jacksonville Jaguars The Jags secured their place in this category the moment they selected Myles Jack in the second round. Plenty of analysts had predicted that they could take the linebacker with the fifth overall pick, even after it emerged that he may require microfracture surgery in the future.

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CNN.com - Sport
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Leicester City: A football fairytale come true?
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Fox Sports Top Stories RSS feed merging with Breaking News
The Fox Sports Top Stories RSS feed is merging with Breaking News. Please use http://feeds.news.com.au/public/rss/2.0/fs_breaking_news_13.xml instead.

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FOXSPORTS.com.au | Breaking News
last updated: Mon, 02 May 2016 09:47:00 GMT

‘Eels won’t play finals’
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ESPN.com - TOP
last updated: Mon, 2 May 2016 00:40:26 EST

Draymond Green is not a superstar -- or is he?
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Draft classes for all 32 NFL teams: Grades, best picks, highlights, more - ESPN


ESPN

Draft classes for all 32 NFL teams: Grades, best picks, highlights, more
ESPN
The 2016 NFL draft is over, but ESPN.com's analysis is just beginning. Check out our reviews of each team's draft class, featuring analysis from Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, our draft experts and NFL Nation reporters. Click the links after each team for ...
Mel Kiper gives Eagles 2016 draft class 'average' gradeNJ.com
2016 NFL Draft grades: Winners and losers in the NFC SouthSB Nation
NFL Draft Grades 2016: Mel Kiper grades Colts' 2016 draft classStampede Blue
247Sports -Football Insiders -CBSSports.com -NFL Spin Zone
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Concern? Maybe a little…
OK, so things have gotten a little sloppier after that first great series. No need to worry too much, right? It’s still ridiculously early, of course. Maybe not a great start, but certainly not a bad one. That said, every game the Pirates fall behind the Cubs is paining me – already. That’s because from […]

OK, so things have gotten a little sloppier after that first great series. No need to worry too much, right? It’s still ridiculously early, of course. Maybe not a great start, but certainly not a bad one.

That said, every game the Pirates fall behind the Cubs is paining me – already. That’s because from what I’ve seen of the Cubs (and again, still ridiculously early, so this could change) – they are really freaking good. Terrifying lineup. Great front line pitching. Adequate bullpen. Even if the Pirates end up being a very good team again this year, it’s very easy to envision a situation like last year where they get stuck in the wild card anyway, just because they’re paired with a truly dominant team in the division. And that’s not even mentioning the Cardinals, who don’t seem all that scary anymore (for now) but surely won’t go quietly.

Anyway, I certainly don’t want to make too many sweeping generalizations about teams and worry about the standings too much in mid April. But I just don’t want to see the Pirates get in a big early hole. Right now it’s just a couple games, but one bad stretch could balloon it, and that would be trouble.

Moving on to the actual state of the team, some good and bad from the past week or so:

THE GOOD:

OBP

All the talk this spring was about how the Pirates were going to be an on-base-percentage-focused team, and so far that has shown to be true. They are second in the league (behind guess who, the Cubs) entering Thursday with an excellent .375 mark. Last year they finished at .323. Obviously that will likely go down as the season goes on, but the change is evident, and it has mostly been effective. Sure, the power is down, as we expected, but that’s exactly how you can make up for it. And certainly don’t count me among those worried about hitting with RISP. As a high OBP team, you’ll have some maddening games like that where you leave a ton on base. It evens out. You saw a perfect example of that with the awful loss on Sunday and then a great win on Monday.

And maybe my favorite thing about this new OBP trend? Grinding opposing pitchers down. Through nine games, the opposing starter has gone six innings just twice, and both times it was only six, no more. Getting to the bullpen early is a great thing. Even when the offense isn’t totally clicking, they’ve shown an ability to at least stretch innings and at bats out somewhat, and that helps in the long run.

THE BAD:

Pitching depth

The Pirates have a pitching depth problem, and amazingly (so far) the problem isn’t entirely related to Ryan Vogelsong and Jeff Locke. Both have actually pitched well so far (granted, tiny sample). But this rotation is very thin right now, and it’s compounded by a bullpen that isn’t exactly equipped to handle short, subpar starts. The back of the Pirate bullpen is excellent, as it has been for years. Neftali Feliz looks amazing, and Tony Watson and Mark Melancon are their usual selves. But beyond those three…trouble. I’m not sure if we should be super worried about Arquimedes Caminero, because I said that a few times last year and he bounced back, but it hasn’t been a great start for him – Tuesday’s loss is pretty much all on his shoulders. But even if you count him as OK, you surely can’t feel great about Kyle Lobstein and Cory Luebke (and, for now, emergency callup A.J. Schugel). Getting Jared Hughes back will help, but still, at this rate, it’s going to be hard for the Pirates to hold down the fort and get to those big three in the back whenever a starter fails to get them through six, or if they’re trailing at any point and Hurdle doesn’t feel ready to use one of his prized bullets.

And there’s not a ton of sure bets to get through six strong in the rotation right now. Liriano’s injury is hopefully just day to day, but if it’s worse than that…um, then what? Does Vogelsong go in there for good? (He did pitch well on Tuesday, but…) Do they rush up a prospect? (Glasnow and Taillon both had strong AAA debuts, which is encouraging, but we know the Pirates love to be cautious.) And that’s not even mentioning Nicasio, whose second start raised all the concerns I had about him initially (two pitches, maybe not cut out to be a durable starter with his high-effort style). He’ll get more chances and hopefully be OK, but remember, the plan was for him to be one of the key guys bridging the gap in those middle innings. With him and Hughes both out of that role, the Pirates better get six out of their starters most nights or they’re going to have more problems.

Other thoughts

  • Michael Morse was DFA’d. I’m sad I never got to see one of his tape measure homers (he mashed in BP) in a game, but he was expendable. The Pirates brought up the extra arm (Schugel) while Liriano is down, and once Liriano is back, I expect them to give Jason Rogers a shot off the bench. I love Rogers’ bat so I’m good with that.
  • Jung Ho! He’s been cleared for all baseball activity and should be good to start playing full games in extended spring training. No need to unfurl the Korean flags until he starts playing rehab games in Altoona/Indy, but hopefully we’re getting close.
  • Despite a couple of iffy final lines, I do like this from Jon Niese so far: 12 K’s, 2 walks. The ironic thing is that he said he was looking forward to pitching in front of a better defense (the Mets’ D was bad), and the defense behind him has hurt him quite a bit in both his outings.
  • I don’t like David Freese hitting third. How about Cervelli, or even Polanco?
  • I do like what I’ve seen from John Jaso so far, especially on defense. He’s handled it much better than, well, you know. And as advertised, he’s getting on base.
  • Chris Stewart hit a home run. That might be the most incredible thing to happen all season.

Original article: Concern? Maybe a little…

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