Early Signs of Doom for MLB’s Expected 2019 Contenders

The 2019 Major League Baseball season has only been going for three weeks and change, but the expected status quo is already in jeopardy.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

To wit, a few teams that were expected to be heavy hitters in the American League and National League playoff races are off to slow starts that are laced with signs of lasting doom.

We will focus on seven in particular, plus a few dishonorable mentions. These teams have been worse than anticipated out of the gate, with flaws that run the gamut from offensive, defensive and pitching problems to plain ol’ injury issues.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

We’ll start in the AL East and work our way to the NL West.

Record: 12-10, 2nd in AL East

Relative to the 100 games they won in 2018, the New York Yankees’ early record is a massive disappointment. Considering who occupies their injured list, it could be worse.

Currently out of commission for the Yankees are outfielders Aaron Judge,cheap nfl nike jerseys from china  Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury, infielders Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar, Troy Tulowitzki and Greg Bird, catcher Gary Sanchez and pitchers Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Ben Heller and Jordan Montgomery.

What’s more, many of these injuries are of the serious variety. Per the official MLB.com tracker, only Stanton and Sanchez are expected back before the end of April.nike nfl cheap jerseys
The big concern right now is how long Judge, a two-time All-Star and elite power supply, will be out with the oblique injury he sustained on Saturday. Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters it’s a “pretty significant” injury.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap
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These injuries hardly constitute a roster construction flaw, yet they’re nonetheless a harsh reality that New York has to deal with. This season will be a success story only if the Yankees ultimately rise above their current .500-ish pace.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Record: 9-13, 4th in AL East

The Boston Red Sox’s starting rotation has been knocked around, yet hope has materialized. Per MLB.com’s Dawn Klemish, Boston starters went from an 8.79 through their first 13 games to a 3.21 ERA over their next nine. cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Now it’s the Boston offense’s turn to get going, because this isn’t pretty:

2018: .792 OPS and 5.4 R/G
2019: .691 OPS and 4.2 R/G

Apart from J.D. Martinez and Mitch Moreland, nobody is free from blame for the Red Sox’s offensive downfall. That includes reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts, who’s gone from a 1.078 OPS to a pedestrian .783. In his own words, what he’s doing is “unacceptable.”nike jerseys nfl cheap

The guys in the Red Sox’s lineup also need to shape up on the other side of the ball. The club’s defense ranks 24th in efficiency, rooted in some truly sloppy play.

It should bode well that the Red Sox have carried over essentially the same lineup that led the charge to 108 wins and a World Series title in 2018. But there’s clearly a hangover effect in play right now, and such things have been known to last.

Matt Harvey, SP, Los Angeles Angels

Stats: 4 GS, 0-2, 9.64 ERA, 26 H, 8 BB, 14 K, 18.2 IP

Potential Replacement: Dillon Peters

How many chances does an $11 million investment buy someone?nfl jersey on sale

The Los Angeles Angels gave Matt Harvey that much on a one-year deal this offseason in an effort to shore up the starting rotation. He’s essentially been pitching batting practice to this point, though, with little reason for optimism.nfl nike jerseys for sale

Here’s a quick rundown of how his four starts have played out:hi-res-15eaaa1e4b33a811ce827514b829aa5b_crop_exact

Mar 29 vs. OAK: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
April 4 vs. TEX: 4.0 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
April 9 vs. MIL: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
April 17 vs. TEX: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

All of that adds up to a 9.64 ERA that is the worst in the majors among 92 qualified starting pitchers.cheap baby nfl jerseys

Left-hander Dillon Peters was recently promoted from Triple-A to serve as a long reliever out of the bullpen. With one more rough start from Harvey, he could find himself in the rotation.

Stats: 61 PA, .098/.203/.176, 2 XBH, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 13 K

Potential Replacement: Denard Span

The Baltimore Orioles are thin on potential franchise cornerstones in the early stages of a full-scale rebuilding effort.jersey nfl wholesale  Center fielder Cedric Mullins was viewed as one of the few promising young players on the MLB  nfl china jerseyroster at the start of the season, but he’s looked completely overmatched in the early going.

After hitting .235/.312/.359 with nine doubles and four home runs in 191 plate appearances last season in his first big league action, Mullins has managed just five hits and four walks in 61 trips to the plate so far this year.genuine nfl jerseys

“It’s been the longest two weeks of my life,” Mullins told reporters Wednesday. “But I’m just slowing everything down and remembering that it is the first two weeks and that there are guys that are struggling as well out there, but they’ve turned it around within a few days.”jersey cheap nfl

The 24-year-old also has the sixth-highest soft-contact rate at 29.3 percent, and he’s turned in below-average defensive metrics in center field (minus-1 DRS, minus-5.9 UZR/150) despite a reputation as a strong defender.authentic nfl jerseys for sale

With no clear replacement in-house, the Orioles should consider signing veteran free agent Denard Span to serve as a stopgap in center.authentic nfl jerseys sale

The 35-year-old hit .261/.341/.419 with 40 extra-base hits and nine steals in a 1.9-WAR 2018 season split between the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners.nike jersey nfl

Erik Gonzalez, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates

Stats: 56 PA, .208/.296/.292, 3 XBH, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 12 K

Potential Replacement: Cole Tucker nike nfl jerseys sale

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Erik Gonzalez from the Cleveland Indians during the offseason and handed him the starting shortstop job out of spring training. As a career .263 hitter with a sub-.300 on-base percentage and a 79 OPS+ in 275 big league plate appearances, little was expected from his bat.nfl authentic jerseys china

However, his defense was viewed as good enough to take the hit offensively, with the thought being he could still provide positive value with steady glovework at a premium position.

So far, he’s produced zero DRS and a minus-13.9 UZR/150.hi-res-15eaaa1e4b33a811ce827514b829aa5b_crop_exact

Those below-average defensive metrics, coupled with his offensive ineptitude, have made him a minus-0.2-WAR player in the early going.

And the peripherals provide little hope his offensive game will turn around. Among 193 qualified hitters leaguewide, he ranks second in soft-contact rate (34.2 percent) and 192nd in hard-contact rate (18.4 percent).cheap personalized nfl jerseys

Meanwhile, shortstop prospect Cole Tucker is hitting .340/.426/.547 with six extra-base hits in 12 games at Triple-A Indianapolis.

It’s only a matter of time.

Stats: 69 PA, .129/.203/.161, 2 XBH, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 13 K

Potential Replacement: Dawel Lugo

Veteran Josh Harrison looked like an excellent low-cost addition to the Detroit Tigers, both on the field and in the clubhouse when he was signed to a one-year, $2 million deal in February.

“He’s a positive person, a leader who has proven himself at this level. He’s another guy who can help improve our situation this year, and maybe beyond,” manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters during spring training. “He helps us not only as a player on the field, but he’s a teacher. nfl jerseys official If we’re going to have some young players on the field, he can help them, too.”

Unfortunately, the early returns have been less than encouraging, as his .nfl best jerseys 364 OPS ranks dead last among 193 qualified hitters.

For a rebuilding Tigers team, keeping Harrison around in a utility role makes sense, as his value stretches beyond his on-field production.

However, it might now be worth it to consider giving someone else the bulk of the playing time.buy nfl jerseys online

Prospect Dawel Lugo has a chance to be the long-term answer at second base, authentic nfl jerseys from china and the 24-year-old is off to a hot start at Triple-A, hitting .333/.412/.533 with six extra-base hits in 12 games.

Houston Rockets’ Dominant Start to Playoffs Is Worse for Utah Jazz Than It Seems

From the first time James Harden had the ball in Sunday’s 122-90 win over the Utah Jazz, it was clear he’d face the gimmicky defense the Milwaukee Bucks threw at him in the regular season.nike nfl jerseys from china

Ricky Rubio basically sat on his left shoulder. He wasn’t just trying to take that direction away from Harden. He was all but begging him to go right, as seen in this tweet from NBC’s Brody Logan:

Even in a 32-point drubbing, several things went right for the Jazz.womens nfl jersey

They more than doubled Houston’s attempts from the line (27 to 12).best price nfl jerseys
They had Harden somewhat contained.hi-res-456a6e27becfb7f564abbac73092b47a_crop_north
Ricky Rubio went 5-of-11 for 15 points.
Rudy Gobert had 22 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting.

That first bullet point could become a trend—the Jazz actually topped the Rockets in both free-throw attempts and free-throw-attempt rate this season—but it’s not likely to be that lopsided.

The huge disparity had a lot to do with Harden only getting to the line three times. In Houston’s gentlemen’s sweep of Utah last season, he took 8.6 free throws per game. Good luck keeping him off the stripe.

As for Rubio, his numbers are encouraging but maybe a bit of a mirage. He was more efficient than usual and scored a few more points than his season average. But Houston will live with Rubio jumpers all series.nfl jerseys women

The Rockets will stay home on Gobert’s rolls to the rim and hug up on Donovan Mitchell whenever Rubio has the ball. Letting either of them get loose would be far more damaging than a solid game from the pass-first point guard.

And then there’s Gobert. Individually, he was great. Last year, he was fine, too. In the five-game series against Houston, he averaged 12.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks while shooting 71.4 percent from the field.

But Utah was minus-19.0 points per 100 possessions when Gobert was on the floor in that series—the worst net rating of any player on the team, according to NBA.com. Sunday, he was a team-worst minus-23.the authentic nfl jerseys

Houston may have figured out the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.official nfl nike jerseys

Playing Derrick Favors more at the 5 might help. His net rating against Houston last postseason was still comfortably in the red, but minus-9.3 is better than minus-19.0. On Sunday, he was the only Jazz player with a positive plus-minus.where to get nfl jerseys

He’s a bit more switchable on the perimeter than Gobert, but this honestly might just be grasping at straws. The Rockets will still funnel him plenty of the same pick-your-poison scenarios as the one seen above.nfl jerseys china nike

And again, this all happened on a night during which Harden was relatively contained. Things can go better for the Rockets than they did Sunday, especially when he clicks.clearance nfl jerseys

“I’ve literally seen every strategy defensively teams can possibly do,” Harden said during the postgame press conference.nfl jersey for sale

This is likely more of an off night than any sort of solution Utah has discovered. And that’s terrifying for anyone in Houston’s path.

Tobias Harris Is the NBA’s Swiss Army Knife

Tobias Harris had a gut feeling he would be traded. He didn’t have any information a week before the Feb. 7 trade deadline to suggest the Los Angeles Clippers would ship him out, but after he’d been traded four times before, a move felt imminent.buy nfl jerseys online

“I just felt the vibe,” Harris says. “It’s weird to describe, but it’s all about the situation, time, place and dynamic. I saw where we were as a team, and I just felt something was happening behind the scenes. And the deal happened.”cheap nfl jersey store

He felt so strongly about his intuition that he told forward Mike Scott and later teammates Avery Bradley and Tyrone Wallace his thoughts at dinner after a loss to the Raptors. “A trade is going to happen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m in it,” Harris said. They didn’t believe anything would happen.
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Two days later, fresh off hitting a game-winner against the Hornets, Harris was watching Netflix when he got the call. Doc Rivers informed him he had been traded to the 76ers.

The experience wasn’t new to Harris, now on his fifth team in eight seasons. When the Bucks traded him to the Magic in February 2013, Harris was working out and saw the news flash on the gym’s television before he received the call. nike nfl jerseys sale He was taking a nap when the Magic sent him to the Pistons in February 2016. He woke up to missed calls and texts. Harris was in his Detroit home watching film on the next opponent, the Cavaliers, when Stan Van Gundy informed him he was headed to the Clippers in January 2018.authentic nfl jerseys from china

Harris has been a significant trade asset due to his work ethic, yearly improvement and reputation as the consummate teammate. But rarely has he been considered a core piece, which has discouraged him in his quest to find a stable situation.nfl authentic jerseys china

“I go about my game in a different way—a way where I just handle my business,” Harris says. cheap personalized nfl jerseys

“People sleep on me for sure.”nfl jerseys official

He’s found the perfect fit in Philadelphia, among an organization and fanbase that has quickly embraced his unselfish, Swiss Army knife brand of basketball. Though he will become an  cheap baby nfl jerseys unrestricted free agent this summer, Harris will play a nfl best jerseys  significant role in Philadelphia’s title hopes this postseason alongside Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler.

NBA Power Rankings: Final Regular-Season Edition Entering 2019 Playoffs

For our final regular-season edition of NBA power rankings, we’re still considering each team’s record, advanced metrics and health. real nike nfl jerseys Though it may seem like all it should take to organize the 30 teams into an order reflective of the league’s hierarchy is a glance at the standings, we know that’s not true.nike nfl jerseys on sale

Some teams stumbled into the postseason, while others surged late to secure a seed. Even those in the lottery aren’t necessarily as good or bad as their final record shows.

Recent play, then, still matters. Weighing the last few weeks against a team’s full-season numbers is the only way to get an accurate picture of where each team ranks right now. And, as a point of clarification, this week’s games barely matter at all because, with seeding largely decided, many teams rested their stars.where can i buy authentic nfl jerseys

Just like that, the 2018-19 NBA regular season is over.

If you blinked, you missed it.where to buy nfl jerseyhi-res-a429ab91c3f54ebb65b5473d4a12cc03_crop_north

30. New York Knicks (30)buy nfl jerseys from china

It seemed like every other Mitchell Robinson highlight this year featured the swat-happy rookie blocking a three-point attempt. No surprise: He set the NBA record in that statistic.

The Knicks finished 2018-19 with the worst record and lowest offensive efficiency in the league. They spent more time at No. 30 in our rankings than any other team. But hey, at least they have a rookie center worth watching.

29. Cleveland Cavaliers (29)

It feels right that Cleveland surrendered 124 points to the Hornets in its final game of the season on Tuesday. That loss, the Cavs’ 10th in a row, is exactly how you’d expect the team with the worst defensive rating in league history to go out.china nfl jerseys nike

On the plus side, Larry Nance Jr. quietly developed playmaking chops and a serviceable three-point shot this season. Even more encouraging, Collin Sexton dramatically altered his shot profile for the better over the final two months of the year, swapping out mid-rangers for threes and layups.women nfl jersey

Finally, Cedi Osman leaves you with this: a strong metaphor for the Cavs’ 2018-19 season.women’s authentic nfl jerseys

Yasiel Puig, David Bell Ejected After Benches Clear in Pirates vs. Reds

The culture of retaliation in baseball remains a controversial topic, as many position players don’t like pitchers throwing at them simply because they flip their bats, pause in the batter’s box to admire a moonshot or simply show some emotion in the moment. nfl jerseys china nike

While many pitchers contend they don’t like being shown up, the counterargument remains that pitchers shouldn’t give up homers in the first place if they don’t want to see opposing players have a passionate response to the most exciting play in baseball—the home run.hi-res-be9c094a8b0b7e4aa414cb26ead3d680_crop_north

Philadelphia Phillies superstar Bryce Harper brought the growing divide on the topic to light in 2016, telling Tim Keown of ESPN The Magazine that he had no issue with emotion in the game and felt it was important to cultivate, nfl jersey for sale rather than stifle, that passion, using the late Jose Fernandez as an example:

“Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game. It’s not the old feeling—hoorah …nike nfl jerseys on sale  if you pimp a homer, I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot … I mean—sorry.”

“If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound where to buy nfl jersey , I’m going to go, ‘Yeah, you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time,'” Harper added. “That’s what makes the game fun.”

Major League Baseball even promoted the sport with a china nfl jerseys nike “Let the Kids Play”women nfl jersey  campaign, which highlighted moments of passion and took aim at the game’s antiquated unwritten rules.

But some players aren’t keen to see the unwritten rules go by the wayside. Archer is apparently among them.women’s authentic nfl jerseys

March Madness in April? These NBA Playoff Teams Could Be Cinderellas

In a seven-game NBA series, hot shooting or some other unforeseen anomaly has far less impact than in a single-elimination tournament. That’s largely why we’ve only seen four No. 7 or No. 8 seeds advance since the league went to a seven-game first-round format in 2003.nike nfl jerseys from china

But that’s a coward’s way to think. Who needs to hedge at this time of year?c8f3eed25385e4a51aafc3528d9d23f0_crop_exact

The search for an NBA Cinderella has to start with the possibility of a first-round upset. That’s the threshold requirement for such a team. There’s also got to be an underdog element that extends beyond the seeding disadvantage. Any true Cinderella best price nfl jerseys has to overcome a serious talent discrepancy, creating the storybook feel we associate with success against long odds.

If a team is missing a star (or never had one in the first place), that’s a good start. If there’s reason to believe regular-season success, such as it was, came via smoke and mirrors, even better. These teams have to seem overmatched. But they also need to have a narrow avenue—favorable matchups, experience advantages or strategic edges—that could lead to an upset.

We’re supposed to doubt them…until they stun us into belief. nfl jerseys women

The second half of the season hasn’t been kind to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A defense that ranked first in mid-January is tied for 14th since then, and OKC’s offense has been suspect all year. With field-goal accuracy rates that rank 19th at the rim, 30th from mid-range and 23rd from deep, the Thunder enter the postseason as one of the most vulnerable teams in the league.official nfl nike jerseys

They’re slated to draw the untested Denver Nuggets in the first round. And that, folks, raises the possibility of an upset.the authentic nfl jerseys

Please appreciate how ridiculous that statement should look in light of OKC’s 0-4 record against the Nuggets this year. Those four losses came by an average of nine points per game, and both Paul George and Russell Westbrook played in every meeting. There’s no mistaking the Nuggets’ regular-season ownership of the Thunder.where to get nfl jerseys

Biggest NFL Offseason Questions That Will Be Answered in the Draft

The draft is the cause of and solution to all of the NFL’s problems.

The offseason is filled with trigger events that change the league’s overall complexion. The draft is the most important, ahead of free agency and the start of the new league year even though all three precipitate plenty of player movement. nfl china jerseys

Free agency and the draft form a symbiotic relationship. The first is considered a way to supplement a team’s roster, while the latter is how a team builds its foundation and talent core.

Franchises can spend frivolously in free agency my cheap nfl jerseys to address areas of need, but those players often serve as placeholders, not stars. Stars are found in the draft.

Organizations make draft mistakes all the time in hopes high-level potential turns into professional production. The mere possibility of development is alluring.

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That’s the goal: The draft solves a team’s biggest problem and turns a weakness into a strength. Multiple franchises still have significant questions that won’t be answered until they reveal their approach to the draft April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.  nfl jerseys authenticf9a91397a3abdbce1dc06d019cd11372_crop_exact

There’s no better place to start than the very first pick of the draft, where the Arizona Cardinals have a franchise-defining decision to make. nike nfl jerseys for sale

Josh Rosen or Kyler Murray?nfl jerseys cheap collection

The organization must decide which of these two young quarterbacks best fits its long-term vision with Kliff Kingsbury as its new head coach.

Maybe the decision is already made. nfl cheap jerseys china

Fox Sports draft analyst Joel Klatt stated during an appearance on Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed that Rosen is “gonna get moved,” with the Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots and New York Giants showing the most interest. Klatt went a step further and said a firm second-round offer is already on the table.

If that’s the case, the trade isn’t an indictment of the 22-year-old Rosen. He’s simply not the right quarterback for the situation. He can go elsewhere and still blossom into a franchise-caliber signal-caller. cheap official nfl jerseys

But that point has yet to be reached because the Cardinals want a first-round pick in return, according to Klatt. Rosen may be the team’s quarterback right now, but the love for Murray is apparent.

“It’s more what don’t you like,” Kingsbury said at the nfl jerseys for sale cheap  owners meetings, per Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams. “When you watch him play, he can run it; he can throw it; he’s a competitor. …cheap nfl jerseys cheap shipping  He is one of the better dual-threat players to ever play.”

Kyrie Irving

First, Kyrie Irving was in, telling Boston Celtics season-ticket holders in October, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here.”cheap womens nfl jerseys

Then, he wasn’t necessarily out, but the depth of commitment he expressed in earlier comments seemed…shallower.

“Ask me July 1,”nfl jersey store  he told reporters when questioned about his free agency in February. And then, as if begging for nonstop aggregation, he said, “I don’t owe anybody s–t.”

Irving can opt out of his contract this summer and should expect max offers from the Knicks and Celtics. If he stays put, Boston could trade for Anthony Davis, who’d probably be more likely to re-sign in 2020 if Irving were locked into a deal as his running mate. If Irving bolts, Boston might not want to risk trading what it would take to get Davis without any assurance of keeping him long term.hi-res-7ca8e7e6b71441b1f2f4ec7409fd24ea_crop_exact

Suffice it to say nfl jerseys cheap jerseys  the Celtics are heavily incentivized to re-sign Irving if they can.my cheap nfl jerseys

Irving has been only intermittently supportive of teammates from the bench this year, sometimes appearing engaged, others visibly frustrated.

In early March, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported:

“Sources around the team told me that Irving’s persona has changed too: He’s become disengaged and detached from those around the team. There is talk that Irving’s friendships on the team start and end with [Jayson] Tatum, with whom he shares an agent. Two sources peg Irving’s change in demeanor to early February, around the time he was asked about the possibility of joining the New York Knicks next season.”nfl womens jerseys

The mercurial Irving will head into free agency with several options available to him. Good luck trying to guess his plans.nfl jerseys authentic

Prediction: Irving joins Durant in New York on a max contract.