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So it’s extra hilarious when mundane aspects of real life turn into reminders that baseball players, for instance, are people too.

"Dallas Keuchel, just artistic, what he did," La Russa said. "That is a really good lineup and he made some hellacious pitches to keep them off the board and shut them down. It was artistic as far as I’m concerned, he was painting the thing."Atlanta Braves

I love it. You've got to have some fun during a 162-game season. And of course a guy as outgoing and wild as Archie Bradley is the one who brought the hat into the clubhouse.

In 1926, the great Babe Ruth made the final out of the World Series when he was caught trying to steal second with Bob Meusel (a .315 hitter) at the plate in a 3-2 game.Baltimore Orioles

He’s set to be activated for SF’s road trip starting Tuesday and should return to being a helpful fantasy hitter until his next IL stint. Finally not playing in a home park that destroys lefty power for the first time in his career, Belt posted a 172 wRC+ (higher than the AL MVP winner) last season and has hit eight homers in fewer than 100 ABs versus RHP this year. His bat will be a welcome return to a Giants lineup that will be missing Evan Longoria, who’s in the top 1% of the league in average exit velocity and Hard Hit% but will now be out 4-6 weeks thanks to this wildly unnecessary collision (Longoria also has thoughts on the spin rate topic).Miami Marlins

Thus far this season, one of the biggest storylines in MLB has been pitchers using banned substances. Folks, including Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees, are getting blasted all over the place. So, how does New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso feel?Chicago Cubs

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"I think you are past the chance of having a great influence," Molitor said. "There is an innateness to it. I think with a guy who is 27, you can eliminate poor decisions. But you might not be able to create a good decision."

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On Yahoo, the Mets salaries have ticked up compared to yesterday, and that should keep their popularity in check. Tonight the top MLB DFS picks for this stack should be Francisco Lindor and Dominic Smith, who will have the platoon advantage against Harvey. Jonathan Villar returned from his hamstring injury and should be batting leadoff again, making the top of the order plus Alonso a solid primary stack. Outfielder Billy McKinney has extra-base upside and is a fine differentiation play coming at a discounted salary on several of the DFS sites.Texas Rangers

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BetMGM is offering a special promotion for new customers. New customers in CO, IN, IA, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, or WV who create a BetMGM account will get their first bet risk-free up to $1,000.*Philadelphia Phillies

The one-line agate announcement barely caused a ripple last summer when the Red Sox claimed infielder Christian Arroyo off waivers from the Indians, who had designated him for assignment.Oakland Athletics

Under their current owners, the Dodgers have taken pride in refusing to adhere to the fundamental spirit of baseball’s compensation system, which is to reward players for what they’ve done in the past and not necessary for what they’ll do in the future.Pittsburgh Pirates

The Detroit Tigers made a quartet of roster moves before Sunday's game against the Chicago White Sox, including putting right-handed reliever Michael Fulmer on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain, the team announced.

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But the Yankees rank second in the American League and sixth in baseball in team ERA -- trailing only the Padres, Mets, Dodgers, Giants and White Sox -- with Cole (2.26 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 104 strikeouts in 75.2 innings) remaining the unquestioned ace and one of MLB's best pitchers. Injuries -- particularly the loss of Kluber for potentially two months due to a shoulder strain -- puts the pitching staff on much shakier ground heading into the summer.

And on a Friday night in Dodger Stadium, with Albert Pujols beginning his jog around the bases after hitting a game-winning home run, Zaidi's low-key obsession changed the identity of the 2021 Giants. They had lost four straight to the Dodgers, and it felt like the regression thing was happening quickly. It is, after all, easy to have the wrong thoughts. But Tauchman jumped above the left-field wall, and Tauchman fell, and when Tauchman rolled around on the warning track it became clear the ball was in his glove.
Sunday night it is Boston’s Garrett Richards (4.52 xFIP) vs. New York’s Domingo German (4.03 xFIP). Richards has been outperforming his advanced metrics, posting a 3.75 ERA this season. Regression is coming.

After a decorated playing career in the WNBA, Hammon became an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 and has been there ever since. She’s coached their Summer League team to a championship and became the first female acting head coach in NBA history when Gregg Popovich got ejected from a game last December.Utah Jazz

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It was a major storyline in the NBA this season, how the compressed schedule and the additional demands of the protocols that were put into place to deal with the virus -- including daily testing often late at night or early in the morning, limits on the amount of time teams could spend together, limits on who they could be with -- would grind on players and teams.Toronto Raptors

Rivers said Simmons, who was called for four fouls in Game 1, gets punished because of his sheer size at 6-11, 240 pounds.Washington Wizards

On the ice, the Montreal Canadiens swept the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Islanders got a huge win over the Boston Bruins (hopefully you got that pick in the Dog of the Day). Baseball had a short schedule, and the favorites won all three games. 

Most of the time, star players drop jaws and build their legacies. Sometimes, it’s an unexpected player who works their way into the heart of a fanbase.Sacramento Kings

Combine those hands with arms that appeared to distend like Dhalsim’s from Street Fighter and it’s no wonder so many of Hawkins’ available highlights show him spinning, sweeping, and scooping the ball in from impossible angles. He could freeze defenders by going one way with his body and the other way with his arms. He could reach what seemed to be all the way around his defender while airborne, or stick the ball straight through a thicket of defenders surrounding the rim to flip the ball home. He didn’t need to play powerfully because his control allowed him to remain one step ahead of what defenders could throw at him.

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10. It looks like reinforcements are coming on Saturday. Jason Heyward and Jake Marisnick joined the Cubs Friday in San Francisco from their rehab assignments with Triple-A Iowa. They’ve both been sidelined the past few weeks with hamstring strains.Cincinnati Reds

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What a line. Look, baseball teams acquire troubled players all the time, including those with a checkered past of domestic violence. However, the recent nature of the allegations against Osuna — then just months old — makes Luhnow’s actions here deplorable.Oakland Athletics

Donaldson said Friday that the sticky substance situation is going to be "the next steroids of baseball ordeal" for its performance-enhancing effect on the game.

A needle shooting steroids into a player’s butt cheek. An Astros player banging on a trash can. These are tangible actions that any fan -- and really any child -- instinctively knows is wrong. It’s clear and instinctual. Those details helped steroids and sign-stealing become major national stories.Texas Rangers

Wherever that direction leads, the imminence could be a matter of weeks, depending how the rest of a tough-looking month plays — or a matter of months if they finish June the way they looked in May and force ownership and the front office into buying at the trade deadline.Seattle Mariners

Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes gets his home run called back for not stepping on first base.

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The Red Sox could even have Sale serve as a reliever initially while he builds towards starting form, according to the team.

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The Islanders took the lead as Scott Mayfield’s point shot was redirected and deflected off Charlie McAvoy in front and Barzal batted the puck out of the air and past Rask with 6:57 left. Barzal scored for the second straight game after going scoreless for the first eight games of the postseason.

Carlo is a legitimate top-four defenseman who can play 20-plus minutes per game against the opponent's best forwards and win those matchups. He's also a very good penalty killer and brings much-needed size and physicality to the B's blue line.Buffalo Sabres

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Montreal awaits the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-Vegas Golden Knights series, which is tied 2-2. Game 5 is slated for Tuesday night in Denver.Pittsburgh Penguins

The Islanders are a pesky team, the ultimate annoying opponent. They’re well-coached — Barry Trotz is probably the most underrated coach in hockey — and they contest every piece of the ice. They hit you, they bump you, they get under your skin. They don’t give things away.

Ultimately, the series came down to goaltending. Ilya Sorokin was fabulous in goal. The Penguins had 34 high-danger shots on goal against the rookie goaltender and Sorokin stopped all but four of them. He made big saves when he needed to and it’s not a coincidence he was in goal for each of the Islanders four wins.Toronto Maple Leafs

Well, wow. The Avalanche actually took an early 1-0 lead in Game 4, and then the Golden Knights never looked back. Jonathan Marchessault ended up being the biggest star of that contest, and of Sunday in the NHL. But this was a total team effort. The Avalanche looked lost against an overwhelming Golden Knights attack, with Nathan MacKinnon & Co. getting little traction in Game 4. The Avs face some real adversity as the series shifts to Colorado for Game 5 on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

The Golden Knights outplayed the Avalanche in the second half of their Game 2 loss and carried that momentum over to Game 3. Jonathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty scored 45 seconds apart in the third period on Friday night to put the Knights ahead for good.Vegas Golden Knights

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No one player jumps off the page, but the Oakland lineup is packed with steady contributors. The team's three best hitters so far are Mark Canha, Ramon Laureano and Matt Olson, with strong contributions from Tony Kemp. The team could take a turn for the better if Matt Chapman can pick up his performance at the plate after serving as a lineup anchor the past few seasons. -- LeeMiami Marlins

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The options, however, appear thin. Max Scherzer will be the most desirable pitcher before July 30, but there is skepticism that he will be dealt since Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner has never been eager to sell. The other top option on the market, Colorado Rockies pitcher Jon Gray, recently left with right forearm soreness, though MRIs came back clean and showed no structural damage.

Meanwhile, Smith is batting .375/.484/.708 with two homers and two doubles in 31 plate appearances over his last eight games.New York Mets

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Hitters only hope vs. deGrom now is if he makes a rare mistake, as he is so on top of his game.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Adbert Alzolay was called for a balk during Monday night’s game against the San Diego Padres.Atlanta Braves

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Nike unveiled the alternate City Connect jerseys Tuesday for the Chicago Cubs, which honor the city's 77 neighborhoods.

The Dodgers have improved their spin rates from last year by 7.04%, more than any other team, according to a report by Sports Illustrated, which called them “Spin City.” A crackdown on foreign substances could severely affect their chances of repeating as World Series champions, especially considering how reliant they are on pitching.Colorado Rockies
On May 30, the bettor at BetMGM put $5,000 to win $150,000 on the Canadiens to win a series in the Stanley Cup semifinals and advance to the final round. Pittsburgh Penguins

Evans left the ice on a stretcher around eight minutes later. Scheifele was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.

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Immediately after Cassidy made those comments in his postgame press conference, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was asked about it. Trotz told the reporter to ask Cassidy, then pointing to how the Islanders were among the least penalized teams in the season. Trotz is not lying, as the Islanders were assess 370 penalty minutes in the regular-season, the third-fewest in the league, per ESPN.Columbus Blue Jackets

Fix the back end. The Oilers have two key unrestricted free agents on their blue line in Tyson Barrie and Adam Larsson. Barrie, 29, signed a one-year "show me" deal with the Oilers, and ended up leading the NHL in scoring for defensemen (48 points). An extension would have to be richer and with more term, and that might not make sense with young puck-mover Evan Bouchard waiting for his turn. Larsson, 28, makes a bit more sense to extend as a stay-at-home defenseman. With Oscar Klefbom returning from injury next season, the Oilers could have a nice group on the back end, as players like Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear continue to improve.

The Thrashers and Leafs have advanced to the second round the same number of times since 2004Vegas Golden Knights

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The Bruins' latest playoff hype video will get fans excited for the pivotal Game 4. Check it out in the tweet below:Toronto Maple Leafs

The 26-year-old Domi was acquired in an October trade with the Montreal Canadiens. He had nine goals and 15 assists with a team-leading 75 penalty minutes in 54 games with the Blue Jackets this season. He had four goals and eight assists, including three multipoint efforts, in his last 17 games.

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It took nearly a decade, but La Russa finally moved ahead of McGraw. His players weren't aware what was at stake on Sunday, but were more than happy to be a part of baseball history.Arizona Diamondbacks

In a memo circulated among teams and reported by The Athletic prior to this season, the league said it had deadened the baseball slightly — counteracting the transformative home run surge that skeptical public analysts traced back to changes in the ball, a finding eventually confirmed by an MLB-commissioned panel of experts. Kansas City Royals

The switch-hitter also entered Thursday 4-for-6 with two doubles and a triple. The three-base hit came as a lefty, and Alcántara has been better hitting right-handed in his young big-league career.

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Báez grounded out in the top of the seventh for the final out of the frame. When the Cubs took the field, Sergio Alcántara replaced Báez at shortstop.

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This year, Wainwright has an ERA of 4.22 with a 3-4 record. Molina is batting .284/.313/.511 with seven home runs and 26 RBI.

It wasn't really all that special of a home run, struck at 107.9 mph with a launch angle of 20 degrees. The pitch from Diamondbacks right-hander Jon Duplantier was an 84 mph changeup in the middle of the plate, about as bad a pitch as you can make. With a lot of topspin, the ball barely cleared the right-field fence.Minnesota Twins

Howard also struggled as a starter last season. He allowed 30 hits and 10 walks in 24⅓ innings and pitched to a 5.92 ERA. He did miss time with shoulder stiffness/soreness.Oakland Athletics

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Nothing appears to be rattling the Vezina and Hart Trophy-winner in helping Montreal advance to the semifinals following a four-game sweep of Winnipeg. The Canadiens will face the winner of the West Division final, in which Vegas holds a 3-2 series lead over Colorado.Vegas Golden Knights

On Sunday, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Krejci had been fined $5,000, the maximum financial penalty allowed under the collective bargaining agreement. Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin also received a fine of $5,000 for a similar play as Krejci's earlier this season.

The Wild are a team on the verge of being something special. Their young players have taken significant steps forward. The Wild had to wait years for Kaprizov to come over from the KHL, but thus far, he has proven to be more than worth the wait. In order to take the next step forward and become serious Stanley Cup contenders, the Wild have to nail this offseason. Here’s a look at what they should do.Toronto Maple Leafs

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As is his style, Marchessault peppered the net to get that hat trick. He ended up firing seven shots on goal in Game 4. With this hat trick, Marchessault has four goals in his last two playoff games after being limited to a single tally through his first nine playoff games of this run.Columbus Blue Jackets

The 12,000 Islanders fans in attendance derisively chanted Rask’s name and responded to penalty calls with New York Saints! chants in reference to Bruce Cassidy’s comments about the officiating earlier this week. And they used the waning moments of the game to let the Lightning know they “want” them.

Really, when you look at series numbers and charts, it’s tough to beat up Boston too much. Take this Corsi comparison for the series from Natural Stat Trick, for instance:

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The Jets (0-3) are victims of a red-hot Canadiens team that has won six in a row since trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 and has never trailed in any of those games. Goalie Carey Price has allowed four goals on 87 shots (.954 save percentage) against the Jets.Buffalo Sabres
What Lillard clearly wants to see is change in Portland. That appears to be coming. Will it be enough is another question entirely, but one not answered soon, or likely even this offseason.Washington Wizards

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Marcus Morris Sr. nails one, two, three, four, five, six, seven three-pointers — seven! — and fans are pounding their Thunderstix into plastic pulp.Toronto Raptors

“That’s not up to me. That’s up to the front office. They’ve got big plans,” Rose said. “Who knows if I may be back? I don’t know. I’m going to let my agent and them talk about it, but it’s really not up to me at all.”Sacramento Kings

You can look at his height and argue that Porzingis should be getting a steady diet of post-ups against the Clippers' small-ball lineups. Just know that Carlisle disagrees and has no intention to take the ball out of Luka Doncic's hands to give it to Porzingis with his back to the basket.Utah Jazz

That did not rattle Leonard. Nor did Leonard’s 14-point performance on 6-of-22 shooting in the Clippers’ Game 7 elimination loss to Denver in last year’s postseason after holding a 3-1 series lead. After all, he already has won two NBA championships. He also posted 45 points in Game 1 of the 2019 Eastern Conference semifinals against Philadelphia. He has become used to high-stakes moments.

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“Every great competitor is going to be frustrated if they can’t be in there. But I think he’s shown an incredible amount of toughness the last two years with playing through injury,” Vogel said. “He’s a tough competitor that will play through stuff.”

Talen Horton-Tucker is one of the Lakers' more interesting free agents because of his age — he turns 21 in November — and potential. Horton-Tucker said he hadn’t thought much about free agency. He, like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, is represented by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. …
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford out: NBA team, head coach part waysPortland Trail Blazers

Down 21 early in the fourth quarter of Game 2 on Wednesday night, Nuggets power forward Paul Millsap saw an opportunity to use his power and size for an easy scoring opportunity when smaller point guard Cameron Payne switched onto him on the left elbow.

So much that Mitchell criticized himself for not collecting more rebounds (three) and assists (three) as well as committing a turnover with only 45 seconds left while nursing a six-point lead.Washington Wizards

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NBA Twitter was in shock on Tuesday night after learning Derrick Rose received a first-place MVP vote.Toronto Raptors

Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis contributed 16 with some easy baskets, but he went 0-for- 5 from deep. Tim Hardaway Jr. nursed a right ankle injury most of the game, and shot only 5-for-14 overall and 1-for-9 from 3.

The Clippers were the tougher team, and they might have started a run that Clipper fans have been waiting for since Leonard and George joined the team two summers ago.Utah Jazz

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Under Stotts, the Blazers have made eight consecutive postseason appearances, the longest current streak in the NBA. They've lost in the first round in five of those eight appearances, reaching the Western Conference finals in 2019, when they were swept by the Warriors. He's one of two coaches in Blazers history with 400 wins, along with Jack Ramsay. He's also the only coach Lillard has ever had.