Athletics complete 11-game win streak — started in May

first_imgOAKLAND — The A’s played 2.5 innings on Friday afternoon, resuming the suspended May 19 game that was suspended in the bottom of the seventh at Comerica Park in Detroit, with the A’s leading 5-3 in the middle of what would be a 10-game win streak.The Coliseum video board producers bumped the Tigers’ pre-game hype video, hundreds showed up at Comerica Park west to see the end of this game nearly four months in waiting.“It almost felt like a legion game because you go out there and nobody’s …last_img read more

Economy to grow at 3% in 2012: Busa

first_imgBusa said it wanted to turn many more South Africans into a nation of victors over adversity and deprivation rather than victims trapped on welfare dependency. Business Unity South Africa (Busa) says it expects South Africa’s economy to grow by 3% in 2012. Implications for growth include volatility in the exchange rate and the country’s trade balance would persist for the time being. Busa said that, depending on developments abroad, the rand could weaken again if a sustainable, practical plan was not devised soon to resolve the Eurozone debt crisis. He said while this was positive growth, it was insufficient to meet South Africa’s socio-economic challenges, especially given the downside risk. “At this rate, it will take South Africa much longer to reach its job creation and other socio-economic targets.” Presenting Busa’s economic and business outlook for the country in 2012 this week, Busa deputy CEO Raymond Parsons said that, looking at the present evidence, a 3% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) trajectory though 2012 could be expected in a best-case scenario. Busa said there should be no “tax shocks” when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan tables the country’s Budget in February, given the vulnerability of the economic recovery and the uncertain global situation which would damage business confidence and harm growth potential. “Aggressive taxation may defeat its own ends by diminishing the income to be taxed,” Busa cautioned. “Either strengthen public sector delivery, keeping government affordable and the tax burden reasonable or face a continued failure to ensure delivery, leading to rising costs, reductions in services and greater financing challenges.” It said that keeping state spending under control would continue to require a streamlining of government and what it delivers. “The general rule should be that government spending should boost growth and reduce poverty.” “There are whirlpools on both sides, not on one only. If a serious global recession does unfold, then South Africa’s growth rate could well fall below 3% next year,” Parsons said. Inflation within target range “A renewed recession in the global economy may even promote a further cut in rates in South Africa as recently suggested by the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]. Meanwhile, headline inflation was expected to continue hovering at the upper range of the Reserve Bank’s inflation target range. Core inflation remained well within the target range, with little sign of secondary inflation. As such, Busa expects interest rates to be kept unchanged for the time being, probably well into 2012. Parsons added that President Jacob Zuma had recently warned that welfare payments could continue to grow out of proportion to tax revenues. “There remains a clear and urgent choice for South Africa which is reflected in both the New Growth Path (NGP) and National Development Plan (NDP) roadmaps,” said Parsons. According to Busa’s impressions, corporate balance sheets were currently strong and clean. “It is necessary to underpin the role of business and investor confidence in order to promote economic recovery,” said Parsons. Source: BuaNews Keeping state spending under control 7 December 2011last_img read more

Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi part ways again, another comeback looks bleak

first_imgMahesh Bhupathi and Leander PaesThousands of miles away, the tenor of both voices on the telephone is the same, so are the tone and the words they can bring themselves to speak, uniformly low and sad.To Indian tennis, it’s almost like a death in the family. Like death, it appears,Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander PaesThousands of miles away, the tenor of both voices on the telephone is the same, so are the tone and the words they can bring themselves to speak, uniformly low and sad.To Indian tennis, it’s almost like a death in the family. Like death, it appears now that the professional parting between Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes turned out, unfortunately, to be inevitable.The two were living in the same hotel in Indian Wells, California, separated by one floor and hours and days of unspoken resentment, answering the same questions about the reasons why they will play with different partners on the professional tour-in all probability, for the rest of their working lives.As they discuss their futures, Paes says he is looking for commitment and communication, so does Bhupathi. But it is clear that they are not looking to each other any more.They will play with others because they can no longer play together. On the endless weeks of the professional tennis tour, Team Bhupathi-Paes has failed to make it beyond the second round in their last three events.In the last six Grand Slam events, stretching back to the US Open of 2000, they have won one, but lost in the first round four times and once in the second. Their troubles are more than six Grand Slams old.Their first acrimonious break-up-blamed on the interference from support teams who instigated a personal rivalry for a share of the limelight-did deeper damage than was feared. Everything that has happened since has stemmed and festered from there.advertisementIn the past two years they have hardly had much to say to each other off court and in their last match together in Delray Beach, Florida, they barely exchanged a word on court either. Outgoing coach Bob Carmichael was their medium, but following his departure in search of a younger replacement, everything has come unglued, including, most critically, the way their peers look at them. A friend says, “They had an aura on court. Now, it’s like someone has taken a pin and burst it-pop.”At their fiercest, they could be trailing 2-5 in a final set and the opponents would worry because man, those Indian guys could rise from the grave and send you there. Today, up 5-2, anything could give. “It has hurt us both,” Paes says.”Those guys we lost to in the US Open,” Bhupathi says, “we didn’t know who they were.” While they would not be mobbed walking down the street when compared to the 12th man of the cricket team (Paes was once asked if he played table tennis), to the average Indian Bhupathi-Paes were Indian tennis.To the global game, they were Indian tennis too. Beyond the immediacy of daily headlines and the seeming relevance of who started it and who finished it, former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar recognises the moment for what it is-the end of an era. “They are without doubt India’s greatest doubles team of all time. I don’t think we will get an Indian world No. 1 team again.”Bhupathi and Paes know that too, which is why turning their backs on the second wind will be doubly painful. Their partnership was founded on a mix that was more heart than head: two boys who knew each other from age 14, played complementary styles and liked corny Hindi songs (so much that they picked Alisha Chinai’s tinny Made In India as the ditty to introduce them by during their first appearance at the World Doubles Championships in 1997).Emotion melted their first freeze-out as the clamour for the boys to get back together “for the country’s sake” was overpowering. Paes saw the Sydney Olympics like a beacon that beckoned and Bhupathi, who had all but signed up to play with Australian Todd Woodbridge for two years at the time, also responded to the powerful pull of that light.Once the moment was gone, so was the emotion, but not the differences. This then is another way to handle the fact that the last few years of both men’s careers are too precious to be awash with bitterness and bad memories.They will not defend their French Open title, but will turn out for India in the Davis Cup, where they have won 10 out of 12 matches played together, last losing in 1996. It may seem all seething emotion today, but this parting is Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi’s age of reason.last_img read more

10 months agoCruyff: Great players will choose Man City over Man Utd

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Cruyff: Great players will choose Man City over Man Utdby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United striker Jordi Cruyff believes the world’s top players would now prefer to join Manchester City.Cruyff, 44, joined United from Barca — the club built in his father Johan’s image — in 1996 when they were the dominant force in England.He said, “Like other players at the time, I did not need to think twice about whether I would join United or City. Just like Barca, United were irresistible in those years.“With everything that is happening and developments at City, it is no longer an automatic choice for players to choose United, and that is an even bigger concern.“United was not just a beautiful football club, it also followed up the football I was used to.“Home or away, United had a playing style, youth players and a winning mentality which was clear to everyone in the club.“If Barcelona have one bad year, they would still not finish any lower than 3rd in La Liga. That should be the case at Man United, but sadly it is not.” last_img read more

a month agoEverton boss Silva delighted with form of Yerry Mina

first_imgEverton boss Silva delighted with form of Yerry Minaby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton boss Marco Silva is delighted with the form of Yerry Mina.Silva feels the Colombia defender is now showing his quality.He told the Liverpool Echo: “I am really happy with him. It was a tough season, last season, for Yerry Mina. He changed, two seasons ago, from Brazil to Barcelona and the top, top, top level in the world. He didn’t play so much but around that club, around those players every single day you are improving, playing or not.“After that he joined us in the Premier League, as an expensive signing and all of the things around that. Unfortunately for us, he had a bad injury in that period and lost two or three months. He had short, good moments, but he had some very good moments last season. The competition was tough and if you look at our central defenders last season, all of them improved but I am really happy with Yerry.“He is taking his role in the team, he is performing well. Like always he has many, many things to improve but I am really happy with him and I will tell you why.“What I can see in Yerry – his English is improving and all of these things – is one player who comes to Finch Farm everyday to improve and with a big desire to win, every single day and not just on a matchday, but everyday. He wants to learn, he is always paying attention to the feedback the technical staff give him and always with a big desire to improve and win. It is something I really appreciate in a football player, when they come everyday with a big, big desire to improve.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Jake Arrieta Is Not Your Normal Ace

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta capped off his impressive Cy Young case with the first no-hitter of his career late last month. Arrieta’s 2015 résumé lists a 1.99 ERA, 19 wins and the third-most wins above replacement (WAR) in the league.1Here, I’m using Baseball Prospectus’s version of pitcher WAR, which is based on its new pitching statistic Deserved Run Average. This incredible year builds on a 2014 season in which he was one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball. So it’s no surprise that this year, Arrieta has confirmed he’s an ace. But how he became one isn’t the usual story of a phenom flying through the minors and into hitters’ nightmares. Instead, it’s the story of a guy who kept changing the way he threw a baseball until everything started to click into place.Two years ago, Arrieta was a near-replacement-level player, worth a win or so as a member of the Baltimore Orioles and Cubs. His career to that point had been lackluster. As a fifth-round draft pick, Arrieta had already exceeded expectations merely by making it to the majors, but his performance there hadn’t been especially impressive: Arrieta recorded a grand total of 3.1 WAR in 78 games spread over four years, never putting up an ERA better than 4.66.While Arrieta’s surface stats were static and unimpressive, his mechanics were busy evolving. Where a pitcher releases the ball is one of his most important characteristics: High release points establish more downward plane on the ball, causing a pitch to sink as it enters the zone; release points far to the left or right create more horizontal motion through the zone.Most of the time, the horizontal and vertical coordinates of a pitcher’s release point are fairly constant, determined largely by mechanics learned long before he made the majors. In Arrieta’s case, however, his release point changed the more time he spent in the bigs. Every year, Arrieta’s release point increased in height and moved further toward the third-base side of the pitching rubber. The total change is extreme: Arrieta moved his release horizontally across the rubber by nearly a foot and upward by nearly six inches. Since Arrieta didn’t get any taller or wider during that time, the variation in his release point means that his pitching mechanics changed.2It’s popular to attribute the change to Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio, who has had success in developing other pitchers, but it appears as though Arrieta began his transformation long before getting to Chicago. Release points change arm angles, and those in turn affect platoon splits, or how well a pitcher does against batters of different handedness. Sideways arm angles — the product of low release points — establish more horizontal movement, which can befuddle same-handed batters. Typically, pitchers perform better against same-handed batters, and before the 2013 season, Arrieta was no exception. But as his release point drifted upward, Arrieta, who is a right-hander, began to show a reverse split: For the past three years, he’s been better at getting lefties out than righties.Beyond the modified platoon split, Arrieta’s new release seems to have allowed him to develop a consistency he didn’t have before. The standard deviation of Arrieta’s release is substantially narrower than average (meaning he was more consistent) in 2015 and 2014, after being wider than average in all his previous seasons. Release point consistency is correlated with walk rate, and along with Arrieta’s more steady release came a profound improvement in command, from 4.90 walks per nine in 2013 to 2.08 in 2015.Arrieta’s release point evolution is extremely rare. In a given year, most pitchers sustain a game-to-game standard deviation in release point of only a single inch. (Think about that! Hundreds of times, pitchers perform a motion as violent as hurling a 95-mph fastball with a consistency of plus or minus a single inch!) Even from year to year, so practiced are their mechanics that pitchers vary their release points by merely 1.8 inches on average.3For these calculations, I used Pitch Info’s corrected release point coordinates, which adjust for calibration errors between parks.Arrieta is a different story. His largest single-year change (from 2012 to 2013) ranks in the 90th percentile of all players’ single-year changes since 2009.4I got that stat after z-score normalizing the average horizontal and vertical coordinates for each pitcher, in each year since 2009. I limited my analysis to pitchers who threw more than 1,250 pitches per season, eliminating relievers and partial seasons. That was done to ensure that the other pitchers in the data set could be fairly compared with Arrieta. Arrieta’s ongoing trend toward a higher and farther-right release point is even more impressive over a longer time period. Over any two years between 2009 and 2015, Arrieta’s release point change is in the 95th percentile; over three, only 13 pitchers made larger changes to their release point. Over four years, only eight pitchers5Out of the 203 pitcher-spans that qualified. experienced as much release point movement as Arrieta did.Those eight pitchers are very different from Arrieta. Many are pitchers who have suffered extensive injuries since 2010, including Brandon McCarthy (missed 417 days), Clay Buchholz (306), J.A. Happ (235) and Tommy Hanson (238).6All data on days missed comes courtesy of Baseball Prospectus, in particular Corey Dawkins’s manually curated injury database. The only pitcher on the list who has missed fewer days since 2010 than Arrieta (161) is Cole Hamels (101), but Hamels was already an established frontline starter in 2010. His evolution since then has been more about coping with the normal effects of age, as opposed to growing into an ace, as Arrieta has.Perhaps the best parallel for Arrieta is Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada, who missed 222 days. Like Arrieta, Estrada seems to have embarked upon a program of steadily moving his release upward, becoming more of an over-the-top arm slot. But unlike Arrieta, Estrada — who is also a right-hander — has moved toward the center of the rubber and away from third base. Whether that choice is at all related to Estrada’s lack of success (his 3.31 ERA and 4.50 FIP in 2015 are uninspiring) is an interesting question. Maybe, like 2013 Arrieta, Estrada is only a few inches of release point away from becoming an ace.What makes Arrieta unique is not that he changed as much as he did — it’s that the changes were associated with such a drastic improvement. Most of the time, a release point transformation like Arrieta’s is the product of injury. But in Chicago, Arrieta didn’t just change; he adapted into one of the best pitchers in the league. read more

Redknapp thinks United desperately need Gareth Bale

first_imgJamie Redknapp voiced his opinion on what exactly do Manchester United need in order to challenge reigning winners Manchester City, and he thinks it is just a single player.The Red Devils emerged from sixth to second in the Premier League in this season alone and the fact that if they were able to get 81 points in total, they would have been able to win the tournament recently became public.However, they lost to all the three new clubs in the Premier League and fell 19 points behind City, as well as being knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 phase.harry maguire, manchester UnitedMaguire says United need to build on today’s win George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Harry Maguire wants his United teammates to build on the victory over Leicester City.During the summer, Harry Maguire was referred to as the ultimate…“They finished second and could win the FA Cup but let’s face it… this is one of the most boring United teams,” Redknapp admitted of United’s football this season, according to SportBible.“They signed off the league season with a 1-0 win over Watford that was shown last on Match of the Day. If Jose Mourinho wants to change that, he should go and buy Gareth Bale.”“He has won it all at Real Madrid and won’t be fazed by the Premier League. United won’t be the only ones after him. If Eden Hazard goes to Real Madrid, I’m sure Chelsea would be keen on a swap deal,” Redknapp went on to add.last_img read more

Martinez Now may be the right time for Hazard to leave

first_imgBelgium boss Roberto Martinez has made Eden Hazard’s future at Chelsea even more uncertain by suggesting that now may be the right time for him to leaveHazard has been strongly linked with moves to both Real Madrid and Barcelona recently with the winger himself having hinted that the prospect of ending his six-year spell at Chelsea for a move to Spain may be inviting.Having rejected a new contract and with just two years left on his current one, Hazard may be able to secure a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer and it appears that he will have Martinez’s blessing.“It could be the best time to try something different,” Martinez told radio show El Larguero, via ESPN.Tammy Abraham, ChelseaChelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“He is a player who has the maturity and a lot of leadership. His play is based on talent. Hazard could carry a new project anywhere in the world. He is at the best moment of his career.“For me, it’s very easy to answer that question. He could fit in any team in the world. Players need new challenges and new projects. Perhaps it’s a good time for Chelsea and for Eden [to split]. I would be very surprised if Chelsea didn’t have big offers for him right now.”Hazard ended his superb World Cup campaign in style on Saturday by netting the second goal as Belgium secured a third-place finish after beating England 2-0.The 27-year-old scored a total of three goals and added two assists in his six games at Russia.last_img read more

Caldwell wants more energetic performance from Scots

first_imgFormer Scotland defender Gary Caldwell has advised Alex McLeish’s men to maintain their energetic performance in subsequent games.Scotland secured their second win in 2018 by dispatching Albania thanks to goals from Steven Naismith and a rare own goal from Berat Djimsiti to seal a 2-0 win.“The team right from minute one played with energy and I think that has to be the style,” Caldwell told BBC Scotland.“When you have John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney – the first thing you think about those players is energy.Euro 2020Report: Euro 2020 qualifying Group H George Patchias – September 11, 2019 Euro 2020 qualifying Group H is being controlled by France and Turkey, but Iceland is still in with a shout.Reigning world champions France ran…“They played on the front foot, they were aggressive, they tried to play in Albania’s half and they did that for all of the first half and most of the second half and got their rewards by playing with such a high tempo.“Albania are better than they looked because of the way we played. They couldn’t cope with playing at the tempo.”The Scots bounced back from the 4-0 loss to Belgium to win their first group tie in the Uefa Nations League.last_img read more