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VA Secretary wishes to continue providing veterans with hydroxychloroquine

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VA Secretary wishes to continue providing veterans with hydroxychloroquine

Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie rejected VA criticism of the hydroxychloroquine antipalarial medicine used by COVID-19 patients on Tuesday.

Wilkie was asked about media reports in Fox news “Fox & Friends First,” claiming that taking the drug is able to kill patients rather than cure.

“Well, I believe it’s absurd,” said Wilkie.

“And what the President said the next day, I ‘m going to echo it. I think President Trump is better targeted than against science because Dr. Fauci and his institute conduct very detailed clinical trials when we speak, and it is also the 128th most widely used medicine in that country, “said Wilkie, referring to the Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“In many settings in America, we have seen it work and our mission in VA is to do our best to sustain and expand our lives,” he said.

He said that the media was brilliant as evidence that the drug could be harmful, he slammed a report.

“It was something that scientists took and used VA numbers — not really tested the underlying conditions — and actually misrepresented what was going on VA,” he said.

The VA hospitals provided the medication to the veterans who had no other choice. Wilkie added.

“This we used in the last few hours of our life with veterans hoping for that life to continue, and under the FDA guidelines that we followed religiously,” he said.

Are you optimistic about COVID-19 treatments with hydroxychloroquine?

Wilkie also noticed that the media report was not reviewed or tested clinically.

“Three ophthalmologists have been through it,” he said. “Now, I like ophthalmology, but I won’t go to an eye doctor to study infection studies. I personally assume it was meant to reach the president rather than science.

After extensive medical exams, Wilkie said Trump’s substance use arrived.

“For the career of the President of the United States we ‘re not going to take chances,” he said.

Wilkie said, “We began using this in the military in 1955. “I took it.” I took it. Anyone who serves in the military has done this routinely since the Eisenhower administration. We know the negative consequences, we know what it does, and we will continue to do so if we can give people hope.

On Wednesday, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary, also acknowledged a long history with the drug.

“Hydroxychloroquine has been a lupus, arthritis and malaria medicine used for 65 years. According to a report by the White House media pool, it has a very good safety profile.

“This has been agreed by the FDA for off-label use. You know, this president is a great faithful person in law on the right to try.

McEnany added that the drug has been over the top in some media reports.

“With that said, I saw a lot of hydroxychloroquine apoplectic news. Your name is Jimmy Kimmel who said, quote, “try to kill yourself by getting it.” Your name is Jimmy Kimmel who said that Joe Scarborough said, quote, “this will kill you.” And Chris Cuomo said, ‘The President knows that hydroxychloroquine is not backed by science. One thing you have to lose are lives.’ He knows that his own people have marked it and he uses it.'”

“Oh, the President has been ridiculed by Cuomo. Interestingly, before I came here, I found out: Hydroxychloroquine is, of course, an FDA medication with proven safety records. And it turns out that Chris Cuomo has taken a less safe version of quinine that the FDA retired in 2006 because of its serious side effects and death, “said McEnany.

She said, noting that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the brother of the CNN journalist, had said he was optimistic about the drug working. ‘That is really interesting to hear this criticism from the President.

McEnany was ready with a reply when asked about drug studies.

“There are many studies that the president listed that I should refer to you. One study was conducted from France — a French study with more than 1,000 patients who found that the vast majority had ‘good clinical results,’ and that was over 90 percent by the vast majority, “she said.

“There has been an Italian study of over 65,000 patients that has shown only 20 of those who take it prophylactically have tested positive. And a study in South Korea, too. There are also many reports.

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Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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UMass to rename nursing school after getting $21.5M gift

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UMass to rename nursing school after getting $21.5M gift

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a $21.5 million gift from the foundation named for an alumna who was also the author of several influential nursing textbooks, school officials announced Thursday.

In honor of the gift from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation — the single largest cash gift dedicated exclusively to the Amherst campus — the university will rename its nursing school the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing.

“This gift is an endorsement of the vital role that our College of Nursing plays in preparing nurses for leadership in health care,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a statement. “It comes at a time when our society is confronted with unprecedented challenges — challenges that we strive to overcome through innovation, learning and discovery inspired by one of our most distinguished and beloved graduates, Dr. Marieb herself.”

Marieb, a Northampton native who died in 2018 at age 82, earned master’s and doctorate degrees from UMass Amherst. She also taught at Springfield College and Holyoke Community College.

In response to complaints from her nursing students that the materials then available were ineffective, she authored or co-authored more than 10 bestselling textbooks and laboratory manuals on anatomy and physiology.

Her work has been read by more than 3 million nurses and health care professionals practicing today, according to the university.

The gift will be used to enhance the university’s nursing engineering center while providing support for student scholarships, an endowed professorship, and mentorship and research initiatives.

UMass Amherst has about 31,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The gift is the third multi-million donation made to the UMass system this month.

The university announced a $175 million donation from the Chan family through the The Morningside Foundation to UMass Medical School last week.

And just prior to that, the university announced a $50 million cash donation from Robert and Donna Manning.

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Minnesota high court OKs ballot question on Minneapolis PD

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Minnesota high court OKs ballot question on Minneapolis PD

By STEVE KARNOWSKI

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday evening for voters in Minneapolis to decide on the future of policing in the city where George Floyd was killed, just ahead of the start of early and absentee voting.

The state’s highest court overturned a lower court ruling that rejected ballot language approved by the City Council. A district judge said the wording failed to adequately describe the effects of a proposed charter amendment that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety that “could include” police officers “if necessary.”

But Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said in a three-page order that the justices concluded that the challenge to the ballot language did not meet the “high standard” that the court set in earlier cases. She said the court will issue a full opinion laying out its legal reasoning sometime later to avoid impeding the start of voting.

“Now voters have the opportunity to make their voices heard on this ballot question,” City Attorney Jim Rowader said.

The Supreme Court was under pressure to rule quickly because early and absentee voting opens at 8 a.m. Friday in the Minneapolis municipal elections. The ballots were already being printed when Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson ruled against the language Tuesday. It was the second time she had struck down the council’s wording. Gildea put the case on the fast track Wednesday.

Lawyers on both sides said beforehand that they expected the high court ruling allowing the ballot language to be the final word, given the late hour. Leaders of the pro-amendment Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign have a rally set for Friday afternoon.

“We’re all very pleased that the system worked,” said Terrance Moore, an attorney for Yes 4 Minneapolis. “As ugly as it sometimes looks, the process went through from beginning to end and in the end the Supreme Court followed the law and its precedent. And the voters get to vote on the ballot question.”

The proposal has its roots in the “defund the police” movement, which gained steam after Floyd’s death last summer sparked protests, civil unrest and a national reckoning on racial justice. The amendment does not use the term “defund.” But it would remove the city charter’s requirement that Minneapolis have a police department with a minimum staffing level. Many details of how the new agency would work would be left up to the the City Council and mayor to decide later.

Yes 4 Minneapolis, which spearheaded the initiative, insists that the city would continue to have police if voters approve the amendment, but that the new department would be free to take a fresh approach to public safety that could reduce excessive policing against communities of color.

Opponents of the amendment, including former council member Don Samuels and his wife, Sondra, who were behind the court challenge, said the ballot language leaves too many important questions unexplained for voters about how the new department would be implemented, led, staffed and funded.

The All of Minneapolis anti-amendment campaign said it will start running its first ad on Friday. Its message is that the lack of a plan for what comes next if the proposal passes is alarming to many residents, especially given the track record of City Council members who have expressed varying degrees of support over time for defunding or abolishing the police.

Yes 4 Minneapolis argued in its filing with the Supreme Court that the Minneapolis Police Department would not automatically disappear if the amendment passed. The group said the department would continue to exist under current city ordinances until the City Council passed new laws to establish the new agency, and that the council could keep the force in place as long as necessary for an orderly transition.

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Albany man arrested for drugs, stolen handgun

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Albany man arrested for drugs, stolen handgun

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State Police have arrested Jimmie R, Merritt, 38, of Albany on felony drug charges and possessing a loaded, stolen handgun. Police say Merritt was in possession of over 31 grams of cocaine.

Police say they pulled over Merritt on I-87 on September 14 around 10:30 p.m. in Newburgh for multiple vehicle and traffic violations. While interviewing him, they established probable cause to search the vehicle.

In addition to the cocaine, police say they found a loaded Smith and Wesson M&P pistol loaded with 7 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, along with additional .40 ammunition found inside a bag. Police later found out the gun was stolen.

Merritt was taken into custody and charged with:

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell in the third degree
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree
  • Criminal possession of a firearm and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree

Merritt was arraigned and remanded to Orange County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond.

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Great Forest Park Balloon Glow and Race is back after a COVID cancellation

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Great Forest Park Balloon Glow and Race is back after a COVID cancellation

ST. LOUIS – After a COVID cancellation in 2020, a wildly popular St. Louis event returns this weekend. We are talking about the Great Forest Park Balloon Glow and Race. Now in its 49th year, organizers are excited to welcome people back to the recently renovated Emerson Central Fields in Forest Park for the next two days. FOX 2 and News 11 are proud sponsors of the event.

Friday night, the Balloon Glow takes place, where spectators can roam among inflated, tethered balloons. The fun begins at 5:00 p.m. and the balloons will glow from dusk to 9:00 p.m. Fireworks cap off the night at 9:15 p.m.

The festival and race of 50 balloons is on Saturday. Central Fields opens at Noon with live music, great food, the Purina Pro Plan Performance dogs, and family activities. Skydivers perform at 3 p.m. The race is on at 4:30 with the launch on the “hare” balloon. The hound balloons give chase at 4:45 p.m.  

Where the balloons will end up depends on the weather, which looks great for the weekend. Winds on Saturday are expected out of the northeast, so look for the balloons to drift south and west of Forest Park.

The balloons couldn’t launch in 2019 because of high winds. Last year, organizers created an alternative pandemic event called Lift Up St. Louis.

Click here for a detailed schedule of 2021 GFPBR events.

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Running out of time: KB Home’s Copperleaf with Cherry Creek Schools has only seven homes left, two ready for move-in now

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Running out of time: KB Home’s Copperleaf with Cherry Creek Schools has only seven homes left, two ready for move-in now

Just as builders anticipated, home buyers are pouring back into the market this fall, bidding for scarce resale homes and eating up the limited available inventory of new homes. At a KB Home neighborhood in Southeast Aurora’s Copperleaf master-planned community, that’s creating a last chance for some new single-family designs that figure Cherry Creek Schools into their equation.

“Buyers are telling us that they’re fatigued by the tight resale market,” says Randy Carpenter, Division President at KB Home Colorado. “Right now, new homes are looking particularly attractive to them compared to older ones.”

Along with an attractive offering of parks, trails, clubhouse, and other amenities, the schools serving Copperleaf have made the community a primary target for resale buyers, says Carpenter.

“Usually new homes come with a premium that reflects the choice in design and options, energy efficiency, and better technology they offer over older houses,” he adds.

“The ongoing shortage of resale homes has driven their prices up so much that a new home with the latest technology has never been a better value compared to resale.”

KB Home’s Shawn Cummings and Leslie Stokes can show you a home ready for move-in now—three bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths plus a loft, that has close to 2,200 sq. feet of finished space. It’s on a corner site and has a covered back patio, gourmet kitchen, and other upgrades. It’s priced at $638,896.

Carpenter says you can find a comparably sized older listing in Copperleaf that has a list price of around $595,000. “Once you figure in the likely bounce from a bidding war, the older house is pretty much a match to ours,” he adds.

Carpenter adds that buyers who have made Copperleaf such a fast seller have chosen this neighborhood due to its location so close to Parker Road and E-470. Many commute into the Tech Center or downtown; and some couples split their commute, with one using E-470 to reach Thornton or Broomfield.

If you can go a little higher, KB Home has a 4-bedroom/3-bath home, also ready for move-in, that shows a walkout basement and a main-level bedroom that’s perfect for an older parent returning home. It’s sized at around 2,400 sq. feet and is $671,714.

“We’ve experienced plenty of demand for multigenerational homes in this area,” notes Carpenter.

Among those remaining homes are a few opportunities to create a highly personalized home, using KB Home’s design center and working with a professional design consultant. (The two decorator models, including a ranch, will head to market soon.) Every KB Home is independently tested and certified to meet or exceed Energy Star standards so the monthly utility bill won’t break the bank.

When you visit, a quarter-mile south of E. Quincy Avenue on S. Picadilly, you’ll see how convenient Copperleaf is to shopping and dining at Southlands, to Aurora Reservoir with its trails and beach, as well as to Quincy Reservoir.

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

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Patriots down two starters for a second straight practice Thursday

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Patriots down two starters for a second straight practice Thursday

FOXBORO — Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy and offensive tackle Trent Brown missed practice for a second straight day Thursday.

Brown continues to recover from the calf injury he suffered last weekend against the Dolphins. Van Noy is dealing with a new throat injury that only recently came to light.  All other members of the Pats’ active roster and practice squad were present.

After Brown left last Sunday’s opener, backup offensive tackle Yasir Durant and second-year lineman Justin Herron took snaps at right tackle. Durant repped with the starting offensive line during one period in the media-access portion of Thursday’s practice, a rare team drill made viewable to reporters. Despite Durant’s apparent edge, it’s unclear who would start at right tackle Sunday against the Jets if Brown can’t play.

Josh Uche or Chase Winovich would be first in line to replace Van Noy at outside linebacker, assuming Dont’a Hightower remains inside. Uche played 15 snaps in the season opener, while Winovich saw 12.

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Another Stillwater school board member resigns, citing political divisions in community

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Another Stillwater school board member resigns, citing political divisions in community

Citing the current political divide in the Stillwater community, Stillwater Area Board of Education Member Matt Onken announced Thursday that he is resigning from the school board.

Matt Onken

Onken, who was elected in November, wrote in a statement that the political divide in the district “is beginning to impact my physical and mental health, as well as my work and home life.” His resignation is effective Friday.

Onken is the fourth school board member to resign during the past 14 months. Liz Weisberg resigned at the end of July, citing an opportunity to train to become a reading tutor. Shelley Pearson and Mark Burns resigned in July 2020.

Onken, an educational coordinator for the Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District, said being on the school board has meant he has not been able to give his students 100 percent lately “as (his) mind is on other things.”

“I take no pride in this decision and may be considered cowardly for doing it, but it is the right decision for me right now,” he wrote. “When I campaigned for this position, I felt I could bring some calm to board meetings. I like to think of myself as a reasonable and rational person who is willing to listen and discuss viewpoints regardless of the final decision or vote. I am not a politician and never want to be. However, I find the current situation untenable. Our community is a microcosm of our national political scene where misinformation looms, trust comes at a premium, and people use whatever information they want to fit their narrative. It is unfortunate, but there is a very vocal minority that is no longer interested in the idea of ‘we’ and only interested in the idea of ‘me.’”

Onken said he has almost walked out of school board meetings and finds himself struggling to maintain his composure.

“I am very confident in the votes that I have made and do not regret any of them, but I often spend hours after meetings rethinking my choices, as I am a pleaser and want to meet everyone’s needs,” he wrote.

Although he is resigning, Onken said he would continue to support two upcoming 10-year tax levy proposals that are on the November ballot.

In addition to a $390-per-pupil increase to its operating levy, the board will ask voters to approve a new $4.7 million capital project levy to upgrade the district’s classroom technology, beef up its network security and ensure every student and teacher has their own electronic device.

“I will do everything I can to support our upcoming levy in the next few weeks, as I do believe in the importance of public education and I believe in Stillwater Area Schools,” he wrote.

School board chairwoman Bev Petrie said the school board is expected to accept Onken’s resignation next week. His replacement on the board will be appointed until the 2022 election; the appointment process is expected to take about six weeks, she said.

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Lawyers on limits of religious exemptions for vaccine mandates

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Lawyers on limits of religious exemptions for vaccine mandates

Posted: Updated:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — Many New York attorneys agree that a recent court order to pause the state’s vaccine requirement for hospital workers will only apply to those who have legitimately claimed religious objections to the mandate. Everyone else is still expected to be vaccinated by the September 27 deadline, they say.

A federal judge in Utica ruled that the state not offering a religious exemption could violate civil rights laws. As attorneys for both sides of the issue prepare their arguments for a hearing on September 28, some hospital workers will get more time to get their vaccine.

Pope Francis encourages Catholics to get the vaccine, Jewish scholars say the Torah requires it. Muslim leaders endorse it, too, meaning that legitimate religious excuses for skipping the shot seem few and far between.

Employment attorney Laura Spring says, “The basis for a religious exemption would be if you have ‘sincerely held religious beliefs.’” The term “sincerely held” comes straight from equal opportunity employment law, referencing the Civil Rights Act.

People who claim religious beliefs as a reason not to get vaccinated need to prove it. Workers who apply for the exemption with their companies should expect their managers—or even the state—to verify their history of religious activities. They’ll be grilled about whether other vaccine requirements have previously been skipped for the same reason.

Spring says, “I think there’s always going to abuse situations, but I think the employer does have the ability to get more information that normally they wouldn’t.”

Medical doctor and health care attorney Andrew Knoll says the court’s temporary order is “part of there being due process in America, and delaying something a matter of weeks to sort it out is appropriate.”

When it comes to the legal challenge, Knoll says a similar issue was debated the past two years. During a 2019 measles outbreak, the State Legislature required students to get vaccinated without offering a religious exemption for the first time. The highest-ruling court did not stop the state.

Using that precedent, he suspects, the coronavirus challenge will fail, and the delay will end with the same result: a vaccine mandate for hospital workers.

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Eureka abuzz as Clayton Echard reportedly tapped to be ABC’s ‘Bachelor’

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Eureka abuzz as Clayton Echard reportedly tapped to be ABC’s ‘Bachelor’

ST. LOUIS – Reality shows must have a thing for the St. Louis area.

Days after Maplewood chef Trenton Garvey was crowned the winner of FOX’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, our area appears poised to be part of the backstory for another reality show, this one about cooking up romance.

Clayton Echard, a Eureka High School grad who later went on to play football at the University of Missouri, has reportedly been cast to be ABC’s next ‘Bachelor’, according to Variety.

He’d previously been reported as having a role in this fall’s installment of The Bachelorette.

Thursday provided the biggest hint that something was up, literally in the form of a banner downtown.

Eureka Mayor Sean Flower said that ABC paid for the banner. Eureka Police were on hand Thursday afternoon to close down streets downtown, apparently as part of Thursday’s shoot.

Echard, who had a professional football tryout with the Seattle Seahawks after his time at Missouri, describes himself on Instagram as a “former freestyle rapper and washed-up athlete now trying his luck in orthopaedic sales.”

Dozens of fans stopped whatever they were doing and waited in downtown Eureka to try and get a glimpse of Echard himself”I found out about this two hours ago, and I left work early for it,” Mollie Johnson said.

Even those who knew him from growing up in Eureka.”Those dang dimples, I mean those dimples will blow any girl out of the water,” said Miranda Schaeffer, who said her older sister and Echard had dated when they were younger. 

“When he got this I was like this is very well deserving and a really good highlight for our community.”

As fans gawked at the chance to get a glimpse of the next Bachelor, Echard ended up surprising them. He walked up to a crowd, the film crew had positioned under the banner.

“I’m excited, I’m also a little nervous,” Echard said, talking to the crowd about the journey that lies ahead.

“I’m looking to find my person.”

The interaction wasn’t complete without a MIZ-ZOU and EUR-EKA chant.

“Make us proud,” and “good luck,” fans said as Echard went back to filming.

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Rockies’ bullpen slowly improving but offseason could bring relief

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Rockies’ bullpen slowly improving but offseason could bring relief

The tale of the Rockies’ 2021 bullpen has been one of trial and error. Emphasis on error.

Their relievers’ 5.08 ERA is the fourth-highest in the majors. Their 1.45 WHIP is also the fourth-highest, and so is their 34.5 percent hard-hit rate, according to FanGraphs.

But things are slowly starting to turn around.

“Bullpen performance in this day and age is critical to team success,” manager Bud Black said Wednesday night after his relievers pitched four scoreless innings a 3-2, 10-inning win at Atlanta. “Our guys, in the second half of the season, have been a little bit more consistent overall, as a group.

“You have seen their ERAs come down, almost to a man, because we had some unsightly ERAs early in the season.”

Over the past six weeks, as right-hander Carlos Estevez took over the closer’s role from the struggling Daniel Bard, right-hander Tyler Kinley started pounding the strike zone and rookie lefty Lucas Gilbreath began figuring things out, the bullpen’s numbers have gradually improved.

In August, the bullpen’s 4.11 ERA ranked 19th for the month, a vast improvement over the 5.82 ERA it posted in May. Over the past 30 days, the bullpen has posted a 4.29 ERA. That ranks as just the 21st-best in the majors, but by Rockies’ standards, it’s solid. For comparison’s sake, in 2018, when the Rockies came one victory away from winning their first National League West, the relievers’ ERA was 4.62.

“The tough part of the first half was that we were not throwing the ball well, at the same time,” said Kinley, who leads the team with 62 2/3 innings and has held opponents scoreless in 14 of his last 16 appearances while posting a 1.53 ERA. “The problem was, we had some guys clicking, but there were also some guys struggling. We just weren’t able to piece it together.

“Our more recent run is based on a relentless attitude and a relentless mindset that we have to go out every night and do the job. We have simplified our game plans and we’re trusting our stuff.”

The recent improvement by some Colorado relievers might provide building blocks for the 2022 season. Emphasis on might. Because from season to season, relievers can be notoriously mercurial.

Right-hander Yency Almonte, for example, pitched 27 2/3 innings during the truncated 2020 season, tied for fourth-most in the National League. His 2.93 ERA was the best among Colorado relievers. This season, however, Almonte’s command has deserted him to the tune of an 8.37 ERA that is the highest among all big-league relievers (minimum 40 innings pitched).

For Colorado to have a chance to be a winning team next season, and possibly a playoff contender, the bullpen makeover will have to continue.

The first question, of course, is who will be the closer?

Right now, the job belongs to Estevez. The hard-throwing right-hander, who’s begun to effectively mix his slider and changeup with his 96-99 mph fastball, has flashed a lot of promise. In 25 games from July 6-Sept. 3, he posted a 1.96 ERA, with 25 strikeouts vs. just seven walks. Still, Estevez has been inconsistent and walks too many (3.27 per nine innings).

The Rockies will certainly explore the trade and free-agent markets for relief pitching during the offseason, but it remains to be seen if they will spend for an experienced closer or a set-up man.

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