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Nathan Eovaldi set to start ALCS Game 6 for Red Sox after relief appearance in Game 4

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Nathan Eovaldi set to start ALCS Game 6 for Red Sox after relief appearance in Game 4

Nathan Eovaldi is set to start for the Red Sox in Friday’s Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, manager Alex Cora said, which was the plan even before the right-hander pitched in relief of Tuesday’s stunning Game 4 loss.

Eovaldi threw 24 pitches Tuesday in an outing that quickly turned disastrous on him. Asked to keep the game tied at 2 in the ninth after Garrett Whitlock allowed a game-tying homer in the eighth, Eovaldi gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Correa before bouncing back with a pair of strikeouts. But the game got out of hand after a missed third strike call by home plate umpire Laz Diaz that would have ended the inning. Two pitches later, Jason Castro hit a go-ahead RBI single.

Eovaldi walked Jose Altuve before Cora pulled him after 24 pitches to keep him fresh for Game 6. But the floodgates opened after that. The Astros ultimately scored seven in the ninth of their 9-2 victory that evened the series.

“He was a little bit off, too, with his mechanics, which is something that we noticed right away,” Cora said. “Obviously, you think about the present, but you think about Game 6, and then you have to be very careful with the way you treat him.

“At the end he made pitches. He did make pitches, and it just didn’t work out, but I think kind of like right there you don’t want too much traffic, either, so that’s kind of like where we’re at.”

Tuesday marked the first time this postseason that Eovaldi was used in relief. Cora said that he would rather have not used one of his high-end starters like Eovaldi to pitch in a tied or one-run game, but he liked the matchups and the opportunity for a shutdown inning from his best pitcher to give the Sox a chance to walk the game off in the ninth.

Cora also noted that Eovaldi’s health and physicality is unique to the staff, giving him even more confidence in the right-hander’s ability to shoulder a relief inning in between his starts.

“That guy is different,” Cora said. “He is just — athletic-wise he is different than all of them. So you feel actually — it’s funny because his history will tell you differently, right, because of all the injuries, but he just is at another level, and he is very honest about it. If he feels good, he feels good. It’s not the, “Oh, I’ll give you one inning today,” just to say it.”

No regrets on Perez

It was still just a one-run deficit when Eovaldi exited with two outs in the ninth, and Cora decided to turn to Martin Perez because he liked the matchup against lefty Michael Brantley. But Brantley jumped on Perez’s first pitch for a three-run double to make it a 6-2 game. The Astros poured it on afterward, giving the Sox little chance to come back.

Ryan Brasier and Hansel Robles were rested, but Cora still preferred Perez in that spot.

“We used Martin in that spot in Game 1 against Michael,” Cora explained. “We felt like stretching Nate didn’t make sense and Martin did a good job with him, he got a ground ball the other day, so that’s why he’s on this roster. He’s here to get lefties out. … It just felt like lefty on lefty and make pitches, and he got ambushed. That’s it. But we felt like that was right there, his matchup, we get out of it, we’re good. Then after that, a lot of stuff happened. …

“We felt like that was a good matchup for him.”

Schwarber OK after cramp

The Red Sox avoided a bit of an injury scare on Tuesday night when Kyle Schwarber grabbed at his hamstring during his plate appearance in the fourth inning. After needing a few moments to loosen it up, he stayed in the game.

“He’s doing OK,” Cora said. “He said the timing wasn’t perfect. He cramps in the middle of that at-bat with a man at third. But he’s fine. He’s good.”

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Game time: Fast facts, odds, injury report and key info for Miami Dolphins (4-7) vs. Carolina Panthers (5-6)

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Game time: Fast facts, odds, injury report and key info for Miami Dolphins (4-7) vs. Carolina Panthers (5-6)

DOLPHINS (4-7) vs. PANTHERS (5-6)

Kickoff: 1 p.m., Hard Rock Stadium

TV: FOX (Chs: 7 in Miami-Dade/Broward and 29 in Palm Beach); RADIO: WQAM (560 AM), KISS (99.9 FM), WQBA (1140 AM, Spanish)

Coaches: Brian Flores is 19-24 in his third season with Dolphins; Matt Rhule is 5-6 in his first season leading the Panthers.

Series: The Dolphins have a 4-2 edge in the all-time series with the Panthers, Miami’s least-faced opponent in the NFL, but Carolina has won the past two meetings.

Line: The Dolphins are a 2-point underdog; the over/under is 42.

Injuries: Dolphins — Out: TE Adam Shaheen (knee), DB Elijah Campbell (toe/knee), CB Trill Williams (hamstring); Questionable: S Brandon Jones (ankle/elbow); Injured reserve: WR DeVante Parker (shoulder/hamstring), WR Will Fuller (finger), C Michael Deiter (foot/quad), C Greg Mancz (ankle), RB Malcolm Brown (quadriceps), S Jason McCourty (foot), WR Lynn Bowden (hamstring), WR Allen Hurns (wrist), T Larnel Coleman (knee), T Greg Little (undisclosed); Panthers — Doubtful: G John Miller (ankle); Injured reserve: QB Sam Darnold (shoulder), CB Jaycee Horn (foot), C Matt Paradis (knee), OT Cameron Erving (calf) among 11 players on IR.

Noteworthy: The Dolphins put a three-game winning streak on the line in a key contest to see if they can keep clawing closer to .500 and back into the postseason hunt if a few more victories are strung together. …

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was with the New England Patriots in the preseason before he was cut, making way for Mac Jones to start there. Spending the first half of the season without a home, Newton rejoined the Panthers, whom he spent the first nine seasons of his career with, two weeks ago. …

Newton makes his second start with Carolina after also playing in goal-line packages in his first game back with the Panthers. He lost his start against Washington Football Team, 27-21. When he was with the Patriots last year, the Dolphins split the season series. …

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is coming off a 27-of-33 performance for 273 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the 24-17 win against the New York Jets last week. …

Dolphins punter Michael Palardy played in 68 games for the Panthers from 2016 to 2020 with 295 punts. The Panthers have South Florida high school connections with wide receiver Robby Anderson (South Plantation), defensive end Brian Burns (American Heritage), guard John Miller (Miami Central), offensive coordinator Joe Brady (Everglades) and cornerbacks coach Evan Cooper (Miami Killian).

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Front Range retailers hope 2021 holiday shopping season is a little brighter

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Front Range retailers hope 2021 holiday shopping season is a little brighter

Area businesses that have survived the pandemic are banking on the increase in activity and travel to make this year’s holiday shopping season a bit brighter.

Department and big-box stores offered deals on Black Friday while local stores looked forward to Small Business Saturday. The day geared toward independent retailers and other businesses was founded in 2010 by American Express and is cosponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Wheelhouse Gifts on Denver’s South Pearl Street opened in 2020. The store, owned by Jody Fidler, was open for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday last holiday season.

“But because of the pandemic, it wasn’t probably as impactful as it could have been for us,” said Molly Casey, an employee who’s in charge of the store’s social media. “This year, knowing we can be fully open despite the mask mandate, is really important to us.”

Retail analysts and trade organizations say there’s reason for optimism this year. The National Retail Federation said sales rose in October by 1.7% from September despite ongoing labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and rising inflation.

Denver-area shopping centers experienced “a very significant and positive visit trend” in October, according to a statement by Placer.ai, which provides analysis of foot traffic based on data from devices enabled to share the information. Data from Placer.ai showed visits in October to three metro-area shopping centers — Cherry Creek in Denver, Southlands in Aurora and Park Meadows in Lone Tree — were at or slightly above levels for the same period in 2019.

October’s sales numbers indicate people are responding to factors affecting retailers heading into the holidays, said Dave Bruno, director of retail market insights at Aptos, a retail technology company.

“People are shopping early to minimize the risk of supply chain disruptions and inventory outages impacting their holiday gift-giving,” Bruno said in a statement. “The big question, obviously, is whether much of the planned holiday buying is being done early and December sales will suffer, or if this confidence and buying power will sustain strong growth throughout the entire season.”

Charlotte Elich is among Denver-area business owners who hope people turn out in force to support local retailers this holiday season.

“I’m always optimistic. My goal is always to surpass the year before and I’ll say we always seem to have done it, except for 2020,” Elich said. “Now my goal is to at least match 2019 this year.”

To meet that goal, Elich will have to deal with working shorthanded, something businesses from the country’s largest corporations to small mom-and-pop shops are facing as people have quit jobs or not returned after furloughs and layoffs. Elich, who owns 5 Green Boxes gift shop and another store on South Pearl Street in Denver, was struggling to cover shifts when two employees recently quit.

Now, Elich is working in the office during the week and working the counter on weekends. She also has to worry about staffing her store in Union Station in Lower Downtown and an outlet site on the weekends.

“It seems like I had a lot more applicants” in past years, Elich said. “I don’t have a whole lot of people applying these days.”

Elich, who has weathered the ups and downs of the pandemic, has been in business for 44 years.

Shauna Sankey of Colorado Springs started BlackGirlSalsa in August 2020 and hopes to grow it into a full-time venture. She is encouraged by the support she sees for small businesses in campaigns like Google’s Black Owned Friday and Small Business Saturday.

“It wasn’t like a master plan. It just kinda fell into that situation,” Sankey said of her pandemic-born pursuit.

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Medical center in Lafayette hosts test run of humanoid robot

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Medical center in Lafayette hosts test run of humanoid robot

TRU Community Care in Lafayette was the host last week to the unveiling of a brand new technology in the medical field — a humanoid robot that can perform basic medical tasks.

BEOMNI, a remote-controlled humanoid robot, pushes a cart of medical supplies down the hall next to TRU Community Care Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Wensel during a demonstration at TRU PACE Center in Lafayette on Friday. (Matthew Jonas, Daily Camera)

Beyond Imagination, an AI company based out of Colorado Springs, visited the Lafayette hospice center to test out the robot, named BEOMNI.

“We are excited that TRU sees the almost limitless potential of our humanoid robots in health care and has agreed to run this first pilot study with us. We look forward to partnering with them to bring a highly effective solution to market,” said inventor and CEO Dr. Harry Kloor.

The robot is controlled remotely using VR technology, so that doctors and specialists can see patients who are miles away. However, the physical presence of a robotic aid such as BEOMNI can make up for gaps that are present in current telehealth technology, such as physically touching and administering care to a patient.

As the technology develops, Beyond Imagination is hoping to incorporate BEOMNIS into other aspects of everyday care, offering an alternative to modern-day nursing homes and round the clock care centers.

Annually, the average cost of a nursing home in Colorado can cost around $100,000 for an individual patient; Whereas the cost of a BEOMNI aid would come out to far less than that, says Dr. David Wensel, Chief Medical Officer of TRU Community Care.

The need for a humanoid robot in the medical field is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the staffing shortage in the medical field, according to Wensel.

1638023138 433 Medical center in Lafayette hosts test run of humanoid robot
BEOMNI, a remotely controlled humanoid robot, navigates the its way through a doorway while pushing a cart with medical supplies with TRU Community Care Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Wensel during a demonstration at TRU PACE Center in Lafayette on Friday. (Matthew Jonas, Daily Camera)

The pilot study took place from Nov. 9-12 in order to determine how the robot would fare in a real-world medical setting. The robot can perform tasks such as taking temperature using a thermometer, looking into a patient’s mouth using a tongue depressor and a flashlight, and even dance with patients — although long-term capabilities are expected to extend far beyond that.

This particular robot is a ‘version one,’ but is equipped with AI technology that will help the robot learn as it goes.

Another plus about BEOMNI humanoids in the health care field? “They can’t get COVID!” says Kloor.

BEOMNI robots are expected to be on the market in the next couple of years. For more information on Beyond Imagination and BEOMNI, visit beomni.ai.

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