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These aren’t the underdog Mets anymore

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These Aren’t The Underdog Mets Anymore
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The Mets have reached an unfamiliar but very much earned part of the season.

Every time they take the field, it feels like they’re going to win.

Granted, their 6-2 win on Tuesday night was against the Cincinnati Reds, who are fighting to stay out of last place in the league’s worst division. But the Mets of old loved to lay an egg, take a game off, or come up lame against an opponent they should throttle. In football, games like these are often called trap games, coming after a heated rivalry match and before another important showdown. With the Mets taking four of five from the Braves in their previous series and awaiting the Philadelphia Phillies’ arrival this weekend for a thrilling National League East spectacle, they’ve also remembered to take care of the business in front of them.

Tuesday’s win was not spectacular by any definition of the word. The Mets did what they had to do, though, putting together quality at-bat after quality at-bat and getting yet another starry night from their starting pitcher. The result was their second victory in two nights over the Reds, who refused to go away. If not for staking a two-run rally that knocked Carlos Carrasco out in the seventh inning, the Reds could have been brushed aside like yesterday’s crumbs. Instead, they made things interesting. But the Mets are far too talented — and this year, as they’ve shown, far too focused — for a team like this to snake a win from them.

“We’ve been clicking all year,” Jeff McNeil said. “Everyone in this lineup is hot right now. We’re a dangerous team, we’re a good team. We know that. Just come to the yard every single day and keep playing good baseball.”

Mychal Givens came in for Carrasco in the top of the seventh, two of Carrasco’s ducks still swimming on the pond. If anything will undo this team, it’s the middle relief, but Givens’ four-pitch demolition of Nick Senzel quelled those worries for at least one more day.

After this win, the Mets are 19-6 against the NL’s worst teams, flexing the type of muscle that a bully should. In putting up such a dominant record against the Reds, Cubs, Nationals and Rockies (they have not played the Pirates yet, who round out the league’s bottom five), these Mets have demonstrated an ability to dodge distractions.

“There’s a real responsibility you have for your teammates and your fan base to take care of things,” manager Buck Showalter said. “There’s a real discipline that requires. I trust them. They know if you have these expectations — you talk about culture and all this other stuff, really that’s what it is — the responsibility that you take on. You don’t just talk about it, you show it in your actions. They’ve been able to do that.”

Against teams like the Reds, it also helps to have a tenured professor like Carrasco on the mound.

“I feel the same way that I felt a long time ago, like 2017 and 2018,” Carrasco said afterward. “That’s what I’ve been feeling for, like, the last two months. I want to continue feeling that way so I can finish the season strong.”

Making the 229th start of his underrated career, Carrasco took a leisurely cruise through the first six innings. Cincinnati only put up three hits in those first six frames, finally getting to him in the seventh when the bottom of their order woke things up. But Carrasco consistently outsmarted the Reds for the overwhelming majority of the game. He relied heavily on his slider, which produced several swings that had absolutely no chance of making contact.

“That was something we were seeing during the game, how they’d swing and if they were looking for that pitch or not,” Carrasco said, explaining his slider usage. “Between innings, we would talk about it before the next one.”

Givens striking out Senzel immediately after entering the game was the biggest moment of the night. Once that threat was over, the Mets got back to adding on. They answered the Reds’ two-run seventh with two more of their own in the bottom half of the inning. The Reds elected to intentionally walk Pete Alonso to load the bases for Darin Ruf. With a righty on the mound and Ruf’s role beginning and ending with crushing lefties, the matchup was in Cincy’s favor. Smart baseball doesn’t always pay off though; sometimes the ground ball you wanted just squirts through the hole.

When Ruf’s grounder evaded diving second baseman Jonathan India, that feeling of inevitable victory returned. In going up by four runs — and Trevor May holding the line in the eighth — the Mets didn’t even have to use Edwin Diaz either. Trap game loss avoided, fifth straight series win clinched, and with Francisco Lindor clocking his 20th home run, making him the first shortstop in franchise history to complete multiple 20-homer seasons, they even got a fun milestone out of the occasion.

Just another day in the life of the 2022 New York Mets, whom Carrasco says have the best rotation of any team he’s been on, including the 2016 Cleveland team that won the American League.

“To have Jake in there, Max, that’s five Cy Youngs together,” he recited. “Bassy, Tai, Petey, Megill, myself. It feels really good to be part of that rotation.”

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Live now! Chris Perkins and Dave Hyde break down game vs. Bills and preview Thursday night’s matchup with Bengals on Dolphins Deep Dive

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Live Now! Chris Perkins And Dave Hyde Break Down Game Vs. Bills And Preview Thursday Night’s Matchup With Bengals On Dolphins Deep Dive
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Introducing “Dolphins Deep Dive with Perk,” the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s new weekly Dolphins video show featuring Chris Perkins, Dave Hyde, David Furones and occasional guests.

On Monday’s show, the Dolphins writers discuss Sunday’s huge win over the Buffalo Bills. They also look ahead to Thursday night’s matchup versus the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals and answer viewers’ questions.

Click here for the “Dolphins Deep Dive with Perk” video page, where you can watch the latest episode.

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Twin Cities school segregation not unconstitutional in absence of lawmaker intent, appeals court panel rules

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Twin Cities School Segregation Not Unconstitutional In Absence Of Lawmaker Intent, Appeals Court Panel Rules
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Racial segregation in Twin Cities schools does not violate the state constitution unless it can be proven that state lawmakers intentionally caused that segregation, an appeals court panel ruled Monday.

The ruling affirms a lower court’s December decision in Cruz-Guzman v. State of Minnesota, a major school segregation lawsuit that’s been winding its way through the courts and Legislature since 2015.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs and the state reached a tentative settlement in spring 2021. At a cost to the state of $63 million a year, it would have created new magnet schools, new regulations and a system of voluntary student busing in order to better integrate schools in St. Paul, Minneapolis and their suburbs.

But when legislative leaders declined to approve the settlement, plaintiffs attorney Dan Shulman asked Hennepin County District Judge Susan Robiner to decide key parts of the case without going to trial.

Specifically, he wanted her to find that school segregation is unconstitutional, even in the absence of intent or proof that state lawmakers and bureaucrats caused it.

His argument largely relied on a footnote from a 2018 state Supreme Court decision that revived the Cruz-Guzman case after Robiner had dismissed it. That footnote said it’s “self-evident” that segregated schools violate the education clause of the Minnesota Constitution.

However, Robiner in December rejected Shulman’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that school segregation only violates the state constitution if it is “intentional.”

If Shulman is right, she wrote, the only remedy would be to redistribute Twin Cities students to different schools according to their race, which the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly said violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

APPEALS COURT RULING

Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel on Monday, Court of Appeals Judge Mathew E. Johnson wrote that the state Supreme Court’s footnote was referring to the sort of intentional segregation found in the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Shulman’s motion, on the other hand, referred to de facto segregation, where there’s no showing that state actors intentionally caused it.

“A racially imbalanced school system, by itself, is not a violation of the Education Clause of the Minnesota Constitution,” Johnson wrote.

“A racially imbalanced school system caused by intentional, de jure segregation of the type described in Brown would be a violation of the Education Clause of the Minnesota Constitution. A racially imbalanced school system caused by de facto segregation, by itself, is not a violation of the Education Clause of the Minnesota Constitution, even if state action contributed to the racial imbalance.”

Monday’s ruling does not end the case. The plaintiffs can appeal to the state Supreme Court, and even if they lose again, they still can try to prove that state actors intentionally set up a system that would result in segregation.

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All eyes on QB Tua Tagovailoa’s availability on Dolphins’ short week before Thursday game in Cincinnati

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All Eyes On Qb Tua Tagovailoa’s Availability On Dolphins’ Short Week Before Thursday Game In Cincinnati
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Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins usually notes there’s a “24-hour rule” after NFL games — win or lose — before the emotions of one result must shift into preparation for the next opponent.

But even that’s too long when the Dolphins only have three days between Sunday’s thrilling 21-19 win over the AFC East Goliath Buffalo Bills and a Thursday night game at the Cincinnati Bengals.

“It’s the 12-hour rule,” said Wilkins at the news conference podium postgame, meaning the expiration time was around 4:30 a.m. Monday morning. “We just get [Sunday night], and [Monday] we’re already getting ready for the next opponent so we can turn the page and get ready for Thursday night.”

Those 72 hours between game days will be under a microscope, especially quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s availability in Cincinnati on the quick turnaround.

Tagovailoa was initially said to have suffered a head injury when he exited at the first half’s two-minute warning after getting pushed by Bills linebacker Matt Milano, causing Tagovailoa to fall back and hit the back of his head on the turf. Tagovailoa appeared woozy and stumbled upon getting up from the hit before being escorted by trainers into the locker room.

He was cleared in concussion protocol and returned for the second half, finishing 13 of 18 for 186 yards and a touchdown pass. Tagovailoa and coach Mike McDaniel both said postgame it was actually a back injury Tagovailoa was dealing with, as the roughing-the-passer play exacerbated earlier discomfort Tagovailoa experienced in his lower back from a quarterback sneak.

The NFL Players Association on Sunday afternoon initiated an investigation of the handling of Tagovailoa’s concussion check.

“It was uncomfortable going in,” said Tagovailoa of his second half, which involved him making a stellar 45-yard throw deep over the middle to Jaylen Waddle on third-and-22 that set up a go-ahead score. “I guess you could say it was the adrenaline that was keeping me going with the throwing.”

Of his back, Tagovailoa added postgame Monday: “It’s tight. It was sore when it first happened.”

McDaniel is expected to have injury updates in a Monday afternoon news conference after a Sunday win that also had cornerback Xavien Howard (groin, cramps), tackles Terron Armstead (toe) and Greg Little (finger), guard Robert Hunt and linebacker Elandon Roberts (quadriceps) among players dealing with injuries. Nose tackle Raekwon Davis (knee) missed the game against Buffalo after entering questionable, and receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. (ribs, toe) was limited to five offensive snaps.

This story will be updated.

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Ravens-Patriots in review: Highlights, notables and quotables from a Week 3 victory

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Ravens-Patriots In Review: Highlights, Notables And Quotables From A Week 3 Victory
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The Ravens bounced back from a gut-punch loss to the Miami Dolphins with a 37-26 road win over the New England Patriots. Quarterback Lamar Jackson threw four touchdown passes and ran for another while the defense created four turnovers on New England’s last five drives.

Players of the Week

QB Lamar Jackson: New England had no answer for Jackson, who threw for 218 yards and four touchdowns and carried 11 times for 107 yards and another score. He has 10 touchdown passes through three games and has run for at least 100 yards in two straight as he makes an early Most Valuable Player case.

S Kyle Hamilton: When wide receiver Nelson Agholor broke into open space with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Patriots appeared on their way to a go-ahead touchdown. Instead, Hamilton chased him down and punched the ball free, allowing Marcus Peters to fall on it. In addition to that climactic play, the rookie gave up just one completion on 14 coverage snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

WR Devin Duvernay: The Ravens clung to a one-point lead in the third quarter when Duvernay gave them a jolt by dancing 43 yards along the sideline on a punt return. Four plays later, he followed up with a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone for his fourth touchdown of the year. He has caught all eight balls thrown his way in three games.

Snap-Count Analysis

Cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters seemed back to full strength, playing 65 and 63 of the team’s 66 defensive snaps, respectively. With outside linebacker Justin Houston and nose tackle Michael Pierce injured, veteran defensive tackle Calais Campbell embraced a heavy workload, playing 59 snaps. Inside linebacker Josh Bynes played 71% of the team’s defensive snaps, taking on a larger role against New England’s determined running game. Outside linebacker Brandon Copeland stepped in to play 26 defensive snaps in his first game as a Raven. Rookie cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis played just nine defensive snaps after he struggled early against DeVante Parker.

J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill shared the workload evenly at running back, playing 26 and 29 snaps, respectively. Mike Davis played one snap. At wide receiver, Devin Duvernay played only two fewer snaps, 35, than Rashod Bateman. Rookie tight end Isaiah Likely dealt with a groin injury during the week and played 20 of 60 offensive snaps. Tight end Nick Boyle played just four snaps in his first game action of the season. Josh Oliver was on the field more than either with 24 offensive snaps. Rookie Daniel Faalele played 54 snaps at left tackle after Patrick Mekari sprained his ankle.

Number Crunch

32: Mark Andrews’ career touchdown reception total. The fifth-year tight end ranks second on the franchise’s all-time list behind Todd Heap (41) after he scored twice against the Patriots.

3: Players in league history who have thrown four touchdown passes and run for 100 yards in the same game, per ESPN Stats & Info. Lamar Jackson joined Randall Cunningham and Cam Newton with his performance Sunday.

4: Turnovers created by the Ravens defense, more than in any game last season.

5.0: Opponents’ per-carry average against the Ravens’ run defense. They ranked sixth worst in the league after Sunday’s game.

Quote of the Week

Coach John Harbaugh on Lamar Jackson: “His way is winning football. It’s fundamentally sound quarterback play. He’s running the show out there. He’s making the checks. He’s managing the clock. All the things that you would say an operator or a manager does, he’s doing all those things, too. He’s doing those things, and he’s making plays sometimes when the play doesn’t make itself.”

Next Up

Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium, Sunday, 1 p.m.

The Bills went into Week 3 widely regarded as the best team in the league after they won their first two games by a combined 55 points. But they lost a divisional showdown to the Miami Dolphins, the same team that upset the Ravens in Week 2. The Bills fell 21-19, despite outgaining the Dolphins by more than 200 yards and running 90 offensive plays to Miami’s 39.

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Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan named Big Ten offensive player of the week

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Gophers Quarterback Tanner Morgan Named Big Ten Offensive Player Of The Week
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Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan was named Big Ten offensive player of the week Monday. The sixth-year senior had a banner day in the 34-7 win over Michigan State on Saturday.

Morgan completed 88 percent of his passes Saturday — the third-best mark of his five-year playing career. In 2019, he completed 95 percent on the road against Purdue and then 90 percent in the upset of Penn State.

Morgan, who had 268 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, was great throwing more than 10 yards down field. He completed 11 for 12 for 150 yards and one touchdown in passes between 10 and 20 yards downfield. He was 2 for 3 for 49 yards traveling more than 20 yards. He added three rushes for 27 yards, earning some key first downs.

Morgan is the first Minnesota player to win Big Ten offensive player of the week since Nov. 9, 2020.

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‘Basketball Wives’ star Brooke Bailey’s daughter dead at 25

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‘Basketball Wives’ Star Brooke Bailey’s Daughter Dead At 25
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The 25-year-old daughter of “Basketball Wives” star Brooke Bailey has died, the reality mom announced Sunday.

“Forever my baby, Pretty Black aka Kayla Nicole Bailey,” she wrote on Instagram along with a series of photos of the pair. “This is not a goodbye. Mommy will see you soon.”

Bailey did not announce the cause of death for daughter Kayla, but did reshare a post that mentioned a car crash.

“My baby girl is so loved by all of youuuuu!!! The love and support my family has received today is unreal and so appreciated,” the 45-year-old reality star wrote in an Instagram story.

“Kayla left a mark on so many lives. She entered the room and demanded respect, love and attention. If you had the pleasure of meeting her and being friends with her she has forever changed your life.”

Bailey, who has been romantically linked to former NBA All-Star Rashard Lewis and University of Florida standout Vernon Macklin, who was drafted by the Pistons in 2011, returned to “Basketball Wives” in its 10th season.

In the current season, she and her new husband “turn their attention to IVF with hopes of completing their family,” according to the VH1 synopsis.

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