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Mets lose second straight to Braves, also lose another starting pitcher to injury – The Denver Post

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Mets Lose Second Straight To Braves, Also Lose Another Starting Pitcher To Injury – The Denver Post
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ATLANTA – Charlie Morton is a very good pitcher, sometimes even a great pitcher.

But when the 38-year-old Braves starter picked the Mets aside on Tuesday night, it looked like there was something else tormenting the orange and blue besides Morton’s curveball.

As Atlanta cruised to a 5-0 victory, the Mets lost another starting pitcher to injury. Taijuan Walker followed Carlos Carrasco’s two-run outing on Monday with one of his own. It was a low-grade slant strain for Carrasco, while the Mets attribute Walker’s short night to back spasms.

“I tried to bend over, and when I tried to get up, it got stuck on me,” Walker said of his back. “I’ve never had anything like this before. The training staff aren’t too worried about it, so we’ll get an MRI and see how I feel tomorrow morning.

Showalter was asked if there are any concerns about Walker, whose injury does not appear to be debilitating.

“Of course there are,” he replied with a raised eyebrow. “There’s always a time when you have to take a pitcher out of play. Of course there is. But he had similar things that resolved themselves pretty quickly. I hope that is the case.

Tuesday night’s loss can also be largely attributed to those back spasms, which sent Buck Showalter rushing to the unnamed part of his bullpen. RJ Alvarez, called from Triple-A hours before the first pitch, had to take the first shift. The second hitter he faced was Robbie Grossman, a forward acquisition for Atlanta who, statistically speaking, is among the 20 worst hitters in the game this year (minimum 300 plate appearances).

Grossman’s undoubtedly dinger 105 mph certainly didn’t seem to come from one of the worst hitters in the league.

That missile into right field gave the Braves a lead, and a stellar Mets defense briefly helped limit the damage. Catcher Michael Perez lined up a wayward throw from Alvarez on the brick backstop and kicked out Ronald Acuna Jr. trying to advance to second, and second baseman Jeff McNeil finished the inning with a super running catch impressive in the shallow right.

Good defense can only get you so far, though, especially when Matt Olson connected for a two-run shot on Alvarez the following inning and the Mets hitters were zapped from their abilities. Morton looked like a much younger man on Tuesday. The right-hander who made his debut before Obama was elected (the first time ever) retired 12 Mets and only allowed four to reach base.

Four of those Ks were courtesy of his sinister curveball, which he trusted on 48 of his 97 throws. The standing ovation Morton received upon his exit was well deserved and his exit was reminiscent of the playoff performances that made him famous. Starling Marte, Pete Alonso, Daniel Vogelbach and Jeff McNeil each struck twice against Morton.

“He just performed,” Francisco Lindor said of Morton. “He’s really good. When he performs, he is even better. Hats off to him, and their entire pitching team today, they did a great job.

This season full of Mets peaks is currently stuck in one of its few valleys. Injuries will do that to you, and two starting pitchers in less than 48 hours is definitely suboptimal, which may have taken a mental toll on the offense. Again, Morton was fantastic, but some of the swings for the Mets were uncharacteristic of the group that won 75 of its first 115 games.

“Nobody is robotic,” Showalter said. “Of course, everything affects. Everyone is a human being, but we also had things like that with injuries and different things throughout the year. It’s part of the job description.

“It’s part of the adversity,” Lindor added.

Injuries also played a role in the poor offense, as the order’s eight and nine batters were both in the Mets’ starting lineup for the first time. Deven Marrero, eighth at bat, and Michael Perez, ninth, were not part of the plan as recently as three days ago.

Stephen Nogosek, better known for his handsome mustache than his throwing, took the ball past Alvarez and chewed up two innings. A slight silver lining for the Mets is the fact that they got through those first two games in Atlanta, two non-competitive losses, without completely overloading their bullpen.

“Nogo was really good tonight,” Showalter said. “It was a real boost for us.”

Edwin Diaz, Adam Ottavino and Trevor May are all fresh for the final two games, when the Mets will try to salvage a split in this series. They also don’t have the day off until next Wednesday, with the Phillies and Yankees on their way, so keeping as many relievers as fresh as possible until then will be a priority.

The Mets have been punched in the mouth the past two nights. There is no way around this. All players are human and therefore not immune to the bad feelings that come with seeing their teammates hitting the coaching table.

Luckily for them, just as they dreamed of during the cold and disorienting days of the MLB lockout, these games will be kicked off by Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.

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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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Heat’s Jimmy Butler shoots down notion of casting him at power forward (and he shows off new hairstyle); Herro downplay starting role, extension

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Heat’s Jimmy Butler Shoots Down Notion Of Casting Him At Power Forward (And He Shows Off New Hairstyle)
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When it comes to Jimmy Butler potentially playing power forward this season, the Miami Heat’s leading man said Monday that his team had better start considering Plan B.

With power forward P.J. Tucker having left in free agency for the Philadelphia 76ers, and with the Heat not signing an outside replacement, Butler was asked at the team’s media day at FTX Arena if he would be willing to play this season in a power role.

“If they absolutely wanted to have a conversation,” Butler said of relenting to at least listen. “But I’m not going to play the four.”

The Heat’s other options at power forward include Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith, Max Strus, or one of the team’s center types, such as Dewayne Dedmon or Omer Yurtseven, albeit with coach Erik Spoelstra rarely favoring big lineups.

“I could play the four, yes, if they absolutely needed me to play the four, yes,” Butler said.

Of Tucker leaving, Butler said with a smile, “P.J.’s a traitor. I tell him every single day.”

Butler, 33, said the Heat would find a way to make it work without the veteran power forward.

“There are going to be changes,” he said. “Everybody realizes roles are going to change. There are going to be a lot of changes that have nothing to do with me. As training camp comes along, it’s going to be exciting to see what this lineup is about.”

Butler also downplayed offseason workout video showing him spending significant time working on his 3-point game. He stressed that his focus remains getting into the paint and getting to the foul line.

“Scout me however you want,” he said. “I’m still going to find a way to get into the paint.”

Of his offseason shift to a lengthier coif, Butler tried to insist that he hadn’t added extensions. But he also said he did not know if he would continue with the look during the regular season.

“I’m just messing with stuff to make the internet mad,” he said of the long braids he continued to sport Monday.

Adebayo’s attitude

Following Butler in the interview room, center Bam Adebayo downplayed the Heat facing a power deficit without Tucker.

“We always find a way,” he said. “That’s the Miami Heat way.”

For his part, he said he plans to take a more proactive approach in the offense.

“Yeah,” he said with a wide smile. “We are a lot better when I’m scoring.”

Heat President Pat Riley spoke at the end of last season of Adebayo getting up at least 15 shots a game.

Adebayo’s response, “18, trying to get it up this year.”

“You heard,” Adebayo added of Riley, “what the old man said about me.

“It is a big deal to me to come back better.”

The ongoing focus, though, he said, is to emerge with the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

“I mean, at this point, it’s politics,” he said of the annual media vote that went to Rudy Gobert and Marcus Smart the past two years.

Herro ball

Having said at the end of last season that he wanted to emerge as a starter, and with Riley saying shortly thereafter that such a role has to be earned, Tyler Herro somewhat softened the stance Monday.

“I’m a team player,” he said, “whatever Spo and organization wants me to do.”

Herro, appreciative of the importance of a well-rounded rotation, said he would accept, “whatever role fits me best.”

Eligible for an extension until the start of the regular season, Herro deferred such talk to his agent.

“I’m focused this season on basketball,” he said.

But confidence remains firmly in place.

“My offensive skill set is one of the best in the league,” he said.

With room, he said, for growth, “becoming more of a catch-and-shoot guy and attacking off the catch.”

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Dolphins’ Trent Sherfield spurs social media craze — and maybe an endorsement — for taking punt to backside

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Dolphins’ Trent Sherfield Spurs Social Media Craze — And Maybe An Endorsement — For Taking Punt To Backside
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Among everything seen in the Miami Dolphins’ exhilarating 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, maybe most unusual was wide receiver Trent Sherfield taking a punted football straight to his backside.

With less than two minutes to play and the Dolphins punting up against their own goal line, Sherfield, in as an upback on the special teams unit, backed up into punter Thomas Morstead’s kicking motion as he tried to block for him.

The ball went off the foot of Morstead, ricocheted directly off Sherfield’s buttocks and shot up into the air and out of the back of the end zone for a comical, blooper-reel safety.

It could’ve taken a drastically different tone had it cost Miami the game against the AFC East rival. Buffalo then just needed a field goal to win after previously trailing by 4 points, but the Dolphins stopped the Bills one last time to protect the 2-point lead and snap a seven-game losing streak against their divisional foe.

The commentary and reaction to the special teams blunder turned entertaining faux pas began immediately after the game.

“Never seen a butt punt before,” Dolphins star receiver Tyreek Hill said in the locker room. “Next time, he’s going to catch it with his butt cheeks because he’s got strong butt cheeks.”

Former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, infamously known for the “butt fumble” in his playing days before turning commentator, tweeted at Morstead, “Woah… stay out of my lane bro.”

Sherfield was just happy it took place in a win for the Dolphins.

“My cheeks have a big W tatted on them,” he tweeted with a smiley face on Sunday night.

But he also had fun with the craze.

The NFL’s primary Twitter account posted an image of the football getting booted straight into Sherfield’s hind parts, asking followers, “Is this the greatest photo of all time?” Sherfield quote-tweeted it: “Indeed it is.”

Toilet paper brand Charmin tweeted to Sherfield: “Those cheeks are going to need something soft. Check your [direct messages],” insinuating an endorsement could be on the way.

Sherfield replied: “I’m commercial ready whenever you guys are…”

The DUDE Wipes brand added to Charmin’s tweet: “We’ll cleanup what you leave behind…always up for the sloppy seconds.”

Morstead, who was having a fine afternoon with two punts of 59 yards plus others of 52 and 48, said postgame it was only the second time he had a punt blocked in his 14-year career.

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