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The JungleSeptember 25, 20182min0


Last week was filled with major upsets in the NFL, as the Vikings, Jaguars and Patriots lost as big favorites. Week 4 will bring more surprises, as well as the first round of bye weeks.

The Redskins and Panthers get to enjoy an early break, which means there are only 15 games on the Week 4 schedule. The good news: That’s one fewer game to get wrong. The bad news: That’s one fewer game to get right in our weekly pigskin prognostications.

Here is your fearless forecast for Week 4 — for entertainment purposes only, as usual. (Game lines courtesy of Bovada.)

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20184min0

A domestic assault charge against Houston Astros closer Roberto Osuna in Toronto was withdrawn on Tuesday.

In exchange, Osuna agreed to a peace bond. He must comply with a series of conditions for one year or face criminal charges, which would carry a maximum sentence of up to four years’ imprisonment.

“I am pleased and relieved by today’s court decision,” Osuna said. “Now I can begin to put these allegations behind me and focus on baseball. I want to thank my family, teammates and fans for believing in me. I am grateful to the Astros for providing me with the opportunity to play baseball and compete for a World Series championship.

“I will make no further comments about this matter, as I plan on moving past this and look only to the future.”

The 23-year-old Osuna, then a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, was charged in May with assault in an alleged domestic incident.

The woman Osuna is alleged to have assaulted declined to testify. Major League Baseball suspended Osuna without pay for 75 games for violating its domestic violence policy.

The Blue Jays later traded him to Houston, and his suspension ended Aug. 5.

The Astros on Tuesday issued a statement saying they “look forward to Roberto continuing his commitment to be a productive and caring part of our community.

“The Astros remain committed to increase our support regarding the issues of domestic violence and abuse of any kind,” the statement continued. “We have engaged with a number of local, state and national organizations — and we look forward to working with them in the short term and over the long term.”

Osuna was greeted by boos Monday when he entered in the ninth inning in the Astros’ win over the Blue Jays, the first time he had returned to the Rogers Centre since being traded.

Osuna’s attorney said the player had planned to plead not guilty had the matter gone to trial.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20188min0


The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) final between ‘Saint’ George Groves and Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith takes place on Sept. 28 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and will be broadcasted live on DAZN.

And it has been a long time coming for Smith, with the final match being delayed due to a shoulder injury George Groves (28-3) sustained in the semifinal against Chris Eubank Jr. That said, the long wait has not dampened Callum’s determination to win the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy as well as the WBC Diamond and WBA Super Middleweight titles, which are all on the line.

MORE: Join DAZN and see more than 70 fight nights a year

“It took a little bit longer to get fully confirmed than usual. As long as it was George Groves in the opposite corner with his world title, the date was irrelevant to me,” Callum told Sporting News during an exclusive interview. “I was prepared to wait as long as it took to get that fight for the world title.”

Callum isn’t bothered about the fight taking place in Jeddah, either.

“It’s just another place to fight,” he said. “It’s disappointing for the British boxing fans, as it’s not ideal for a big domestic fight for a world title. But it’s a level playing field. Groves is in the exact same position as me. I feel for the fans as they won’t be able to go and watch it live in person, but the tournament has been great so far.”

Although Callum (24-0, 17 KOs) is well aware of Groves’s reported shoulder injury, he isn’t entering this matchup expecting it to give him an edge at all.

“I’m not going into this fight banking on his shoulder not being 100 percent. I’ve got to expect a fully fit George Groves. I’d be very foolish to underestimate him by not expecting the best version of him,” Smith said. “I just believe I’m the better man. I believe it’s my time to become a world champion. I was supposed to fight for a world title a couple of years ago, but it never happened.”

He added: “I’m a better fighter now. George has been there and done it and he’s failed a few times. His time as champion is about to an end and it’s my time to become number one in the division.”

If Callum is to win the WBSS final, he wants to unify the division sooner rather than later.

“This would be a huge win. There’s a lot of big fights out there for me in this division,” Smith said. “I would like to unify and test myself against other champions”. 

But he is clearly not overlooking a dangerous and capable Groves, who he has well scouted.

“He’s got a very good jab and he’s very heavy-handed with his right hand,” Smith said. “He’s very experienced, he’s a tough fighter, better than anyone I’ve faced previously, but I feel I can rise to the occasion and I’ve got a good jab and boxing brain myself.”

Smith added that he’s expecting to deliver fireworks during this fight.

“I’ve had a lot of big performances early on in my career and provided a lot of excitement with early knockouts and I haven’t quite done that so far in this tournament,” he admitted. “But big fighters always perform on the big stage and this is the biggest stage of my career by far. I feel I’ll turn up and deliver and take George Groves title off of him.”

Callum, 28, isn’t the only fighter in his family. His three older brothers Paul, Stephen and Liam help make up an impressive boxing family known as The Smiths, who each earned their own nicknames — “Smigga,” “Swifty,” “Beefy” and “Mundo,” respectively.

When asked which brother is the best fighter, Callum took a minute to respond.

“It’s a tough one,” Smith said. “Paul was a big puncher and an exciting fighter, Steven has a very good boxing brain and can read the fight very well. Technically, Liam is very good at shot selection and fighting up-close. I believe Liam is the naturally gifted fighter out of all of us, but we are all good at different things.”

As for how he got the nickname, “Mundo?”

“When I was a kid, I was a big fan on the Teenage Mutant [Ninja] Turtles — you’ve got Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo and my dad used to call me ‘Callamundo’ the fifth turtle,” Smith said. “And as I got older, the Calla was dropped.”

All Smith brothers don the word “Autism” on the back of their shorts, as a gesture to honor their youngest sister, Holly, and to raise awareness and show support to other families dealing with autism.

They’ll be cheering Smith on Friday, as he looks to bring some hardware back to England.

“I want to bring a world title back to Liverpool,” he said, “and I would love to defend my world title in my own city.”

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20184min0

Tiger Mania — well, golf mania in general — shifts from the Tour Championship in the States to Ryder Cup in France. And our own Michael Collins is taking it all in. Ready to take a ride along with America’s Caddie? Let’s go!

Wearing the appropriate attire

France is the perfect place to spread the Philly fandom, right? Right?!

Driving in one of the world’s craziest intersections

“Nope, nothing to see here. … This is why you purchase the insurance on your rental car.”

Appreciating the art (kind of)

The fans, baby … the fans

MC ran into a few Team Europe fans during the practice rounds here at Le Golf National. Expect even more great fan wear throughout the week.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 201814min0


A handful of games remain in the 2018 season, and we’re all wondering how in the world the summer has already left us. October is almost here, somehow. Good times. 

For this final regular-season power ranking, we’re looking at how teams stacked up in regular-season competition. Once the playoff field is set, we’ll rank teams by how likely they are to win the World Series. Don’t be surprised if that list has a much different order than this one. But for now, we’re looking at actual results, not projected finishes.

Cool? Let’s go. 

MORE: MLB standings — Magic numbers, playoff odds and more

1. Boston Red Sox

Previous ranking: 1
Why they’re here: The Red Sox have seven more wins than any other team in baseball. They have the MVP favorite (Mookie Betts) and another likely top-five finisher (J.D. Martinez). They have a Cy Young favorite (Chris Sale) and a closer (Craig Kimbrel) with three times as many strikeouts (93) as hits allowed (31) this year. They’ve played 19 other teams this season and they’re only under .500 against three of them (the White Sox, A’s and Astros). September has been their “worst” month and they’re still 12-8. These guys are good. 

2. Houston Astros

Previous ranking: 2
Why they’re here: There wasn’t much of a year-after let-down for the World Series champions. A hiccup or two, sure, but this season Alex Bregman —with his 50 doubles, 30 homers and 6.8 bWAR — developed into a legitimate star/MVP candidate, and Gerrit Cole spent the season showing why the Houston front office was determined to make a deal with Pittsburgh, striking out a career-best 12.6 batters per nine innings. They’ll be tough to beat in October. 

3. Oakland Athletics

Previous ranking: 3
Why they’re here: Lots of teams have hot streaks during a year. The starting pitchers get on a roll and the offense scores a few runs, and it’s relatively easy to run off a 12-3 stretch over the period of a couple weeks. What the A’s have done over the past 3 1/2 months can’t be written off as a “hot streak” or any type of fluke, though. They were two games under .500 after a loss on June 15. Since then, they’re 60-26, a record that’s 2 1/2 games better than the team that has 105 wins on the season (Boston). They’ve been so damn good for so damn long that it’s hard to pick out any small stretches that are especially impressive. Instead, think about this: For 3 1/2 months, the A’s have played at a 113-win pace (a .698 winning percentage). Yeah.

4. New York Yankees

Previous ranking: 4
Why they’re here: On one hand, expected lineup stalwarts Gary Sanchez (.182 average, .674 OPS) and Greg Bird (.195, .669) have struggled with injuries and inconsistency, superstar Aaron Judge spent eight weeks on the disabled list and ace Luis Severino has a 5.74 ERA in the second half of the season.

On the other hand, the Yankees have overcome those setbacks (and others) to threaten the 100-win mark for the first time since 2009. An incredible 12 players have hit at least 10 home runs on the season, including six with at least 23. The offensive depth is impressive. Plus, they have the unstoppable Luke Voit. 

MORE: Yankees get more bad news

5. Chicago Cubs

Previous ranking: 5
Why they’re here: The Cubs have the NL’s best record, but that might be more of an indictment on the NL than a statement of how good Joe Maddon’s club is in 2018. Javy Baez has made the jump to MVP candidate, but he’s one of a small number of Cubs who have been better in 2018 than they were in 2017. Inconsistencies and injuries have been common themes all summer. But here’s the thing: The Cubs keep winning baseball games, more than any other team in the NL, even without everyone healthy and producing at the same time. That, in its own right, is pretty impressive.

6. Milwaukee Brewers

Previous ranking: 6
Why they’re here: Milwaukee made two big outfield additions in the offseason, signing free agent Lorenzo Cain and trading for Christian Yelich. Those two are currently first and second, respectively, in position player bWAR at 6.8 and 6.4, respectively. The starters have been good enough and the bullpen has been very good and though the Brewers have staggered a couple times this season, they’ve played their best baseball when they needed it most. In their past 23 games, Milwaukee is 16-7, best record in the NL in that stretch.  

7. Los Angeles Dodgers

Previous ranking: 11 
Why they’re here: While we’re having fun with small sample sizes, if we back up to games that have happened since Aug. 22, when the Dodgers finished three consecutive home losses to the Cardinals, the Dodgers have the the NL’s best record at 20-8. In that stretch, they went from 4.5 games out of first place in the NL West to 1.5 games ahead of the Rockies. Not that Justin Turner is solely responsible for their good play, but the Dodgers are 20 games over .500 when he plays this year (58-38) and two games under (29-31) when he doesn’t. Turner’s healthy now and batting .374 with a 1.117 OPS since the start of August. 

8. Cleveland Indians

Previous ranking: 7
Why they’re here: Cleveland has a couple position players — Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor — who could finish top-five in the AL MVP vote and four starting pitchers who have racked up at least 200 strikeouts on the season. On paper, this is a club that has the potential to win a World Series, right? And you’ll see people pick them to make that happen. But the reality is this: Cleveland hasn’t been very good against the very good teams this year. They’ll finish with (by far) the worst record of any AL playoff team despite playing in a pitiful division, mostly because they’re just 23-31 against teams with a record above .500. It’s hard to put this club any higher than eighth in a regular-season power ranking. 

9. St. Louis Cardinals

Previous ranking: 10
Why they’re here: It’s been an odd season in St. Louis, but the Cardinals enter the final stretch in prime position to lock up a playoff spot for the first time since 2015. That might not seem like a long time, but they haven’t missed October three years in a row since 1997-99. They’re 40-23 since Mike Shildt took over for Mike Matheny as manager, a move that coincided with more opportunities for younger players to make an impact on a regular basis. 

10. Atlanta Braves

Previous ranking: 9
Why they’re here: Braves fans have been optimistic about the future for a couple years now, but even for the most optimistic of fans, competing for the AL East crown in 2018 seemed like a bit of a long shot. But with Freddie Freeman doing Freddie Freeman things and youngsters like Ronald Acuna (20 years old) and Ozzie Albies (21) playing beyond their years, the Braves put themselves in contention and then ran away with the division with a solid September, while the Phillies faded away.

FOSTER: The Braves showed how they would shock the baseball world early on

11. Rays. Previous ranking: 13
12. Rockies. Previous ranking: 8
13. Mariners. Previous ranking: 15
14. Diamondbacks. Previous ranking: 14
15. Phillies. Previous ranking: 12

16. Pirates. Previous ranking: 19
17. Nationals. Previous ranking: 16
18. Mets. Previous ranking: 22
19. Angels. Previous ranking: 17
20. Giants. Previous ranking: 18

21. Blue Jays. Previous ranking: 28
22. Twins. Previous ranking: 21
23. Tigers. Previous ranking: 23
24. Reds. Previous ranking: 24
25. Rangers. Previous ranking: 20

MORE: Who could replace Jeff Banister as Rangers manager?

26. Marlins. Previous ranking: 25
27. White Sox. Previous ranking: 26
28. Padres. Previous ranking: 27
29. Royals. Previous ranking: 29
30. Orioles. Previous ranking: 30

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The JungleSeptember 25, 201836min0

The Fantasy 32 analyzes the NFL from a fantasy perspective, with at least one mention of each of the league’s 32 teams. Though efficiency will be discussed plenty, the column will lean heavily on usage data, as volume is king (by far) in fantasy football. Use these tidbits to make the best waiver-wire, trade and lineup decisions for the upcoming week and beyond. Be sure to check back each week of the season for a new version of the Fantasy 32.

Note that data from Monday Night Football may not be reflected in charts in the article until Tuesday afternoon.

The infirmary

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: The Niners’ emerging superstar tore his ACL and is out for the season. This means the team will turn back to C.J. Beathard. The 49ers’ offense scored eight touchdowns during Beathard’s five starts last season. The 2017 third-round pick targeted a running back (including fullback Kyle Juszczyk) on an astounding 35 percent of his aimed throws, with another 18 percent distributed to tight ends. Carlos Hyde handled 48 targets (22 percent share) during that span and saw a drastic dip in the department when Garoppolo took over. This suggests Matt Breida, Alfred Morris and Juszczyk could benefit some in the target department from this move. Overall, the team’s skill position players need to be downgraded significantly. Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon are WR3/flex material, at best, George Kittle is a fringe TE1, and Breida and Morris are flex options.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20189min0


One of golf’s most historic competitions, the biennial Ryder Cup, pits the best American golfers against the best from Europe.

The 2018 Ryder Cup will take place from Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National course near Paris. The venue rotates every two years between U.S. and European courses. The United States came out victorious (17-11) at home in 2016, but Team USA is looking to snap a five-match losing streak in Europe that dates back to 1993.

Ryder Cup schedule, how to watch live

The Ryder Cup will be broadcast live very early in the morning in the U.S., with action starting at 2 a.m. ET on Friday and Saturday, and 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. Fortunately, there will be replays available online at RyderCup.com and via the Ryder Cup apps.

Ryer Cup TV, live-streaming schedule

Day Online/apps Live TV, times (ET)
Thursday 11 a.m. – noon: Opening ceremonies 
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Captain’s conferences
NBC, Golf: 11 a.m.-noon
Friday 2-7 a.m.: Morning featured match 
7:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: Afternoon featured match 
2 p.m.-midnight: Replay
NBC, Golf: 2 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday 2-7 a.m.: Morning featured match 
7:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: Afternoon featured match 
2 p.m.-midnight: Replay
NBC, Golf: 2-3 a.m.
NBC: 3 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday 5:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Singles matches
12:45-1 p.m.: Trophy presentation
3-9:30 p.m.: Replay
NBC: 6 a.m.-1 p.m.

Each Ryder Cup team consists of 12 golfers with one team captain, who does not participate in the event.

The U.S. team was chosen based off of the top eight American players in the Ryder Cup points rankings, followed by four captain’s picks. Team Europe starts with the top four on the European Points List and the top 4 from the World Points List plus four captain’s picks.

Here’s a look at the United States and European Ryder Cup teams with captains’ picks noted with an asterisk. 

U.S. Ryder Cup team

Jim Furyk (captain)
Rickie Fowler
Dustin Johnson
Brooks Koepka
Patrick Reed
Webb Simpson
Jordan Spieth
Justin Thomas
Bubba Watson
Tiger Woods*
Phil Mickelson* 
Bryson DeChambeau* 
Tony Finau* 

European Ryder Cup team

Thomas Bjorn (captain)
Tommy Fleetwood
Tyrrell Hatton
Rory McIlroy
Francesco Molinari
Alex Noren
Thorbjorn Olesen
Jon Rahm
Justin Rose
Ian Poulter*
Henrik Stenson*
Paul Casey*
Sergio Garcia*

2018 Ryder Cup odds

Team USA opened as the favorite to win the 2018 Ryder Cup at -160, but the odds have shrunk to -140 as of Sept. 24, according to Vegas Insider. Team Europe is a +140 underdog despite playing on “home turf.” 

MORE: Why Team USA will win | Why Team Europe will win

Ryder Cup format

The Ryder Cup features five match play sessions spanning three days.

The first two days of the tournament (Friday and Saturday) each include one four-match session of four-ball and one four-match session of foursomes. The final day (Sunday) has 12 singles matches, in which a member of the U.S. team faces a member of the European team.

Each match is worth one point, and matches that end in a draw count for a half-point. The way to win is to be the first team to reach 14.5 points; if the tournament ends in a 14-14 draw, the defending champion (the U.S. this year) will retain the trophy.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 201811min0

HOUSTON — The Rockets have yet to make a decision on whether Carmelo Anthony will start this season — and he said he has not “had that conversation with anybody yet” — but the 10-time All-Star did not shoot down the possibility of coming off the bench for the first time in his career.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 201821min0

The Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals played a fascinating game Monday in St. Louis, complete with plot twists, a 31-minute rain delay in the seventh inning, some ugly mistakes and a surprise ending.

The Brewers won 6-4 and combined with the Pittsburgh Pirateswin over the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee ise once again 1½ games back in the NL Central. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ lead over the Rockies for the second wild card shrunk to a half-game. The NL playoff picture just got a lot more cozy.

Anyway, notes from this game:

— The Brewers started reliever Dan Jennings, but Craig Counsell didn’t even deploy him in the way these “openers” typically have been used. Jennings just faced Matt Carpenter for a lefty-on-lefty matchup and got him to ground out. Freddy Peralta then came on and would pitch the next 3⅔ innings, allowing one run on Carpenter’s RBI double.

— In the bottom of the fifth, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty singled with two outs off Taylor Williams. That didn’t make Counsell happy because, with the game tied 1-1, he had to bring in lefty Josh Hader to face Carpenter. Hader struck him out.

— In the top of the sixth, the Brewers scored two runs without a hit — three walks, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly.

— Hader returned to the mound in the bottom of the sixth. Obviously, he has used to pitching multiple innings, so he’s had many appearances in which he came in, sat as the Brewers batted, then returned to the mound. This time, Jose Martinez homered to center, Paul DeJong walked and Marcell Ozuna lined a rocket out to left-center for a 4-3 Cardinals lead. Both home runs came off 93-mph fastballs.

— The Brewers came right back and tied it up with the help of two walks by Jordan Hicks. Did I mention the Cardinals played a lousy game?

— Carpenter led off the bottom of the inning and Counsell turned to another lefty, Xavier Cedeno. (You have to love September rosters. Or hate them.) Carpenter flew out.

— In the eighth, the Brewers had three straight lefties due up. Mike Shildt went with Bud Norris, who has been mostly awful in the second half, including allowing six runs and seven walks in three innings in September. To be fair, Norris does have a big reverse platoon split this season. Still, it seemed like a questionable decision. With one out, Eric Thames hit a soft liner to right that Martinez, a bad right fielder, turned into a triple. Mike Moustakas then was intentionally walked. Norris decided to throw to first base — the slow-running Moustakas wasn’t going anywhere — and threw it away. Thames scored the go-ahead run. The Brewers tacked on another run.

— With Jeremy Jeffress unavailable due to neck spasms, Counsell turned to former closer Corey Knebel, his ninth pitcher of the night. September baseball, everyone! Knebel hit Carpenter but struck out the side. It was only a few weeks ago that Knebel was exiled to the minors to basically get a mental break after struggling. In September, he has pitched 12⅓ scoreless innings and struck out 24 batters. The slider is back and he’s dominating again like he did in 2017. The way he’s going, he might pitch every game this week.

So, big night. Got all that? Let’s do it again Tuesday.

Rockies club Phillies: The Colorado Rockies10-1 win behind Jon Gray kept the heat on the Los Angeles Dodgers, plus Trevor Story returned to the lineup and went 2-for-5 with two doubles. Story became just the fourth shortstop to reach 80 extra-base hits and 25 steals in a season, joining Hanley Ramirez (2007), Jimmy Rollins (2007) and Alex Rodriguez (1998).

The takeaway from this game: The Phillies look absolutely cooked and they’ve dropped to .500 after sitting 14 games over .500 on Aug. 17, when they were just a half-game out of first place. Obviously, they’d like to finish over .500, so I don’t think they’ve packed it in effort-wise, but they haven’t won a game this month against a winning team. It wouldn’t shock me if the Rockies sweep this four-game series at home.

You won’t believe this … The Arizona Diamondbacks‘ bullpen couldn’t hold a 3-2 lead against the Dodgers, as L.A. scored two runs in the seventh and three in the ninth to pull out a 7-4 win, rescue Clayton Kershaw and remain 1½ up on the Rockies.

Speaking of openers: I’m a little surprised teams haven’t tried that trick against the Dodgers to mess up Dave Roberts and his platoon-heavy lineup. The Diamondbacks could have started a right-hander — say Archie Bradley, who pitched the sixth inning — and then brought in Robbie Ray. Of course, a good manager would see around the strategy, and I guess you wouldn’t use it with Ray or Zack Greinke (who starts Wednesday), but it would make sense to do it with Tuesday starter Matt Koch and see what Roberts does.

Anyway, leaving out the Atlanta Braves, here’s how the NL playoff picture looks (five teams for four spots):

Kluber wins 20th: It seems weird to suggest Corey Kluber has flown under the radar this season, but that has kind of been the case. In the first half, the talk in the American League was about Chris Sale, Luis Severino, Justin Verlander and Kluber’s Cleveland Indians teammate Trevor Bauer. Kluber was great — he made the All-Star team — but a lot of AL pitchers were great.

In the second half, the National League Cy Young race received a lot of attention and Blake Snell made a run in the AL. Kluber kept doing his Kluber things, however, and here he is, winning 20 games for the first time in his career after striking out 11 in seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Kluber becomes the first Indians pitcher to win 20 since Cliff Lee in 2008 (and just the second since Gaylord Perry in 1974) as he adds to an amazing five-year run that began with his breakout Cy Young season in 2014.

Check out the best five-year stretches (by WAR) for some great Cleveland starters:

Bob Feller*, 1938-46: 42.5 (not including partial season in 1945)
Stan Coveleski*, 1917-21: 40.2
Corey Kluber, 2014-18: 32.2 (entering Monday)
Addie Joss*, 1905-09: 30.6
Sam McDowell, 1966-70: 26.7
Early Wynn*, 1952-56: 23.8
Mike Garcia, 1951-55: 21.0
Bob Lemon*, 1948-52: 20.7
(* denotes Hall of Famer)

The question heading into October: How much has Kluber benefited from a weak division? He’s 15-2 with a 2.25 ERA against sub-.500 teams (including 7-0 against the White Sox and Tigers) and 5-5 with a 3.81 ERA against winning teams.

Red Sox set franchise mark for wins: The Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 to win their 106th game and clinch the best record in the majors:

Mookie Betts went 2-for-5 with his 32nd home run to raise his slash line to .343/.434/.639. It feels like he’s pretty much wrapped up the AL MVP. Mike Trout is closest in WAR, but the Los Angeles Angels aren’t making the playoffs and that will hurt him (unfairly) in the voting. J.D. Martinez‘s case seemed to rest on his winning the Triple Crown and that’s not going to happen, plus Mookie has the higher OBP and slugging percentage. Really, Mookie’s season is one of the best in Red Sox history.

Via Baseball-Reference.com, the 10-WAR position players in Red Sox history:

Carl Yastrzemski, 1967: 12.5
Ted Williams, 1946: 10.9
Mookie Betts, 2018: 10.6 (entering Monday)
Ted Williams, 1942: 10.6
Ted Williams, 1941: 10.6
Carl Yastrzemski, 1968: 10.5
Tris Speaker, 1912: 10.1
Rico Petrocelli, 1969: 10.0

Betts, of course, benefits from a great defensive rating, with plus-21 defensive runs saved. Remember, DRS is a reflection of skill and opportunity. Because he’s so good, Betts can go deep into right-center at Fenway and make plays that he may not available in other parks that don’t have the same space. It’s a park that allows guys who are already good to be rewarded, and that’s part of the reason DRS loves Betts so much.

Congrats to King Felix: Felix Hernandez became a U.S. citizen on Monday:

Since he passed the citizenship test, he knows we don’t allow kings in this country. We’ll let him keep the nickname anyway.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20183min0


Brewers slugger Christian Yelich is in the lineup Monday against the Cardinals, despite taking a 94-mph fastball to his his elbow Sunday against the Pirates.

Yelich, possibly the front runner to win National League MVP after a torrid last couple months, remained in the game Sunday night and even stole a base after the injury. But doubts were cast regarding his status Monday after he underwent tests.

In his first season with the Brewers, Yelich is batting .322 with 32 home runs, 96 RBIs, 108 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. 

The Brewers enter Monday’s action just 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs for the NL Central lead.

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