eltics and their rowdy crowd.

eltics and their rowdy crowd.
10 sie 2018 - 05:14:57
It was unheard of not that long ago Jaleel Scott Color Rush Jersey , but now it has become somewhat commonplace: pitchers by committee.

A manager begins a game not with a starting pitcher but a reliever ? and with more relievers to follow.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon, certainly not a stranger to taking a risk, tried it Saturday with poor results against a suddenly hot team that?s not playing like a last-place club.

Don?t look for him to make the same mistake Sunday.

Maddon will run out one of his regular starters, right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-5), at Great American Ball Park to try to avoid a four-game sweep by the Cincinnati Reds, who are playing nothing like the tail-ending team they?ve been all season.

The Reds mounted their second six-game win streak of the year ? the first time they?ve done that since 2012 ? by making quick work of the Cubs? starter-by-committee plans Saturday during an 11-2 victory keyed by the pitching of right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.

And, remarkably, keyed by the hitting of DeSclafani, who hit the Reds? seventh grand slam in 33 days and their third of the week, but the first by a Cincinnati pitcher since Bob Purkey against the Cubs on Aug. 1, 1959.

DeSclafani (3-1) posted his third win in a row while giving up two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Cubs reliever-turned-starter Luke Farrell (2-3) was long gone by then, having been lifted with only a 2-1 deficit and two outs in the third inning. The Reds went on to score eight more runs against the Cubs? bullpen ? and catcher Chris Gimenez, who pitched the eighth inning.

DeSclafani?s shot came with two outs in the third inning against left-hander Brian Duensing http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mike-white-jersey , and it was a no-doubt drive well up into the left-field stands.

?All in all, I was trying to hit the ball hard somewhere and not strike out,? said DeSclafani, who came into the game with a .138 career batting average. ?I knew a fastball was coming and I tried to square it up, and it happened to go out. ? It was awesome. It all happened so quick.?

And slowly the Reds, once 8-27, are starting to play the way they expected when the season started. They?ve won nine of 11 and are 5-0 on their current six-game homestand.

?When you get down in the standings, it can be deflating,? said Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman, who replaced Bryan Price during the terrible start. ?But they kept coming to the ballpark and working hard, and now we?re getting closer to respectability in the standings, though we?re not there yet.?

The Cubs? domination of the Reds is disappearing, too ? going into the series DJ Moore Color Rush Jersey , they?d won 43 of 62 against them in the last four seasons ? as quickly as DeSclafani?s homer reached the seats.

?We?re playing clean baseball ? we?ve run the bases, made plays ? are getting timely hits,? Riggleman said. ?We have a nice string of well-played games.?

This probably isn?t encouraging to the Cubs? faithful, either. Chatwood is 0-4 with a 4.18 ERA in five career appearances against the Reds. He has walked 63 batters in 68 1/3 innings this season.

Despite Chatwood?s lack of success against the Reds, only Joey Votto (2-for-10, .200) has double-digit at-bats against him.

Chatwood opposes right-hander Sal Romano (4-7), who is coming off his best start of the season ? seven shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Romano gave up four hits and struck out six despite walking four in a 9-5 Reds victory in which the Tigers scored all of their runs in the ninth inning.

Romano?s last start against the Cubs wasn?t a good one. He surrendered seven runs and six hits in five innings of a 10-0 Chicago victory on May 19. He is 0-1 against them in two career games.

Maddon gave Kris Bryant the day off Saturday after he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Reds? 6-3 win Friday as he tries to get some of the slumping hitters going. Bryant is likely to be in the lineup Sunday against Romano.

?We?ve got to get (Willson) Contreras going, we?ve got to get KB (Bryant) and (Anthony Rizzo) going,? Maddon said. ?I mean, these were our primary offensive weapons last year, and they really haven?t hit their stride yet.?

J.R. Smith reached out, placed his hands on Al Horford?s back and shoved Boston?s big man out of bounds.

It was the only time Smith was on target.

Smith?s shoddy performance in Game 2 ? he missed all seven shots and committed a flagrant 1 foul in 27 forgettable minutes ? underscored a startling disparity between Cleveland?s and Boston?s starting backcourts that allowed the fearless Celtics to withstand a brilliant, 42-point effort by LeBron James and take a 2-0 series lead.

Smith and point guard George Hill were outscored 41-3 by Boston?s Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier Brian Allen Color Rush Jersey , who were faster, hungrier and maybe tougher.

?I don?t think tougher,? Smith said afterward, showing better defensive instincts than during the game. ?They made shots, we missed shots at the end of the day. We had some good looks, they didn?t fall. For them playing on their home court, they fell. It?s a matter for us to bounce back, go home, try and get (win) two, even the series up and come back here.?

Smith will not be further punished by the NBA for his aggressive foul on Horford, who was in the air when he got pushed and could have been seriously hurt.

Thanks to the league?s odd scheduling, Game 3 is not until Saturday, giving Cavs coach Tyronn Lue plenty of time to consider tweaks to his starting lineup and rotations. After a 25-point lambasting in the opener Youth Sam Darnold Jersey , Lue altered his frontcourt by putting Tristan Thompson with the first five and bringing Kyle Korver off the bench.

The moves worked as Thompson provided needed energy and Korver knocked down four 3-pointers and had Boston?s defense focused on more than James.

Now, Lue has to ponder another shake-up.

One option is to re-insert Korver at small forward, sit Hill and slide James to the point, where he typically plays anyway but where he?ll be more susceptible to double teams and will have to work harder than he is already.

Another possibility is to drop Smith, who is 2 of 16 from the field and missed all seven 3-pointers, from the starting lineup, but that would be risky because of his mercurial nature. Sit him and risk never getting him back.

Lue is willing to live with Smith?s streakiness ? he went 6 for 6 in Game 4 against the Raptors ? but what he can?t afford are the defensive lapses that led to slow rotations and gave Rozier and others wide-open looks in Game 2. Smith has been locked in defensively throughout the postseason, so Lue is assuming he?ll get it together.

Lue?s decision not to play guard Jordan Clarkson for a single minute in Game 2 was curious, mostly because Clarkson is quick enough to handle Rozier and he scored 10 points in Game 1.

Veteran Jose Calderon appears to be out of consideration despite his steadiness and experience. Lue may fear the 36-year-old will be targeted and exposed defensively.

Of course, there?s irony in Cleveland having backcourt issues in this series.

A year ago, Kyrie Irving averaged 25.8 points in the Cavs? five-game rampage over the Celtics in the conference finals. Now an injured Irving sits on Boston?s bench in street clothes unable to help his new teammates while his presence teases the Cavaliers, who have not adequately replaced the All-Star since trading him.

They are finding life in the playoffs is more difficult without Irving, who at times carried Cleveland?s offense Michael Dickson Color Rush Jersey , giving James a break and Lue a dependable second scoring option.

It?s easy to second-guess the decisions now, but it feels as if the Cavs? trades of Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade at the deadline were hasty. Cleveland lacks enough playmakers capable of creating their own shot or opportunities for others.

Hill has been unusually passive in the first two games, and the Cavs need to get him going.

And they certainly need more from Smith, whose frustration surfaced at the worst possible time when his hard foul on Horford riled up the Celtics and their rowdy crowd.

As the referees reviewed the play, Boston fans chanted profanely at Smith, who smirked and later said the taunts didn?t bother him.

?I love it,? he said. ?I don?t want the opposing fans to like me. That?s not why I?m here. They can chant and scream all they want. It actually makes me feel better about myself. They know me.?

The Cavs know him better, and they need Smith to be himself.

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