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Miller and Allen had combined to throw a 46 2/3 of the teams

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Anmeldedatum: 21.10.2016
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BeitragVerfasst am: 21.12.2016, 03:03    Titel: Miller and Allen had combined to throw a 46 2/3 of the teams

NEW ORLEANS -- The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, who last year had the most suffocating defense in the NFL, have been vulnerable this season stopping the run.The New Orleans Saints, who usually live and die on the ageless right arm of Drew Brees, have found some offensive balance by running the ball effectively in back-to-back wins to climb back into playoff contention.While Sundays game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome pits Brees against the Broncos top-ranked pass defense, the outcome could rest on how well the Saints (4-4) can run the ball to keep Denvers defense working overtime. The Broncos (6-3) saw that play out last week as they were on the field for 80 snaps in a 30-20 road loss to the Oakland Raiders.Its concerning because weve been really good at (stopping the run), and then weve given up almost 400 yards lately, Denver coach Gary Kubiak said. Theres also been a lot of big short-yardage plays where we thought we were there to make the tackle, and we didnt tackle well.The Raiders shredded the Broncos last week for 218 yards on 43 carries. Denver has allowed eight rushes of 20 yards or more, third most in the NFL, and it is surrendering the fourth-most rushing yards overall (128.6 per game).The Saints come into Sundays game knowing they can throw the ball -- Brees leads the NFL with an average of 336.1 passing yards per game. New Orleans has also found a spark with its dormant running game.The Saints rushed for 248 yards on 42 carries in a 41-23 road victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week, the most rushing yards in a game in coach Sean Paytons 11 seasons. Tim Hightower and Mark Ingram each have had a 100-yard game in the last two weeks.Payton figures to keeping looking for balance, especially since the Broncos have one of the leagues top pass rushers in linebacker Von Miller.Hes elite, and you would say, clearly, the best pass rusher in our game right now, Payton said. He wins with speed, he wins with power, his get-off is outstanding. If you sit there with the same cadence, you know at the breath of hut hes going to be one step past your tackle. Hes a fantastic player.Kubiak was effusive in his praise of Brees, who has two 400-yard passing games this season along with another three games of at least 323 yards. Brees 21 touchdown passes rank second in the league to Atlantas Matt Ryan (23), and he has thrown just five interceptions.Brees also is the NFCs top third-down passer, completing 72.1 percent, with eight touchdowns against one interception. He ranks third behind Sam Bradford of Minnesota and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay in fourth-quarter passing.Weve faced a lot of good quarterbacks, and this ones got to be on top of the list, Kubiak said. Hes exceptional. One of the finest players Ive ever seen from being a quarterback guy and watching that position.Drews the best passer in the league right now, Miller said. Hes leading the league in passing yards, and its not the first time hes done it. Over the years, hes been (Nos.) 1 or 2. Hes just a great quarterback. He goes through all his progressions. Hes got a high IQ.The Broncos allow a league-low 183.3 yards passing per game.Its a tremendous challenge, Brees said. Theyre defending Super Bowl champs for a reason. Its because theres really not a weak link in that defense. Their front four -- or really front five -- rushers, to their linebacker corps to their secondary, its top notch. All those guys are play-makers. They fly around, they get after you.Trevor Siemian, Denvers first-year starter at quarterback, has struggled with a left shoulder injury, completing just 59.8 percent of his passes with 10 TDs and five interceptions. He took several big hits against the Raiders.Siemian bounced back from a rocky 1-of-7 start to throw for 286 yards and two scores against the Raiders. The Broncos, however, have failed to pick up a first down on 25 of their last 51 possessions in their last four games, and theyve gone 2-2 in those games.Weve got to find some consistency, Kubiak said. I feel really good about what Trevors doing, but, like any other player, hes got to get better.For the Saints, starting left tackle Terron Armstead (knee) is questionable. Linebackers Stephone Anthony (hamstring) and Dannell Ellerbe (quadriceps) are out. Denver cornerback Aqib Talib (lower back) and defensivbe end Derek Wolfe (elbow) are out. Barry Church Cowboys Jersey . -- New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis is retiring after a 16-year career to become the goalie coach for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Jack Crawford Womens Jersey . LOUIS -- Attorneys for the St. . As he recorded his 23rd and 24th points of the evening, a segment of the sellout Air Canada Centre crowd expressed their appreciation for the Raptors point guard with a smattering of MVP chants. Daryl Johnston Cowboys Jersey . The 15th-ranked Canadian men lost the opening two games of their European tour: 19-15 to No. 17 Georgia and 21-20 to No. Brice Butler Womens Jersey . Batiste, who briefly signed with the Eskimos in 2006, has spent time with several NFL teams including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins. CHICAGO -- The Cleveland Indians are too busy trying to beat the Chicago Cubs to give much thought to the idea that theyre changing the face of postseason baseball. But theyve definitely made the unorthodox fashionable while going 8-2 in October and splitting the first two games of the World Series.The Indians have logged a 1.82 team ERA this month with a modestly-priced pitching staff, and theyve used reliever Andrew Miller in ways that conjure memories of a time when men were men and a fire-breathing Goose Gossage roamed the earth. Theyre big fans of the platoon advantage. And while they love to put pressure on opposing pitching staffs with the running game, a lot of their stolen bases come from segments of the batting order traditionally known more for their slugging than baserunning acumen.Baseball is a copycat sport, and the question invariably arises when a team finds new ways to thrive in October. When the San Francisco Giants reeled off three titles in five years, all the talk was about their homegrown pitching talent and their pitcher-friendly ballpark. In 2014 and 2015, the Kansas City Royals won pennants with defensive-oriented, contact-hitting lineups, and they showed that walks werent necessary a vital part of success in the postseason.So what lessons can be gleaned from the Indians 94-win regular season and their impressive October? Theyre an inspirational team, for sure. But can their winning formula make them trendsetters?I would be careful about drawing too many conclusions from it, said Cleveland president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti. Every market has its own challenges and opportunities, and its incumbent on each leadership group to figure out how to be successful with the group of players they have and the organizational circumstances.Were no different than any other team. We just try to take what we have and make the most of it.Is Antonetti just being modest? The Indians deserve credit for being resourceful and open-minded, but theyre also dealing with financial constraints because of their media market, low attendance and other economic concerns. They havent ranked among the top 20 MLB teams in payroll since 2009, so they have to hustle to keep pace in the American League Central.Theyve shown a lot of creativity with an inflexible budget, said a competing MLB executive. But its not all strategic. You cant shop in the Mercedes aisle when you can only afford a Honda.Here are four areas in which the Indians have flourished while coloring outside the lines.Bullpen use Andrew Miller has been, without question, the dominant figure for Cleveland in the postseason. He has yet to allow a run this month while striking out 24 batters and walking four in 13 2/3 innings.Amid a chorus of voices that say Miller is revolutionizing bullpen use with his strategically-placed two-inning stints, his performance this postseason seems difficult to emulate. Hes extremely talented, but also selfless and adaptable in a way that makes him extraordinary.You have arguably one of the top five back-end relievers in baseball throwing in the sixth and seventh innings because he just doesnt care, second baseman Jason Kipnis said. Hes doing it to win ballgames, and thats rubbed off on a bunch of other guys.The toughest, least appreciated part of Millers role is the down time between all those swings and misses. As Miller attests, its not so much throwing 40 pitches in an outing, but rather, the 10-15 minutes he has to sit in the dugout between the 22 pitches one inning and the 18 pitches the next. Miller, his fellow Cleveland relievers and manager Terry Francona all think it would be a tough routine to maintain during a 162-game grind.The perception that relievers who gripe about their roles are automatically divas isnt entirely fair. Most pitchers develop set routines over time and are conditioned to perform better when they have a general sense when theyre going to be used.Ultimately there has to be a little bit of structure where guys know what inning theyre going to pitch most of the time, said Indians closer Cody Allen. If were playing against Kansas City in a big in-division series, it could go a little different.But youre ultimately trying to protect your guys and win games at the same time. If Tito [Francona] tried to do for 162 games what hes done throughout this postseason, theres a chance you might not have those guys there for October.Platoon advantagesCleveland has five switch-hitters on its World Series roster: Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, Coco Crisp and Michael Martinez. Thats one short of the record number of switch-hitters on a Series roster held by the 1987 St. Louis Cardinals, who had maneuverability to spare with Willie McGee, Vince Coleman, Terry Pendletonn, Ozzie Smith, Tommy Herr and Jose Oquendo.ddddddddddddSince Ive been here, I think weve had about three every year, so that really helps, Francona said. If youre trying to create a platoon advantage, youre always going to have a head start on everybody else because of the switch-hitters.With All-Star Michael Brantley on the shelf for all but 11 games, the Indians employed platoons at all three outfield spots during the regular season. In left field, not a single Cleveland player surpassed 165 at-bats, but Rajai Davis, Jose Ramirez, Abraham Almonte, Brandon Guyer and four others combined to rank fifth in the majors with a .787 OPS at the position.While Bob Melvin and the Oakland As are the acknowledged masters of platooning, small-market teams arent the only ones going all-in on time-share arrangements these days. The big-money Los Angeles Dodgers went heavy on platoons with their outfield in 2016, and there were rumblings of discontent in the clubhouse. As a rule, its typically more challenging to get an established player such as Andre Ethier or Howie Kendrick to buy into a platoon arrangement than it would be for the Indians to sell the idea to a Guyer or Davis.Francona recently said this season marked the first time in his managerial career that not a single player griped about taking a seat or being lifted for a pinch-hitter. The Indians talk incessantly about how theyve bought into a collective win-above-all-else culture and sacrificed personal goals for the good of the team.I know everybody wants to play every day, Francona said. I get it. I just think when we use all 25, were a little better team than just using 18 or 19.The speed-challenged leadoff manThe Athletics popularized the concept of on-base ability as paramount atop of the order when they used Jeremy Giambi and Scott Hatteberg at leadoff during the advent of the Moneyball debate. So the Indians arent exactly breaking new ground by using Santana, their designated hitter, in the No. 1 spot this postseason. Santana has 35 stolen bases in 962 career games, and at a stocky 5-11, 210 pounds, hell never remind anyone of Billy Hamilton.During the regular season, Santana split his time between leadoff and the No. 5 hole, and the players around him ran freely enough for Cleveland to lead the American League with 134 stolen bases. Davis enjoyed a rebirth at age 36 and stole 43 bags. Kipnis 15 steals in the No. 2 hole were the third most by any MLB hitter in that spot in the order this year. Francisco Lindor stole 18 bases as Clevelands No. 3 hitter, and Ramirez collected 13 steals out of the fifth spot.The Indians were aggressive on the bases, but their unpredictability was just as impressive.A cost-efficient approach to pitchingCleveland got lots of bang for the buck from its starting rotation in 2016. Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin earned a combined $13.5 million while helping the Tribe log an aggregate 4.08 starter ERA -- second best in the American League behind Toronto.The Indians never chase the elite free agents, and its been clear since they traded away Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia that theyre challenged to keep their own. But theyve been adept at pouncing on high-upside candidates in trades and exercising the requisite patience to let those pitchers figure it out.While Kluber is now regarded as one of baseballs elite starters, it took him four seasons to emerge after Cleveland acquired him by trade from San Diego. Kluber was 29 years old when the Indians locked him up to a five-year, $38.5 million contract extension in 2015.Were always patient, especially with pitching, because we cant let somebody go somewhere else and be good, Francona said.As impressive as Clevelands October pitching numbers have been, theres reason to wonder if the Indians can maintain it for another week. Through the World Series opener, Kluber, Miller and Allen had combined to throw a 46 2/3 of the teams 80 postseason innings. Bauers shaky performance in a 5-1 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday certainly didnt inspire much confidence that hell be the answer his next time out.So Francona will ride his horse all the way to the finish. If the Indians and Cubs play seven, Kluber will join Curt Schilling of the 2001 Diamondbacks and Chris Carpenter of the 2011 Cardinals as the first pitcher since Jack Morris of the 1991 Twins to start three games in a World Series.As events began to unfold and the options became clear, the Indians took stock as a group and chose a relatively novel path. Their success this month might not be revolutionary or groundbreaking. But theyre never afraid to think bold. Cheap Jerseys NFL Jerseys From China ' ' '
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