The Shohei Ohtani Experience: Keep track of the Angels phenom’s two-way quest

As a starting pitcher and a designated hitter, Los Angeles Angels rookie Shohei Ohtani is embarking on a two-way journey that no major leaguer has successfully pulled off since Babe Ruth himself. Will Ohtani dominate on the mound and crush at the plate?

You still see him get a little flustered out there, manager Mickey Callaway said. But he regroups and makes the next pitch. Today he won the game for us because he did that, because they easily could have tacked on some runs there early. He held them right where he needed to hold them.

New York’s bullpen leads the majors in losses but limited Miami to one hit in the final 3 2/3 innings. Jeurys Familia completed the four-hitter with a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit his 14th homer off Dan Straily (3-4). Todd Frazier had two hits and scored three times, and Kevin Plawecki doubled home New York’s first run.

Straily allowed three runs in seven innings, matching his longest outing of the year. Cameron Maybin hit his first homer for the Marlins, but they slipped back into last place in the division.

We just didn’t do a whole lot with Matz, manager Don Mattingly said. That’s probably the best I’ve seen him.

Matz loaded the bases with two out in the second by walking Straily, an .056 career hitter, but then struck out Starlin Castro to escape.

Matz also reached behind his legs to snare Lewis Brinson’s grounder and retire him in the fourth. But the left-hander failed to come up with Straily’s safety squeeze bunt with two out in the inning, allowing Miguel Rojas to score from third.

Do Yankees enjoy Subway Series games at Citi Field? Not necessarily

Here’s manager Aaron Boone’s explanation:

It’s hard to not have him in the lineup. Today, obviously not having our DH, so it’s one of our outfielders who is going to sit. He’ll be back in there (Saturday) I’m sure against (with the Mets starting left-hander Steven) Matz and (there’s) a good chance he’ll be in there Sunday.

Owens — he also skipped out of Minneapolis during Super Bowl weekend, saying he had to play in a basketball game in Los Angeles rather than take a bow with his Hall classmates — hasn’t revealed exactly how he’ll celebrate what he calls one of the greatest days of his life when he’s inducted.

But he won’t be in Canton. Maybe Owens has issues deeper than many can relate to, or perhaps it’s just a function of his particular worldview.

Sometimes, we just don’t understand and can only turn to a higher power.

That’s not what presents itself to him at this particular point in time. But skillset, he can do it all. He can catch. He can run. He can run routes as a receiver. He just happens to be here. And I’m glad we’ve got him.

Frazier, who said he hasn’t kept in close contact with his old teammates, was pumped about facing the Yankees.

The Yankees and Frazier talked about an offseason reunion but the Toms River native couldn’t pass up the $17-million, two-year offer the Mets made him.

It’s going to be awesome, he said. We’re playing at home. What could be better at that? The fans are going to be lit out there. They’re going to be excited. Can’t wait to be out there during BP, the excitement and that stuff. See the crowd coming in will only make it that much.

Goff’s field-tilting advantage lies in the beautiful mind guiding him at the line of the scrimmage. Similar to former Bengals mad scientist Sam Wyche’s no-huddle attack in the 1980s, McVay has done deep studies on substitution patterns, seeking the exact moment on the play clock when defenses adjust to his personnel.

When the Around The NFL Podcast sat down with Les Snead in late March, the Rams general manager provided a telling response to the question of McVay’s influence on Goff’s pre-snap acumen.

Execution and sequencing, LeBlanc said I’m throwing the same stuff I did in past seasons.

His last start was the best outing of his career, 7 2/3 shutout innings of two-hit ball with nine strikeouts and no walks in a 1-0 Mariners’ win at home over the Boston Red Sox. Mookie Betts led off the game with a hit, then Boston didn’t have another baserunner until two outs in the eighth.

I executed pitches and when they hit them, they went right to guys, LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc is staying humble. He knows there are ups and downs in baseball. His career is proof, as he’s 33-35 with a 4.23 ERA playing for seven teams over 10 big-league seasons from 2008-2014 and 2016-18.

By the way, his return to the Yankees bullpen before Tuesday’s game brought back one of his favorite baseball memories. He was with the Yankees for 12 days in June 2014, and prior to his one outing, he charged out of the Yankees bullpen and crossed paths with Derek Jeter during his jog to the mound.

Put it all together and you have a handful of dudes who can become stars this year (Coleman, Gordon, Njoku, Chubb, Johnson) and several who have already done big things (Landry, Gordon, Hyde, Johnson). 

When you look at the supporting cast in place for Taylor and Mayfield, it becomes clear the Browns are no longer a punchline. 

A healthy and hot Green can make up for the lack of talent elsewhere, but even he’s coming off the worst statistical complete season of his career (he averaged a career-low 67.4 yards per game and caught a career-low 52 percent of the passes thrown his way). If he doesn’t get back on track in 2018, Dalton will have one of the worst supporting casts in the league.

Unfortunately for Alex Smith, the league’s highest-rated passer in 2017 won’t have as much support at the offensive skill positions in his new home. 

Smith, who was traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Washington Redskins this offseason, joins an offense that is loaded with question marks. 

If Doctson and/or Richardson come through, Reed stays healthy and Guice delivers, Smith could have a top-10 arsenal. But that’s hoping for a lot. Still, the Redskins stay out of the bottom tier here based on potential and because pass-catching back Chris Thompson could be a game-changer if he can bounce back from the leg injury that ended his breakout 2017 season prematurely. 

When Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham walked as free agents in March, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson lost two players who caught 16 of the 34 touchdown passes he threw in 2017.

Cardinals’ Alex Reyes reveals 1-year-old daughter is battling cancer

Cardinals starting pitcher Alex Reyes told reporters Tuesday his one-year-old daughter is battling cancer.

Reyes, who recently found out he will miss the rest of the season with a torn tendon in his right shoulder, said his daughter Aleyka was diagnosed with the disease when she was five months old.

While the Penn State product came to East Rutherford with plenty of accolades and lofty expectations upon his wide shoulders as the No. 2 pick in the draft, all of that will have to be checked at the door. His teammates will make sure of it.

Heck, you get a guy like that that’s talented, everybody’s excited about it, left tackle Nate Solder said. But it doesn’t matter what has been said or hasn’t been said, what matters is what we do when it comes down to it.

The recent histories of Sporting News’ annual NFL general manager rankings and annual NFL executive of the year award illustrate how hard it is to be a decision-making executive in the league.

Some who we have ranked last in a given year have gone on to win our award soon after — see the Raiders’ Reggie McKenzie and the Eagles’ Howie Roseman. There also are a couple we have honored with the hardware — the Colts’ Ryan Grigson and the Panthers’ Dave Gettleman — who didn’t stay in their positions for long.

Managing an NFL team comes with so many different tasks — evaluating, drafting, signing, re-signing, not signing, trading, spending, saving. That’s why it’s so difficult to measure one GM in relation to another. Fate can change quickly based on one home-run class of acquisitions or one decimating offseason of personnel downgrades.

It comes down to the overall quality of the moves and how they did or did not translate to a winning product, with bonus points for consistency.

Robby Anderson wasn’t apologetic.

Marcus Mariota more than willing to continue growing with current receivers

Titans tight end Delanie Walker said recently that he’d welcome Dez Bryant to Tennessee to round out the team’s wide receiver group, but there hasn’t been a sign that the team is plotting a move to bring the veteran to Nashville.

Mariota plans to get the receivers together before training camp starts in July and we’ll have to wait to find out if anyone new will be joining that group.

Owens’ decision comes after a drawn-out induction process to the Hall. Despite being second in career receiving yards behind Jerry Rice, the controversial wideout did not receive enough votes in 2016 and 2017 to get into Canton. His sometimes contentious relationship with the media and polarizing personality likely played a role in the delay.

Owens is also third in career touchdown receptions with 153, as he played for 14 years and made headlines with his stellar play and affinity for dramatic celebrations.

After playing in San Francisco for seven years, he spent two seasons in Philadelphia and three in Dallas, before ending his career with brief stops in Buffalo and Cincinnati. Owens, 44, has recently said he would like to return to the NFL, even highlighting the potential benefits of returning to the 49ers.

Belt was expected to be discharged from the hospital Saturay afternoon.

He will likely go on the disabled list and need an estimated two to three weeks to recover. SFGate.com notes Andres Torres had an appendectomy in September 2010 and returned in 13 days, but that was considered quick.

Belt was replaced Friday by Pablo Sandoval, but losing Belt to the DL is be a big loss for the Giants. Prior to Friday’s game, he led the Giants in batting average (.307), home runs (11) and RBIs (31).

He’s been swinging the bat as well as anybody in the National League, second baseman Joe Panik said of Belt (via SFGate.com). You never want to take that bat out of the lineup and that glove out of the field. Hopefully he’ll bounce back quickly and have the year we know he can have.

He missed all 16 games and spent the last month of season rehabbing in Europe.

N.J. lawmakers OK sports betting. But will Phil Murphy allow it to begin Friday?

New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday passed historic legislation that would finally authorize legal sports betting in the state — though there’s still confusion about when you can actually begin placing bets.

Both houses of the state Legislature overwhelmingly approved the measure, which would allow people over the age of 21 to bet on sports games, both online and in person at casinos and racetracks — and bring millions in new tax revenue to the state each year.

That means casinos and tracks could begin offering bets as soon as the state Legislature passes the bill — without having to wait for Gov. Gov. Phil Murphy to sign it into law.

The Giants stick out like a sore thumb coming off a 3-13 season, but Brandt previously said they had the best offseason of any team in the NFL.

One problem for the Giants? The division rival Eagles are ranked as the most-talented team coming off a Super Bowl title.

In short, New York has a chance to emulate Philly’s worst-to-first run from last year — especially if the Giants can master the Eagles in their head-to-head matches this season.

The Giants will face five of the other nine teams included in Brandt’s list during a grueling regular- season schedule.

Colin Kaepernick’s attorneys likely to subpoena President Trump: Is Giants’ John Mara next?

When her story came to the attention of the Yankees, the team offered her their support and let the world know that they are against bullying by filming a video of their own featuring virtually the entire roster and manager Aaron Boone. The team let her know that the Yankees were her friends, and that they’d love to have her at their lunch table in the clubhouse.

It meant so much to her and our family to see the Yankees get behind her, said her father, James Warner. What makes me so proud of Cassidy was that it wasn’t just about her. She wanted to make things better for other kids.

Waiting for the dramatic turn in Kaepernick case to come

As noted on Thursday, the dramatic turn in the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance promised by lawyer Mark Geragos presents its own drama. Either Geragos delivers or he doesn’t, and he’ll take the heat that goes along with writing a check that reality couldn’t honor if there is no dramatic turn.

Although it’s been impossible to track down any details in the day or so since Geragos said what he said, I get the feeling it’s not Lockhart. I get the feeling it could be someone in even better position to drop the kind of dime that would indeed result in, well, it would be immature to use it a fifth time.

The Warriors are trying to join Bill Russell’s Celtics, the Bulls led by Michael Jordan and the Lakers’ trio of title runs fueled by George Mikan in the 1950s, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the ’80s, and Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant nearly 20 years ago as the only franchises in NBA history to capture three championships in four years.

The Warriors are halfway there, holding a 2-0 lead against the underdog Cavs as the series shifts to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday.

Listen, Golden State is one of the best teams I’ve ever played. It’s one of the best teams that’s ever been assembled, said James, who is playing in his eighth straight NBA Finals and fourth in a row against Golden State.

Curry, sharp-shooting Klay Thompson, fiery Draymond Green and 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala make up an All-Star-studded squad trying to repeat after James thwarted that quest two years ago when the Cavs stopped the defending champs. Kevin Durant bolted from Oklahoma City to join the cast last season.

J.R. Smith’s mistake became a teaching tool for the Bears

jets_136Basketball and football are completely different games, but Bears coaches found a teachable moment for their players in the first game of the NBA Finals.

Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith blew a chance to break a tie in the final seconds of regulation when he followed up an offensive rebound by dribbling out the clock instead of shooting the ball. Smith initially said he knew the score of the game, but later admitted that he can’t say I was sure of anything at that point.

As the song goes, tomorrow is only a day away. Brady’s attendance might be more necessary for a quarterback who needs to get comfortable with four new receivers: Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kenny Britt and Braxton Berrios. That’s a lot of new names to remember, especially when a familiar face likely won’t be around come Week 1.

I’ve been throwing the ball down the field a lot more. Every quarterback loves that, he said, via the New York Daily News.

Under Ben McAdoo’s guidance the past several seasons, the Giants were a dink-and-dunk operation, often relying on Odell Beckham Jr. to make a defender miss to earn a big play.

In 2017, Manning averaged 5.51 air yards per pass, via Next Gen Stats, the fourth-lowest among qualifying players. Manning also ranked in the bottom 10 in longest air distance (46.2) and longest air distance yards (35.07). The Giants ‘ pass offense was an inefficient mess, especially without Beckham. Manning finished 2017 with a 5.7 adjusted yards gained per pass attempt, 26th in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference.

$470,588 in base salary plus $125,000 in per-game roster bonuses and $392,157 of his signing bonus will also be recouped. He will not be able to be at the Patriots’ facility for meetings or practice or have contact with members of the coaching staff during his suspension.