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Next are the Houston Astros at +550. The Astros were +2200 to win the World Series on Opening Day, but now enter the second half tied for the best record in the AL at 55-36. Tied with +800 odds are the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres, just ahead of the New York Mets at +900 and the Boston Red Sox at +1000. Atlanta Braves

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Rocker comes from athletic bloodlines, with his father Tracy having played briefly in the NFL before embarking on a coaching career that has had multiple stops in the pro and college ranks. He's currently the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive line coach. Rocker's uncle, David, played in the NFL as well.

Tomase: Sale's veteran leadership could be a game-changer for Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports BostonArizona Diamondbacks

But the issues that plagued him late that season carried over into 2019, and in March of 2020, after exhausting all hopes for a natural recovery, he underwent Tommy John surgery. He has been rehabbing ever since, with early setbacks that included a bout with COVID slowing his progress.Boston Red Sox

“When he really started to become more and more of a hitter, everyone was so indexed on what a great hitter he was, these long balls that he was hitting,” Stevens said of Ruth, whose 714 career home runs ushered in a new era of power-hitting in the sport. “It was just so novel at the time. I don’t think people were necessarily quite as focused or impressed at the fact that he could do both so well.”Chicago White Sox

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you saw the guy topple over the railing trying to catch. Matt Olson home run, right?

And he’s proved he can still be Kris Bryant regardless of the glove on his left hand. After an injury-ravaged pandemic season, Bryant is once again banging, hitting 16 first-half home runs with an .854 OPS; his league-adjusted OPS of 133 is in line with his career norm. A strong second half, and Bryant can illustrate that his 2018 and ’20 seasons were injury-plagued outliers among his seven years of general greatness.

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Middleton rarely shows emotion on the court or in the media interview room. He plays it straight, rarely veering out of that lane. He embodies the never too high, never too low cliché.Phoenix Suns

For me, it's not hard because I understand, or at least for me right now, I understand my place on the team. We can all score. There's guys on the team that's averaged 30. I'm close to 28, 30 points per game myself. So if we all get the ball, we obviously all know how to put the ball in the hoop. But we each need to have a role on this team. It needs to be a team instead of just a group of All-Stars and All-NBA players. Or we're not going to win.San Antonio Spurs

The Suns also lost because guard Devin Booker could not buy a bucket. He had 10 points while shooting 3-of-14 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range merely three days after stringing together a 31-point performance in Game 2. The Suns also lost because center Deandre Ayton played only 24 minutes after collecting five fouls, which overshadowed his 18-point performance on 8-of-11 shooting with nine rebounds.Utah Jazz

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Locked on Warriors podcast host Wes Goldberg pointed to Portland’s need to improve defensively and Golden State’s need for offense as reasoning Anthony might be a better fit for the Warriors. Both teams are in line to reshuffle their rosters around their star player this offseason.

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Fans broke out their ''Bucks in 6! Bucks in 6!'' chant as Milwaukee started to pull away in the first half and then again as the benches emptied with the final minutes.

Suns center Deandre Ayton said people who know Booker and see him work daily have no doubt what's coming.Orlando Magic

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Silva is a 6’9″ forward who played four seasons at Stanford. He averaged a college-high 18.5 points per game as a senior to go with 6.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 blocks and 0.9 steals. At this stage, he’s more of an inside scorer who can draw fouls, but his 3-point percentage could blossom if he starts attempting more.
According to multiple reports, Weber has had lingering foot, ankle, knee and thumb injuries. TVA Sports reported that the Canadiens will expose Weber, 35, in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, as he could miss all of next season and potentially more than that.Anaheim Ducks

Tough calls: The consensus out of Toronto seems to be that the Maple Leafs are going to protect a fourth defenseman, going with the eight skaters and one goalie. If so, Holl ($2 million AAV for two more seasons) could be protected while center Alex Kerfoot ($3.5 millon AAV for two more seasons) would be exposed. Travis Dermott, another cost-effective defenseman at $1.5 million AAV for the next two seasons, would also be Kraken bait. Keep in mind that coach Dave Hakstol was a Leafs assistant coach before he left for the Kraken, so he knows this roster well.Boston Bruins

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After all, Ducharme was isolated from Game 3 of the Semifinal to Game 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final after a positive COVID test. Ducharme could absolutely help plan between games, but it only makes his impact cloudier overall.

Alex Ovechkin’s contract extension appears to be a formality, with the caveat that it is expected it will come after the expansion draft next week so the Capitals can protect one more forward. The team needs to shed salary, but how much salary they need to rid themselves of will depend upon whoever gets selected by the Kraken.New Jersey Devils

Bishop, who missed all season recovering from knee surgery, went to GM Jim Nill to offer to waive his no-movement clause so the Stars could protect Khudobin. Bishop could either become for the Kraken what Marc-Andre Fleury was for the Golden Knights as an established goalie for an expansion team or return to Dallas with Khudobin and Jake Oettinger.

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Vancouver started the season going 8-14-2. It never recovered. Then COVID-19 hit the team and the Canucks went 24 days between games. The NHL mandated that the team finish its season, when ending it and seeding the division through points percentage would have been the humane thing to do, on several fronts. Yet the team battled on, and actually made a short-lived playoff push. There are some hopeful takeaways.Calgary Flames

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The Novi Police Department has not requested charges in Kivlenieks' Fourth of July death, Lt. Jason Meier said Monday.
“When we walked in, in 2012 we realized that this was going to be a really long process to get good. We didn’t feel like we had the right pieces together,” Hoyer said. “Now I think with the players we have I don’t see any reason why this needs to be a long process.”Cincinnati Reds

But when he heard his name called, Bachman smiled wide as the rest of his watch party erupted around him, swarming the pitcher with hugs and high-fives after he became the first first-round pick in school history.Kansas City Royals

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If you’re having trouble getting a deal to the finish line, it might be time to reassess your valuations of your players. Many managers fall in love with their current cast, remembering all of their successes more vividly than those of players on opposing teams. Taking an objective look at the stats generated by your players thus far could open your eyes to some of their deficiencies. A simple way to analyze your own players is to look at their placement on the Yahoo! rankings thus far. You may love your first baseman, but if he ranks 15th among all those at his position, he hasn’t been especially productive. And although it’s fine to have some players who you expect to improve in the second half, you can’t be naïve enough to expect them all to step up.Oakland Athletics

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Hamel graduated from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona, known in baseball circles as the alma mater of Cody Bellinger, who went straight from the Huskies to the Dodgers in 2013.

It was phenomenal theatre. It would have made a fantastic talking point this week. But the Astro at the center of it all will be invisible.

“I’m in awe of what this guy is doing. It’s really good for the game,” the Cubs’ Kris Bryant said. “And I’m sure he’s making his country real proud, too.”Cleveland Indians

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Ohtani has been the anchor, with a 3.49 ERA, 87 strikeouts and 4-1 record over his first 13 starts. Alex Cobb has also been solid, with a 4.23 ERA, 74 strikeouts and 6-3 mark over his first 13 starts.
F: Blake Wheeler (NMC) F: Kyle Connor F: Nikolaj Ehlers F: Mark Scheifele F: Pierre-Luc Dubois F: Andrew Copp F: Adam Lowry D: Neal Pionk D: Josh Morrissey D: Dylan DeMelo G: Connor HellebuyckChicago Blackhawks

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The projected Krejci deal is pretty solid. He said after the season that he can't envision himself playing for another team, so maybe he'd take somewhat of a hometown discount.

What to do about the expansion draft. The Canadiens are likely to lose someone of note in the Seattle expansion draft, even with all of these unrestricted free agents. Forwards Jake Evans, Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen could be exposed. One wonders whether Jonathan Drouin, who took an indefinite leave of absence from the team for personal reasons in April, could be left exposed. He has two years left on his contract at $5.5 million against the cap. Defensemen Shea Weber and Jeff Petry will be protected, which means either Ben Chiarot or Joel Edmundson could be available to the Kraken. Then there's valuable backup goalie Jake Allen, who will also be exposed, as they protect Carey Price.Anaheim Ducks

A scoring winger, Poltapov potted 25 goals and 27 assists in 61 MHL contests this season. He's strong on his skates, protects the puck effectively, and thinks the game well. If his skating progresses, Poltapov could end up a steal for some lucky NHL club. He works relentlessly hard.

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While most are in agreement the Massachusetts native is headed for a long NHL career as a second-line center, a top-unit role is hardly out of the question.Edmonton Oilers

Let's be honest, Blackhawks management didn't expect this to be a playoff team, not after spending the preseason preaching transparency, then having GM Stan Bowman trot out for a series of interviews explaining the rebuild (which apparently had already begun).

If the Canadiens stick with Ducharme as coach as expected, then it is crucial to watch how he brings along young players.Dallas Stars
Jefferies did not fit in with the Mets of the '80s, leading to his stint in Flushing only lasting from 1988 to 1991. He was traded to the Kansas City Royals before the 1992 season, and blossomed with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he made the All-Star team in 1993 and 1994.Atlanta Braves

Bryant appeared to crack a smile as he returned to the dugout, acknowledging postgame he thought the ball was going to drop in.San Diego Padres

While Chicago has already tipped its hand as sellers in this trade market, Atlanta may not be punting on the 2021 MLB season just yet. Despite never being above .500 at any point this year, the Braves are only four games back of the New York Mets in the NL East standings.

If the Blue Jays are not given an exemption for the 10-game homestand July 30, the next homestand begins Aug. 20.

Video replay of Altuve agitatedly motioning to his jersey and shaking his head and finger in a "no" gesture as he rounded third base inspired a debate over whether the Astros were cheating by using buzzers under their jerseys which would let them know what pitch was coming.Cleveland Indians

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While that mark could have them within striking distance of the New York Mets in the NL East, too bad Cleveland plays in the AL Central. Cleveland trails the Chicago White Sox by eight games in the division standings. With a rebuild coming at some point, it might serve them to sell high on a few marquee assets at the deadline. They have several key contributors who become available soon.Colorado Rockies

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Of course, just because someone isn't a top-five, top-10, top-15 pick doesn't mean they can't wind up a franchise cornerstone. Anderson, just to use a recent example, was picked at No. 17. More famously, Mark Buehrle was selected in the 38th round.
They rounded off their pre-Olympic qualification on Tuesday by suffering a 108-69 blowout loss to number three-ranked Australia, a team they will face in their opening game at the Olympics later this month.San Antonio Spurs

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As part of the deal, Boehly will join the Lakers’ board of directors to represent his and Walter’s interests. The Lakers are controlled by Jeanie Buss, whose late father Jerry bought the team in 1979. The stake includes the right of first refusal on any other Lakers shares that may come to market, putting Walter and Boehly in position to control the team should the Buss family ever decide to sell.Toronto Raptors

There's nothing new about an NBA coach trying to plant a seed for a favorable whistle as a series goes on. It's as much a part of the league as signature sneakers and backdoor alley-oops.

But if both Craig and Saric are out, Phoenix would have a question mark for their eighth man. Nader may be in position to step up.Oklahoma City Thunder

If the Bucks win, we're back to a best-of-three series. Phoenix would likely be favored to win because they're tough at home, but it would be a series again. As it stands, the Suns are a pretty significant -275 favorite to win the NBA Finals. But at least the Bucks would have a shot if they tie the series 2-2. 

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Boehly is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Eldridge, a holding company that invests in businesses involving sports and gaming, media and real estate. He is part-owner of the Dodgers.

I see how my mom was grinding every day to make the most out of a bad situation.Phoenix Suns
Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said in a release announcing the deal that Keith “will go down as one of the best and most driven defensemen this game has ever seen.”

This isn’t McGuire’s first time working for an NHL team. Before he got into broadcasting, he was a scout for the Penguins and later an assistant coach with Scotty Bowman when Pittsburgh won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. He would move on to the Whalers beginning with the 1992-93 season and worked as an assistant coach, assistant general manager, and head coach. Between 1994 and 1996 he was a pro scout and an assistant in the Senators organization.

His best postseason came in 2017 when Rinne led the Predators to their only Stanley Cup Final. Rinne went 14-8 with a 1.96 GAA and .930 save percentage. He helped Nashville sweep Chicago before beating St. Louis, then Anaheim before losing to Pittsburgh in six games in a run Rinne said he'll never forget.

Playoff MVP Andrei Vasilevskiy placed the Conn Smythe Trophy on his head, much to the delight of drenched spectators soaked by the rain and champagne sprayed by players.Anaheim Ducks

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What Sharks fans need to know about the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports BayareaChicago Blackhawks

He had 29 points in 31 games after the trade to the Rangers and in the 2005-2006 season Jagr tallied 123 points with 54 goals. He finished second in Hart Trophy voting for league MVP that year. Jagr played out his contract with New York and left for big money in Russia's KHL in 2008 before eventually returning to the NHL.  New York Rangers

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Perhaps it was only fitting they were a package deal on the way out like they were on the way in. Parise and Suter will enter free agency at the same time July 28.Philadelphia Flyers

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The deadline for Leonard’s latest decision is Aug. 1, 2021. Until then, all we can do is wish him a speedy recovery.

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Are the Warriors reaching out about a trade these stars? Yes, they are. Golden State executive vice president of basketball operations Kirk Lacob was honest about it when appearing on the Dub Talk Podcast at NBC Sports Bay Area.San Antonio Spurs

Are Warriors checking trade status of other stars? ‘Absolutely. Why wouldn’t we?’ originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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Murphy, similar to Virginia players of the past like Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris, hardly got a chance to show his full stock in coach Tony Bennett's strict system. He shot 43% from beyond the arc and averaged 11.3 points on just around seven shot attempts a game. His game will take off in the pros.

At 39 years old, Green would be significantly younger than each of the previous two Pelicans coaches. Stan Van Gundy was 61 years old when hired last fall while Alvin Gentry 64 years old when fired last year.Washington Wizards

Van Gundy got into hot water during Game 2 for his incredibly unfortunate choice of words to describe Devin Booker. Van Gundy was back at it in Game 3, this time staying way from outwardly problematic language yet not veering too far outside the lane of nonsensicalness.Sacramento Kings

"Yes. They’d make a call and have already internally discussed the idea, as I’m sure most contenders have, considering the rising smoke out of Portland," The Athletic's Anthony Slater writes.Oklahoma City Thunder

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Atlanta Braves star Freddie Freeman is clearly devastated over Ronald Acuña Jr.’s torn ACL that ended his season. Detroit Tigers

Carrasco allowed one hit and struck out two batters over 2.0 IP and 27 pitches in his first rehab start for High-A Brooklyn on July 15. He threw 19 strikes and his fastball touched 94 mph during the outing.Cincinnati Reds

The Yankees, at 46-43 after a topsy-turvy first half, are an enormous disappointment so far in a season many believed would generate a deep October run. This report card on their first half will reflect their mediocre state and the fact that their status as a real contender has fallen into the “debatable” category.

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There's an interesting thing about that Giants dynasty, though. Bochy managed plenty of stars, nearly all of whom showed up when he retired after the 2019 season. But at the time, none of the past champions who surrounded Bochy on the field were guaranteed to one day join him in Cooperstown. That might be changing. Cleveland Indians

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Rizzo, meanwhile, turned down a five-year deal worth $70 million. Hitting .249 with low-end power on the season, it’s easy to see him in a similar position to Baez, hurting his long-term value.

Rather than use a committee approach for center field which originally consisted of Verdugo, Kiké Hernández, and Danny Santana this move will also allow JD Martinez to be used exclusively as Boston’s designated hitter and keep Hernández in a utility role. Santana is currently on the injured list and utility man Marwin González is expected to land on the IL as well.Arizona Diamondbacks

In case anyone is still in denial, we are officially in the Shotime era. Winning the Derby was always going to be somewhat irrelevant in the bigger picture of what is a historic season for the young Japanese ballplayer.
On April 3, the president of the agency that promotes tourism and travel in Cobb County said in a statement that the “estimated lost economic impact” of the relocation would be more than $100 million.

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"For a couple of these pockets where we needed another catcher we didn't want to disrupt the consistent playing time he was getting, but in this scenario with Buster down for the weekend we wanted to bring him in and evaluate maybe having him for the weekend," Zaidi said. "That might be a short-term thing depending on how Buster does, but we'll see when we get through the game today."Oakland Athletics

Eaton signed a one-year, $8 million dollar contract. Pederson signed for one year and $7 million with a mutual option for 2022, plus the opportunity to play every day.Atlanta Braves

Blue was opposed by the Pirates' Dock Ellis, who was leading the National League in victories and ERA at the break. Ellis, always outspoken, often controversial, said publicly that he didn't think Anderson would name him the starting pitcher because "baseball doesn't want two brothers to start the All-Star Game."

“On the bench, it occurred to me how many directions he’s being pulled right now,” Walsh said. “I know he had a great time. But man, he’s got a lot on his shoulders.”San Diego Padres

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Now he and Mantle are connected in another way, one that no MLB fan wanted to see. Still, Snitker for one believes that there is no reason Acuna won't still end up in the same place as Mantle: Cooperstown.Arizona Diamondbacks

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"It's the ultimate gut punch," manager Aaron Boone said. "You've got a five-run lead in the ninth against a great team with a chance to earn the sweep and they come back to win. We've got some things to get better at and make sure all hands are where they need to be."