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elaine95 Dec 25 '18

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers want no part of a wild-card game or the long flight that would come with it.The plan: another NL West crown.Max Muncy and his free-swinging Dodgers mates are headed for a one-game showdown against Colorado to determine the division winner back home Willie Horton Jersey , jumping on the San Francisco Giants from the start Sunday in a 15-0 win for a weekend sweep.The Rockies routed Washington 12-0 at Coors Field, setting up a tiebreaker at Dodger Stadium on Monday that the home team has every intention of taking. The winner gets the division and hosts Atlanta in the best-of-five Division Series starting Thursday; the loser is on the road for the NL wild-card game Tuesday against the loser of Monday’s Brewers-Cubs NL Central tiebreaker.“We’d rather win the division than be the wild card,” Matt Kemp said. “We’re going to play it like any game we’ve been playing this last month. We’ve been playing each game like a playoff game. We’ve got to keep it going. I don’t think we want to go to the East Coast to play a one-game playoff, we’d rather have a series to play and play that series.”Walker Buehler will start for the Dodgers (91-71) as the defending NL champions try for a sixth straight West title.Rich Hill (11-5) pitched two-hit ball for seven innings to keep the playoff-bound Dodgers on a roll. The lefty found out when he woke up just before 8 a.m. Sunday he would start, having gone to bed early for him to ensure enough sleep for the possibility he would be pitching.“The biggest thing is that everybody continues to go up there and give that effort, no matter what the situation is,” Hill said.Manny Machado, Kemp and Muncy all joined the hit parade as Los Angeles left nothing to chance in Game No. 162. Kemp had a two-run double and RBI single among his three hits, while Muncy and Brian Dozier each hit two-run homers.Los Angeles followed up an 18-hit performance Saturday with 16 more to finish with 43 in the three-game series.Now, on to game No. 163.“It’s a game where obviously it’s not do-or-die, but I think that it’s a must-win game,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To win the game and get a couple days off, to host the division series is very important.”Chris Taylor drew a walk from Andrew Suarez (7-13) to get the Dodgers going Sunday http://www.tigersfanproshop.com/authentic-victor-martinez-jersey , Justin Turner followed with an RBI double and the rout was on. Dozier’s drive and a two-run double by Kemp highlighted a seven-run third inning.The Dodgers clinched baseball’s final playoff berth by beating the Giants 10-6 on Saturday and celebrated with champagne in the visiting clubhouse — then all attention turned to winning another division title.So Roberts switched from Buehler to Hill (11-5), who delivered. He completed a 5-0 September and won for the sixth time in seven outings beginning Aug. 24. The lefty retired the first 10 batters in order before Joe Panik’s single in the fourth.Hill’s curveball has been clicking in recent weeks since he tweaked his delivery with a grip adjustment.“In recent memory, this is as good as I’ve seen him throw the baseball,” Roberts said. “… He understood how important this game was.”Los Angeles needed a stellar showing in its final series.The Dodgers fell out of the division lead with a 7-2 loss Wednesday at Arizona before taking all three from the injury-plagued Giants (73-89) to close out the final weekend of the regular season. A sixth straight division title by the Dodgers would be the third-longest streak since divisions started in 1969 behind Atlanta’s 14 consecutive from 1991-2005 and nine in a row by the Yankees from 1998-2006.San Francisco went a majors-worst 5-21 in September but improved on its last-place 2017 finish of 64-98 by nine wins.“No question that’s the last way we wanted this thing to go out,” manager Bruce Bochy said.SPLISH SPLASHMuncy’s pinch-hit homer gave him 34 for the season and the drive splashed into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field arcade. That marked the 44th splash homer by a Giants opponent, fifth by a Dodger and first by an LA player since Cody Bellinger on Sept. 13, 2017.PENCE’S FAREWELL?Hunter Pence went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in what was likely his final game with the Giants after 6 1/2 years. There were pins and signs reading “GR8FUL.”Pence received big cheers from the sellout crowd as he ran to the outfield some 20 minutes before first pitch and he waved and clapped in appreciation.Then out in AT&T Park’s vast right field for perhaps the final time in a Giants uniform, he tipped his cap every direction to the rousing ovation. He did the same with his batting helmet before stepping in to lead off the bottom of the first.A Pence highlight video showed before the bottom of the ninth.“Pure joy. I really just feel a tremendous amount of joy for this organization, these fans, the stadium,” Pence said. “It’s been just unbelievable to play here. You never know, I could come back … but it is unknown and it really was just amazing.”FINAL ATTENDANCEWhile the Giants drew 3 million fans for a ninth straight season and 17th time in the ballpark’s 19-year history, the 3 Nick Castellanos Jersey ,156,185 attendance was their lowest since 3,037,443 in 2010. First off, Commissioner, we didn't need you to inform us that Trout is a great player. The stats and eyeball test confirm as much.Second off, what exactly are you implying? Should he grow out his sideburns and become "Hollywood Mike Trout"? Should he start flipping his bat and getting into it with opposing pitchers?Or is it merely that he's passing on marketing opportunities that would line the pockets of MLB?Trout wore a mic on the field during the 2018 All-Star Game. He engaged a young fan in super-cool fashion at the All-Star Game in D.C., per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.He makes himself available. As USA Today's Ted Berg put it, "This is Mike Trout: Extraordinarily talented, friendly and patient with fans and media, and unlikely to generate any hotly contested sound bytes."Then again, maybe Trout finally is.OK, sure http://www.tigersfanproshop.com/authentic-james-mccann-jersey , we're referring to a statement issued by the Angels on behalf of Trout in the wake of Manfred's comments. Still, it features some pointed, if implied, barbs:"Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combinedwith his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities."The statement goes on to mention Trout's "humility" and to note that the Angels"applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion."Added Halos communications director Eric Kay:Eric Kay EKay2121Bottom line, Mike Trout doesnt self promote and he gets criticized for it. Everyone else thinks they know what is best for Mike. No one takes more time to engage with fans than Trout. THE GAME IS ABOUT THE FANS. He represents the #Angels better than anyone has. EVER.Clearly, Manfred's words reached the ears of the best player in the game and the franchise that employs him.Trout isn't about to take the heat for baseball's wavering popularity or Manfred's possible insecurity over a dearth of marketable stars.Trout isn't the Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, for example Shane Greene Jersey , with his brash antics and "Make Baseball Fun Again"schtick.Inan interviewwith Fox Sports' Alex Rodriguez,Trout did say players should be able to express themselves. He's not a killjoy. Just an unassuming guy with a generational gift.Maybe Manfred wishes Harper was the face of the sport. Unfortunately, despite winning the Home Run Derby and clubbing 23 first-half dingers, Harper owns a .214 average and has had an up-and-down season in D.C.Trout, meanwhile, keeps chugging along. He produces at historic levels. He doesn't foment discord or spout off in ways that damage the game. He hits, he runs, he catches, he smiles. He does good work on and off the field. Isn't that enough?Stephen Brashear/Getty ImagesMaybe not for the future of MLB, as it competes for clicks and attention and eyeballs in a crowded sports marketplace.That problem is on Manfred, however, and the rest of his braintrust.Trout, by all accounts Sparky Anderson Jersey , is a decent, accessible dude who also happens to be really, really good at baseball."In general, baseball does not do as good a job as other major sports in the U.S. as far as promoting their stars nationwide, especially compared to NFL and NBA," Henry Schafer of Q Scores, a firm that measures the appeal and recognition of sports figures, said, per Kilgore.According to Q Scores, reserve NBA forward Kenneth Faried has a similar Q Score to Trout. Faried averaged 14.4 minutes and 5.9 points per game last season.For that to be possible, Manfred should be asking himself, "What's wrong with baseball?" That's the right question.Here's another question: Does Michael Nelson Trout owe MLB a damn thing?Here's the answer: Nope. All statistics current as of Wednesday and courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.