From Comcast SportsNetMIAMI (AP) -- The attendance-challenged Miami Marlins have antagonized fans yet again by deciding a low-budget team is good enough for their new ballpark.A blockbuster trade sending three stars to Toronto could save Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria 150 million, which prompted a backlash from South Floridians angered by the team's latest payroll purge."Everybody in the world wants to talk about the Marlins and the fact they're now a Triple-A team," said city commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who was an opponent of the ballpark project. "The Marlins have lost pretty much all credibility with fans. Even if this trade is a positive move from a baseball standpoint, it won't be viewed by the general public as a positive move."Miami traded All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and right-hander Josh Johnson as part of the deal, which awaited final approval Wednesday pending physicals for the players. Among the players the Blue Jays gave up were shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez and several top minor league prospects.Many fan complaints involved the ballpark, which was paid for mostly with taxpayer money as Loria promised a new era of higher payrolls and more competitive teams. The ballpark opened this year and is state of the art, but the team suddenly is looking like the same old Marlins.Loria declined to talk with reporters as he passed through the hotel lobby at the owners meetings in Chicago."Not today, boys," he said. "If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not going to figure it out for you."Team president David Samson said the trade improved the Marlins, who have finished last in the NL East each of the past two years. This season they expected to contend for the playoffs with the highest payroll in franchise history but instead went 69-93, their worst record since 1999."We sat down after the season and talked about the team and said we cannot keep finishing in last place," Samson said on his weekly radio show on WINZ-AM. "We found a way to possibly in one fell swoop get a whole lot better. I recognize that the names coming back in a potential trade are not names people are familiar with, but in the baseball world, people are familiar with them."When asked about fans feeling betrayed, Samson said, "I think that people should feel betrayed by the fact we're losing so much, and that they wouldn't want us to stand pat and keep losing."Samson's description of the roster shakeup as an upgrade failed to mollify fans. Radio talk show host Jeff DeForrest began fielding calls from irate listeners shortly after news of the trade broke Tuesday."The next move obviously is to have Fidel Castro throw out the first pitch next year," DeForrest said. "That's the only way they could alienate the fans more than they have."Castro became a source of acrimony last April, when Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen's praise of the former Cuban leader infuriated team supporters. That was shortly after the new ballpark opened in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, and attendance never recovered from the tempest.Management had projected the rebranded team would win and draw nearly 3 million fans, but instead the Marlins were out of contention by midseason, and attendance barely topped 2.2 million.With revenue falling short of projections, Loria decided to end the franchise's brief era of big spending. The players traded by the Marlins have combined guaranteed salaries of 163.75 million through 2018, including 96 million due Reyes. The deals he and Buehrle signed when they joined Miami a year ago were heavily backloaded.Salaries for 2013 include 13.75 million for Johnson in the final year of his contract, 11 million for Buehrle and 10 million for Reyes. The net in guaranteed salaries coming off the Marlins' books is expected to be 154 million, which does not account for any cash that may be involved in the trade.Three years ago, the Marlins reached an agreement with the players' union to increase spending in the wake of complaints team payroll had been so small as to violate baseball's revenue sharing provisions. But the trade with Toronto leaves the Marlins with an estimated opening-day payroll of 34 million, which would be their lowest since 2008. Oakland had the lowest payroll in the majors last season at 59.5 million.Of the lineup that took the field for the festive first game in the new ballpark less than eight months ago, only two players remain -- Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison.Stanton tweeted that he was angry about the trade and changed his Twitter photo in an apparent protest, swapping out his Marlins uniform for a black shirt."I'm not saying fans can't be upset," Morrison tweeted to his 123,000 followers. "I'm saying I'm not going to get upset. I can't control it. So don't expect me to be upset."
BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime.
The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half.
“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”
To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period.
All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far.
“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”
It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.
HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.
Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.
Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.
Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.
Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.
Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.
Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.
Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.
CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.
Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.
The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.