Cubs

Floyd Mayweather released from Vegas prison

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Floyd Mayweather released from Vegas prison

From Comcast SportsNet
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Boxer Floyd Mayweather was released from a Las Vegas jail early Friday after serving two months of a three-month sentence in a misdemeanor domestic battery case. The undefeated boxer walked out of the Clark County Detention Center beneath the glow of street lamps and glare of TV cameras to resume a boxing career that his lawyers and personal physician warned in court documents might be at risk. They said jail food and water didn't meet Mayweather's dietary needs, and lack of exercise space in a cramped cell of fewer than 98 square feet threatened his health and fitness. Mayweather looked fit as he donned a leather Miami Heat cap, pulled a gray hooded sweatshirt over his head and shared hugs with about 20 family members and friends, including his 12-year-old daughter, Iyanna Mayweather, and his manager, Leonard Ellerbe. He said nothing to the media as he got behind the wheel of a blue Bentley sedan with several friends inside, including rapper 50 Cent, and drove away. A lot has happened in Mayweather's world since he was jailed June 1. With no television in his solo cell, he couldn't see arch rival Manny Pacquiao lose his WBO welterweight title June 9 to Timothy Bradley. Mayweather, who goes by the nickname "Money," wasn't around to celebrate last month when Forbes magazine named him the world's highest-paid athlete for 2011. He wasn't able to attend the ESPN network ESPY awards to accept the best fighter award. And he missed fiancee Shantel Jackson's private birthday bash last week at a Las Vegas steakhouse with friends, including 50 Cent. Las Vegas Review-Journal celebrity columnist Norm Clark noted that Mayweather sent diamonds. But Mayweather is now a free man, even if his next opponent is not immediately clear. Ellerbe declined comment outside the jail late Thursday, where he waited with friends, including Mayweather adviser Sam Watson and several others. Promoters for Mayweather's main rival, Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao, plan a fight Nov. 10 at the MGM Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission executive Keith Kizer said. Pacquiao's opponent hasn't been named but Mayweather wasn't believed to be on the list. Pacquiao, who earned 62 million in fights and endorsements last year, ranked second on the Forbes richest athletes list behind Mayweather and his 85 million in fight earnings. To fight in Las Vegas, Mayweather will need a new license from the Nevada Athletic Commission, Kizer said Thursday. His last license, for the May 5 bout against Miguel Cotto, was for one fight only. If Mayweather applies, commission Chairman Raymond "Skip" Avansino Jr. could decide to grant approval administratively or summon Mayweather before the panel for a public hearing, Kizer said. Mayweather received about 30 days off his 90-day jail sentence for work time and good behavior. Nevada state law allows inmates to receive up to 10 days off per month for cooperating with jailers and working or being willing to work. Las Vegas police administer the jail, and a department spokesman said Mayweather wasn't required to work and didn't misbehave behind bars. The 35-year-old boxer pleaded guilty last year to reduced domestic battery charges stemming from a hair-pulling, arm-twisting attack on his former girlfriend, Josie Harris, while two of their three children watched. The plea deal allowed him to avoid trial on felony charges that could have gotten Mayweather up to 34 years in prison if he was convicted. Harris and the children have since moved to the Los Angeles area. As a high-profile inmate, police say Mayweather was kept separate for his protection from the other 3,200 inmates in the downtown Las Vegas facility. Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa rejected arguments that Mayweather's accommodations were cruel and unusual. The judge ruled June 13 that while Mayweather may not have liked the regimen, he had sufficient space and time for physical activity and the only reason he wasn't eating properly was because he was refusing to eat the meals he was given. The judge earlier gave Mayweather a break -- allowing him to remain free long enough to make the Cinco de Mayo fight against Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather won to run his record to 43-0 with 26 knockouts. Cotto lost for just the second time in 38 fights.

Ben Zobrist breaks down how Dodgers pitching has made Cubs offense disappear

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USA TODAY

Ben Zobrist breaks down how Dodgers pitching has made Cubs offense disappear

Ben Zobrist didn’t look for any deeper meaning in Kyle Schwarber’s first-inning homer off Yu Darvish on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, or hope that one swing could change the entire momentum of this National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Zobrist knows what it takes to win in October, the Cubs identifying him as the missing piece to their lineup after he helped transform the 2015 Kansas City Royals into a championship team, and then getting a World Series MVP return on their $56 million investment.

That “Schwarbomb” turned out to be fool’s gold, the only run the Cubs would score in front of a quiet, low-energy crowd of 41,871, the defending champs one more loss away from golfing/hunting/fishing/signing autographs at memorabilia shows.

“That was great to get a homer, but I’d rather see some hits strung together,” Zobrist said after a sloppy 6-1 loss, standing at his locker for almost 10 minutes, answering questions in the underground clubhouse. “I’d like to see a couple doubles together, a few singles, three or four hits in an inning. We just haven’t done that.

“That’s what makes rallies. They’ve stayed away from those kinds of innings. That’s why they’re ahead right now.”

Darvish – Jake Arrieta’s replacement in the 2018 rotation? – canceled out the two singles he allowed in the first inning by getting two of his seven strikeouts and answering some of the questions about how he would respond to all the pressure in October.

Darvish – a trade-deadline acquisition that had echoes of Theo Epstein’s “If not now, when?” explanation for last year’s Aroldis Chapman trade – walked one of the 25 batters he faced and pitched into the seventh inning before handing the game over to a lights-out bullpen.

“There’s nothing that we didn’t see beforehand on video,” Zobrist said. “It’s just a matter of we need him to make more mistakes, and we got to take advantage of those mistakes when he makes them.

“When he got to 3-2 counts, he wasn’t throwing a heater. He was throwing the cutter, and it’s a tough pitch to hit. You have to sit on it, and even then it’s got good movement to it. He kept us off-balance.”

Forward-thinking manager Dave Roberts is at the controls of a Los Angeles bullpen that can match up against right- and left-handed hitters, target locations, unleash upper-90s velocity, execute the elevated fastball that messes with eye levels and lean on All-Star closer Kenley Jansen for multiple innings.

The Dodger relievers essentially put together a no-hitter that lasted nine-plus innings across Games 1, 2 and 3. Together, they have pitched 10.2 scoreless innings, facing 36 batters and allowing two hits and a walk and hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch.

“They kept the ball on the edges and kept us off-balance,” Zobrist said. “They’re not throwing the pitch in the middle of the plate when we need them to. They’re keeping it on the edges and those are hard (to hit). When you got guys with good stuff on the mound, you need them to make some mistakes for you, or at least start walking some guys.

“When they’ve gotten in those situations with a three-ball count, they’re still making the pitch when they need to. They’re not walking many guys – and we are.

“That’s why they’re up 3-nothing.”

Zobrist (4-for-23 this postseason) is now more of a part-time player/defensive replacement, no longer the switch-hitting force who dropped the bunt at Dodger Stadium that helped end the 21-inning scoreless streak during last year’s NLCS.

Zobrist insisted the Cubs are still all there mentally, not checked out after a grueling first round against the Washington Nationals and a brutal walk-off loss in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium. He owns two World Series rings and one has the Cubs logo and this inscription: “We Never Quit.”

“We keep it loose all the time,” Zobrist said. “We know what’s at stake. And we don’t shy away from it. We look forward to the challenge ahead. It would be a great story for us to be able to come back in this series and win this series.

“We make adjustments, we take advantage of mistakes and we come out with a victory tomorrow. That’s what we have to do.”

Winter is coming for Cubs team that looks checked out of 2017

Winter is coming for Cubs team that looks checked out of 2017

Kyle Schwarber took a Babe Ruth swing on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, posed for a moment and dropped the bat out of his follow through, watching that Yu Darvish pitch soar 408 feet out toward the left-center field bleachers.

Those carefree Cubs relievers shown on the video board – wait, was that John Lackey bouncing around? – danced in the bullpen in the first inning. This is exactly what the Cubs wanted: Grab an early lead? Check. Get one of their big boys going? Check. Energize the crowd of 41,871? Check.

That sense of momentum lasted less than the time it takes to buy a beer or go to the bathroom at Wrigley Field, because the Los Angeles Dodgers look like the unstoppable force this October.

Now Wade Davis may never pitch in this National League Championship Series and Wednesday night could be Jake Arrieta’s final start in a Cubs uniform. Winter is coming after a 6-1 loss left the defending World Series champs looking mentally checked out of 2017.

The Cubs played AC/DC and Motley Crue in their underground clubhouse and answered questions about why they believe they can match the 2004 Boston Red Sox who took down the New York Yankee Evil Empire, becoming the only team to come back from an 0-3 deficit since the LCS expanded to a seven-game format in 1985.

But Kris Bryant’s glassy look and bloodshot eyes told a different story, the reigning NL MVP admitting how “draining” those five games felt against the Washington Nationals in Round 1.

“But you kind of expect that around this time when games mean a lot,” Bryant said. “It takes a lot of energy to get ready for these games, and at the end, you feel wiped out. It’s expected.”

But no one could have predicted this lack of buzz in Wrigleyville, which felt less than a lot of midweek games during the regular season. A silence fell over the old ballpark when Andre Ethier – who has three homers across the last two seasons combined – lined a Kyle Hendricks pitch off the video board in right field to lead off the second inning.

Hendricks – who has made 10 postseason starts across the last three years and kept the Dodgers completely off-balance last October on the night the Cubs clinched their first NL pennant in 71 years – watched in the third inning as Chris Taylor crushed another home-run ball that bounced off the roof of the batter’s eye in center field.

“I wouldn’t say we’re running out of gas,” shortstop Addison Russell said. “Every time we step on the field, I feel like we have a pretty good chance of winning. We’re going to come into the clubhouse tomorrow positive and just ready to strap it on.”

The Dodgers will be out for beer and champagne on Wednesday night and the chance to kick back and watch the Yankees and Houston Astros expend all their energy in the ALCS.

Dodger manager Dave Roberts – who pushed all the right bullpen buttons in Games 1 and 2 (eight no-hit/scoreless innings combined) – toyed with the Cubs by letting Darvish hit against struggling reliever Carl Edwards Jr. with a two-run lead and two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

Darvish showed bunt on all four pitches – and drew a four-pitch walk and slammed his bat to the ground in celebration. The fans booed after Edwards struck out Taylor on three pitches to end the inning.

“We were there just as much as any other game,” said Ben Zobrist, last year’s World Series MVP. “Mentally, there was no letdown. Physically, there was no letdown. It was just a matter of them capitalizing on some mistakes that we made. That’s part of the game. And they didn’t make a lot of mistakes.

“They played better baseball than us tonight. That’s why they got the W.”

The Cubs committed two errors in Game 3 and then had a National-style meltdown in the eighth inning, from Zobrist misjudging the flyball to right field that dropped in front of him, to Mike Montgomery throwing a wild pitch, to catcher Willson Contreras getting crossed up on a swinging strike three, his glove nowhere near Montgomery’s 92.7-mph fastball, which crashed into his right arm and ricocheted into the visiting dugout.

A three-run game became 6-1 – and head for the exits and then the offseason. There was Albert Almora Jr. in the ninth inning, driving a ball into the ivy in left field and sprinting right into lead runner Alex Avila at third base, bailed out only because Kike Hernandez waved his hand to signal a ground-rule double.

At least that made All-Star closer Kenley Jansen work the last three outs, accumulated stress that might benefit the Yankees or Astros more than the Cubs.

“They are done,” an NL scout wrote in a text message. “You can see it in their faces.”