Cubs

Here's the latest candidate to replace Andy Reid

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Here's the latest candidate to replace Andy Reid

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia Eagles have interviewed former Ravens coach and current Fox analyst Brian Billick for their coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the meeting told The Associated Press on Sunday.Billick, who led Baltimore to a Super Bowl title in the 2000 season, met with the Eagles last Monday, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss it.The Eagles are known to have interviewed eight other candidates, including three high-profile college coaches who decided to stay at their schools. They were Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Oregon's Chip Kelly and Penn State's Bill O'Brien.Philadelphia fired Andy Reid on Dec. 31, a day after finishing 4-12 in his 14th season.Billick hasn't coached since 2007. He was 80-64 in nine seasons with the Ravens, leading them to two division titles and a 5-3 record in four playoff appearances.CSNPhilly.com first reported Billick's interview.The 58-year-old Billick began his NFL coaching career in Minnesota as a tight ends coach in 1992. After two seasons, he was promoted to offensive coordinator and helped the Vikings set a then-record 556 points in 1998.Billick became the second coach in Ravens history in 1999 and guided them to a Super Bowl victory over the New York Giants in his second season.Known for having a dynamic offense in Minnesota, Billick never come close to matching it in Baltimore. His offense never ranked higher than 14th in total yards and cracked the top 10 in points just once.Of course, talent had a part in that. The Vikings had Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper as their quarterbacks, along with star wide receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss and running back Robert Smith.Billick's Ravens were built on strong defenses led by Ray Lewis and Co. They finished in the top six in total yards in eight of Billick's nine seasons.Billick assembled quite a coaching staff in Baltimore. Six of his assistants became head coaches, including Mike Smith (Atlanta), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati), Rex Ryan (New York Jets), Mike Singletary (San Francisco), Mike Nolan (San Francisco) and Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville).The Eagles have an interview scheduled with Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday and are expected to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians this week.They met with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Saturday, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Seattle lost to Atlanta on Sunday, so the Eagles are free to hire Bradley if he's their choice.Owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski interviewed former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith on Thursday. They previously met with Atlanta assistants Nolan and Keith Armstrong and Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Joe Maddon goes after Sean Doolittle's delivery: ‘That's exactly what I was told Carl can't do’

Joe Maddon goes after Sean Doolittle's delivery: ‘That's exactly what I was told Carl can't do’

The Cubs finished Saturday's loss at the Nationals under protest after Joe Maddon saw what he believed to be an inconsistency in how illegal pitches are being called.

Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle came in to close the game out in the ninth with the Nats up 5-2. After one pitch, Maddon went to the umpires to complain. This dragged on throughout the inning.

Maddon didn't like that Doolittle's delivery involved him pausing and potentially even touching the ground in the middle of his wind up before coming home with the pitch. To Maddon, it was clearly an illegal pitch and he was fired up because that's something Carl Edwards Jr. got called for earlier in the season. By comparison, Edwards' version may be more deliberate, but Maddon thinks it is the same thing.

"That's exactly what I was told Carl can't do," Maddon said postgame in a video posted by ESPN's Jesse Rogers. "There's no judgment. If he taps the ground, it's an illegal pitch, period. There's nothing to judge. You can judge whether he did or not. It's obvious that he did, or if you can't tell that then there's something absolutely wrong."

Maddon and the Cubs protested the game as a result. If they win the protest, the game would be restarted with one out in the ninth, when Maddon notified the umpires of the protest.

Doolittle was less than amused by Maddon's protest.

"I have no qualms against Doolittle," Maddon said. "He's great, but they took it away from our guy so for me to sit in the dugout and permit that to happen while they stripped us of that ability earlier this year with Carl, how could I do that? You can't do that. I got to say something."

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Jon Lester's hot streak comes to an end at Nationals

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USA TODAY

Jon Lester's hot streak comes to an end at Nationals

Jon Lester was on a heck of a run since coming off the IL in late April, but it came to a screeching halt on Saturday.

Lester had by far his worst start of the season at the Nationals in a 5-2 Cubs loss. He labored through his start, giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Lester gave up 10 hits, which matches the most he has given up since joining the Cubs. He gave up a fair number of hits in his last two starts, but was able to avoid trouble on the scoreboard. Lester gave up nine hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Brewers last time out, but only gave up an unearned run. On May 7, Lester gave up eight hits to the Marlins, but only allowed two unearned runs in six innings of work.

This time, Lester couldn’t stay out of trouble. Brian Dozier got the Nats on the board with a solo shot in the second and then the wheels came off in the third.

To open the third inning Lester gave up six straight hits. The Nats got three runs that inning and then added another in the fifth, when Lester departed the game.

Since Lester came off the IL on April 25, he had allowed just one earned run (four runs in total) in 24 2/3 innings. During that stretch, he had 25 strikeouts against just two walks. His ERA fell to 1.16, which would have led all of baseball if he had enough innings to qualify. It’s at 2.09 after Saturday’s loss.

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