“She is always a novelty, for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.”
For a while, Mark Twain’s famous quote about the Windy City related to anything but the Minnesota Vikings' success against their division rival to the south. For nearly a decade, it was the same story every time. Before Week 5 of this season, only once in nine meetings at Soldier Field dating to 2008 did the Vikings come away with Custom Detroit Red Wings Jersey a victory over the Chicago Bears.
The Vikings reached a crucial juncture ahead of their trip to Chicago on Oct. 9. They were 2-2 and had just lost rookie running back Dalvin Cook to a season-ending ACL tear. Their matchup with the Bears fell in the midst of a three-game stretch of NFC North opponents, after a 14-7 loss to Detroit at U.S. Bank Stadium. Up next were Chicago and Green Bay.
Sam Bradford made a brief return at Soldier Field after a three-game absence. By the end of the first quarter, it was clear something was awry. Bradford had re-aggravated the injury to his left knee, which made for a lack of mobility and led him to be sacked four times while he completed just five throws for 36 yards.
With 25 seconds until halftime, a hobbled Bradford was replaced by Case Keenum, who had started the previous three games. Hanging onto a one-point lead entering the third quarter, Keenum completed 17 of his 21 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings went on to escape Chicago with a 20-17 win.
It wasn’t close to pretty, but Minnesota solidified the notion that it could overcome tough circumstances on the road Custom Golden State Warriors jerseys and find a way to grind out a win.
When Stefon Diggs suffered a groin injury in the first half, Keenum turned to Jerick McKinnon, who totaled 95 yards rushing and a touchdown along with 51 yards receiving. When left guard Nick Easton went down with a calf injury, reserve Jeremiah Sirles made a seamless transition as his replacement.
With the game tied 17-17 ahead of the two-minute warning, the NFL’s best safety lived up to his billing. Harrison Smith's interception of Mitchell Trubisky lined up the Vikings’ winning field goal.
“It was big,” Diggs said. “I wouldn’t say really like a turning point, but definitely some momentum moving into rest of the season that no matter how we have to do [it], we can get a W, and we can finish.”
If not a turning point, the Vikings’ Week 5 victory was certainly the tipping point of their season.
The victory in Chicago was the start of an eight-game win streak. Minnesota beat Green Bay the following week and won its rematch with Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. From Weeks 10 through 12, the Vikings topped 400 yards of total offense each game, the first time they'd had such a productive three-game stretch since 2010.
“I think it was that stretch that we talk about where every game seemed like a bigger game,” receiver Adam Thielen said. “It was a really big part of the season that every win we needed to kind of get us to the point we’re at right now.”
The importance of the Chicago victory at that point in the season sparked Minnesota’s turnaround. In hindsight, had things tipped the other way with a loss, the momentum could have gone with it.
“Yeah, I’d like to say no, but I think it’s reality that it is,” Thielen said. “You lose a game, and it’s almost like you definitely lose momentum. When you can stack wins on top of each other, you just keep building confidence. Sometimes you feel like your offense is clicking extremely well, even though maybe it’s not. That just helps you moving forward because confidence is a huge thing in this league, and it can go a long way.”
Just as they shifted the course of their Custom Seattle Seahawks Jersey season against the Bears, the Vikings (12-3) can accomplish yet another feat against them in Week 17. A victory over Chicago (5-10) would give Minnesota a first-round bye in the playoffs.
“I think this is the first time in my career where you can officially say Custom Cleveland Indians Jersey this game counts as more than one,” Rudolph said. “Every week we stand up here and say it’s one week, it’s one win, it’s one loss. This week counts as two wins, essentially. If we can go out and get a win, it guarantees us that we get next week off.”
Dan Otero got the news with about 45 minutes remaining in what turned out to be a one-hour, 50-minute rain delay.
When play resumed in the Indians' 8-0 victory on Sunday, Otero was being tabbed by manager Terry Francona to get the club out of a sticky situation. Sure, the Indians would be taking the field with a 4-0 lead in the second inning. But the Royals had two on with two outs. Furthermore, Drew Butera was at the plate with a 2-0 count.
Otero had a lot of time to think. It was imperative that his first pitch had to be a strike. But he couldn't make it so fat in the strike zone that Butera could get the Royals right back in the game with one swing. One day Francisco Lindor Jerseys earlier, Otero had allowed four hits and five runs (one earned) in what turned out to be an Indians' blowout loss. But positive thoughts abounded and Otero came through. His first pitch to Butera resulted in a popup to first. Otera went on to record seven outs with just 16 pitches and push the Indians toward cruise control in a shutout victory.
Dan Otero strikes out Eric Hosmer swinging in the bottom of the 4th inning "We were down in the count 2-0 and we always feel like Otero is going to come in and throw strikes," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's a guy we've kind of been doing that with Jake Arrieta Jerseys a lot. That's really what it was. It was probably [Otero] or [Nick] Goody." Goody had allowed his first earned run of the season on Saturday when Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer off him. Otero threw 29 pitches in his rocky Saturday outing. "With Otero, when he's good, he has a chance to give you a couple of quick innings," Francona said. "It doesn't mean he's going to, but he has that chance and that's exactly what he did."
Because the rain delay went so long, starter Trevor Bauer had to end his day at 1 2/3 innings. Francona said there's a chance Bauer could be brought back quicker for his next start because he threw just 30 pitches. Otero wound up facing the minimum over his 2 1/3-inning stint. But getting Butera and ending the second was the big item from a momentum standpoint. "It's only tough because it's not the normal," Otero said. "Other than that, you're just coming in with men on base. You expect Butera to be swinging there. He popped it up and we Kris Bryant Jerseys were able to get the job done the rest of the game." Francona had said he wanted to see more energy from his club after a sloppy performance on Saturday.
"That's the beauty of baseball," Otero said. "You have the opportunity to bounce back the next day. Our team did that after a rough one Saturday and for me, on a personal level, it was great to bounce back. We're an experienced group and everyone holds himself accountable."
What was an uncertain fit for Trevor Rosenthal in Spring Training has evolved into a familiar one. So impressed by Rosenthal's improved command and effectiveness, the Cardinals have transitioned from viewing Rosenthal as a multiple-inning or middle reliever to seeing him as a viable late-inning option.
Rosenthal collected his second hold of the season by pitching a perfect eighth inning in Monday's 2-1 win. And with others in the 'pen struggling -- including setup men Kevin Siegrist, Brett Cecil and Jonathan Broxton -- Rosenthal, a former closer, is a natural choice to plug into that spot.
"He's in the conversation with yesterday's game," manager Mike Matheny said Tuesday. After posting a career-worst walk rate of 6.5 walks per nine innings last season, Rosenthal has opened the season without issuing a free pass to any of the 10 batters he has faced. He's yet to go to a three-ball count, has thrown 60 percent first-pitch strikes and has struck out the first hitter in each cheap jerseys of his three appearances. The improved command has translated to efficiency, customize baseball jerseys which was also a stumbling block for Rosenthal in 2016, when he averaged 21.3 pitches per inning. According to Statcast™, Rosenthal has throw 70.6 percent of his four-seam fastballs in the strike zone this year. Among pitchers with at least 25 four-seam fastballs thrown, that ranks third-best in the Majors.
In comparison, Rosenthal threw that pitch for a strike 55 percent of the time a year ago. Along with better command has also come an uptick in velocity. A 100.6 mph fastball Rosenthal threw Monday tied for his third-fastest pitch since 2015. He already has hit triple digits on the radar gun three times in three outings after doing so 18 times total in 2015 and '16, according to Statcast™. The sample size remains small, but Rosenthal's average four-seam velocity of 98.7 mph ranks second-best in the Majors behind Aroldis Chapman (99.9 mph). It represents an increase from the 97.1 mph average velocity he had last year, and it's inducing more swing and misses (17.7 percent in 2017, 11.4 percent in 2016). "The velocity, once again, we use that as an indicator on whether everything else is right," Matheny said. "There are times when the guy feels really good but the ball just isn't coming out. Right now, we're seeing the ball free and easy customize jerseys coming out. He's locating, and he's throwing strikes right where he needs to be."
Matt Carpenter takes a grounder off his hand, drawing blood from his finger, but he remains in the game First baseman Matt Carpenter was unavailable again Tuesday while he heels a bruised cheap baseball jerseys finger, but he expects to be back in the Cardinals' lineup for the series finale. Carpenter tested his swollen right ring finger, which was struck by a ball Sunday, with throws in the field and swings in the cage on Tuesday. He described it as "marginally better" than the day before, but wanted to limit his work to increase his chances of being ready Wednesday.
"We've done some things with it to try and relive the pressure," said Carpenter, who suffered a bone contusion on the play. "It's probably half the size today than it was yesterday."
In the aftermath of Puerto Rico advancing to the finals of the World Baseball Classic, catcher Yadier Molina talked about the hope that the team's success would help rekindle the baseball focus in his homeland.
There was definitely a special feeling on the island nation last weekend amid a celebration of national pride, and videos of children singing and holding Puerto Rican flags were commonplace.
Though Puerto Rico once again was shut out in the championship game -- 8-0 on Wednesday night against Team USA at Dodger Stadium, following a 3-0 loss in the 2013 Classic finals to the Dominican Republic -- many see the nation's success in the past two tournaments as a path to restoring the passion for the game Francisco Lindor Jerseys to Jake Arrieta Jerseys a place that was once the hotbed of baseball talent outside of the United States. "Our goal is not to give them joy for two weeks," Puerto Rico general manager Alex Cora, a former big league infielder, said after the championship game. "Our goal is to change the feeling of the country." But can that happen? The argument can be made that Puerto Rico never lost its love for baseball, which shows in the emotions created by the Classic. It has, however, lost its magic touch, at least in terms of producing big league players.
Yadier Molina tells Pedro Martinez about fans of Puerto Rico causing shortages of hair bleach all throughout the country There have been 257 natives of Puerto Rico appear in the big leagues, which ranks behind the Dominican Republic (669) and Venezuela (358) and just ahead of Canada (246), according to Baseball-Reference.com. Puerto Rico's big league impact has eroded since native players found themselves included in baseball's annual Draft in 1989, a move that was supposed to be the first step toward creating an international draft. Those inside the game, however, refer to it as the Melvin Nieves factor -- a response to the Braves giving Nieves what was then a record-setting bonus of $175,000 for a foreign-born Kris Bryant Jerseys free agent.
That came on the heels of the so-called Juan Nieves factor, a reference to the Puerto Rican left-hander who was signed to what was then a foreign-player record $150,000 by the Brewers in 1980. Juan Nieves was attending the Avon Old Farms boarding school in Connecticut at the time, and in '83, MLB adopted a rule that any foreign student attending school in the United States fell under the rules of the Draft. Since the rule change in response to the signings of Juan and Melvin Nieves, there has been a decline in the influx of Puerto Rican players. Puerto Rico had produced more big league players than any country other than the United States prior to that. Since Ricky Otero -- who made his debut on April 25, 1995, to become the first drafted player from Puerto Rico to get to the big leagues -- only 63 Puerto Rican players have made it to the Majors. Compare that to 283 players from Venezuela and 278 from the Dominican Republic since '95. There have been 63 players from Canada, which is subject to the same Draft rules as Puerto Rico.
Yadier Molina puts on a master defensive clinic and delivers with the bat for Team Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic One big difference is that Major League teams run their own academies to house and work out teenaged players in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, but since the advent of the Draft, Puerto Rico has been treated more like the United States, and it has fallen on Puerto Rico to create its own academies. And a prospect from Puerto Rico must either be 18 or have graduated from high school to be Draft-eligible, while in other Latin countries, a player can be signed after turning 16. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa cheap baseball jerseys was the first player from Puerto Rico to be taken with the first pick overall in a Draft (2012), and he then earned the American League Rookie of the Year Award just three years later to become a national hero. Correa, however, is the exception. There have been only 12 Puerto Rican players selected in the first round, including supplemental picks prior to the second round, in the 28 years they have been a part of the Draft. Correa is the only one taken among the first 15 selections of a Draft.