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    导出博客文章It all started with a dubious decision that drew heavy criticism: Baltimore manager Buck Showalter left stud closer Zach Britton in the bullpen and lost the AL wild-card game at Toronto. .The next night, Giants ace Madison Bumgarner authored another October masterpiece to knock out the Mets -- and the 2016 playoffs were off and running.Seems so long ago, but it was only a month on the calendar.One captivating month.Baseballs storybook postseason offered almost everything: unlikely stars, 4-hour games, even a rain delay in extra innings during the dramatic World Series finale.And when it was over, the Chicago Cubs -- yes, finally, the Cubs -- had their first championship since 1908 after outlasting Cleveland 8-7 early Thursday in a Game 7 that took 10 innings.Here are some other highlights, themes and takeaways from an October/November to remember:---RELIEF ROLES REDEFINEDSome wonder whether we just saw the beginning of a baseball revolution. Lights-out relievers like Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen werent necessarily saved for the eighth or ninth inning of critical games. Miller entered as early as the fifth, Chapman in the seventh, as managers summoned their best bullpen arms for longer outings and asked them to face top hitters or pitch out of potential jams earlier than usual.Almost as if nobody wanted to make the same mistake Showalter did.Its a strategy long supported by the sabermetrics crowd, but would it work during the regular season when there arent as many days off to rest and recover?Of course, its possible. You just have to have the right guy. I mean, its not as easy as it looks, what theyve been doing, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said during the World Series. The point of diminishing returns, I think, would set in if you try to push it from Day One.So right now, its really being glamorized a bit, he added. This isnt Fantasy Baseball. These guys are human. They only have so many abilities to throw a baseball within the year.KEEP ON CHASINGWhile the Cubs at last ended baseballs longest championship drought, several other teams are still trying to get over the hump.The Nationals are 0 for 3 in playoff series since moving to Washington, and Texas has never won the World Series despite five postseason appearances in seven years. The big-budget Dodgers havent even reached the Series since Orel Hershiser, Kirk Gibson & Co. won in 1988. Toronto came up short again, losing the AL Championship Series for the second consecutive year. And the Indians, of course, came oh-so close to their first title since 1948.BREAKOUT TALENTSSome of the most exciting performances came from players in their early 20s. Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor, Cubs second baseman Javier Baez (NLCS co-MVP) and Washington rookie Trea Turner were among those who turned heads. The future looks bright for all three.UNSUNG STARSBig names such as Kris Bryant, Jose Bautista and Adrian Gonzalez had their moments. But the postseason also belonged to near-unknowns like Ezequiel Carrera (Toronto), Conor Gillaspie (San Francisco) and Ryan Merritt (Cleveland).THE ARTFUL DODGEROnce again, Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw entered October looking to put a history of playoff failures behind him. The three-time Cy Young Award winner pitched on short rest whenever needed and went 2-1 with a huge save, but was far from overwhelming. He lost 5-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field, eliminating the Dodgers, and is 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA in the postseason. Hardly numbers befitting the best pitcher in baseball.FAREWELL, FELLASRather than a World Series coronation, David Ortiz got an early exit. His illustrious career came to a sudden conclusion when Boston was swept by Cleveland in their AL Division Series. Planning to retire, Big Papi walked back out to the mound, waved his cap and soaked up a standing ovation from the Fenway Park faithful.Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully took a curtain call at Dodger Stadium during the NLCS. The 88-year-old announcer, weeks after ending his 67-year career behind the microphone, attended as a spectator and proclaimed, Its time for Dodger baseball! from an upstairs suite.And 39-year-old catcher David Ross homered in his big league finale to help Chicago win Game 7 of the World Series. In a rare and heartwarming scene, the wildly popular Grandpa Rossy was carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates.What a way to say goodbye. . Toronto has dropped games to Indiana and Miami since a five-game winning streak and closed out a three-game road trip at 1-2. . A forerunning sled crashed into the worker Thursday at the Sanki Sliding Center. The unidentified worker broke both legs and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. . -- An ugly goal by Nick Bonino helped the Anaheim Ducks overcome the defensive-minded Phoenix Coyotes on a night when their ragged power play continued to struggle. NFL Nation reporters pick the top training camp position battle for every team.AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC WestAFC EASTBuffalo BillsRunning backBehind LeSean McCoy, this has been a position to watch since the spring. The downward spiral of Karlos Williams -- showing up to minicamp overweight and then getting slapped with a four-game NFL suspension -- as well as the arrest of rookie Jonathan Williams added more intrigue to the battle and likely played a role in the Bills?signing veteran Reggie Bush this week. Bush figures to slide into the No. 2 role, with Mike Gillislee likely to retain the No. 3 role as Karlos Williams sits out the first quarter of the season. -- Mike RodakMiami DolphinsRunning backThe Dolphins have a classic training camp battle involving a longtime veteran,?Arian Foster, against an unproven upstart,?Jay Ajayi. Foster, a former Pro Bowler coming off a torn?Achilles tendon suffered in October, has ground to make up. Ajayi began camp with?the first team but recently suffered a bone bruise on his knee that caused him to miss practice time. That opened the door for Foster to get more reps with the starters. Foster already is showing flashes, especially catching the ball out of the backfield. This competition wont be determined until late in the preseason. -- James WalkerNew England PatriotsInterior offensive lineThe Patriots could have three different starters along the offensive line to open the year, if rookie Joe Thuney (left guard) and trade acquisition Jonathan Cooper (right guard) win jobs and David Andrews successfully challenges incumbent Bryan Stork at center. Cooper, however, was carted off the practice field Saturday and?hasnt practiced since. Four-year veteran Josh Kline and sixth-round pick?Ted Karras are working at right guard for now, while 2015 starters Shaq Mason and Tre Jackson?will be in the mix once they are?cleared to practice. The interior spots are?arguably the positions?on the roster where there is the most wide-open competition. -- Mike ReissNew York JetsCornerbackThe Jets need a replacement for Antonio Cromartie. The leading candidate is nickelback Buster Skrine, who played in the slot last season. Marcus Williams and Dee Milliner will push Skrine, but Skrine will likely prevail and become an every-down player. -- Rich CiminiAFC NORTHBaltimore RavensLeft guardThe search for?Kelechi Osemeles replacement is the most wide-open competition on the team. John Urschel is running with the first team, but the Ravens feel he is better suited at center. Ryan Jensen plays with a mean streak, but he has to become more consistent. Rookie Alex Lewis will figure into the competition, even though he could be the future starting right tackle. This is the second major change to the offensive line this year. Ronnie Stanley, the No. 6 pick, will start at left tackle. -- Jamison HensleyCincinnati BengalsDefensive endNow that the Bengals training camp has begun, we can safely say there is no competition battle quite like the one at backup defensive end, where Will Clarke and Margus Hunt are trying to show their steady improvement. Hunt, in particular, is in the middle of an intense camp, one that could determine whether the former second-round pick is in Cincinnati a month from now. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, the pass-rusher hasnt translated to the NFL as quickly as many had hoped he would. -- Coley HarveyCleveland BrownsRight tackleUsually the easy answer with the Browns is quarterback, but Robert Griffin III has taken every first-team snap since the spring, which indicates how competitive that competition has been. The Browns do need to find a replacement for right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who left via free agency. Alvin Bailey enters camp as the starter, but there will be competition with Austin Pasztor and Michael Bowie. Rookie third-round pick?Shon Coleman also will get a look; he missed the offseason work to protect the knee he had scoped after his college season at Auburn. -- Pat McManamonPittsburgh SteelersLeft tackleThis is easily the Steelers most fascinating contest, as Alejandro Villanueva,?a behemoth, 6-foot-9 former Army ranger?with a?raw skill set but obvious potential, battles veteran Ryan Harris for the right to start. The Steelers will let this one play out all camp. Villanueva is believed to have the inside track if he keeps progressing. Harris is the more stable option, but Villanueva has bigger upside.?-- Jeremy FowlerAFC SOUTHHouston TexansCenterThe Texans let last years center, Ben Jones, leave for?the Titans in free agency. They added veteran Tony Bergstrom, who has mostly been a backup in his career, in free agency and drafted Nick Martin in the second round. It could take the rookie some time to get up to speed. Although ultimately Martin should be the teams starting center, Bergstrom could open?the season as the starter. -- Tania GanguliIndianapolis ColtsRight guardHugh Thornton has started 32 of 37 games in his career, but second-year player Denzelle Good, who played right tackle as a rookie, is pushing Thornton?so much that Good is starting to get more reps with the first team. Another player in the mix for the job is Jonotthan Harrison, who mainly played center his first two seasons. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski described the competition for the job as being wide-open. -- Mike WellsJacksonville JaguarsLeft tackleIncumbent Luke Joeckel is fighting with Kelvin Beachum to keep his starting job. Joeckel hasnt been the kind of dominant player the Jaguars hoped he would become when they took him second overall in the 2013 draft, and they declined to pick up his fifth-year option. There are those in the building who?believe former Steeler Beachum is a top-10 tackle in the NFL, so he is probably the favorite. The loser of the competition will likely be the starting left guard. -- Mike DiRoccoTennessee TitansLeft guardQuinton Spain finished last season as the starter, but that was sort of by default. He will have to hold off rookie Sebastian Tretola, former starting center Brian Schwenke and 2015 third-rounder Jeremiah Poutasi. The Titans are desperate for better line play to protect quarterback?Marcus Mariota and make room for running backs?DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. -- Paul KuharskyAFC WESTDenver BroncosQuarterbackThe Broncos have the marquee battle at quarterback with Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian?and?rookie first-round pick?Paxton Lynch splitting the practice reps evenly overall. Sanchez, however, currently has taken the most reps with the starting offense. Siemian and Lynch have each had their practice moments in camps early going, but day-to-day and play-to-play, Sanchez has looked the most consistent and most comfortable. Also, he has shown a little more willingness to step forward as a leader than the?younger signal-callers, so much so that former Broncos running back Terrell Davis said after watching practice this week that its clear Sanchez will be the guy in the regular season. -- Jeff LegwoldKansas City ChiefsLeft guardRookie Parker Ehinger has been working as the starter, but the Chiefs are also giving some snaps to Zach Fulton. The choice is between the potential of Ehinger, a fourth-round draft pick, and the experience of Fulton, who has started 22 games the past two seasons. -- Adam TeicherOakland RaidersRight tackleMenelik Watson and Austin Howard have both been seeing time with the first unit in the early days of camp. Watson, a former second-round draft pick coming back from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last preseason, is getting?the majority of reps?after Howard, who is returning from a knee injury suffered late last season, saw the brunt of them?in the first practice. Menelik? Yeah, were happy hes healthy, coach Jack Del Rio said. [Menelik] is doing a good job, and yeah, I would agree with you. I think hes done a nice job to start camp. -- Paul GutierrezSan Diego ChargersBackup quarterbackPhilip Rivers has not missed a game in a decade, but theres a battle between incumbent Kellen Clemens and waiver-wire pickup Zach Mettenberger?for San Diegos No. 2 QB job. Clemens, 33, is a?veteran?who can come in and win a game in the clutch, and he has a good relationship with Rivers. Mettenberger, 25, possesses a strong arm and was drafted by Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt while he served as head coach of the Titans. -- Eric D. WilliamsNFC EASTDallas CowboysCornerbackAlthough the Cowboys have questions to answer at defensive end, the most compelling case would be between Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne at right cornerback. Carr accepted a pay cutt in the offseason, and Claiborne returned on a one-year deal. Both need to find their form if they want bigger paydays in 2017. Carr has started every game he has played in his eight years in the NFL. Claiborne has yet to play a full season, but theres optimism in the organization that he has found his stride. -- Todd ArcherNew York GiantsMiddle linebackerIts a vital position that dictates the leader of the defense. The Giants have Jasper Brinkley, Keenan Robinson, Kelvin Sheppard and rookie B.J. Goodson in the mix. Brinkley is the favorite early in training camp, in part because he knows the defense best and finished last season?as the Giants starter at the position. But this one is completely up for grabs. -- Jordan RaananPhiladelphia EaglesCornerbackThe Eagles unloaded last years marquee addition, Byron Maxwell, and added lower-level free agents Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks,?who played for coordinator Jim Schwartz in Buffalo. They appear to be in the lead for both cornerback spots for now, but Nolan Carroll, Eric Rowe and rookie Jalen Mills?will?all be in the mix during the preseason. -- Phil SheridanWashington RedskinsInside linebackerThe Redskins have a battle at left guard as well as defensive end, but the interesting one to watch is at linebacker, where Perry Riley Jr. and Mason Foster are fighting for a spot next to Will Compton. Riley just returned from a broken foot, but if he doesnt win the job, it could get more intriguing, as he?is not a big special-teams guy and would be an expensive backup at $5 million. -- John KeimNFC NORTHChicago BearsStrong safetyThe Bears used a fourth-round pick on hard-hitting Miami safety Deon Bush, who on paper complements the style of rangy free safety Adrian Amos. Bush will have to earn the starting job, though. Standing in Bushs way is Harold Jones-Quartey,?a physical, second-year safety whose aggressive style of play jumps out at practice. Jones-Quartey has the edge in experience; as an undrafted rookie out of Findlay last year, Jones-Quartey started four games, intercepted one pass and forced a?fumble. -- Jeff DickersonDetroit LionsStrong safetySome will look at receiver and others the offensive line, but strong safety is the most wide-open position in camp, with potentially five players vying for roles. The Lions signed Rafael Bush (the leader entering camp) and Tavon Wilson in free agency, drafted Miles Killebrew in the fourth round and have Isaiah Johnson and Don Carey on the roster. An early pick:?Bush wins the job but is pushed hard by Killebrew, who shows he can be the teams strong safety of the future. Johnson ends up flashing talent?in the competition. -- Michael RothsteinGreen Bay PackersWide receiverNot only is it nearly impossible to tell how many receivers the Packers are going to keep, but also, at this point it isnt clear who the No. 3 will be behind Jordy Nelson (when he returns) and Randall Cobb. Davante Adams, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis and even rookie fifth-round pick Trevor Davis have made their cases while at the same time showing their limitations. Ty Montgomery?could get involved when he comes off the PUP list. Even undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison and practice-squad member Ed Williams have made plays. We have a lot of guys who are going to be competing for, really, three through however many spots they keep, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. -- Rob DemovskyMinnesota VikingsCenterJohn Sullivan is trying to regain his starting job after he missed all of 2015 because of two back surgeries. The 31-year-old has?been one of the better centers in the league, but Joe Berger had a strong year in Sullivans absence. They are?trading first-team snaps early in training camp. Given how well Berger played last season, it could be tougher than many mightve thought for Sullivan to get the job back. -- Ben GoesslingNFC SOUTHAtlanta FalconsInside linebackerThree-time leading tackler?Paul Worrilow?is trying to hold off rookie Deion Jones. Worrilow has the knowledge of the defense at his advantage, but Jones blazing speed makes him the ideal coverage linebacker. Linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich has even tinkered with playing Worrilow at weakside linebacker while leaving Jones in the middle during training camp. It wouldnt be a surprise to see Worrilow on the field in the base defense and Jones on the field in the nickel. -- Vaughn McClureCarolina PanthersCornerbackWho will replace cornerback Josh Norman? The Panthers drafted James Bradberry in the second round, Daryl Worley in the third and Zack Sanchez in the fifth, with the hope that at least one could replace Norman. With the other starting corner, Bene Benwikere, on PUP rehabbing a fractured ankle injury from last season, a rookie could fill both corner spots, and there?could be?three if Sanchez wins the nickel spot. But replacing Norman is the top priority because Benwikere is expected back. Bradberry seems to have the upper hand. Hes even wearing Normans No. 24. However, coach Ron Rivera says none of the three has separated himself from the others yet. -- David NewtonNew Orleans SaintsDefensive endThe Saints have three young pass-rushers competing for their open defensive end position across from Pro Bowler Cameron Jordan. Chances are?Obum Gwacham, Kasim Edebali and Davis Tull will wind up rotating in that spot. The Saints desperately need at least one of them to emerge as a QB disruptor at a position that could be considered their biggest question after Hauoli Kikaha went down with a summer knee injury. Gwacham got the most reps with the 1s early in camp, but Edebali has also gotten turns -- and all three have flashed a couple times in team drills. The ability to hold up against the run will be key for all of them and could give Edebali an edge. -- Mike TriplettTampa Bay BuccaneersCornerbackBucs coach Dirk Koetter announced Monday that first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves would start rotating in with the first-team defense. Hargreaves has spent a great deal of time working in at nickelback while lining up with the second-team defense on the outside. Will he stay at nickel and take reps from Jude Adjei-Barimah? Or will he unseat Alterraun Verner or Brent Grimes on the outside? Its highly unlikely that Hargreaves?takes away Grimes spot. Verner has had a stellar?training camp so far and could very well rebound from two disappointing seasons under the previous regime. -- Jenna LaineNFC WESTArizona CardinalsCenterIts a veteran-rookie battle. A.Q. Shipley has held on to the first-team center job all offseason, ever since the Cardinals decided not to re-sign long-time starter Lyle Sendlein. But Arizona drafted Evan Boehm out of Missouri in the fourth round, and Boehm is in line to be?the center of the future. Unless coach Bruce Arians put up an epic smokescreen this week by saying Evans just got to learn and A.Q. has proven he can play, the battle for center will be the best in Arizonas camp this year. -- Josh WeinfussLos Angeles RamsQuarterbackThe Rams would like nothing more than to see rookie Jared Goff take the job and run with it sooner than later. But organized team activities showed that Goff is going to need some time to get up to speed. Case Keenum is there to offer a steady hand until Goff is ready. Depending on how Goff fares in camp, this might be less of a competition and more of a delayed coronation for Goff. -- Nick WagonerSan Francisco 49ersQuarterbackCoach Chip Kelly will promote competition across the board in his first season in San Francisco, but none of those battles will get more scrutiny than the one for quarterback. Blaine Gabbert is the incumbent after he stepped in for an injured Colin Kaepernick last season. Gabbert showed signs of improvement as the season went on, while Kaepernick is looking to rediscover the magic that made him a breakout star just a few years ago. The Niners are splitting the reps evenly, and neither player has stood above the other so far. Expect this one to go well into the preseason. -- Nick WagonerSeattle SeahawksRunning backIf Thomas Rawls were healthy, hed be the heavy favorite to start. But Rawls is still recovering from the ankle injury he suffered in December and is on the PUP list. That has given rookies Alex Collins and Zac Brooks a chance to run with the first team, along with veteran Christine Michael. Third-round pick C.J. Prosise has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. Pete Carroll said he expects Rawls to be ready for the opener, but theres plenty of uncertainty at this spot. -- Sheil Kapadia Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys Cheap Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Authentic Jerseys ' ' '
      May 9, 2018 4:03 AM MDT