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Bieber, Bauer win Cy Young Awards – TSN

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Cleveland Indians ace Shane Bieber was the unanimous winner of the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday night, and Trevor Bauer became the first player to take home the NL honour for the Cincinnati Reds.

Using a versatile repertoire that includes a looping curveball and a wipeout slider, Bieber went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings during the pandemic-shortened season, leading the majors in ERA and strikeouts and tying Yu Darvish for the most wins.

Bieber became the second player in franchise history to win the pitching AL Triple Crown, joining Hall of Famer Bob Feller in 1940. He also was the first pitcher to lead the majors in all three categories since Johan Santana for Minnesota in 2006.

Bauer went 5-4 with an NL-best 1.73 ERA in 11 starts, helping the Reds reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The 29-year-old right-hander struck out 100 in 73 innings and led the majors with two shutouts, a pair of seven-inning performances on doubleheader days.

The brash Bauer is the first Cy Young winner for Cincinnati, the majors’ oldest franchise. He became a free agent after the season and turned down the Reds’ qualifying offer, but left the door open for a return.

Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish finished second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was third, ending his bid for a third consecutive NL Cy Young Award.

Bieber was the first unanimous AL winner since Justin Verlander for the Detroit Tigers in 2011. It was the 10th time that an AL pitcher was a unanimous choice for the award.

Minnesota Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda was second in AL voting, followed by Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu.

The BBWAA will announce the MVPs on Thursday night.

The 25-year-old Bieber was selected by Cleveland in the fourth round of the 2016 amateur draft. He made his major league debut in 2018 and went 11-5 with a 4.55 ERA. But he really started to show off his potential last year, winning the MVP award at the All-Star Game and finishing with 15 wins and a 3.28 ERA.

“I was kind of a late bloomer in high school, so I feel like I had to learn how to pitch and let my stuff come to me,” Bieber said last week when he was announced as a Cy Young finalist. “Continue to work hard, continue to develop in the latter half of high school and going into college, was to able some velocity and kind of refine my game.

“But in terms of development, I wouldn’t trade my process for anything. I felt like my early years learning how to pitch, learning how to change speeds and locate the ball has paid dividends in the long run.”

Bieber gave Cleveland its fifth Cy Young Award since CC Sabathia won in 2007. Cliff Lee won in 2008, and Corey Kluber took home the honour in 2014 and 2017. Gaylord Perry in 1972 is the only other Cy Young winner for the Tribe.

It’s the first Cy Young for Bauer, who tied for sixth in the AL voting in 2018 after he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA for the Indians. He was traded to Cincinnati as part of a three-team deal at last year’s deadline that moved Yasiel Puig to Cleveland.

Bauer struggled after he was acquired by the Reds, going 2-5 with a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts. But he returned to form when this season finally started in July.

He allowed just two runs and eight hits in 26 1/3 innings over his first four starts. He also closed out the season with a flourish, recording a 1.29 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 35 innings over five September starts.

Bauer pitched Game 1 of the playoffs at Atlanta and struck out 12 in 7 2/3 innings. But the Reds lost 1-0 in 13 innings and failed to score during the Braves’ sweep.

Bauer, who has his own YouTube account and nearly 400,000 followers on Twitter, was selected by Arizona with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He is 75-64 with a 3.90 ERA in 205 career games, including 195 starts.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Best moments from Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley's win at The Match – Golf Channel

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Score one for the underdogs!

Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley entered the latest iteration of The Match, The Match III, as betting underdogs to favorites Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning. However, Mickelson and the 25-handicap Barkley got the job done in convincing fashion, winning 4 and 3 on Friday at Stone Canyon Club in Oro Valley, Arizona.

“Two people thought this was going to happen: you and me,” Mickelson told Barkley as they walked off the 15th green.

After dropping the first hole, Mickelson and Barkley won four straight holes to take command. As Curry struggled with his game and Manning couldn’t do much to pick up the slack, the two went 4 down after 10 holes. In total, they won just three holes.

While there were still plenty of Classic Chuck shots to make things entertaining, Mickelson performed well as a player, coach and caddie to headline a strong team performance.

Oh, and the banter wasn’t “turrible,” either.

Here are some of the most memorable moments from the day:


To: Chuck, From: Tiger

Barkley’s golf ability and knack for self deprecation make him an easy target, so it’s no surprise that Tiger Woods’ needle found him.

Woods sent some gifts Barkley’s way before the match, including a reflective vest and airhorn.

The joke, though, was mostly on Tiger. Barkley didn’t need any of his presents early. He hit a nice baby draw off the first tee and didn’t miss a fairway until the fifth hole. And while Barkley did hit some foul balls later, the match was well in hand by then.


Early over-club

Mickelson put on his caddie hat right away after bombing a drive into the left rough at the opening hole. As Barkley sized up a wedge shot, Mickelson shot the flag with his rangefinder.

“70 yards,” Mickelson said.

Barkley clipped it a little thin, sending the ball well over the flag and rolling it onto the back fringe, some 80 feet away from the flag.

Mickelson then conceded that he over-clubbed Barkley on purpose.

“It was actually 55,” he said to Barkley. “I didn’t want to tell you that because I wanted you to be aggressive. … I’ve underestimated your ability.”


Pray for the zebras?

Steph Curry was easily the best dressed player on the course, and Phil Mickelson agreed: “I think he looks amazing.”

But Andre Iguodala, one of Curry’s former Warriors teammates who was part of the broadcast team, disagreed.

“How many zebras had to die for you to look fly?” Iguodala quipped.

Ouch.


Barkley’s Gary Player story

Speaking of outfits, Barkley’s all-black attire prompted a tweet from Gary Player.

“Glad to see that Chuck has channeled his inner Black Knight with his all black attire today,” Player said. “Let’s go Chuck & Phil.”

Barkley then mentioned that he and Player teed it up recently.

“One of the highlights of my life was getting to meet Gary Player about six weeks ago,” Barkley said. “I always wanted to meet him, we played a great round of golf and it was an honor and a privilege.”

Unsurprisingly, Player made some comments about Barkley’s weight during their round together.

“I’ll tell you what, he made me feel bad about being fat, though,” Barkley said. “He told me I need to get in the gym.”


Barkley’s hecklers

Tiger and Gary weren’t the only ones making fun at Barkley’s expense. Barkley’s “NBA on TNT” colleagues – Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal – joined the telecast from their homes.

“I’ve got $100,000 on Steph Curry,” O’Neal said to Barkley, who chunked his tee ball at the sixth hole amid the trash talk.

Finally, Mickelson had enough.

“I’m tired of your colleagues disrespecting you,” he said before handing a dozen Callaway golf balls with Shaq’s face logoed on them to Barkley. 

Barkley’s next shot from the drop zone missed the green, as well.

“200,000 on Steph Curry,” O’Neal added.

“Where’s the hitch?” Kenny Smith asked Barkley as he walked toward the green.

O’Neal then had the best zinger of them all as Barkley lined up a birdie putt off of Mickelson’s tee shot.

“Chuck, if you can’t read words how you gonna read greens?” O’Neal asked.

Mickelson’s advice – “Quiet your mind, my friend” – paid off, though, as Barkley nestled one close to clinch the halve after Manning lipped out a short birdie try.


‘Strong, cocky move’

With Barkley facing a long birdie putt from the fringe at the fifth hole, Curry had a chance to chip he and Manning’s fourth shot close and put some pressure on.

However, he duffed it.

With the ball still in the rough, Mickelson decided to conceded the bogey to his opponents.

“That’s a strong, cocky move right there,” he said to Barkley, who ended up lagging one 4 feet past and setting up a Mickelson par make for the hole.


‘I bought it’

Who said the Super Bowl had the best commercials?


Chuckopotamus

Here’s the ball flight we’re used to out of Chuck. Warning: It’s not for the shank of heart.


‘Sorry’

After Barkley declared the match basically over with he and Mickelson leading 3 up at the turn, the pair went 4 up after 10 holes. But Curry and Manning managed to get one back at the par-4 11th hole as Mickelson and Barkley spent some quality time in the desert.

Nice out by Mickelson, even if Barkley would later miss a putt for double bogey.

As for Barkley’s club toss? In Chuck’s words: Turrible!


Great – but meaningless – shot!

Not much went right for Curry and Manning on Friday.

Even this beauty of a bunker shot by Steph, at No. 12,  resulted in a lost hole.

Great shot, but Curry still might not want to check his Twitter for a while. Better to let the plus-1 handicap skepticism die down first.


Block or charge?

Well…?


And the winning putt…

Mickelson sealed the deal with this birdie make, but man, wouldn’t it have been great if Barkley had drained the game-winner instead?

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Alejandro Pozuelo reveals injury as Toronto FC focus on contending again in 2021 – MLSsoccer.com

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Even in a condensed season, with rotation aplenty as travel and fixture congestion forced MLS clubs to rely on the depth of their squads, Toronto FC talisman Alejandro Pozuelo started all 25 of his club’s matches in 2020. 

Pozuelo started the year on fire but didn’t quite live up to his lofty standards at the end of the season and failed to make an impact as Toronto lost to Nashville SC in Round One of the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. 

The finalist and favorite for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award revealed he was carrying an injury towards the end of the season. 

“Physically, I feel good but in the last games I had some problem in my leg,” Pozuelo told media on a virtual press conference. “The last two or three weeks I played through an injury but nobody knew because we tried to force through the last month. This is not an excuse. I play a lot of games because I want to play, I felt good enough to play. When I don’t feel good, I say no. But I felt good (enough to play).”

Pozuelo had just one goal and no assists in his final six games, including the playoff loss, after eight goals and 10 assists in the first 19 games of the season.

“The MVP (award) is not important for me,” Pozuelo said. “We lost in the first round, we don’t feel good. We know we could have done more, we have more expectations in this team. The MVP is not important, I feel no good when we lose in the first round.”

Toronto persevered a difficult season, most spent away from home. With difficulties between the United States-Canada border with quarantine guidelines brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto spent the second half of their season playing “at home” in Connecticut. A number of players noted how difficult it was to be away from families but didn’t want to blame that on their disappointment in the playoffs. 

“This season was tough for everybody, but we tried to do our job,” defender Chris Mavinga said. “It wasn’t easy but I think we did well. We didn’t do it in the playoffs, but we have to be proud what we did in the regular season, then learn from it so we can do better next season.”

Toronto are now focused on the offseason and returning strong in 2021. 

“I want to play on a good team, I want us to have as many good players as possible,” midfielder Michael Bradley said. “As many competitors as possible, a team that steps on the field and goes for it every single weekend. That’s all I want. When you look at the club’s track record in the types of players and personalities they’ve brought in, by and large, it’s been quite good.”



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Ravens-Steelers game moved again from Sunday to Tuesday – Sportsnet.ca

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NEW YORK — The Baltimore Ravens’ bout with a COVID-19 outbreak has forced the NFL to postpone the team’s trip to Pittsburgh for a second time.

The league announced Friday the Ravens (6-4) against the unbeaten Steelers (10-0) will now take place on Tuesday night. The game was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving, then moved to Sunday afternoon after an initial wave of players on the Ravens tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Additional positive tests, a group that reportedly includes Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, have forced the Ravens (6-4) to prepare virtually all week.

The postponement forced the NFL to move Dallas’ visit to Baltimore next week from Thursday to Monday, Dec. 7. The unbeaten Steelers (10-0) will now have a short week to prepare for a visit from the Washington Football Team (4-7) on Dec. 6.

The game — if it happens — will be the second Tuesday game played in the NFL this season. Tennessee played at Buffalo on Tuesday, Oct. 13 following the Titans’ bout with COVID-19 in early October forced a reshuffling of the schedule that included moving Pittsburgh’s visit to Tennessee from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25.

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