TORONTO - After falling victim to slow starts in each of the last two games, both losses, Raptors coach Dwane Casey hinted change could be on the way. USA Soccer Shirts . "Weve got to look at our starts," said Casey, the afternoon following a 90-83 defeat to Miami, one in which his team fell behind by nine in the first quarter. "Thats the second game in a row thats happened." Toronto allowed the Heat to shoot 52 per cent in the first quarter four days after the Nets shot 60 per cent in the opening 12 minutes of Tuesdays loss. Despite a second-half push, the Raptors failed to dig themselves out of an early-game hole in both contests, prompting Casey to suggest that a change could be imminent as soon as Sundays game, at home to Denver, or in Oakland against Golden State on Tuesday. "Whether its a lineup change or a change in personality," he continued, "weve got to look at something to start the game because we cant expend that much mental and physical energy to fight against all the teams were going against, and thats what its been the last couple of weeks." The Raptors - who used 22 different starting lineups last season, sixth most in the NBA - have started the same unit in each game to begin the campaign. After experiencing some success on the floor together - specifically on the defensive end - towards the end of last season, the group of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas has underachieved through 15 contests this year. That unit - the Raptors most used, both this season and last - outscored opponents by 85 points when they were in the game together a year ago, starting 21 of the teams final 25 games. They ranked third in the NBA in defensive efficiency among five-man units that played a minimum of 300 minutes together (only the Spurs and Grizzlies starting fives had a better defensive rating). This season they are a minus-35, per NBA.com/stats, and are allowing opponents to shoot 52 per cent from the field. They have shared the floor for 229 minutes while the teams second most-utilized unit - Lowry, DeRozan, Gay and Johnson with Landry Fields - has played just 34 minutes together. As a team, Toronto has been least effective in the first and third quarters, with the starters playing the bulk of the teams minutes. The Raptors are a plus-three in the opening frame and minus-39 in the third. Their best quarter has been the fourth - a period in which the starters have rarely played together - where their plus-45 mark is third best in the NBA (behind only the Pacers and Thunder). "I think you have to look at the chemistry, skill set, what they bring to the table, a little bit of everything," Casey said of a possible change. "I dont question our guys fight. Its not that were not playing hard, its just not meshing together with the first group." Two starters who could be on the hot seat are Johnson and Valanciunas. Both frontcourt players logged fewer than 18 minutes in Fridays loss and have failed to meet lofty pre-season expectations overall. Tyler Hansbrough, who played 25 minutes and helped turn the game around in the second half with his physicality, earned praise from his coach following Saturdays practice and could be a candidate to replace either Johnson or Valanciunas in the event Casey decides to make a change. "It may be just a matter of time to let it go," Casey said. "Were still searching, like a lot of teams in the league are doing. Were not panicking but weve got to make sure we understand and we get the right group together." Toronto hosts the Denver Nuggets Sunday afternoon, concluding a season-high four-game homestand before heading out west next week. USA Soccer Jerseys 2020 .C. -- Gleason Fournier scored the shootout winner as the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Abbotsford Heat 4-3 Friday in American Hockey League action. USA Soccer Jerseys 2019 .Murray has played 20 matches in five weeks, winning three titles to climb to fifth in the ATP Race.The two-time Grand Slam champion also seeks to qualify for next months ATP World Tour Finals.Murray said: I always wanted to qualify for it, but also I want to get back into the top 8 players in the world and it makes a huge difference for seedings in the major events.PHILADELPHIA -- Jonathon Niese stayed warm, and the surprising New York Mets cooled off Philadelphia. Niese pitched seven steady innings on a rainy Tuesday night and Daniel Murphy had three hits to lead New York to a 6-1 victory over the Phillies. Ruben Tejada doubled and had two RBIs for the Mets, who chased Cole Hamels in the fifth and have won seven of nine. They improved to 15-11 overall, marking the first time New York has been four games over .500 since July 14, 2012. "Conditions are really tough and Jon just keeps cruising along," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You have to be pretty impressed with the way hes going about it. He used all of his pitches. It seemed like he had good command of his curveball even though it was wet. ... He went out and pitched another great game." Marlon Byrd homered and Ryan Howard had two hits with a double for Philadelphia, which lost for only the third time in nine games. The start was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 28 minutes, and the temperature at first pitch was a chilly 46 degrees. Many in the announced crowd of 28,189 who braved the cold were dressed more appropriately for a Philadelphia Eagles football game in December, with hooded sweat shirts, winter coats and wool blankets. There was a misty rain for the first 2 1/2 innings before heavy rain began to fall in the bottom of the third. The rain tapered off to a drizzle before becoming heavy again in the seventh. The weather hardly affected Niese (2-2), who didnt allow a hit until Byrds two-out homer in the fourth. The left-hander gave up four hits while striking out five and walking one. "It was another cold one," Niese said, "but it seems like the more I pitch in cold weather, the more I figure out how to stay warm." Niese sat near a heater in the Mets dugout and kept his hands in his jacket pockets, which contained hand warmers. While on the mound, Niese said he made sure to move around constantly rather than stand still. "I was able to effectively throw my pitches," he said. Said Murphy, "He threw the ball great. It was a treat to watch from second base." Hamels (0-2) struggled in his first home start of the season, allowing six runs on eight hitss with five walks and a hit batter in 4 2-3 innings. Wholesale USA Soccer Jerseys. Seeking his 100th career victory, Hamels lost the strike zone in the fourth when he walked four batters, including Niese with the bases loaded, as the Mets took a 3-0 lead. Hamels was making his second start of the season after opening on the disabled list due to left biceps tendinitis. The leftys ERA rose to 6.75 as he dropped to 2-8 in his last 10 home starts against the Mets. Murphy had a two-out RBI single in the third, and Josh Satin singled home a run in the fourth. "Ive never seen Cole be that erratic, and Im sure a lot of that was the conditions," Collins said. "Its early in the year and he missed a lot of spring training. Hell be fine, Im sure." Hamels said the conditions made it difficult to pitch but blamed himself for not being able to adjust better. "The elements got the best of me today," he said. "From my standpoint, Im truly embarrassed because I didnt really give anyone a chance." Hamels said a lack of perspiration made gripping the ball difficult. "When youre able to perspire, youre able to get certain types of grips with the baseball," he said, before joking: "Today might have been the day to use pine tar, but unfortunately I dont do that. It might have been the day to learn. It was difficult to throw the baseball and difficult to throw strikes. You have to be able to battle out there, and I wasnt able to do it." Byrds homer pulled the Phillies to 3-1, but New York chased Hamels when it got an RBI double from Chris Young and a two-run single from Tejeda to make it 6-1 in the fifth. NOTES: Mets starters have given up more than three runs once in the last 13 games. ... Murphy extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (2-3, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to face RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.52) in the conclusion of the two-game series Wednesday night. ... During the rain delay, the Phillies showed Game 6 of the NHL playoff series between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers on the scoreboard and rang the bell in centre field traditionally rung for home runs when Wayne Simmonds scored a first-period goal to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. ' ' '
15 nov. 2019
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Joe Crede Jersey . -- The Royals shook up their coaching staff Thursday in an attempt to jumpstart their failing offence, making Dale Sveum the hitting coach and Mike Jirschele their third base coach. Pedro Grifol, who took over as hitting coach last season, will now instruct catchers. The moves were announced after the Royals finished off a disastrous homestand that included a sweep at the hands of Houston, and before they opened a four-game series in Toronto. Sveum said the Royals havent done a good enough job this season of hitting pitches in the upper half of the strike zone. "The bottom line is weve struggled with elevation and weve swung at pitches down in the zone probably way too much," he said. "From thigh high to the top of the strike zone, were not doing enough damage." The Royals began the day last in the majors with 21 homers, putting them on pace to match the 1976 club for the fewest in franchise history for a non-strike-shortened season. Theyre also last in the American League in runs and slugging percentage. "There is not one man in the lineup thats hitting the ball well," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said Wednesday. "Were just cold." Yost said "a different voice can make a difference," to struggling batters, but the Royals have heard plenty of voices about hitting: Sveum is Kansas Citys fifth hitting coach in less than three seasons. The Royals let go of Kevin Seitzer two years ago in the hope that somebody else would help the club generate more power. Seitzer was eventually hired by the Blue Jays, who currently lead the majors with 76 homers -- more than Kansas City is on pace for all season. Jack Maloof and Andre David were hired before last season, but they only made it a couple of months before they were reassigned within the franchise. It was at that point that the Royals hired Grifol and Hall of Famer George Brett on an interim basis. The Royals showed signs of life once that duo was in charge, slowly climbing into playoff contention. Grifol was given the job on a full-time basis after Brett stepped down in July, but lasted less than a year in the role. "Hes the one that pulled us out of our trouble last year," Yost said of Grifol Thursday. "A year later, we find ourselves in the exact same spot." Sveum, a former Brewers and Cubs manager, had been serving as the Royals third base coach. But he also has plenty of experience as a hitting coach, helping Milwaukee finish in the top three of the National League in homers in each of his three seasons. "Hes got experience, he studies hitting," Yost said. "Hes got a lot of knowledge. He helped Prince Fielder get, in my opinion, to the next level as an offensive performer." Ross Detwiler White Sox Jersey . The goals took Liverpools tally in the Premier League this season to 70, overtaking Manchester City as the top scorers, and left the fourth-place team just four points behind league leader Chelsea. Hugh Duffy Jersey . The thinking at the time was Clowney could have already been promised he would be selected first overall by the Houston Texans, therefore negating any need to meet with any other teams. The plot took another twist this week.Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Steve Delabar is going back to the minors. The righty was sent back down to Triple-A Buffalo for the second time this week in order to make room for Liam Hendriks who will get the start Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds. Delabar waas sent down Tuesday but was called back up for Thursdays game against the New York Yankees when Brett Cecil went to the disabled list. Jack Mcdowell White Sox Jersey . The 30-year-old has appeared in 30 games this season, recording a 4.91 earned run average and a 3-0 record. ' ' '