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BOSTON – Its not yet June and thanks to the advent of the two wild card spots in each
BOSTON – Its not yet June and thanks to the advent of the two wild card spots in each league, only two of 30 teams can make the argument to their fans that theyre out of the playoff hunt. Oscar Lindberg Jersey . With apologies to the Arizona Diamondbacks, a club that made offseason moves with the intention of contending and will now give new hire Tony La Russa time to assess the damage of a disastrous start, the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs have dropped far enough in the standings to consider the postseason unachievable. The Cubs have a prized piece at the front of their starting rotation. He is 29-year-old Jeff Samardzija, the ace of a bad baseball team whos expected to top the wish list of teams looking to bolster their pitching staffs ahead of the important games of August and September. Dont let the numbers fool you. Samardzija is good. The Cubs are not good. He is winless in nine starts this season despite posting a big league-best 1.62 ERA. In fact, Samardzijas winless skid stretches to 16 if you go back to last year. Chicago, with its impotent offence, doesnt score him any runs. An even crueler fate: Samardzija pitched seven scoreless innings against the Yankees on Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field, departing with a 2-0 lead, only to watch his closer and defence implode in the ninth. The Cubs lost in extra innings. Word around the Blue Jays is if the club is in contention approaching the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, ownership would be willing to loosen the purse strings to acquire additional help. Toronto needs help in its starting rotation with two spots in perpetual question. J.A. Happ is filling one at the moment. Somebody will fill the other come Saturday. Its expected to be Liam Hendriks, a former Minnesota Twin whos off to a strong start at Triple-A Buffalo. Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro was a Cub last year and caught Samardzija 10 times. "Hes really good," said Navarro. "I think hes one of those guys the numbers last year didnt show what hes capable of. Hes a horse. He wants the ball. He wants to win. Hes still got that football mentality. Hes that type of player." Samardzija features a sinking fastball, which he pumps up at 91 miles per hour at the low end, 97 at the high end. Hell spike a splitter; he throws a backdoor slider and a cut fastball. "Hes got everything, man," said Navarro. "Hes got it." Should Samardzija land in the American League East, a real possibility considering the interest hell likely draw not just from the Blue Jays but also the injury-riddled Yankees and maybe others, hell quickly find himself in a home run-friendly division with home run-friendly parks and lineups that stretch deep. Its not the National League Central. Navarro doesnt think he would have a problem adjusting. "I believe so," said Navarro. "I think hes a strikeout pitcher. Hes a swing and miss type of guy. I believe that hes got what it takes. I think the most important thing that hes got is hes a really competitive guy and he wants to win. Obviously hes going to have to make some adjustments coming from the NL Central to the American League East but I think hes going to be a huge asset if we get the opportunity to get him." The Cubs reported asking price for Samardzija in the offseason involved both top pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. Needless to say that would be a steep price to pay. It may, however, be the going rate. With so many teams jumbled around the .500 mark and no sign of that changing in the foreseeable future, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer should have a number of intriguing offers to peruse. If Cliff Lees elbow problem is anything serious for the Phillies, another potential chip comes off the market and Samardzijas price goes up further. How about that? The perpetually weak Cubs will be dealing from a position of strength. CHECK OUT THE PODCAST Episode 5 of The Baseball Podcast, #TBP, is available online. TSN 1050 contributors Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com and I discuss Fenway Park, the Blue Jays red hot offence, the persistent issues with the back end of the starting rotation, Jose Reyes defence and whether the media is too easy on general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Click here to listen. Paul Stastny Jersey .5 million. The 25-year-old Varlamov is thriving under first-year coach and Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, posting a 26-9-5 record with a 2. Nate Schmidt Jersey . - In about six minutes, the Memphis Grizzlies had allowed their 23-point lead to be cut to seven. http://www.officialgoldenknightspro.com/Max-pacioretty-golden-knights-jersey/ ." The tournament was set to be held Sept. 15-21 and would have been the first ATP tournament held in Israel since 1996. But amid Israels military campaign against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, ATP President Chris Kermode said "we do not feel we can proceed as planned given the situation in the region.LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The last thing the Winnipeg Jets expected was to have to settle things in a shootout — not after the way they started out against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.Mathieu Perreault, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler scored on Winnipegs first three shots against Jonathan Quick during a 3-minute span, but didnt secure their 5-4 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions until Little got the only goal in the fourth round of the tiebreaker and Michael Hutchinson stopped Mike Richards at the other end.Our last game in here at the start of the season, we were down and chasing the game the whole night, coach Paul Maurice said. I didnt like parts of the second period tonight, but its tough to win on the road. So this was a good win for the hockey club.Zach Bogosian scored the tying goal in the third period to end a 41-game drought going back almost a year. Hutchinson gave up goals on two of the first five shots he faced, but finished with 25 saves in regulation and overtime.There were a couple of crazy bounces tonight, but we got the start that we were looking for, said the 24-year-old rookie, who allowed more than three goals for the first time in 16 starts this season. We got a few goals early and that really helped our energy throughout the rest of the game. After that, we took a couple of penalties and they were able to capitalize on their power play.Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Marian Gaborik and Kyle Clifford scored for the Kings, who have lost three straight and five of six. Quick, who has given up 15 goals in his last three starts, stopped 21 of Winnipegs final 22 shots before the shootout.The Kings are 19-13-10 a year after going 25-13-4 over their first 42 games en route to their second Stanley Cup title in three seasons. They began their 2011-12 championship campaign 20-15-7 over the same stretch.You cant give up four goals and expect to win a hockey game. Thats what it comes down to, defenceman Alec Martinez said. If we keep on having first-period starts like weve had and digging ourselves a hole, its going to be pretty difficult on us.Gaborik tied the score 3-all at 1:29 of the third on a rebound for his team-high 13th goal after Kopitar intercepted the goalies attempted clearing pass at the left boards and quickly shot it toward the net. But Bogosian beat Quick through a screen on a wrist shott with 5:56 left in regulation — his first goal since Jan. Jonathan Marchessault Jersey. 31, 2014.Perreault opened the scoring at 3:39 of the first period when Michael Frolik shrugged off a hard check behind from Matt Greene against the end boards and fed Perreault in front for his 11th goal. Quick surrendered a soft one to Little 52 seconds later on a short wrist shot.The Jets, 0 for 7 on the power play in Thursdays 4-1 loss at Phoenix, connected the first time they had the man advantage to make it 3-0. Wheeler was credited with his 12th goal when his centring pass in tight quarters bounced in off Kings centre Trevor Lewis at 6:39.We finally got off to the start we wanted. We caught some lucky bounces, Adam Lowry said. On the third goal, we were fortunate to get it. But then we took some more penalties again and let them back in the game.Clifford changed the momentum significantly with a thunderous hit on Anthony Peluso behind the Winnipeg net at 8:20 of the first, resulting in a power play that the Kings were able to kill off.Dustin Byfuglien then got an interference penalty and Lowry was assessed a delay-of-game infraction 26 seconds later for clearing the puck over the glass, resulting in power-play goals by Kopitar and Williams 1:27 apart to pull the Kings to 3-2 with 4:02 left in the first.Jeff Carter lifted a backhander over Hutchinsons glove on a breakaway at 3:31 of the second when he after stealing the puck from Byfuglien inside the Kings blueline.The Kings are 0-3 on a seven-game homestand. Los Angeles hasnt lost four in a row on the same homestand since the middle of the 2010-11 season.NOTES: Kings C Tyler Toffoli missed his first game of the season because of mononucleosis. ... Quick gave up at least four goals in a game for the ninth time this season, something he did just six times in 49 games last season. ... The Jets two-day stay in Southern California will conclude Sunday, when the Anaheim Ducks retire Teemu Selannes No. 8 jersey. Selanne began his 21-year NHL career with the old Winnipeg Jets, who became the Coyotes. These Jets used to be the Atlanta Thrashers. ... Winnipegs next victory will be Paul Maurices 500th as an NHL head coach. Maurice guided the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002. ... The Kings are 7-0-3 against the Thrashers/Jets franchise since it joined the NHL in the 1999-00 season. ' ' '

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