Craig Kimbrel may be rusty at first, but he’s instantly the Cubs’ best relief pitcher

first_imgMORE:  Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNChicago’s bullpen has underwhelmed at times this season, particularly on the back end. With Brandon Morrow injured, the Cubs haven’t had a true closer, and their top setup man in recent years, Carl Edwards Jr., has slumped to a 6.23 ERA.Kimbrel gives the team an arm to rival Brewers left-hander Josh Hader as the best late-inning option in the NL Central, and someone equipped to handle the pressures of September and October. That provides immediate reassurance for fans on the North Side. In any case, Kimbrel will soon be the best reliever on his new team because, well, that’s just what he does. He has been the No. 1 bullpen man on every roster since his rookie campaign. His career ERA is 1.91, and he has racked up 333 saves in just nine seasons.Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz — who was a dominant closer in his own right for a four-year stretch — said he believes the Kimbrel addition could turn the tide in Chicago’s favor in the NL Central.”(They) were missing that ‘it’ factor,” Smoltz said on DAZN’s “ChangeUp.” “They’ve got that now . . . where it’s like, ‘OK we’ve got a guy for the end of the game.'”He’s not going to pitch in the seventh, he’s not going to pitch in the eighth. He’s pretty much locked down in the ninth.” Craig Kimbrel is now the presumed Cubs closer after reportedly agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with Chicago on Wednesday night. He’d gone the entire offseason and the first part of the regular season without a deal despite being widely regarded as one of the best relief pitchers in baseball.Can he perform at a high level right away given his extended absence from the mound? It might take a couple of weeks to become acclimated to MLB rigors again, but one would assume he has adhered to an extended offseason throwing program. It might even have been best for him to receive an extended break given the 10 2/3 high-stress innings he threw in last year’s postseason after the Red Sox rode him hard down the stretch.last_img read more

No pressure ahead of Everton tie-Shakava

first_img0Shares0000Despite the cold, Gor Mahia skipper Harun Shakava seems to be enjoying training at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground on November 4, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluLIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Nov 6 – Gor Mahia skipper Harun Shakava says the team is under no pressure as they prepare to face English Premier League side Everton FC in the SportPesa Trophy friendly game in Liverpool on Tuesday evening.Shakava notes the boys are calm and relaxed ahead of the tie and know what they need to do to make a better representation of themselves. “It is all about character. We have no pressure despite the expectations from the fans and the demands that come with playing for Gor. This is our job and we have to focus on the game and what we do on the pitch as a team,” the defender said.He says tactically, they have done their homework well and top on their agenda is ensuring Everton don’t see more of the ball than them.“We have to play the ball and not lose possession. We need to have that confidence to play and everyone must be ready to give their all. It is a huge test for us. We haven’t played in this kind of stadium or atmosphere before and we need to be at our best,” further stated Shakava.Gor Mahia skipper Harun Shakava at the Goodison Park Stadium on November 3, 2018 as Gor Mahia watched Everton play against Brighton in an EPL game. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluHaving watched Everton play Brighton last Saturday, Shakava says the team knows their hosts strengths and weaknesses and will be ready to sting.“Everton play well compared to us because they control the game very well and attack in numbers realy quick, But, we also have our way of play and the coach has told us to play with no pressure and enjoy the game. I hope we can do that then the results will come,” he opined.The defender was part of the squad that travelled to Hull City in 2016 as part of the SportPesa All Star team that faced the hosts in a friendly match which ended 2-1 out of their favor.Gor Mahia head skipper Harun Shakava in training at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground on November 4, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluHe hopes the experience he picked back then will be vital for his side as they play the game, and more so, the calming effect that comes with an experienced head.The skipper also notes they have adjusted to the weather having struggled in training for the past two days and says they are ready to warm up the Goodison Park with some exciting football.“At least it is not as bad as when we played in Tunisia and Algeria for the Champions League. We have adjusted to it and I know we will be ready to play well,” he said.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

VIDEO: Argentinian fourth-tier side claim famous win after SUPER pre-match photo

first_img Sacachispas may have given the football world a new superstition… De la cuarta categoría del fútbol pero eliminaron en penales a un equipo de Primera en la #CopaArgentinaSuperhéroes Sacachispas. ⚽️— Fútbol Sin Censura (@FutSinC) May 23, 2017// Not all superheroes wear capes….but they’re partial to wearing football kits.Argentinian fourth-tier side Sacachispas were given a mountain to climb after being handed a daunting looking Copa Argentina cup-tie against Primera Division side Arsenal de Sarandi.And in a bid to psyche themselves up for the clash, every player lined up for the pre-match photo while wearing a variety of different superhero masks.But the wacky stunt looked to have the inspired affect after pulling off a shock victory in  penalty shoot-out after drawing 1-1 in normal time.We may have a new superstition on our hands….Watch the video belowcenter_img 1last_img read more