Snooker World Championship

If John Higgins suffers a shock early defeat in the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, we won’t wag our heads and say that his legs have gone, as we would of a footballer. We won’t say that age has withered him, he’ll never be the same again. We’ll expect him to come back stronger next year.

There was a time, when Steve Davis was coolly outplaying his competitors and then Stephen Hendry was lashing in long pots with focused ferocity, that snooker was a young man’s game: keenness of eye and daring to dare would beat any amount of canniness and experience.

These days the top ranks of snooker are full of 40-plusses: Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan – an enfant terrible with distinguished greying hair – Mark Williams, Marco Fu, Stuart Bingham. They don’t keep their ranking by avoiding difficult shots; that way of playing is more than 20 years out of date. You have to take risks. The skill is in knowing what risks to take – and that knowledge comes with age.

to miss a pot,” he said. “Anyone can miss a pot. It’s when you’re thinking wrong that you’ve lost.” Thinking wrong is about making wrong decisions: going for a long shot when the better move is playing safe, or playing safe when the right thing is to attack. Thinking right is about knowing your game, knowing your own strengths and limitations under stress. It’s about knowing your opponent’s game, the heart of all confrontational sports. And it’s also about understanding the elusive rhythm of snooker.

These days O’Sullivan can still play two or three successive frames of blinding brilliance, but when his game falls away from those impossible peaks, he can play precise safety shots, and pounce when the moment is right. Higgins is perhaps the perfect example of the ability to think right. When that chance comes – one length-of-the-table pot to take control of the game and establish a winning break – well, stick or twist? It’s about knowing the odds, not as a mathematical equation, but as a complex calculation involving your physical skills.

Younger players tend to lack this skill. They rely on a talent for dramatic potting and their ability to keep a break going. Over the long course of World Championship snooker, the odds favour the player who thinks right. The hot-and-colder will get caught.

The drama of modern snooker comes down again and again to these decisions: those moments when success and failure, in a frame of many strokes – and a match of many hundreds of strokes – can all come down to a single shot. You can take it on and miss, leaving the table for your opponent – or you can turn it down, and your opponent will seize control. What do you do?

Davis used to say that no single aspect of his game was great: “There are no tens there. But there are no threes and fours either.” In the same way, Higgins is the master of his own limitations: never striving to be more than he is, but never settling for less. He attacks when attacking is right, not when attacking looks good. He plays safe when safety is necessary – and that too is a kind of courage. Above all else, he has made his age an advantage. He gets full value from his years.

Motocross World Championship Live

Motocross is a sprawling and confusing collection of physically demanding championships and disciplines. To save you scrambling around to understand the basics, here’s a quick-fire guide.

The origins of motocross go way back to the early 20th Century, when riders rode street bikes through the dirt as fast as they could, with no thought for their own safety. Fast forward to the present day and although there’s still plenty of risk involved, the sport has evolved to become the exhilarating spectacle you see today.

But do you know your Coffin from your Cliffhanger? Your FIM Motocross World Championship from your AMA Supercross Championship? Our bluffer’s guide will tell you all you need to know so you don’t have to scramble around for the essentials.

Where did it all begin?

Back in 1906 the first motorcycle time trials, run by the Auto-Cycle Club, saw bikers racing up dirt tracks, trying to beat each other and their own personal times. This evolved into weekly ‘hare scrambles’, and in 1924 the first official event was held in Camberley, Surrey, UK. The sport soon became known as motocross, a portmanteau of motocyclette, the French word for motorcycle, and cross-country.

Rigid-framed street bikes were eventually swapped for ones with suspension in the early 1930s, with further developments – such as swinging rear fork suspension – following in the early ’50s. After this, motocross boomed in the late 1950s, with the introduction of the FIM Motocross World Championship in 1957.

Now in its 66th year, it has produced many great riders, including Belgian Joël Robert, who’s been hailed as one of the most talented riders of all time, Eric Geboers, who made history in the 1980s by becoming the first man to win world championships in all three classes, and five-time motocross world champion Roger De Coster, known as ‘The Man’, whose fitness and control was so great that he was always able to win comfortably.

What are the major competitions?

The two big motocross championships, taking place on elaborate dirt tracks in the US and the rest of the world, are the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) Motocross Championship and the predominately European-based FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) Motocross World Championship. The former has been taking place since 1972, while the FIM series has been drawing big crowds since 1952, when it began as a European Championship. Both now feature two classes of bikes – 450cc (MXGP) and 250cc (MX2).

Supercross, Freestyle, Big Air and Supermoto are all derived from motocross, too, but vary in location and terrain. Supercross racing involves off-road motorcycles on an artificial dirt track, which contains steep jumps and obstacles, and is usually held inside a stadium. The AMA Supercross Championship is a huge spectator sport, which blew up in the 1970s following a race at the Los Angeles Coliseum dubbed The Super Bowl of Motocross.

There are also one-off blockbuster supercross events, such as Red Bull Straight Rhythm, complementing the major championship series.

Freestyle motocross, also known as FMX, is all about performance and is judged by a panel, which looks for the best tricks. Well-known series and events within this derivation of the sport are the FIM Freestyle Motocross World Championship, Red Bull X-Fighters and the X Games, an extreme sports competition that includes FMX, and many, many more.

Who are the riders?

Hall of famers such as 10-time world champ Stefan Everts, Joël Robert, Roger De Coster and Ricky Carmichael – who won 12 major AMA titles in 11 years – once ruled motocross, but they’ve been replaced in the hearts of motocross fans recently by a clutch of contemporary stars.

Reigning FIM Motocross world champion Antonio Cairoli’s aggressive riding style – and his ability to look good while doing it – has made him massively popular among motocross fans, and successful. The greatest rider of his generation, the Italian topped the MX2 class in 2005 and 2007, and then had immediate success in the premier MXGP class in 2009, winning the title seven times. Today he’s a nine-times world champion and gunning for his tenth title.

For US motocross legend Ryan Dungey, racing was in his blood. Born into a family of racers, the American has been champion in AMA Motocross and Supercross, and made history in his inaugural 2010 season by being the first ever rookie to win both the 450cc titles in the same year. His winning streak continued until he announced his retirement in 2017, at the age of 27. As reigning AMA Supercross titleholder, he went out at the very top.

James Stewart previously told Red Bull that he loves racing and just wants to have fun. Recognised by many as the most gifted and flat-out fastest man to swing a leg over a motocross bike, Stewart won a record-breaking 11 AMA Amateur National titles, and in 2008 he became the second rider in history to win 24 out of 24 races in the AMA Motocross Championship, despite having undergone knee surgery before the season started.

Eli Tomac (450cc) and Zach Osborne (250cc) are reigning AMA Motocross Champions, and super-fast Tomac’s performances over the last few seasons suggest he’s set to enjoy a period of major dominance in the sport. However, riders such as former MX2 World Championship and AMA Motocross champion Ken Roczen might have something to say about that.

Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich Live

Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich: Preview, Live Stream, TV Info for UCL Match

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will meet in the Spanish capital for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, with the defending champions sporting a 2-1 lead.

Los Blancos were far from their best in Bavaria but made the most of their chances and took full advantage of several key injuries to their opponents.

Real are in pole position at this point, but Bayern have a lethal attack that can score early and often against the best.

Date: Tuesday, May 1

Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

TV Info/Live Stream: BT Sport 2 (UK), Fox Sports 1 (U.S.)

Plenty of Rest for Both Sides

Bayern have already locked up the Bundesliga title, while Barcelona have wrapped up La Liga, so Real’s only true objective is to finish ahead of local rivals Atletico Madrid.

As a result, neither team put a particularly high emphasis on their weekend fixtures. Per Robbie Dunne of AS, there was plenty of turnover:

Los Blancos beat Leganes 2-1, with goals from Gareth Bale and Borja Mayoral. The Spanish giants were far from convincing, but fans likely didn’t care too much.

Bayern cruised to a 4-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, behind goals from Niklas Dorsch, Sandro Wagner, Rafinha and Niklas Sule. The 20-year-old Dorsch made his senior Bundesliga debut on Saturday

Injury Concerns

Bayern were forced into multiple substitutions due to injury during the first leg, and both teams will be without several key players, according to WhoScored.com.

For Real, Isco and Dani Carvajal will not feature. The former has been a massive part of the club’s European run, but the latter might be more difficult to replace. Los Blancos are short on quality right-backs, and young talent Achraf Hakimi showed on Saturday he’s not ready for such a massive stage.

The 19-year-old was at fault for Leganes’ only goal, and after the match, manager Zinedine Zidane emphasised a slow approach is needed for the youngster, via ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan:

Hakimi is a top talent, but asking him to hold down the fort in a Champions League semi-final against a team like Bayern is too much. Lucas Vazquez is a more likely option, even if he has limited experience as a member of a back four.

Bayern also have major concerns, as the likes of Jerome Boateng, Arjen Robben and David Alaba are all serious doubts. Sule is expected to come into the team, and while he’s a quality option, he’ll face a tough time against Cristiano Ronaldo.

Up front, the absence of Robben and an injury to Kingsley Coman could see Thomas Muller pushed into more of a wide role.

Prediction

The away-goal advantage for Real is crucial in this matchup, as both teams tend to score and have some defensive question marks entering the match. Bayern are unlikely to waste as many chances as they did in the first leg, but they’re also not expected to dominate possession like they did at home.

Royals vs Red Sox Live

BOSTON — There is no statute of limitations on baseball debates, but there must be some reasonable boundary to declare a transaction a success or a failure.

The Red Sox owned Dave Roberts’ contract for all of three months in 2004, sending Henri Stanley to the Dodgers to make the deal, and that one goes in the plus column. Same thing with Boston signing Keith Foulke for three years starting with ’04. That was his only good year of the three but it was a heck of a year, wasn’t it?

Sunday was Rick Porcello’s 100th start in a Red Sox uniform. His career is not over and may not be for years, so there could be 100 more or so in the future. At 29, Porcello is approaching the dreaded Tommy John window but not there yet. His ease of motion and economy of pitches, however, might make him Bronson Arroyo without a guitar but with a Cy Young Award, and let him pitch almost forever.

Porcello’s 100th start for Boston was not his best, but it was very good and very important. The Sox had lost their two previous games and had looked lousy doing it. Losing streaks are either contagious or infectious, or both, and two games can expand into six games before you know it.

Good teams don’t have long losing streaks. Think back to the 2013 Red Sox, who never lost more than three in a row. Boston’s back to back AL East champs of 2016-17 never lost more than four straight, nor did the 2007 World Champions or the ’86 pennant winners.

Alex Cora managed Sunday’s game like it was a post-season game, bringing Craig Kimbrel in during the eighth with the score 3-3, a move that eventually helped prevent the Red Sox from turning a skid into a tailspin.

According to the archaic and unjust rules starting pitchers have to live with, Kimbrel got Sunday’s win even though he got four outs to Porcello’s 23. As dramatic as Kimbrel’s contribution was, Porcello was the bigger reason Boston won the game.

“For him to go 7 2/3, knowing where we were, he knew he had to go deep today regardless of the score,” Cora said of is starer. “He’s doing an amazing job.”

Joe Kelly is suspended and the Boston bullpen headed into the afternoon a bit worn out, so if Porcello had not contributed it to being a two-pitcher game, the afternoon could have had a nasty outcome and left the Sox further shorthanded for the upcoming Royals series.

“I knew that we used a lot of pitchers the last couple of days, but you can’t really think about it. You have to take it one pitch at a time and get there the right way,” Porcello said. “I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff, especially early on I was fighting it. They’ve been swinging the bats well, just credit our guys for hanging in there and getting the runs late and taking a big win for us in the series.”

Through six starts in 2018, Porcello is 4-0 and with one more out Sunday, would be 5-0. His work is reminiscent of 2016 when he won the American League Cy Young Award with a 22-4 record, not reminiscent of last year’s 11-17 nightmare.

These days, durability is sometimes as important as results. Into his fourth season with the Sox, Porcello has never missed a schedule start although he was sent down on July 29, 2015, with a phony ailment so he could rework his game at Pawtucket.

Since returning to Boston from Triple A a month later, Porcello is 41-25 and the Red Sox are 50-30 (.625) in his starts.

“This was a good challenge for us,” he said, “definitely a different team that we saw in the first series so to be able to pull out a win here and get back on track was big.

“That’s my job — to pitch deep into games and give us a chance to win.”

This is Porcello’s fourth year of doing that, long enough to declare the deal Boston made with Dave Dombrowski in December, 2014 to send Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and a minor leaguer to Detroit to get him, is a winner.
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Phillies vs Marlins Live

Phillies vs. Mets 2018 live stream: How to view Watch

Baseball is essential America. The sport is our ultimate summer distraction; a sigil of nostalgia that connects generations. Its reach spans politics, personalities, and allegiances in a shared hatred of the Yankees and that one guy who loves the Marlins.

Now, Facebook is betting our national pastime will help you forget all about that time they leaked all your personal information to a British political consulting firm.

Live stream Watch Click Here

Facebook Watch, the online streaming service that isn’t YouTube or Twitch, will play host to Wednesday’s game between the Phillies and Mets. It will be the first of 25 weekly regular-season games to be broadcast exclusively on the social media giant. That’s a step up from last year, when 20 games made the jump to Facebook but were still available on local networks.

The good news is the game will be easy to find from your computer, meaning your at-work baseball experience should work out. The bad news is you still need a Facebook account to do it, so if you recently deleted your profile out of frustration with noted height-illusionist Mark Zuckerberg, you’ll have to re-up to watch today’s game or any of the 24 that follow. And since Facebook is super into aggregating your data, someone, somewhere is probably going to know you watched a bunch of Pirates games this season and start slipping advertisements for Delilah.FM and malt liquor into your feed soon after.

Things get even more complicated if you’re watching via mobile device or smart TV. You’re going to need to download an app before you can watch a Wednesday afternoon battle that may ultimately decide third place in the NL East.
How to watch MLB exclusive games on Facebook Watch
via your computer

Open up your browser and go to www.facebook.com
Log in (or create an account if you don’t already have one)
Search for “MLB Live” or just go to www.facebook.com/MLBLiveGames
Go to the MLB Live page, where you’ll be able to find the stream. You can also click the “follow” button on the page to receive updates on future broadcasts, though that might get tiresome after a few weeks.

via a mobile device

Download, then launch the Facebook app on your phone or tablet
Search for “MLB Live” or just go to www.facebook.com/MLBLiveGames
Go to the MLB Live page to watch the stream.

via your smart television or streaming device

Download the Facebook video app on your television or streaming device from a trusted vendor like Google Play, Apple’s App Store, or Amazon
Search for “MLB Live” or just go to www.facebook.com/MLBLiveGames
Go to the MLB Live page to watch the stream. You can also cast games from your phone to your television, provided they’re on the same wifi network, by tapping the (TV) icon.

How to watch Wednesday’s Phillies vs. Mets game

When: 1:10 p.m. ET

Where: City Field, New York, NY

Stream: Facebook Watch

Pirates vs Nationals Live

The calendar has yet to turn to April, but baseball is back. The Major League Baseball season is starting a few days earlier this season in order to give players more days off during the season to rest. While you enjoy the feast of baseball games on Opening Day, I offer you a guide to your baseball-viewing options this spring, summer and fall if you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription. Or someone like me, a Cincinnati Reds fan (and Xfinity subscriber) who ended up in New Hampshire, a pay TV subscriber who wants to watch out-of-market games to follow their favorite team.
MLB.TV subscription

I spend most of the baseball season going about my business as usual but with the Reds game on in the background on my iPad ($279.99 at Best Buy) or laptop. I plunk down each year for a MLB.TV subscription in order to watch or listen to Reds games. You’ve got two options:

Pay $115.99 a year to be able to watch every out-of-market game (which, for me, is all teams but the Red Sox). If you think your team might not be worth watching come the trade deadline, you can pay $24.99 a month, which gives you the option of canceling if your team falls out of the pennant race. (The 2018 Cincinnati Reds are a likely candidate for the month-to-month plan, but I’m an optimist and refuse to go this route.)
Pay $89.99 a year to watch a single, out-of-market team. If you have interest in watching only your favorite team play (and don’t live in its TV market), then this plan can save you a few bucks. You sacrifice, however, the ability to switch over to a potential no-hitter in progress elsewhere or any other exciting matchup or moment that does not involve your team.

Both MLB.TV plans also include home and away radio broadcasts.
MLB At Bat subscription

The MLB At Bat app is great on phones and even better on tablets. If you purchased an MLB.TV subscription (as outlined above), you can log into your account and watch games live on the app. There is cheaper subscription option for use with the mobile app only, but it’s very limited in what it lets you watch.

You can buy an At Bat subscription via the MLB At Bat app. It costs $19.99 a year (or $2.99 a month) and lets you listen to the home or away radio broadcasts (baseball is the only sport I can listen to on the radio) and watch one game per day during the season. You can’t choose which game you want to watch; you’re stuck with the MLB.TV Free Game of the Day.
Baseball on Facebook

Facebook streamed 20 games last season and will up that number to 25 this season. The social network will broadcast one game per week. The games will all be weekday afternoon games, starting the second week of the season. You’ll find the games on Facebook Watch.

The full slate of games has not been announced. Here are the first four:

Wed., April 4: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets, 1:10 p.m. ET
Wed., April 11: Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:15 p.m. ET
Wed., April 18: Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. ET
Thurs., April 26: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 1:05 p.m. ET

In addition to 25 live streams of games themselves, Facebook will also show highlight packages and weekly video recaps of each of the MLB’s 30 teams.
Stream local broadcasts

Cord cutters can use one of the big five live-TV streaming services or the sports-centric FuboTV to stream the broadcasts on the regional sports network of their local team. Check out CutCableToday’s chart to see which of the six services carries your team’s games.

I have bad news for fans of eight teams. None of the services carry games for the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals.
Stream national broadcasts

If you care less about watching games day in and day out of your favorite team and simply want to kick back and watch your team when it’s on national TV — or enticing matchups that don’t involve your team — then you’ll need to find a streaming package that includes ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network and TBS.

Fox carries games on Saturdays. FS1 has games on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Sunday Night Baseball headlines ESPN’s baseball coverage, but it also shows games on Monday and Wednesday nights on ESPN or ESPN2. TBS televises Sunday afternoon games. Meanwhile, you’ll find a mix of out-of-market and national broadcasts on MLB Network throughout the season.
DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now’s cheapest, $35-a-month Live a Little package includes ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1 and TBS. To add MLB Network, you’ll need the $50-a-month Just Right package.
FuboTV

A Fubo Premier subscription costs $19.99 for the first month and then $44.99 per month and includes Fox and FS1 but not ESPN, ESPN2, MLB Network or TBS.
Hulu with Live TV

Hulu with Live TV costs $40 a month and includes ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1 and TBS but not MLB Network.
PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue’s $40 Access plan includes ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1 and TBS. The $44.99-a-month package adds MLB Network.
Sling TV

Sling TV’s cheapest $20-a-month Orange plan includes ESPN and ESPN2, and the $25-a-month Blue plan includes Fox and FS1. Both plans offer TBS but neither offers MLB Network. You can bundle the Orange and Blue plans together for $40 to increase your baseball viewing options.
YouTube TV

YouTube TV costs $40 a month and includes ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1, MLB Network and TBS. It’s the cheapest option if you want all of the networks that carry national baseball broadcasts.

One note: In many markets, you can watch on-demand but not live content from Fox and the other local networks, so be sure to check what Fox offers in your area for any service before committing. To help you test the waters, each service offers a free, 7-day trial.

Rockies vs Cubs Live

The Rockies might have a winning record to start off the 2018 season, but things are not going quite as expected. The young starting pitching rotation is having a really hard time getting it together. Germân Márquez provides the most recent example. After hitting Kris Bryant in the head and allowing three

runs in the first inning alone, he left the game after only three innings. It’s not a spot where the Rockies want to be: their bullpen is fantastic, but it is being placed under too much stress as the starting pitching falters time and time again. On Friday, Jon Gray gave up seven runs in five innings, and on Wednesday, Kyle Freeland handed over five runs in four innings. Falling behind like this is obviously problematic, and is a certain sign of some of the problems of youth.

Bud Black still has faith in his young lineup, chalking this up to growing pains. The talent is there; that’s not the issue. It’s the execution, and the ability of these young pitchers to step up and deliver. Black has taken a similar attitude to any issues in spring training: it’s early days. He claims not to be overly concerned about the rough start for his pitchers, trusting that they will find their way. I can only hope this is the case, as we have a fantastic bullpen, and if the starters can live up to that as well, that will be the Rockies’ saving grace for the 2018 season.

Colorado Rockies: Noel Cuevas debuts, talks impact on Puerto Rico | Rox Pile

In 2010, right-handed Noel Cuevas was drafted by the LA Dodgers, then he spent the next nine seasons in the minors, the four most recent with the Rockies. I can’t imagine it’s easy to spend that long waiting to get the call up to the majors, but on Sunday, Cuevas finally got it. With Carlos Gonzalez on the DL and Gerardo Parra beginning to serve his suspension, the Rockies needed some extra help, which came in the form of David Dahl and Cuevas. Cuevas has had to work for everything he’s gotten in his baseball career, and while he’s excited to have at last gotten the call, he’s trying to stay cool, reminding himself to play the same game he has all along. Cuevas has done some good work with the Albuquerque Isotopes recently, and he has undoubtedly earned a spot in The Show.

BSN Rockies Podcast: Time to panic about Jon Gray and Ian Desmond? | BSN Denver

On this podcast, Drew Creasman takes a look at Jon Gray and his start to the 2018 season. He’s had a rough go of it so far, to say the least. He also discusses Ian Desmond’s performance, which has also left much to be desired.

Kris Bryant ‘as good as could be expected’ after getting hit in helmet | ESPN

The Rockies and Cubs had a scary moment early in Sunday’s game, with Márquez inadvertently hitting Kris Bryant in the head with a pitch. After some tests, Bryant looks to be out of the woods, concussion-wise, but they are still keeping an eye on him. It was something of an odd game, with both Cubs hitting coaches getting tossed after Bryant’s injury. The coaches got emotional, watching the scary moment of a hitter get struck by a 96-mph fastball, albeit accidentally.

Rangers vs Indians Live

ARLINGTON — The Rangers finally saw the good side of their bullpen show up at Globe Life Park.

Jesse Chavez, Alex Claudio, Chris Martin and Keone Kela combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings and the Rangers held off the Athletics for a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night. Texas also got a couple of big hits with runners in scoring position — something that had been missing too often lately — and its first triple of the year in the win, which ended Oakland’s win streak at four.

Rangers relievers allowed 19 runs in 16 2/3 innings over the first five games of the homestand. This outing was more like their work in road games: Texas relievers have a 1.16 ERA in 10 games away from Arlington.

“It was a good game to come back from, and just move forward into our next series going into Toronto and Cleveland,” Kela said. “We got a good start from Doug Fister, and everybody that came out of the bullpen did exactly what the game asked them to do, and we were able to come home with the win. We needed it tremendously.

“We’ve been going through our own little trials and tribulations, and I think it was a good collective bullpen win just to move forward and forget about the past, continue to build on this, and just have a domino effect.”

The four Rangers relievers faced 13 batters, and the only one to reach base was on an error. They also combined for five strikeouts. Chavez started the roll by retiring four consecutive hitters and earning the win. Claudio, Martin and Kela — who earned his fourth save — each pitched a scoreless inning.

“We need to get on a roll, and hopefully today starts that,” Martin said. “We have a lot of good guys down there, and everybody can throw in any situation. That’s an asset right there. We have a great bullpen, we just need to get on a streak and have everybody feel comfortable.”

Manager Jeff Banister said Chavez being able to form the bridge from Fister to the back end of the bullpen was most critical.

“To be able to get these guys off the field with a positive and close the door like that, that will go a long way to getting them back on track physically and mentally,” Banister said.

The bullpen made the Rangers’ clutch hits stand up. Texas entered the game hitting .203 with runners in scoring position, including .182 with two outs. But, trailing 2-1, the Rangers were able to break through in the fifth inning with two-out RBI singles from Nomar Mazara and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

The Rangers had just those two hits in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but Ronald Guzman drove in Kiner-Falefa from first base in the eighth with a triple. The Rangers had gone 47 games without a triple, dating back to Sept. 8 of last season.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Marcus Semien, with the Rangers leading 3-2, opened the eighth by reaching second base on Kiner-Falefa’s throwing error. Jed Lowrie followed with a medium deep fly ball to left-center. Delino DeShields made the catch and Semien tested DeShelds’ arm, only to get nailed for a critical out. DeShields put the throw right on target from 266 feet away.

We’re gonna run on DeShields,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s the scouting report, and that’s the best throw I’ve seen him make, so I’m sure that’s what Marcus was thinking when he took off.”

SOUND SMART
Khris Davis has 18 home runs against the Rangers since the start of the 2016 season. That’s the most for any player in the Major Leagues against any single opponent over that period. His 17 home runs against the Mariners are the second most against any opponent. .

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Shin-Soo Choo made his sixth start in right field and Statcast™ gave him four stars for his diving catch in the second, taking away a hit from Davis. Choo had to cover 56 feet in 3.7 seconds and the play had just a 49 percent chance of being made.

HE SAID IT
“Those guys have been worked hard and it says a lot about them that they come ready to pitch every night. We appreciate those guys.”
— Fister, on the bullpen

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Rangers’ first run came in the fourth inning when Juan Centeno came to the plate with Joey Gallo at third, Guzman at first and one out. Centeno hit a grounder to third baseman Matt Chapman, who went for the inning-ending double play. Centeno barely beat the throw to first and the Athletics challenged. After review, the call stood and Centeno had his second RBI of the season. The Rangers are 6-1 with Centeno as their catcher.

Snooker World Championship Live

That was no mean feat given Lisowski – who only just avoided becoming the second player in the tournament’s history to fail to win a frame – had ousted 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham in the first round.

Higgins’s highest break was 146, one short of a clearance, and it was only the fourth time it had been done in world championships history.

Snooker World Championship Live Click Here

He will next face the winner of the match between 2011 finalist Judd Trump and Ricky Walden, who are all square at 8-8.

“I felt for Jack a little bit,” said Higgins.

“It is the worst feeling in the world and the worst venue in the world when you are really struggling. The harder you try, the worse it gets. I could see what he was going through.”

Lisowski admitted the whitewash was playing on his mind, inhibiting his play which had been so impressive against Bingham.

“It wasn’t embarrassing, it was more frustrating and disappointing,” said Lisowski.

“I felt like it could change. Little things were going against me the whole game.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/sport/masterful-ding-on-brink-of-world-snooker-quarter-finals–10189128

Bruins vs. Lightning Live

Watch Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: NHL playoffs schedule, TV channels, odds, predictions

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The Boston Bruins are coming off a nail-biter of a series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but after just barely surviving Game 7 they have to turn around and do it again against the best team in the East. The Lightning dispatched the Devils 4-1 in their opening series, with Nikita Kucherov leading the way with

five goals and five assists in just five games.

The Lightning definitely look scary, but Boston may have survived the toughest first round draw of any team that made it out, and certainly the most intriguing series in the East. David Pastrnak put up 13 points in the first round despite long stretches where his line just couldn’t seem to find the net — despite copious opportunities — and Brad Marchand put up nine points himself.

This series is going to be a unique clash. The flash of the Lightning against the grittiness of the Bruins. It’s undoubtedly a step up in competition from the Devils, so we’ll see how Tampa Bay handles the playoff atmosphere that Boston brings.
How to watch

TV: NBC, NBCS
Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App

(All times ET)

Game 1 (Saturday, April 28): Bruins 6, Lightning 2
Game 2 (Monday, April 30): Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 p.m. — NBCS
Game 3 (Wednesday, May 2): Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. — NBCS
Game 4 (Friday, May 4): Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. — NBCS
Game 5 (Sunday, May 6)*: TBD
Game 6*: TBD
Game 7*: TBD

*–If necessary
NHL Playoffs odds

Here’s a look at each team’s projected odds to advance via SportsLine, not to mention their odds to win not only their conference, but also the Stanley Cup.
Matchup breakdown
Offense

This Lightning offense is a problem. After scoring 18 goals in the first round, 10 of which Nikita Kucherov had a hand in, the Lightning will face off against the talented (albeit streaky) Bruins team, whose first two lines have continued to be solid throughout the playoffs despite a few droughts. Only two Lightning players went negative in plus-minus in the first round. The Bruins were less top-heavy in the scoring department — David Pastrnak had 13 goals while two other players had nine, and after Kucherov’s 10 points the next-best Lightning scorer was Steven Stamkos with six — but the offense that the Lightning put together in five games is insane, and having one of the best scorers in the NHL definitely elevates the team in a tight battle with Boston’s deep list of scorers.

EDGE: Lightning
Defense

The Lightning have two top-flight pairs with Victor Hedman and Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonough and Anton Stralman. Once they start digging into that third pair against the Bruins’ formidable scorers they may start to run into some trouble. For the Bruins, Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy lead the way with Torey Krug and Kevan Miller complementing them against the Lightning’s outstanding first two lines. Overall, the first two pairs are fairly even. It could come down to the third pairs to determine this series against two of the deepest scoring rosters in hockey.

EDGE: Draw
Goaltending

Oh boy, which Tuuka Rask are we going to get? Rask was all over the place against the Maple Leafs, although to their credit, that Maple Leafs team could score. Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t see a ton of firepower against the Devils, and it showed in the box score. He gave up 12 goals in the five first-round games, although five of those came in one game. It was definitely the start that Vasilevskiy needed after a bad end to his regular season. However, if Rask struggled against the Maple Leafs, posting a save percentage of .899, then there’s reason to be concerned about him against the Lightning. He’ll need to have some short memory, but he also just survived a series against the No. 3 scoring team in hockey. Now he’s dealing with No. 1.

EDGE: Lightning
Special teams

Long story short, the Lightning cannot afford to go the box against the Bruins. The Bruins scored on 32 percent of their power play opportunities against the Maple Leafs, who took 22 penalties throughout the series. The Lightning took 20 penalties in just five games against the Devils. During the regular season, these teams were third and fourth in the NHL in conversion rate, but the Lightning were an alarming 28th in the NHL on the kill. Boston was third, so their four goals in 15 attempts in the first round raises some eyebrows. Regardless, a line of Bergeron, Marchand, Nash, Pastrnak and Krug is not an inviting one for the Lightning, and the only way to avoid that nightmare is to stay out of the box.

Skiver: Yes, the Bruins won the regular season series. Ask Bruce Cassidy or Jon Cooper how much that matters. The Bruins struggled against a Leafs team that does all of the same things that Lightning do, just a smidge worse. The Bruins are feisty, and make no mistake, this series will be a bloodbath. However, Andrei Vasilevskiy and two solid pairs of defensemen for the Lightning should be able to wreak just enough havoc to keep the Lightning alive. Never mind that the Bruins are coming off an utterly exhausting series against Toronto. Lightning in 6.

Benjamin: I’m tempted to make this the first deviation from my pre-playoff predictions, because the Lightning are simply loaded with scoring talent, and Andrei Vasilevskiy seems to have settled down. But the Bruins play Tampa well, and their big offensive names have enough juice to power them through. Bruins in 7.

Blackburn: My head is telling me Tampa should take this one. They’ve got all the makings of a true Stanley Cup contender – an elite top line plus depth, a solid top four on defense featuring a Norris-worthy workhorse, plus good goaltending – and they appear to be healthier, with home ice. But the Bruins are in the true contender category as well, and they’ve done a pretty good job limiting Tampa’s big-time playmakers throughout the year. The injuries and inconsistencies worry me, but I’ve talked myself into believing Boston can once again showcase resiliency and gut this out. Bruins in 7.