Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and a slew of aces get the World Series started in Houston, then the scene shifts to Capitol Hill.But with Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg and all these electric arms, might as well call it capital hill.Because in this Year of the Home Run, the focus of the 2019 Fall Classic is on the mound.A throw-down for the ages, maybe.“I know a few guys in their rotation, and I’m personally excited that they’re in this position, and I’m just very excited to get in there,” Cole said late Saturday night.The matchup comes with a neat twist, too: The Astros and Washington Nationals share a spring training complex — they met in the exhibition opener in February, and Scherzer gave up a homer to the first batter of the game.Now, eight months later, they meet for real, beginning Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. The 107-win Astros trying to take their second crown in three years, the wild-card Nationals making their Series debut.Houston opened as a 2-1 favorite of the Las Vegas sports books.Cole is lined up for Game 1, with Verlander and Zack Greinke to follow.“We got some pretty big boys that can pitch,” Astros manager AJ Hinch recently said.So do the Nationals in their rotation with Scherzer, Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. And even Aníbal Sánchez — all he did lately was take a playoff no-hit bid into the eighth inning.No slight to the big hitters here: José Altuve, the AL Championship Series MVP after his homer beat the Yankees in Game 6 on Saturday night, MVP candidates Alex Bregman and Anthony Rendon, postseason star George Springer and top shortstops Trea Turner and Carlos Correa.Not to overlook the young stars on this stage for the first time, rookies like Juan Soto and Yordan Álvarez.Yet in an era when teams search for new pitching strategies — witness the Astros’ parade of relievers in the Game 6 of the ALCS — the two clubs left figure to rely heavily on their rotations.Fine by Hinch.“Philosophically, whether it’s about the new-age opener or pulling guys third time through, most of the people that support that haven’t had Verlander or Cole on their team,” he said.The Astros, who began as the National League expansion Colt .45s in 1962, led the majors in setting a franchise record for wins. Their playoff path was more of a struggle, beating wild-card Tampa Bay in the deciding Game 5 of the AL Division Series and then stopping the 103-win Yankees on Altuve’s pennant-winning homer off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning.The Nationals, who started out as the Montreal Expos in 1969, took the reverse route.A season after letting slugger Bryce Harper leave as a free agent, the Nats were just 19-31 in May. The slow start prompted speculation manager Dave Martinez would be fired and management would sell off stars at the trade deadline.Instead, the Nationals bounced back. They earned a playoff spot, eliminated the favored Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series and swept the surging St. Louis Cardinals behind NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick.For Washington, the city gets its first World Series since the Senators played in 1933. For the Nationals, the old October question: rest or rust?The Nationals will have a full week between games while the Astros, get only two days off. A fact on this: Boston had two more days of rest last year and beat the Dodgers. But before that, the past nine champions were the clubs had fewer rest.Martinez isn’t worried.“These guys have played unbelievably. I think they needed a break. Some guys really needed a break,” he said. “Heal their bodies a little bit.”The teams, incidentally, haven’t played in the regular season since 2017 — overall, Washington has 10 of the last 11 meetings dating to 2012.They do, however, see a lot of each other every spring. They faced off at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Feb. 23 in the exhibition opener, and Jake Marisnick led off the game with a home run against Scherzer.Washington went 5-1 against the Astros in Florida this year. They start next spring with two exhibitions in Florida.Before then, though, they’ll both make their pitch for baseball’s ultimate prize.___By BEN WALKER AP Baseball WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
Two-time World Cup-winning skipper Ricky Ponting has said Australia would be as strong as any team when Steve Smith and David Warner return to the side after their ball-tampering bans expire in March. Smith and Warner are serving one-year suspensions from domestic and international cricket for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year. The two star batsmen will be eligible for selection from March 29.Smith and Warner are also recovering from elbow injuries.Ricky Ponting was recently added to Australia’s coaching staff to help the batsmen during the 2019 ICC World Cup in England and Wales. Ponting will work alongside head coach Justin Langer as Australia look to win the World Cup for a record sixth time. Ponting has won the World Cup three times including twice as captain in 2003 and 2007.”India and England are probably the two standout teams right now, but if you add Warner and Smith back into that [Australia’s] line-up then I think that team looks as strong as any. I am not just saying that because I am one of the coaches, I actually said it when I wasn’t around the group. Conditions in England will suit our style of play … I think Australia will be the one of the main contenders for sure,” Ponting said.Australia’s pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are also nursing injuries and they would also be back contention once fit. The two pacemen have not been picked in the squad to tour India for a limited-overs series comprising 2 Twenty20 Internationals and 5 ODIs.advertisement”We went to World Cups with Michael Bevan injured, Darren Lehmann suspended, Warney (Shane Warne) went home and Jason Gillespie went home. World Cups very rarely run exactly to plan.”All the planning right now is we will have all those guys in the squad and if we do, it looks as good as any squad on paper,” Ponting said.Ponting, who is also the head coach of Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League, will join the Australian team after the T20 league.Australia start their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1. Australia will also play two warm-up games against England on May 25 and Sri Lanka on May 27 in Southampton.Also Watch:
Chelsea Chelsea close to a perfect game against Barcelona – Conte Jamie Smith 06:56 2/21/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Chelsea UEFA Champions League Lionel Messi Antonio Conte Barcelona Chelsea v Barcelona Lionel Messi’s equaliser gave the Catalans a narrow advantage in the Champions League round of 16, but the Blues manager praised his side Antonio Conte felt Chelsea were close to delivering a “perfect” game against Barcelona in the Champions League before Lionel Messi’s leveller salvaged a 1-1 draw for the Catalan giants.Willian, denied twice by the woodwork in the first half, gave the Blues the lead after 62 minutes with a pinpoint drive from the edge of the penalty area.AdChoices广告Chelsea looked set to hold firm against Barca and take a one-goal lead into the return leg on March 14 at Camp Nou, only to shoot themselves in the foot. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Andreas Christensen gave up possession with a sloppy pass deep in his own half, and Andres Iniesta fed Messi to score his first goal in nine appearances against Chelsea.Conte was left frustrated by Chelsea’s failure to close out the victory. Messi’s strike was with 15 minutes to go and was his only shot of the game, yet the Italian was delighted with the way his team delivered a defensive masterclass – barring one costly slip.”I think we were very close, very close to a perfect game,” Conte told BT Sport. “I think only one mistake and when you make a mistake against Barcelona, players like Messi, [Luis] Suarez, Iniesta, you have to pay.”It’s a pity, I’m very proud of my players for the game, they followed our plan. It’s a pity. It’s a pity because also I think tonight we were a bit unlucky.”I think when we have to have a plan for this game, respect the characteristics of the opponent and understand the best way to face them. Our plan was really really good and the effort was great, it’s a pity because we are talking about 1-1 and maybe we deserved more tonight.”Barcelona’s away goal gives them the edge ahead of next month’s second leg but Conte believes Chelsea can cause an upset when their rivalry renews with the Catalans at Camp Nou.”This team is very strong, a fantastic team, but I think the result means the tie is open,” Conte said.”It will be difficult, it’s not simple to play away against them, but our performance will give us confidence to try and do something.”
OTTAWA – Members of Parliament voiced unanimous support Monday for a motion tabled by NDP MP Tracey Ramsey expressing solidarity with the government of Canada in its escalating trade dispute with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The motion reads:That the Housea) recognize the importance of Canada’s long-standing, mutually beneficial trading relationship with the United States of America,b) stand with Canadian workers and communities that directly or indirectly depend on this trading relationship;c) strongly oppose the illegitimate tariffs imposed by the U.S. government against Canadian steel and aluminum workers;d) stand in solidarity with the Government of Canada in its decision to impose retaliatory tariffs;e) remain united in support of Canadian farmers and supply management, which is integral for dairy, chicken, turkey, and egg farming;f) reject disparaging ad hominem statements by U.S. officials which do a disservice to bilateral relations and work against efforts to resolve this trade dispute.