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Young lefty Ryan Weathers has been an overlooked success story for Padres in 2021

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Young lefty Ryan Weathers has been an overlooked success story for Padres in 2021

Let’s talk about Ryan Weathers. 

The 21-year-old rookie has been an invaluable piece of the Padres’ pitching staff in 2021, but it’s easy to be overlooked when you’re essentially a pitching swingman on a team with the best record in baseball and an overwhelming amount of star power in the clubhouse. Hell, even prime-years Tony Gwynn might have be a bit overlooked on this squad. It’s not a huge stretch to say that Gwynn never played on a San Diego team with this much raw talent. 

MORE: Five Yankees who have fueled team’s recent surge

But don’t equate Weathers’ relative lack of attention with a relative lack of impact. The lefty has been brilliant in his “whatever you need from me” role. He’s made five relief appearances, three of at least two innings. He’s made five starts, working on lower pitch counts, and he’s been stellar in those, too. Look at these 2021 numbers for the No. 7 overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Loretto (Tenn) High School. 

As a starter: 5 games, 18 1/3 innings 1.47 ERA, .563 OPS against
As a reliever: 5 games, 12 innings, 1.50 ERA, .558 OPS against

Weathers’ first two starts of the season were both against the Dodgers, at home on April 16 and at Dodger Stadium on April 22. He threw a total of 9 1/3 innings and allowed just two hits. Brilliant composure to go with his brilliant stuff, and a brilliant pitching education from his father, David, who spent 19 seasons in the bigs. That advice helps. 

“Obviously, when you’re facing your rival team you have the potential to just black out. He’d say just stay calm on the mound,” Ryan Weathers said. “You have the ball, control the game. When stuff starts going haywire, everyone’s going to look to you. You’re the one with the ball. Calm down, take it pitch-by-pitch. Big-league hitters are big-league hitters, but they still have to hit it perfectly. Make good pitches, slow the game down, control the game, don’t let whatever’s going on make you speed up and make a bad pitch. Obviously, you’re going to make bad pitches, but you don’t want it to be because you’re speeding yourself up. You want it to be just because you made a bad pitch. Yeah, it’s a rivalry game but it’s just like any other game. Do what you do and stick to your game plan.”

Did we mention he’s just 21 years old? 

And even though the Dodgers are the current World Series champions, facing them in April still pales in comparison to the first time he faced them. That first meeting was his MLB debut, in Game 1 of the 2020 NL Division Series. Mike Clevinger started for the Padres, but had to leave with an injury before throwing his first pitch of the second inning, which sent the Padres into scramble mode. Pierce Johnson pitched a scoreless second and struck out Mookie Betts to open the third. Then, it was Weathers’ turn. 

No big deal, right? Just a 0-0 game to open a playoff series against your team’s biggest rival. Oh, and the first batter he faced was Corey Seager.

“Still to this day, it’s cool, but weird,” Weathers said. “You’ve been working your whole entire life for just a moment in the big leagues, then staying in the big leagues. I remember them calling down before the inning and saying, ‘Hey, get Weathers hot,’ like I’m going in. And in your head, you’re just like, ‘What’s going on? I might be in this ballgame.’ I didn’t really feel my legs running up to the mound. It was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I doing out here?’

“I remember seeing Seager step in the box and thinking, ‘Dude, I’m facing Corey Seager. This is awesome.’ Regardless of however old I get, I’m just a fan of baseball, and seeing him step in the box, a guy I’ve played with on video games and now I’m getting to pitch against him in the division series? A lot of fun.”

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Seager lined out, then Weathers walked Justin Turner. Max Muncy flied out to end the inning. He walked Enrique Hernandez to open the third, but struck out Cody Bellinger — the 2019 NL MVP — and got A.J. Pollock to pop up. That was it — but 1 1/3 scoreless playoff innings is one heck of a start to a career. 

The key then, and now, is keeping it simple. 

“Everybody knows the fastball, just kind of move it around, try to change speeds,” Weathers said, giving a self-scouting report. “Three pitches: fastball, changeup and slider. Obviously, every single one’s still a work in progress, try to get something better on it each day. Can’t ever be content. Strike-thrower, going to come after you with all three and gonna make you put the ball in play. Not afraid of contact, not afraid to give up the long ball. If it happens, it happens. Gonna make you put the ball in play. I don’t want to give you a free 90.”

According to StatCast numbers, Weathers has throw 35 changeups so far this season, 144 sliders and 315 fastballs — 258 four-seamers with an average velocity of 94.2 mph and 57 sinkers at 93.9 mph. When his dad pitched, sitting 94 would have been exceptional. It’s a little different now, but the son’s philosophy is the same as his dad’s. 

“The thing velocity’s really nice for is if you’re 3-2 and you’ve got to go up the ladder. You have a chance. And you have a little bit more room for error, but with these hitters there really is no room for error,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how hard you throw. Velocity’s nice to have, but if you don’t have location, it’s all out the door. They’re going to make you establish your fastball to both sides, and you’re going to have to land your offspeed in the zone, or you’re not going to get any chases. These hitters are good enough, they can control the strike zone. They know the strike zone, and if you’re not in the strike zone, it’s going to be a long day.” 

There have not been many long days for Weathers so far. 

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USA Olympic gymnastics trials 2021: TV schedule, live streams to watch qualifying for Tokyo

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USA Olympic gymnastics trials 2021: TV schedule, live streams to watch qualifying for Tokyo

There may be somewhat of a changing of the guard on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team for the 2021 Summer Games in Tokyo. Simone Biles will be a constant for the women’s team, but aside from her, little will remain the same.

That’s why there will be a level of intrigue surrounding the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials, which take place from June 24-27 at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Mo. Notably, competitors like Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey and Suni Lee will look to earn spots on the four-gymnast women’s team while two others compete for individual specialist roles.

For the men, all four qualifiers will be chosen as well. Only Sam Mikulak remains from the 2016 Olympic team, so there will be a few new faces on that team, too.

Sporting News has you covered on how to watch each of the gymnastics qualifying events throughout the entirety of the trials:

MORE: Watch the Olympic gymnastics trials live with fuboTV (7-day trial)

How to watch USA Olympic gymnastic trials

  • TV channels: NBC, NBC Sports

NBC owns the exclusive rights to all Olympic broadcasts in the United States and will be airing the gymnastics trials from June 24-27.

TV Schedule

The USA Olympic gymnastics trials will take place in St. Louis, Mo. from June 24-27. Each day consists of several rounds of each of the four women’s events and six men’s events in gymnastics.

Here’s NBC’s full scheduled TV coverage for the USA Olympic gymnastic trials. For a full schedule of events for the trials, click here.

Thursday, June 24

Event Time (ET) Channel
Men Day 1 6:30-9 p.m. NBCSN

Friday, June 25

Event Time (ET) Channel
Women Day 1 7:30-8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Women Day 1 8-10 p.m. NBC

Saturday, June 26

Event Time (ET) Channel
Men Day 2 3-4 p.m. Olympic Channel
Men Day 2 4-6 p.m. NBC

Sunday, June 27

Event Time (ET) Channel
Women Day 2 8-8:30 p.m. Olympic Channel
Women Day 2 8:30-11 p.m. NBC

Olympic trials gymnastics schedule 2021

The gymnastics trials are unique compared to other Olympic qualifiers, as they will largely consist of the same 4-6 events on a daily basis with different gymnasts participating in them each day.

For the men, there are six Olympic events:

  • Vault
  • Pommel horse
  • Floor
  • Rings
  • Horizontal bar
  • Parallel bars

For the women, there are four:

  • Vault
  • Floor
  • Uneven bars
  • Beam

Throughout the televised coverage, you will see these events in action. Here are the big competitors to watch on each day of the 2021 U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials.

For a full look at the events and start lists, click here.

Thursday, June 24

  • Sam Mikulak
  • Brody Malone
  • Yul Moldauer
  • Akash Modi
  • Donnell Whittenburg

These five men will compete in all six events during Thursday’s competition.

Friday, June 25

  • Simone Biles
  • Jordan Chiles
  • Suni Lee
  • Jade Carey
  • MyKayla Skinner

These five women will compete in all four events during Friday’s competition.

Saturday, June 26

The same five men will bear watching on Saturday during the finals, including any other gymnasts that make noise during the qualification process.

  • Sam Mikulak
  • Brody Malone
  • Yul Moldauer
  • Akash Modi
  • Donnell Whittenburg

Sunday, June 27

The same five women will bear watching on Saturday during the finals, including any other gymnasts that make noise during the qualification process.

  • Simone Biles
  • Jordan Chiles
  • Suni Lee
  • Jade Carey
  • MyKayla Skinner

USA gymnastics live streams

All of Team USA’s gymnastics events will be available to stream on Peacock, NBC’s streaming platform. You can also stream the events with fuboTV when they are aired on NBC or NBC Sports. NBCSports.com and NBCOlympics.com will carry some of the earlier qualifying events. 

Olympic gymnastic trials results 2021

The top two all-around women’s gymnasts at the U.S. Olympic trials will automatically qualify for Team USA. The U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team will consist of a four-competitor team along with two additional individual slots, which the United States earned the right to bring to the Summer Games as individual athletes to compete as specialists in line with new rules that allow smaller nations to be competitive.

The men’s side is simpler. The top four finishers at the Olympic trials will make the roster, while they have earned one extra spot for a specialst. 

Women’s

Event Top Scorers
Vault
Uneven bars
Beam
Floor

Men’s

Event Top Scorers
Vault
Pommel horse
Floor
Rings
Horizontal bar
Parallel bars

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Islanders, Anthony Beauvillier force Game 7 in (possibly) last game at Nassau Coliseum

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Islanders, Anthony Beauvillier force Game 7 in (possibly) last game at Nassau Coliseum

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Islanders staved off closure of the Nassau Coliseum for at least a little longer with a 3-2, come-from-behind overtime win Wednesday night. Whether the ice can be melted one final time at the Old Barn is now labeled as “to be determined” as the home team forced a Game 7.

“We’re obviously a resilient group and we knew we had a lot of time on the clock still, so, just stuck with it and fortunate to get two goals and tie it up and obviously win in overtime,” said Mathew Barzal. 

Things started a little better for the Islanders than they did two nights prior when they were blown out of Amalie Arena in Tampa 8-0. The first goal of that game came just 45 seconds after the drop of the puck. In this game, they came out matching the tempo with the Bolts in front of a loud and boisterous crowd. But the fans were all hushed when Brayden Point did, well, Brayden Point things — again.

The Calgary, Alta., native lit the lamp for the ninth consecutive game; only Reggie Leach’s 10 straight games with a goal stands in his way of the record.

In the second period, the Lightning killed off a 5-on-3 for about a minute before Anthony Cirelli gave them a two-goal lead. His fourth goal of the postseason went five-hole through netminder Semyon Varlamov. But the Islanders, with the crowd fully behind them, got one back with under six minutes left in the middle frame. Jordan Eberle, who entered Game 6 with just three goals in the postseason and amid a six-game goal drought, threw a backhander on net and past the blocker of Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The Islanders had their chances after that. Barzal controlled the puck for a Steve Yzerman amount of time in the first few minutes of the third period. Kyle Palmieri pulled Vasilevskiy out but couldn’t tuck the puck in behind him. Eberle had a chance for his second with just over 12 minutes to go.

Maybe they got a jump from Jets guard Greg Van Roten pounding a beer and then smashing the container on his head. Maybe it was because it seemed as if the crowd was standing the rest of the way. 

With 8:44 left on the clock, Scott Mayfield — who probably should have been called for cross-checking Nikita Kucherov in the back and knocking him out of the game after one shift— became an unlikely Islanders hero. He went down the right wing and beat Vasilevskiy top shelf to even things. It was just his third career playoff goal and his first since Game 3 of the first round against the Penguins.

The building was hopping after that, although things got dicey for the hometown team when Matt Martin took a high-sticking penalty with 5:57 remaining. Varlamov and his crew held the Lightning at bay, and with the fans chanting a deafening “Let’s Go Islanders,” the game went to a nail-biting overtime.

New York didn’t need much time in the extra session, however.

Just 68 seconds in, Anthony Beauvillier intercepted a pass deep in the offensive zone — he said postgame that he blacked out — and buried it.

“Feels amazing, to be honest. That building coming into overtime was smelling like cigarettes and now it smells like beers,” said the goal scorer. “That place was going crazy so everyone is happy we’re going back to Tampa.”

The building erupted as the Islanders flew off the bench to swarm the overtime hero. And as the team celebrated, so did the fans — by throwing beer cans and bottles onto the ice and sticking around long past the team had left the ice.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Barzal with a smile before adding it was “a little dangerous.”

“It’s one of the best [moments],” said bench boss Barry Trotz when asked where Game 6 will rank among his career hghlights. “I love this group, the character of this group. And this building and what it’s meant to a number of players and more than anything, our fans. These are great moments. Going off the ice, everybody’s hugging each other, there’s beer cans flying all over. It’s quite a sight.  

“These are great memories to have. But we’ve got to get another one.”

It’ll now come down to that Game 7 on Friday night in Tampa to determine who will play for the Stanley Cup.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo not upset about Trae Young’s shimmy: ‘He’s just having fun’

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Giannis Antetokounmpo not upset about Trae Young's shimmy: 'He's just having fun'

Trae Young was the talk of NBA Twitter on Wednesday night, as the Hawks star exploded for a playoff career-high 48 points in Atlanta’s 116-113 win over Milwaukee. But did Young enjoy his impressive Eastern Conference finals performance just a little too much?

No, he did not because sports are supposed to be fun, and a two-time NBA MVP seems to agree with that idea.

MORE: Three ways Young torched Bucks’ drop-heavy defense

During the third quarter of Game 1, Young left Bucks guard Jrue Holiday in the dust with a vicious left-to-right crossover, putting him in position to drain a wide open 3-pointer. Before he released the ball, though, Young decided to throw in a little shimmy.

“I had a lot of time,” Young said after the game. “I was kind of tired, a little bit. So I got a little second to get a deep breath and knock it down.”

At the next timeout break following Young’s shot, Giannis Antetokounmpo could be seen replicating Young’s shimmy motion in front of his Bucks teammates, perhaps looking to inspire better defensive effort.

When asked during his postgame media availability whether he took the shimmy personally, Antetokounmpo, who totaled 34 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in the loss, quickly brushed it off and (hopefully) prevented a silly cycle of hot takes.

“He’s just having fun. He’s enjoying the game,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously I wouldn’t want him to make the shot, but he’s having fun. He’s enjoying the game. We’re going to do the same as a team. We’re going to have fun. We’re going to enjoy the game. There’s going to be times that Bryn [Forbes] or Jrue might shimmy or whatever the case might be. I might mean mug.

“It’s just part of the game. It’s nothing. You can’t take that personally.”

Thank you, Giannis. Let’s all just appreciate the entertainment that Young provides and get ready for Game 2.

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