Isiah Kiner-Falefa was only five games into his first Triple-A season when he got called up by the Texas Rangers in early April. A few days later Cheap Sam Darnold Jersey , Ronald Guzman got promoted and also made his big-league debut.
When Texas reached the midpoint of the regular season this week, the 23-year-old rookies were among eight position players on the roster who are 25 or younger.
While the Rangers were on a 70-win pace after a loss in the 81st of their 162 games, they’ve had a recent uptick. They have won nine of their last 11 games while claiming four consecutive series in a stretch when veteran stalwarts Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus were finally back in the lineup together.
In the 82nd game Wednesday night, when the Rangers (36-46) started the second half of their schedule before an off day Thursday, lefty Mike Minor took a perfect game into the seventh of a 5-2 victory over San Diego. Keone Kela, the hard-throwing 25-year-old closer, got his 20th save – the most in the majors without a blown chance and a club record to start a season.
”When you take all the individual parts of the first half and you look and evaluate players of where they’re trending, they’re trending in the right direction athletically as well as mentally of how they play the baseball game,” fourth-year manager Jeff Banister said. ”We’ve gained some knowledge, and some guys have proven to themselves that they can play at this level and where they’re at and what they need to work on.”
General manager Jon Daniels has said publicly several times that the team’s priority this season is the development of its young players.
Young sluggers Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo were already regulars in the lineup before this season, along with second baseman Rougned Odor. Speedy center fielder Delino DeShields has been a constant since returning from a broken bone in his left hand, an injury that occurred the first weekend of the season.
”Our coaches Authentic Lamar Jackson Jersey , they’ve put that development hat on,” Banister said. ”You watch them every day on the field, different players working on different things that we feel like they’re going to help these players out for the longer term, for the bigger picture.”
Kiner-Falefa was called up when Odor, the 23-year-old already in his fourth season with Texas, went on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. Andrus, the shortstop in his 10th season at age 29, suffered a broken elbow when hit by a pitch just a couple of days later. Beltre had more hamstring issues.
”Everything happened so quick,” said Kiner-Falefa, who has two starts at catcher after previous starts at second base, third base and shortstop. ”I’m trying to soak it all in. … It’s been a cool experience. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from everyone here, and all the veterans.”
Guzman has 51 starts at first base Joseph Noteboom Color Rush Jersey , though he is on the seven-day concussion disabled list. The Rangers were batting when Guzman slammed his head into a knee on an attempted pickoff Monday.
Profar was 19 when he homered in his first big league at-bat in 2012, but he missed all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons because of right shoulder issues. He split each of the last two seasons between the Rangers and Triple-A Round Rock, but has started at all four infield positions this year in his most consistent action in the majors.
”I’ve got a really good chance to experience the big leagues, a lot of things that you want to work to be consistent on,” Profar said. ”We have very good young players here, we’re all learning. It’s going to be good for us going down the road.”
Kevin Durant stood calmly near midcourt – and a very familiar spot – as teammates Stephen Curry and Draymond Green screamed at him in celebration.
Another momentous shot for Durant.
And soon, probably another NBA championship.
Durant scored a career playoff-high 43 points, draining a long 3-pointer in the final minute to cap his magnificent performance, and the Warriors beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-102 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night to move within a victory of a sweep, their second straight title and third championship in four years.
The Warriors are on dynasty’s doorstep.
Afterward, the defending champs could be heard loudly celebrating inside their locker room, perhaps a warmup for a bigger party to come.
The Cavaliers http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-korey-toomer-jersey , meanwhile, are in a hole that might as well be 6 feet deep. Teams that have fallen behind 3-0 in the playoffs are 0-131.
It might be time for the guys from Northern California to order some champagne from Napa Valley.
With the Cavs down 103-100, Durant stood defiantly and almost motionless after dropping his 33-footer – just a few feet from where he made one in Game 3 last year – and effectively ended the fourth straight finals matchup between two teams who have gotten to know each other well since 2015.
After Durant scored, Curry and Green rushed to his side and the trio walked back toward Golden State’s bench where the other Warriors were hugging and high-fiving.
As always Durant stayed cool.
”I don’t want to downplay anything, but I don’t want to act like this is the end of the road,” Durant said. ”So just get back to work tomorrow and figure out a better game plan.”
Durant said the similarity with last year’s shot – a moment that helped define his first championship – didn’t occur to him.
”No, not at all,” he said. ”I just took the shot.”
There was nothing James or the Cavs could do but think about what might have been after losing two games that were within their reach.
”Tonight will be tough,” said James, who scored 33 and rolled his right ankle in the first half. ”Tomorrow I’ll replay some plays and some moments and things of that nature. When I wake up Friday morning I’ll be locked in on the game plan of what needs to be done to help our team win. That’s just who I am.”
Golden State will now have four chances to wrap up its title starting with Game 4 on Friday night. The Warriors are trying to join a select list of teams to win three championships in four years.
Kevin Love added 20 points for the Cavs, who have fallen into a hole in which no team has ever emerged. Cleveland came back from a 3-1 deficit to stun the Warriors in the 2016 finals, but that was when Durant was in Oklahoma City and James had a different supporting cast.
The Warriors won despite a 3-of-16 shooting performance from Curry Logan Woodside Color Rush Jersey , who did come up big down the stretch as the Cavs were trying to salvage their season.
Now Cleveland could be down to one final game with James, who recorded his 10th triple-double in the finals. The three-time champion can opt out of his $35.6 million contract and test free agency this summer, and it may be time for the 33-year-old to find a team capable of beating the Warriors.
These Cavs can’t figure it out.
Durant, who tilted this rivalry toward the West Coast when he signed with the Warriors as a free agent before last season, was brilliant from the start. He helped offset a rough night for Curry, who made a finals-record nine 3-pointers in Game 2, but was just 1 of 10 from behind the arc and didn’t score his second field goal until there were under three minutes left.
Curry’s scoop shot put the Warriors up 98-97 and defensive specialist Andre Iguodala, who didn’t play in Games 1 or 2 because of a knee injury, came up with a steal under the basket. Curry finally buried a 3 and after James matched him with a long shot, Iguodala drove the lane for a thundering dunk.
Moments later, Durant delivered his dagger to silence Cleveland’s crowd.
”No, that wasn’t the same shot Jeff Locke Color Rush Jersey ,” James said when asked to compare Durant’s 3 to last year’s. ”The one he made tonight was about four or five feet behind the one he made last year. He’s an assassin. That was one of those assassin plays right there.”
Durant scored 24 in the first half, when the Warriors attempted 13 free throws to zero for the Cavs, a disparity that induced further wrath on the officials from Cleveland fans still stinging from the now infamous reversed call in Game 1.
James arrived at 6 p.m. dressed more casually – camouflage pants, purple hoodie, ”Billionaire Boys Club” baseball cap – than on the road where he and the Cavs have been wearing suits during the postseason.
Everything is more relaxed and familiar at home for James and his teammates, who were counting on a return to their own noisy building, where they play better and shoot better, to get them back into the series.
The Warriors had other plans.
Warriors: Green passed Wilt Chamberlain (922) for the most rebounds in Warriors playoff history. … Klay Thompson played in his NBA-high 390th game over the last four seasons. Green is second with 387, while James is third at 381. … Curry has made a 3-pointer in 89 consecutive playoff games, and a record 43 on the road.
Cavaliers: Kyle Korver continued to struggle. He missed all four shots and is now 8 of 29 dating to Game 1 of last year’s Finals. … James (238) broke a tie with Kareem Abdul-Jab.
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