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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe offer predictions for the 2018 season. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns open their season on Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium. They are trying to win their first opener since 2004 and trying to banish the memory -- yeah, I'm being dramatic -- from an 0-16 season.

    Mary Kay Cabot and I offered some season predictions for you in the video above, including how many games we think the Browns will win, how many division wins and how many sacks for Myles Garrett.


    Get the best Browns news and perspective in your inbox at lunch time every weekday. Sign up for our Browns newsletter.


    Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.


    Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.


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    Indians rookie Shane Bieber, who lost his last start against the Rays, will try to bounce back Thursday night against the Blue Jays.

    TORONTO - Here are the starting lineups for Thursday night's game between the Indians and Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m.

    INDIANS

    SS Francisco Lindor.

    2B Jason Kipnis.

    3B Jose Ramirez.

    DH Edwin Encarnacion.

    1B Yonder Alonso.

    RF Melky Cabrera.

    C Yan Gomes.

    CF Greg Allen.

    LF Brandon Guyer.

    RHP Shane Bieber.

    BLUE JAYS

    RF Billy McKinney.

    2B Devon Travis.

    SS Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

    DH Kendrys Morales.

    CF Kevin Pillar.

    1B Rowdy Tellez.

    LF Teoscar Hernandez.

    C Reese McGuire.

    3B Aledmys Diaz.

    RHP Sam Gaviglio, 3-7, 5.02.

    UMPIRES

    H Chad Whitson.

    1B Alan Porter.

    2B Angel Hernandez, crew chief.

    3B Todd Tichenor.


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    The reigning Super Bowl champions begin their title defense against the Falcons.

    The NFL is back after a seven-month slumber and the reigning Super Bowl champions begin their title defense. The Philadelphia Eagles have reloaded with key signings and, with all the main pieces coming back, Philly is looking good to repeat as NFL Super Bowl champions. Still, winning two straight titles is a rare feat during this era of football. Injuries can derail even the best-planned season. Can the Eagles go back to back? 

    PERSPECTIVES

    It wasn't enough the Eagles brought back Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, MVP candidate Carson Wentz and running back Jay Ajayi, the front office also added one of the most feared players in the NFL with Pro-Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett. The Eagles aren't going to miss a step. They will win another championship this season.

    Eagles can secure back-to-back titles

    In the 52-year history of the Super Bowl, only seven teams have repeated as champions in consecutive years. The Eagles may have made moves in the offseason, but that doesn't mean another Super Bowl is guaranteed.

    No matter what year it is, teams lose essential parts to their championship team. When free agency hit, Philadelphia lost LeGarrette Blount and Patrick Robinson. The Eagles will have talent, but repeating is not realistic, especially with the rest of the league improving.

    2018 NFL Predictions: Packers the popular Super Bowl pick; no repeat for Eagles

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.


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    Michael Brantley, after being limited to 101 games in 2016 and 2017 because of injuries, leads all Indians outfielders in games played this season.

    TORONTO - The Indians played their 140th game of the season on Thursday night, but Michael Brantley wasn't in the starting lineup. That has been a rarity this season.

    Brantley fouled a ball off the top of his left foot in the third inning of Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Royals at Progressive Field and manager Terry Francona decided to give him Thursday night off.

    "He's OK," said Francona. "He hit the ball off the top of his foot, but finished the game OK. Then you get on a flight (to Toronto) and it got stiff. So we'll give him tonight to let the trainers do their stuff. He'll be fine."

    Brantley, who has played in 125 games this season, is hitting .303 (152-for-501) with 14 homers and 70 RBI. He was limited to a total of 101 games in 2016 and 2017 because of right shoulder and ankle injuries. This year Brantley leads all Tribe outfielders in games played.

    In his career, Brantley is hitting .378 (54-for-143) with five homers and 23 RBI against the Blue Jays. This year he's hitting .625 (5-for-8) against them.

    What's next for Donaldson? Josh Donaldson, who has homered in each of the two rehab games he's played for the Indians, had the day off Thursday, but will rejoin the Class AA Akron RubberDucks on Friday in the Eastern League playoffs.

    The Indians acquired Donaldson from Toronto a few hours before the Aug. 30 midnight waiver deadline for a player to be named. Right-hander Julian Merryweather, recovering from Tommy John surgery on his elbow, is the player to be named.

    "No one is going to care if somebody struggles in the minor leagues, but it's still nice to see a guy look healthy and swing the bat the way he does," said Francona. "He'll work out today and play again on Friday."

    The Indians put Donaldson on the 10-day DL on Monday with the move retroactive to Saturday. So he could join the Indians on Tuesday at Tropicana Field.

    "We just want him to get as many reps as he can, while Akron is still playing, and then we'll get him back here with us," said Francona.

    Asked what the acquisition of Donaldson brings to the clubhouse, Francona said, "Well, it can be a little split. Some guys will be thrilled and there will be other guys who it affects. You have to balance that. We're going to move Jose (Ramirez) to second and Kip (Jason Kipnis) is going to play some center.

    "So you try to balance that, but I think what he can bring outweighs any potential unsettling (feeling) that you have at this time of year because he can make such an impact."

    Former Indians executive Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, who now run the baseball operations for the Blue Jays, are taking heat in Toronto for the Donaldson trade. Donaldson is a free agent at the end of the year.

    Blast from the past: Former Tribe farmhand Tom Pannone is scheduled to face the Indians on Sunday. The Indians sent Pannone, a left-hander, to the Blue Jays last year for Joe Smith.

    Pannone, a rookie left-hander, is 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA. He isn't overpowering, but he has a quick arm action and the ball gets on hitters fast. He's made eight appearances with the Blue Jays this year, including two starts, with 13 strikeouts and four walks.

    In March, Pannone was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Pannone is starting for Marcus Stroman, who has a blister on the middle finger of his right hand.

    Finally: The Indians entered Thursday's game ranked third in the big leagues with 699 runs. They trailed the Red Sox with 766 and the Yankees with 720. Houston was fourth with 695.


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    Cleveland's magic number to clinch the A.L. Central Division is down to 7 with 22 games left.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- With a 9-4 victory Thursday against host Toronto, the Cleveland Indians have reduced their magic number to clinch the American League Central Division to 7.

    Cleveland's division lead over idle Minnesota is at a season-high 16 1/2 games with 22 to play. Any combination of Indians wins or losses by the second-place Twins that is greater than or equal to 7 will clinch a third consecutive division title and postseason appearance for Cleveland.

    The Indians (80-60) continue their series against the Blue Jays on Friday at 7:10 as Carlos Carrasco faces Marco Estrada. Minnesota opens a three-game weekend set at home against Kansas City at 8:10 p.m.

    You can calculate the first-place Tribe's magic number by starting with 162 (games in a season) and adding one, then subtracting the number of Indians wins and subtracting the number of losses by the second-place team.


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    Francisco Lindor hit his seventh leadoff homer of the season, but didn't stop there as the Indians rolled past Toronto.

    TORONTO - If you haven't noticed by now, Francisco Lindor takes batting leadoff seriously.

    In spring training he petitioned manager Terry Francona to bat him atop the lineup because he felt he was born to push the ignition button on this offense. Well, he hasn't just pushed the button, he's close to reinventing it.

    Lindor, for the seventh time this season, started a game with a home run. But he didn't stop there Thursday night at Rogers Centre, he homered in his next at-bat as well and added a two-run single just for kicks as the Indians beat Toronto, 9-4, to reduce their magic number to clinch the AL Central to seven over the idle Twins.

    It was the sixth multi-homer game of the season for Lindor. They've all come out of the leadoff spot, marking the first time that's happened in big-league history, according to STATS.

    The seven leadoff homers tie Grady Sizemore for the single-season franchise record. Sizemore did it in 2008.

    Lindor opened the game with a homer to center on a 2-0 pitch from Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.25). He did it again to Gaviglio in the third, this time waiting until the count was full. It was Lindor's 33rd homer of the season and gave the Indians a 2-0 lead.

    When asked about Lindor after the game, Francona said, "Wow, he was the majority of our offense for a while there. Came out of the chute with two home runs. Got a big hit to drive in two more and played a good game at shortstop. It was fun to watch."

    The Blue Jays, 3-8 in their last 11 games, came back against Shane Bieber (9-3, 4.63) to take a 4-2 lead in the fourth. Teoscar Hernandez's two-run double was the big hit in the inning as the Jays sent eight men to the plate. An error by first baseman Yonder Alonso on a tough hop off the bat of Aledmys Diaz allowed the fourth run to score.

    The Indians bounced back with three runs in the fifth. Yan Gomes reached on a slow-rolling single down the third-base line and Greg Allen followed with a single to left. Brandon Guyer doubled home Gomes.

    Jose Fernandez relieved Gaviglio to face Lindor, who sent a broken-bat single into left to score Allen and Guyer for a 5-4 lead.  The switch-hitting shortstop went 4-for-5 with three runs and four RBI. For the season he's hitting .288 with 33 homers, 84 RBI and 117 runs.

    The Indians used an unearned run to stretch the lead to 6-4 in the sixth. Edwin Encarnacion singled to start the inning, but should have been erased on a double play grounder off the bat of Alonso. Second baseman Devon Travis threw the ball away to put runners at first and second. Allen doubled home Encarnacion.

    A three-run homer by Jason Kipnis in the ninth put the Tribe's 80th win of the season under lock and key. Kipnis is hitting .395 (15-for-38) with four doubles, four homers and 14 RBI in his last 11 games.

    "Kip had a tough night," said Francona. "He was frustrated, but that was a gorgeous swing. It let us stay away from (closer Brad) Hand. A lot of good things came out of that."

    Bieber, thanks to his offense, was able to pitch into the seventh inning. He allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He stuck out six, walked one and rebounded from his loss to the Rays in his last start.

    The best part of his night was the way he came back after allowing four runs in the fourth.

    "That was big for me," said Bieber. "People say the one way to get over a big inning is by never having one. If you're going to have one, it was big for me to go out there and just keep competing.

    "I can't say enough about this offense and how they picked me up right away. That's huge for a pitcher. To be able to go out there and have the lead again and try to keep doing what you're doing."

    What it means

    The Indians are now seven games behind AL West-leading Houston for the right to host the ALDS. The Astros, winners of five straight, were idle Thursday before opening a three-game series against Boston at Fenway Park.

    The pitches

    Gaviglio threw 72 pitches, 44 (61 percent) for strikes. Bieber threw 89 pitches, 62 (70 percent) for strikes.

    Thanks for coming

    The Indians and Blue Jays drew 20,618 to Rogers Centre. First pitch was at 7:05 p.m. with a temperature of 77 degrees. The roof was open.

    Next

    Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (16-8, 3.52) will face the Blue Jays and Marco Estrada (7-11, 4.53) on Friday at 7:07 p.m. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.

    This will be Carrasco's second start against the Jays this year. He's 3-1 with a 5.60 ERA against them in his career.


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    RubberDucks right-hander Jake Paulson pitched seven innings, giving up one run.

    nellie rodriguez.jpgNellie Rodriguez 

    AKRON, Ohio -- Nellie Rodriguez sent the first pitch of the 10th inning over the left-field wall, giving the RubberDucks a 2-1 victory over Altoona Thursday night at Canal Park.

    Akron now leads the best-of-five playoff series, 2-0. The next game is Friday night at Altoona.

    RubberDucks right-hander Jake Paulson got tagged early, giving up a solo homer to Curve leadoff hitter Cole Tucker in the first inning.

    It didn't rattle Paulson, who allowed no more runs in giving up five hits in seven innings. He struck out four.

    But it was a tough go for the RubberDucks as Curve right-hander Eduardo Vera was stellar, allowing just one run and two hits in eight innings.

    Vera kept Akron scoreless through five innings before Akron's Jodd Carter and Daniel Salters started the sixth with consecutive singles, putting runners on first and third.

    That was enough for Sam Haggerty's groundout to bring in Carter and tie the game.

    Neither team put up much of an offensive threat until Rodriguez ended the game with his homer in the 10th.

    Akron managed to win the game despite getting only three hits overall. Altoona was held to five hits.

    See the box score from the game.


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    Lefty Andrew Miller, on the disabled list for the third time this season, impressed pitching coach Carl Willis and himself with his bullpen session on Thursday.

    TORONTO - Terry Francona knew the news was going to be good before he heard it.

    "I could see the smile on Carl's face," said Francona.

    Pitching coach Carl Willis had just watched Andrew Miller throw his first bullpen session since he went on the disabled list for the third time on Aug. 29 with an impingement in his left shoulder.

    Willis told Francona that the "ball came out really hot" from Miller's left hand in the visitor's bullpen Thursday at Rogers Centre.

    "I felt really good," said Miller. "As frustrating as I felt a week or two ago, I think that's in the past. It's full speed ahead. It's just a matter of getting sharp, getting innings and being crisp. I know I've been saying that for a while. I do feel it's all in line right now and we're getting ready to take off."

    Miller received a cortisone shot in his shoulder after hitting the DL for the third time on Aug. 29. The shot apparently found its mark.

    "We hit what was bugging me and took care of it," said Miller. "I'm excited ... as truly excited as I have been in a while. My knee feels great. My arm feels great. It's up to me to go out and pitch now and remember how to do that."

    Miller was eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Thursday, but that's not going to happen.

    "I don't know what they're saying, but if I'm not ready by Tampa, then certainly by the time we get back," said Miller.

    The Indians opened a four-game series against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Thursday night. They move Tropicana Field on Monday for a three-game series against the Rays.

    "Ideally I'd like to come back and get five, seven, eight appearances in and feel really good about it going into game that really matters," said Miller.

    Francona said the Indians are working on what Miller's next step will be.

    "Things went really well today and that was welcome news," said Francona. "He threw 20 pitches. Now we have to see what's next. Does he face hitters? Does he throw another bullpen, but Carl was really excited about the way the ball came out of his hand."

    A healthy Miller would go a long way to helping an inconsistent bullpen as it prepares for the postseason. He's made only 23 appearances this year, going 2-3 with a 3.38 ERA. Still he's averaging 12.38 strikeouts per nine innings with lefties hitting .179 and righties .217 against him.

    The Tribe's bullpen went into Thursday night's game ranked 13th in ERA in the AL at 4.71. They're 11-21 with 37 saves and have thrown the fewest innings of any pen in the league.


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    The winds rolling through Lake Erie have had a good affect on walleye and yellow perch fishing. Cooler weather should perk up inland lake fishing for bass, panfish and catfish.

    CLEVELAND, OHIO -- The big northerly winds rolling through Lake Erie in recent days seem to have had a good affect on the walleye and yellow perch fishing, bringing cooler waters to the Ohio shoreline and encouraging fish to bite. This weekend's cooling temperatures should perk up the inland lake fishing for bass, panfish and catfish, as well. 

    CENTRAL LAKE ERIE 

    The Gold Coast area west of Cleveland Harbor was a top spot for walleye this week, with anglers trolling diving planers, especially Tru-Trip 40 divers, and a variety of spoons colored in purple, pink and chartreuse. The best depth in that area has been about 35 feet. Diving plugs are finally starting to come into play again, as well, and anglers are catching steelhead trout with regularity. 

    Off Lorain, the best catches of big walleye have come from waters in the 54- to 68-foot range. There aren't a lot of large schools of walleye to focus on, so fishermen should keep a sharp eye on their fish finders to find the small, productive pockets of fish. 

    Anglers had been running to deep water for steelhead trout, but the silver bullets seemed to have moved closer to shore with the big winds cooling things down. Some of the best Lorain fishing has been 3 to 6 miles north of the harbor.

    The Fairport Harbor walleye fishing has been tremendous, with good numbers of fish hanging all around the area. Steelhead trout in good numbers have joined them. Walleye are being caught in 38 to 60 feet of water, suspended at about 30 or 40 feet, while the steelhead trout are suspending at about 20 feet. 

    WESTERN LAKE ERIE 

    The boat ramp at Catawba State Park is closed for the rest of 2018 for repairs, and the Mazurik Launch Ramp on the Marblehead Peninsula will be closed from Sept. 10-13 to resurface the parking lot.

    The walleye fishing had slowed a bit, most likely because of exceedingly warm waters and air temperatures in the 90s. The best reports have been coming from the Lake Erie Islands and off Cedar Point, Huron and Vermilion in 25 to 45 feet of water. Limit catches are coming in again, though, with most walleye in the 17- to 22-inch range. Trolling divers and spoons has been the best bet, and some decent catches are being reported by drift-and-cast anglers targeting the shallower reefs and rock piles.

    The windy weather has chased away many of the yellow perch fishermen in smaller boats. The top perch reports have come from D Can off Camp Perry and around Green and Rattlesnake islands. 

    INLAND LAKES AND RESERVOIRS

    Mosquito Reservoir is in the spotlight, with walleye and largemouth bass fishing both very good. Walleye are being caught in 7 to 8 feet of water on small spinners tipped with live bait, jigs tipped with minnows or worms and while drifting with a crawler harness weighted with split shot.

    The Mosquito trophy bass fishing has been best along the weed edges in 6 to 7 feet of water, while larger numbers of smaller bass are being caught in shallower 3-foot waters on spinnerbaits, topwater frogs, small swim jigs and Rat-L-Traps. 

    Bass anglers should focus on the deeper weeds at East and Turkeyfoot reservoirs in the Portage Lakes. Nimisila Reservoir bass are hiding in deeper waters, where drop shot rigs and shaky worms are a good bet. The hot weather kicks up the metabolism of muskies, and the big fish should be aggressively feeding at Pymatuning, West Branch, Clear Fork and Leesville reservoirs.



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    Doug Lesmerises is joined by four stupendous guests - Albert Breer, Neil Paine, Melissa Jacobs and Clayton Braham - to get you ready for this season of Cleveland football.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Browns season is around the corner and you can't start it without listening to our humongous preview on Takes By The Lake.

    I'm joined by four guests in a supersized episode to dig into the hopes, the talent, the past miseries and the promise of the 2018 Cleveland Browns.

    First up is Clayton Braham, a fan who makes his own hype videos at @_CLEology on Twitter. He explains what fans are hoping for, rooting for and worried about with the Browns.

    Next is Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, one of the most plugged-in NFL writers in the country to explain the talent on the Browns roster, what the expectations should be for GM John Dorsey to eventually shape a playoff team and what the rest of the league thinks of what's happening in Cleveland.

    Then comes Neil Paine, the author of a fascinating recent story on fivethirtyeight.com examining the numbers behind the Browns futility of the past two decades. If your heart has suffered with the Browns, let Neil explain to your head why it happened, and it will help you move on for the future.

    We finished with Melissa Jacobs, formerly of ESPN and Sports Illustrated who now writes at her website thefootballgirl.com. Melissa grew particularly interested in the Browns through Hard Knocks, and from California offers a national perspective on whether the rest of the NFL is rooting for the Browns, or just figuring they'll continue to be a joke. She knows the league and provides needed perspective outside the Browns bubble.

    This edition of TBTL is longer than unusual, but it's worth it. Enjoy these guests and let them get you ready for what should be an intriguing season of Browns football.

    Get subscribed:

    There's an Apple podcasts channel for Takes By The Lake.

    You can subscribe on Google Play.

    If you have an Android device, you find a way to subscribe.


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    With rain in the forecast, we discuss whether Ohio State will cover a 35.5-point spread against Rutgers on Saturday. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State has played its last two games with heavy rainfall.

    It's likely to happen again this Saturday when the Buckeyes open Big Ten play against Rutgers.

    As of Thursday night, Weather.com is predicting a 50 percent chance of rain on Saturday morning, with it getting to 100 percent by the evening. 

    So that could impact things for those betting on the game. When we recorded our video, the Buckeyes were favored against the Scarlet Knights by 35.5 points. And this year, not only are we picking the game and whether OSU will cover or not, but we are also assigning confidence points to say whether you should bet based on our picks.

    Get our explainer on confidence points from last week's picks post.

    Watch the video above for our picks, make your own in the comments below and subscribe to the Ohio State Football on cleveland.com channel on YouTube.

    Ohio State game picks record

    Doug Lesmerises: 1-0, 1-0 against the spread (5 confidence points)

    Tim Bielik: 1-0, 1-0 against the spread (4 confidence points)

    Bill Landis: 1-0, 1-0 against the spread (4 confidence points)


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    Cleveland Browns prepare to open 2018 at home against Pittsburgh Steelers

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns prepare to open the 2018 season Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers come to town picked to win the division with an 11-5 record by Sports Illustrated. SI picked the Browns to finish in a tie for last with the Cincinnati Bengals at 4-12.

    Despite SI's prediction, hopes are high for the season, thanks to general manager John Dorsey's remake of the team through free agency and the draft. It also doesn't hurt that the new Browns looked impressive in the preseason, from veterans like Tyrod Taylor, Carlos Hyde and Jarvis Landry on down to rookies like Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb and Denzel Ward.

    While winning four games this season would be a huge improvement over last year, it feels like this team should do better than 4-12, and a win over the Steelers would be just what the doctor ordered.

    Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on cleveland.com.


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    The Cleveland Indians owned a 16 1/2-game lead in the AL Central through Sept. 6.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Don't take this for granted, Indians fans.

    Don't take for granted what your team is doing in -- or, more to the point, to -- its division. After a victory Thursday night in Toronto, the Indians are 80-60 and own a 16 1/2-game lead in the AL Central. Magic number to clinch: seven. Achieving a single-digit magic number by the first week of September is impressive.

    I know, I know: The AL Central beyond the Indians is trash. Second-place Minnesota is 63-76; last-place Kansas City, 46-93.

    Oh, well.

    The Indians and their fans need not apologize. Nobody in the AL East apologized to the 1970's Indians or 1980's Indians during their seemingly annual futility. In 2012, the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers didn't send the Indians a box of Kleenex for the Tribe's 68-94, fourth-place, 20-games-back dud.

    In the NFL, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady never will attach an asterisk to AFC East dominance of the past 1,000 years that has been facilitated by varying sizes of tomato can in New York (Jets), Buffalo (Bills) and Miami (Dolphins).

    Teams play in the division assigned by the league, and they play the opponents on the schedule.

    Don't take for granted, Indians fans, what your team has done under manager Terry Francona. The Indians are rolling toward their third consecutive division title and sixth above-.500 record in six seasons with future National Baseball Hall of Famer Francona at the helm. Francona's Indians are 534-414 with what will be four playoff appearances and at least one World Series appearance.

    These types of runs are atypical for the franchise, even as two have occurred within the past 25 years. Manager Mike Hargrove's Indians won five straight AL Central Division titles, and made two World Series appearances, from 1995 through 1999.

    When I see a 16 1/2-game lead in the AL Central, I not only appreciate what the Indians have done in 2018 but also what they might be able to do for year(s) to come. Even while granting a recency bias and understanding that the Indians' roster will change pieces year over year, I wonder: Which division opponent will challenge them anytime soon?

    I thought the Twins would push the Tribe into the summer. Not even close. They have taken five steps back since their wild-card entry last season.

    I thought the White Sox, loaded with intriguing young talent, would be the division's next power. They still might be. But they are 56-84.

    The Tigers are 57-83, with less promise going forward than the White Sox. The Royals are a disaster just three years removed from a World Series title.

    Given the players the Indians have under contractual control -- read: starting pitchers -- they have a realistic opportunity to stretch their division dominance to five, six seasons. That means avoiding the one-and-done, wild-card round and going directly to the best-of-five division series. Win a best-of-five and best-of-seven series, reach the World Series.

    Because the MLB playoff road is not as arduous as, say, the NHL's or NBA's, there is more volatility to the proceedings. The Indians know this well. Examples:

    *1996 team won 99 games in the regular season and lost in the division series.

    *1997 team won 86 games and went to the World Series, losing in seven games.

    *2016 team won 94 games but was not expected to dazzle in the postseason, yet it reached the World Series, losing in seven games.

    *2017 team won 102 games and was favored by many to win the World Series, only to lose in the division series.

    Where the MLB postseason is concerned, just get in -- preferably as a division winner. The Indians under Francona likely will continue to do so. However routine it might seem, it should not be taken for granted.


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    Northeast Ohio's Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia will fight for the vacant WBC welterweight title 9 p.m. Saturday on Showtime.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The biggest surprise about Saturday's fight for the vacant WBC welterweight title between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter is the boxing skills Porter will display.

    Certainly Porter (28-2-1) is one of the most aggressive and determined fighters in the game, and that will often be the case at 9 p.m. Saturday night on Showtime, but his boxing skills as an amateur and early in his pro career are often forgotten.

    That won't be the case on Saturday because Garcia (34-1) is preparing for a night of brawling and mugging. I predict Porter will only give Garcia a dose of the rough and tumble in spurts, and that should be enough to throw off Garcia's rhythm.

    Garcia's looking to run, but he'll get drawn in because of Porter's change of pace. And that's when Porter will turn the fight into his favor.

    Porter by decision. 

    Quick jabs

    This day in boxing history

    Sept. 6, 1979: Ricardo Cardona retains WBA super bantamweight title with decision over Yukio Segawa.

    Boxing schedule

    7 a.m., Saturday (ESPN+):

    • Tim Tszyu vs. Marcos Jesus Cornejo, junior middleweights

    • Andrew Moloney vs. Luis Concepcion, junior bantamweights

    • Damien Lock vs. Joshua Butler, middleweights

    • Che St. John vs. Hayden Wright, heavyweights

    • George Payne vs. Layton McFerran, junior lightweights

    • Lorrinda Webb vs. Nadya Nakhoir, female junior featherweights

    5 p.m. (DAZN Facebook and Twitter):

    • Amir Khan vs. Samuel Vargas, welterweights

    • Jason Welborn vs. Tommy Langford, rematch, for Welborn's British middleweight title

    • Ryan Kelly vs. Kelcie Ball, junior middleweights

    9 p.m. (Showtime):


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    The Browns are 3-18 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last 11 years. Yes, that can change Sunday when the two teams meet in Cleveland. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Is this the biggest game of Hue Jackson's coaching career in Cleveland?

    When a coach has a 1-31 record and is on a 17-game losing streak, the next game is the biggest of his career.

    Especially when it's the first game of the season. And it is the Steelers, who sometimes even seem bored when in the process of beating the Browns.

    "It's a chance for us to go out and showcase our football team," Jackson said after Wednesday's practice.

    That's more to the point.

    From the moment the Haslam family decided to fire Vice President Sashi Brown and keep Jackson -- that was last December -- the clock was ticking down to this game.

    New General Manager John Dorsey vowed to go out and find Jackson some "real players."

    It's ridiculous to say Brown didn't bring in some talented players. The best player on the team is Myles Garrett, drafted by Brown.

    But Dorsey's mission was to add veteran players who can help the Browns win now -- and also find younger players in the draft.

    Jackson is right. This is showcase of the talent and the coaching staff. Do they know what they are doing? How will they look against the Steelers, whose quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger) has a 21-2 record vs. Cleveland?

    THE NEW QUARTERBACK

    A reason for hope is new quarterback Tyrod Taylor, whose 22-20 record in Buffalo has earned him respect across the NFL.

    "His mobility and decision making are excellent," said Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin in a conference call. "Anytime you have someone under center with those two components...that's a weapon."

    I don't consider that a coach simply hyping an opposing player. Tomlin knows Taylor is not the usual Browns quarterback.

    He has faced the Steelers once in his career. That was in 2016. Pittsburgh beat Buffalo, 27-20. Taylor was 15-of-25 passing for 280 yards, two TD passes and one interception.

    One of Dorsey's first priorities was to find an experienced quarterback who won't lose games.

    There are a lot of remarkable stats when looking at Taylor vs. the Browns 2017 quarterbacks. But the most startling is this: The Browns threw more interceptions in the red zone (6) than Taylor had all year anywhere on the field (4).

    In the red zone, Taylor threw 11 TD passes last season compared to two interceptions.

    THE NEW GAME PLAN

    As Taylor told the media, the offense needs to "protect the football and establish the run to get everything else going."

    That's also why Dorsey signed veteran running back Carlos Hyde and drafted Nick Chubb in the second round. Both are physical, punishing runners who should take the pressure off the Browns needing to throw the ball.

    New offensive coordinator Todd Haley does know how to design plays for the running backs to catch passes. That should make Duke Johnson more effective.

    Haley spent the previous six years calling plays for the Steelers.

    The Steelers must be looking at the Browns' offense and finding more reasons to worry than they have in years.

    Jarvis Landry can be an impact receiver. David Njoku has the physical ability to be a game-changing tight end. Johnson, Hyde and Taylor are veterans who won't be intimidated by the Steelers.

    And Jackson is correct when saying the Browns have a "weather-proof offense" because of Taylor and their ability to run the ball.

    THE NEW HOPE?

    For the sake of the Browns fan base, a victory would mean so much.

    It would take the heat off Jackson and the players. About 60 percent of those in a Cleveland uniform Sunday were not with the team in 2017. But they inherit the weight of all the losing and despair.

    Star Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell is holding out. The Steelers have some problems on defense.

    They seem vulnerable. Myles Garrett also is healthy and can put some pressure on Roethlisberger.

    It's also the first game of the season, when strange things happen in the NFL. I know of some very serious gamblers who rarely bet in the opening week because it's so unpredictable.

    But these are the Browns who have won just one game - that's right - ONE opening game since the team returned in 1999. That was Butch Davis and Jeff Garcia beating Baltimore 20-3 in 2004.

    And these are the Steelers, who have a 19-3 record vs. the Browns since Tomlin became the coach.

    I confess to having a lot of concerns about the Browns with all the new players and coaches being ready for a game like this. My head says they'll lose.

    While I'd never bet on it...because I don't bet...I'm picking the Browns to win.

    Why?

    Because the roster seems better designed to beat the Steelers -- and I'm sick of writing stories about them losing to Pittsburgh.

    PREDICTION: Browns 20, Pittsburgh 17.



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    Mid-American Conference football teams have several chances the second week of the season at pulling some upsets. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference has been known to pull its share of college football upsets over the years. If there are any to be had in 2018, this weekend will offer a few opportunities.

    One thing the league has show in recent years is the ability to put offenses on the field that score. Six MAC teams scored 38 points or more, five more than 42 and two over 50.

    Here are key upset opportunities.

    Western Michigan (0-1) at Michigan (0-1), Noon FS1 - The Broncos put up a fight and put up 42 points in a home loss to Syracuse. Michigan was less than impressive in its loss at Notre Dame. If WMU gets an early lead, keep an eye on this one.

    Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Purdue (0-1), Noon BTN - EMU did not face the stiffest of competition last week, but it did roll the tote board with 51 points. The Boilermakers are still rebuilding, which makes them vulnerable.

    Cincinnati (1-0) at Miami (0-1), 8 p.m. Raycom - Miami has yet to prove it can stand toe-to-toe with winning teams. Here is another opportunity to buck that trend against rival Cincinnati, which is coming off impressive road upset victory over UCLA, 26-17.

    Maryland (1-0) at Bowling Green (0-1), 6 p.m. -  The Terrapins are in the midst of some turmoil, eased a bit last week with a home win over Texas. This has all the makings of a "trap game" in BG's favor, if the Falcons have enough offense to spring the trap.

    In other MAC games of note, locally, Kent State will unveil its new wide-open offensive attack against Howard, 3:30 p.m. in Dix Stadium, after pulling a near upset last week at Illinois.  Sophomore Kent QB Woody Barrett had a solid debut, 28-of-41 for 270 yards, 2 TD/2INT.

    One thing that has not changed at Kent is the offense/special teams putting a yoke on the defense. Illinois' four second-half TD drives all covered 59 yards or less.

    This is a tough opener for Kent, considering Howard last week took Ohio University down to the wire before losing, 38-32. Howard, with sophomore quarterback Caylin Newton, put up a whopping 645 yards of total offense against the Bobcats defense.

    Newton, the younger brother of NFL QB Cam Newton, accounted for 532 of those yards passing and rushing. The Bobcats won by forcing four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles).

    Akron is also home, 3:30 p.m. at InfoCision Stadium, against Morgan State, coming off a 36-10 loss to Towson State. This will be the Zips' season opener after its game with Nebraska was cancelled last week due to weather.

    While there is some difference of opinion regarding the Cornhuskers having to pay the contracted $1.17-million for the game, that becomes a non-issue if both teams decide to replay the game the first week of December.

    THIS WEEKS MAC GAMES

    • Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Purdue (0-1), Noon BTN
    • Western Michigan (0-1) at Michigan (0-1), Noon FS1
    • Ball State (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-0) 3:30 p.m. NB
    • Utah (1-0) at Northern Illinois (0-1), 7:30 p.m. ESPNNews
    • Cincinnati (1-0) at Miami (0-1), 8 p.m. Raycom
    • Kansas (0-1) at Central Michigan (0-1), 3 p.m.
    • Morgan State (0-1) at Akron (0-0), 3:30 p.m.
    • Howard (0-1) at Kent State (0-1), 3:30 p.m.
    • Buffalo (1-0) at Temple (0-1), 3:30 p.m.
    • Maryland (1-0) at Bowling Green (0-1), 6 p.m

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    Check here for the live second-round leaderboard for the PGA Tour's BMW Championship 2018 on Friday, Sept. 7, in Pennsylvania. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were tied for first through 18 holes. The BMW is FedExCup Playoffs event three of four.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were tied for the lead entering the second round of the PGA Tour's BMW Championship 2018 on Friday, Sept. 7, in Pennsylvania. The BMW, featuring a field of 69, is the third of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs.

    Woods and McIlroy carded 8-under through 18 holes. Xander Schauffele was third at 7-under. Silver Lake native Ryan Armour was tied for eighth at 5-under.

    Bryson DeChambeau, who has won the first two playoff events (The Northern Trust, Dell Technologies Championship) is grouped with Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose. DeChambeau, Johnson and Rose are Nos. 1-3 in the FedExCup standings.

    PGA TOUR
    BMW CHAMPIONSHIP
    Site: Newtown Square, Pa.
    Course: Aronimink GC. Yardage: 7,267. Par: 70.
    Purse: $9 million. Winner's share: $1,620,000.
    Television: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, Noon-3:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3:30-6 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, Noon-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2-6 p.m. (NBC).
    Defending champion: Marc Leishman.
    FedExCup leader: Bryson DeChambeau.
    Last week: Bryson DeChambeau won the Dell Technologies Championship.
    Notes: This is the third FedEx Cup playoff event, with the top 30 advancing to the Tour Championship at East Lake in two weeks. .... DeChambeau is assured of being the No. 1 seed at the Tour Championship. At stake this week is getting one of the top five seeds. Those players only need to win the Tour Championship to claim the FedExCup title and the $10 million bonus. ... Aronimink last held a PGA Tour event in 2010 and 2011 when the AT&T National moved there from Congressional ahead of the 2011 U.S. Open. Justin Rose and Nick Watney won those two years. Tiger Woods, whose foundation ran the tournament, tied for 46th in 2010 and did not play in 2011 because of leg injuries. ... Rickie Fowler is playing his first FedExCup playoffs event. He missed the last two with an injury. He started at No. 17 and now is No. 26. ... Aronimink is where Gary Player won the PGA Championship in 1962. The club will host the Women's PGA Championship in 2020 and the PGA Championship in 2027.
    Next tournament: Tour Championship on Sept. 20-23.
    Online: www.pgatour.com

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    I expect Cincinnati to defeat the Miami RedHawks with minimal difficulty as part of NCAA football Week 2.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Texas Christian, Michigan, Duke and Cincinnati are DMan's predicted winners against the spread for NCAA football Week 2. Entertainment purposes only.

    The U.S. Supreme Court in May overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, paving the way for states to legalize sports betting at their discretion. Several states already have done so; others are closing fast.

    My gut tells me that Ohio will join the party in the latter half of 2019. Until then, we play with "Monopoly'' money.

    For the 2018 college football season against the spread, I am going to work off the template of former The Plain Dealer colleague Bob "Railbird'' Roberts, who began his horse-racing season at Thistledown with, if memory serves, a $1,000 kitty. My starter kit will feature $1,500 in imaginary funds, saved over an 18-month period, because I'm not nearly as sharp as Railbird; I want/need more room to fail.

    Some of my friends have urged me to go big or go home (early), especially because this is just practice. I strongly disagree. I am going to cap gross money risked for a given week at $125, and I don't anticipate any bet larger than $25. If I only like one game, so be it. As preparation for 2019, I seek to avoid what I have researched is arguably the biggest potential pitfall in sports gambling, the one that leads to addiction: too much risk. Those who win a lot desperately want to win more and more and more. Those who lose a lot desperately want to recoup the losses. Desperation leads to addiction.

    When sports gambling is legalized in Ohio, I want it to be controlled, manageable fun for those who partake. Nothing more.

    Last week: 2-1 in four games (Akron-Nebraska PPD)

    Recap: I lost Oregon State +38 1/2 at Ohio State. I didn't foresee the Buckeyes scoring 11 touchdowns -- be honest: neither did most of you -- en route to a 77-31 victory.

    I easily could have been 2-2. I really wanted to take coach Lane Kiffin's Florida Atlantic Owls plus 18-20 points at Oklahoma. The Sooners rolled, 63-14.   

    Season-to-date kitty: $1,520.

    Week 2 (lines from Westgate Superbook as of Wednesday afternoon):

    Friday, Sept. 7

    Texas Christian at SMU

    • The line: TCU by 22.
    • Skinny: Horned Frogs QB Shawn Robinson, in prime time, proves far too much for the Mustangs' D to handle.
    • The pick: TCU, 45-17. ($20 risked)

    Saturday, Sept. 8

    Western Michigan at Michigan

    • The line: Michigan by 28.
    • Skinny: Wolverines, still stinging from Week 1 loss at Notre Dame, make the Broncos pay for it.
    • The pick: Michigan, 45-10. ($20 risked)

    Duke at Northwestern

    • The line: Northwestern by 3.
    • Skinny: Blue Devils are better than some people think, and I don't trust the Wildcats early in a season.
    • The pick: Duke, 24-23. ($25 risked)

    Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio)

    • The line: Miami by 1.
    • Skinny: After seeing this line, I desperately wanted to amend the self-imposed $125/$25 caps....but that would have defeated the purpose of the exercise. Clearly, Vegas must have confused the Miami's.
    • The pick: Cincinnati, 37-17. ($25 risked)

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    With the Beachwood location thriving, Corus45 has branched out to Ohio City and outfitted the place with custom equipment made to the owner's exact specifications.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Music is more than just background noise at the new Ohio City branch of Corus45. It's a guiding metaphor.

    That tired but exhilarated feeling the day after a late-night concert? Yeah, that's pretty much how you feel after a workout at Corus 45, the express purpose of which, quoting the band Queen, is to "rock you."

    Sure, there are other places in the area using similar equipment. There are overlaps between a Corus45 workout (corus45.com) and what transpires in Pilates, barre, and other fitness studios where core and lower-body strength are priorities. Lots of places, too, play high-energy mixes of classic and modern rock.

    Still, it's no exaggeration to say that Corus45 is unique. With her original Beachwood studio thriving, owner Hillary Zashin has branched out to Ohio City and outfitted the place with custom equipment made to her precise specifications. There's literally nowhere else to experience exactly what Zashin and her "Crue" have to offer.

    Fittingly, in keeping with the decor, the main machine in use at Corus45 has been dubbed the "Iron Maiden." It's essentially a Pilates-style "Megaformer," with a sliding carriage, fixed platforms, and various handles and cables, all affixed to springs for resistance, only without the brand name and modified to be smoother, more comfortable, and more practical than even the most luxurious version of the original.

    Zachary Lewis Zachary Lewis

    WHAT NEXT?
    Have a suggestion for an activity you think I should try? Send me an e-mail.

    Previously
    CoreWalking combats pain, bad posture at their roots

    The difference isn't all in the equipment, either. It's also in Zashin's watchful eye and close, hands-on attention.

    "Challenging" is an understatement. Of all the moves Zashin took me through in a 45 (an homage to the classic single record) minutes, only one, a variation on the sit-up, felt relatively comfortable. The rest demanded degrees of stability, balance, and flexibility I simply do not possess.

    Regular push-ups, lunges, and pike and plank poses I can do all day. Their counterparts at Corus45, however, I could only manage for a few sweaty seconds. On the "Iron Maiden," even the most basic of exercises became a feat of strength, with the main platform constantly sliding away, cables and springs pulling in the opposite direction, and a mechanical design practically begging for greater depth of movement.

    The "Raise the Roof" sections made matters even worse, and by that I mean more effective. At the end of several segments, Zashin called for me to put my hands in the air and execute rapid, pulsing versions of the movement I was already performing. Talk about raising the roof. My heart-rate shot right through it.

    And oh, the next day. The whole-body fatigue after Corus45, however, was something else entirely beyond soreness.

    The good part? This was healthy fatigue. I wore myself out not by staying up too late or partying too hard but by exercising, spending a mere 45 minutes at one of the hardest-rocking fitness studios I know.


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    Bell might be sitting out Week 1 of NFL action to preserve his long-term value

    Le'Veon Bell might be sitting out Week 1 of NFL action to preserve his long-term value, and his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates are not happy. Reports are coming out that teammates believe Bell is being selfish. But with NFL players having a short span of time to get guaranteed money, Bell is making a legitimate business decision to get what he's earned. It's nothing personal. What do you think? 

    PERSPECTIVES

    Bell made a business decision to hold out this off-season so he could get the money he deserves. But the season is here and now he has a contractual and moral obligation to play football. Not necessarily for himself, but for his teammates who depend on him to keep the offense moving and win games. 

    Bell's selfishness is a burden and his teammates are right in calling him out.

    Bell touched the ball 406 times in 2017 -- tops in the NFL. He's an important piece for the Steelers and he should be paid like it. $14 million is a lot of money for one year, but Bell earned a long-term payday with a lot of guaranteed money. So Bell is leveraging the only thing he can: himself. 

    If the Steelers want his services, the front office will have to pay him fairly. He doesn't deserve to be dragged by the team, especially in a league where teams cut players on a whim. It's a business decision that Bell has to make for himself and his family. 

    Bell is right and he needs to continue to fight the good fight.

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.

     

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