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

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    Manager Terry Francona and the front office defended hitting coaches Ty Van Burkleo and Victor Rodriguez despite a long and costly slump by All-Star Jose Ramirez.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Manager Terry Francona and the front office says there will be no changes in the Indians' hitting coaches despite a long slump by All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez that culminated in him going 0-for-11 in the ALDS as the Indians were swept by Houston.

    Ramirez, expected to finish in the top five of the AL MVP voting for the second straight year, hit .166 (24-for-145) with three homers and 16 RBI from Aug. 14 through the end of the season. The slump dropped his average from .305 to .270 and probably cost him a chance at winning the MVP award.

    In the team's annual end-of-the-season press conference on Wednesday, Francona was asked what happened to Ramirez.

    "He got himself into a predicament and he couldn't get himself out of it," said Francona. "It's hard to figure out because a guy can be that good, that dominant and then just couldn't get (going). He kept peeling off balls even when he got pitches to hit, he kind of peeled off. He knew it and watched video and he just couldn't get the feeling of staying through the ball."

    Chris Antonetti, president of baseball operations, added, "I'll maybe add that the timing of that obviously was unfortunate, with Jose's struggles, but that's not atypical for hitter. I remember the conversations with Jim Thome when he got off to tough starts in April and May and there was a question of whether or not we were going to bench him and not play him anymore.

    "Remember the conversations (Francona) had with David Ortiz (in Boston), when are you going to stop playing David Ortiz? Then he went out and had five more years. So, the timing was unfortunate, but hitters struggle. Guys go through periods of time when they are not performing at their best."

    Francona was told that Ramirez's performance over the last month and half of the regular season "killed" the Indians.

    "What do you mean killed us?" said Francona. "We won the division by 13 games."

    He was asked about Ramirez's performance in the postseason.

    "I would say that (Gerrit) Cole and (Justin) Verlander (Houston's starters in the first two games of the ALDS) had something to do with that," said Francona.

    Francona was asked if hitting coaches Ty Van Burkleo or Victor Rodriguez should be held responsible for Ramirez's performance.

    "I think that's a reaction," said Francona. "That to me is a very reactionary move. It's a small sample and it hurt like crazy losing. Yet, we were probably in the upper tier in just about every offensive category."

    Francona asked if the question was based on disappointment with the postseason or Ramirez's body of work for the season.

    "The body of work," was the response.

    "OK, well then he's going to be third in the league in MVP voting," said Francona. "Do you still want to get rid of somebody?"

    Francona was asked, "Is it a reflection on the hitting coach that he wasn't able to get Ramirez straightened out?"

    "I think it's every bit as much of a reflection that a kid that we thought might be a utility player is going to be second or third or fourth in the league in MVP voting," said Francona. "I think VanBo (Van Burkleo) is every bit as much to put the onus on for that also."

    In the regular season, the Indians finished second in the AL in batting average, third in runs, second in hits, fifth in doubles, fourth in home runs, fifth in walks, fourth in slugging percentage and third in on-base percentage.

    In the ALDS, they were outhit .327 to .144, outscored 21-6 and outhomered 8-2. During the regular season the Indians struck out the fewest times in the AL, they struck out 30 times in three games.

    In 2017, when the Indians blew a 2-0 lead in the ALDS against the Yankees, they hit .171 as a team and were outscored, 21-18. The Yankees hit .201 as a team.

    Ramirez hit .270 (156-for-578) with 38 doubles, 39 homers and 105 RBI in 157 games in the regular season. He stole 34 bases to become just the third 30-30 man in franchise history. After the All-Star break, he hit .218 (48-for-226) with 10 homers and 35 RBI. Over the last two years, Ramirez is 2-for-31 with one RBI in the ALDS.


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    Check here for the live first-round leaderboard for the KEB Hana Bank Championship 2018 in South Korea.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Michelle Wie, Minjee Lee, Brooke Henderson, Ariya Jutanugarn, Sung Hyun Park, In Gee Chun, Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr are among those in the field for KEB Hana Bank Championship 2018 this week in South Korea.

    LPGA TOUR
    KEB HANA BANK CHAMPIONSHIP
    Site: Incheon, South Korea.
    Course: Sky 72 GC (Ocean Course). Yardage: 6,316. Par: 72.
    Purse: $2 million. Winner's share: $300,000.
    Television: Thursday, 1:30-5:30 p.m. (Golf Channel-tape delay); Friday-Sunday, 12:30-3 p.m. (Golf Channel-tape delay).
    Defending champion: Jin Young Ko.
    Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn.
    Last week: South Korea won the International Crown.
    Notes: In Gee Chun, who won all four of her matches last week, is among 21 players from the International Crown playing this week. That includes Sung Hyun Park, the No. 1 player in the world. ... All four Americans from the International Crown are playing -- Michelle Wie, Cristie Kerr, Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson. ... Thompson has not won in more than a year, dating to the Indy Women in Tech Championship 2017. She has slipped to No. 5 in the world. ... The tournament is co-sanctioned by the Korean LPGA, which selected 12 players to compete. That gives South Korea 27 players in the field of 78. ... Jin Young Ko, the defending champion, has a big lead over Women's British Open champion Georgia Hall in the race of LPGA rookie of the year.
    Next week: Buick LPGA Shanghai.
    Online: www.lpga.com
    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    Playoff baseball heats up with a must-watch American League Championship Series pitting the Boston Red Sox against the Houston Astros. Watch video

    Playoff baseball heats up with a must-watch American League Championship Series pitting the Boston Red Sox against the Houston Astros. The Red Sox dispatched their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, in the Divisional Series and look to make a statement against the team that boasted the best regular season record. But the Astros swept the Indians in the ALDS and look unstoppable heading into this matchup. Who advances? 

    PERSPECTIVES

    Eliminating the Yankees is a special kind of satisfaction, but the Red Sox know the ultimate goal is a World Series championship. The Sox may have lost a game along the way to the ALCS, but with that loss came with a lesson--Boston learned how to face adversity and bounce back. 

    The Astros are perfect in the postseason so far, but they could crumble if they lose a game or two. Being battle tested early has value, and Boston will grind its way to a World Series no matter what.

    The Astros are rolling through the playoffs and there's nothing that can stop them. Houston demolished Cleveland, leading the league with a team batting average of .327 in the playoffs and leading the American League with a 2.00 ERA. 

    The Red Sox might be riding high after eliminating the Yankees, but they haven't faced a monster like the Astros yet. Houston is going to take this series.

    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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    James admitted that he can't walk in Love's shoes. He hasn't had those same battles in his past.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- On World Mental Health Day, after Kevin Love announced an important donation to UCLA, LeBron James praised his ex-teammate's strength and openness when it comes to Love's struggles with panic attacks. 

    "Kevin Love was one of my favorite guys; one of my brothers," James said, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "When he acknowledged that (he has suffered panic attacks), I just told him how strong he was -- not only for himself, but for other people that are going through the same issues. Not only just athletes, but a lot of kids that look up to him and maybe going through it don't know how to express things, so I think it's a pretty cool thing."

    Love opened up to his teammates during the 2017-18 season after suffering a panic attack during a game. In a sit-down interview with Carson Daly on NBC this summer, Love said James inspired him and shared an important message at one point after Love's revelation.

    "It was a special moment for me," Love said to Daly. "We sat toward the end of the bus. He kind of said, 'Hey, do you have a moment?' He stopped me, shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, 'You helped a lot of people today. It's important.'"

    Love also penned a powerful essay titled "Everyone Is Going Through Something," which appeared on the Player's Tribune in early March. The piece was aimed at trying to change the stigma around an issue that many people have, including athletes. 

    James admitted on Wednesday that he can't walk in Love's shoes. He hasn't had those same battles.

    "I've always had people to talk to and bounce things off," James said. "They never sugarcoated. And that's always going back to my childhood. Where I could have slipped into (mental health struggles), being part of a single-parent household, no father, I always had the opportunity to talk to my mom or talk to my two uncles, talk to my friends that were around. 

    "So I was always able to get things off my chest and not allow things to build up. I don't know if that's what causes it, but for me personally, I've always had people that were around that I could just, if I ever needed to talk, they was there for me and able to (listen to) whatever it was that I was going through." 

    Earlier on Wednesday, Love kicked off World Mental Health Day by donating a yearlong Headspace subscription to all UCLA student-athletes and coaches.

    Love reiterated how important it is to train the mind as well as the body and wanted his old school and athletic community to have the tools. 

    James and Love were teammates for four years, with James reaching out to Love in the summer of 2014 shortly after James announced his decision to return to Cleveland. While the relationship was rocky at times and Love had some tough nights, the two have clearly formed a tight bond -- even with James in Los Angeles.

    "We won and we bonded and we're going to continue this brotherhood," Love said.


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    Mayfield knew at the this particular moment that the Browns were going to be good, and they just needed this one thing to happen. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns had Baker Mayfield at hello.

    "I've known that the Browns were not bad since the second I stepped foot into this franchise,'' he said Wednesday. "We had a special team from the get-go. Whoever we are playing has nothing to do with this team. ... Management has put together a great group of guys. It's on us to learn and move forward."

    Before the Browns drafted Mayfield No. 1 on April 26, they had already traded for Jarvis Landry and Damarious Randall and signed free agents Carlos Hyde, Terrance Mitchell, T.J. Carrie, Chris Smith, Chris Hubbard and Darren Fells. Jamie Collins and Emmanuel Ogbah were coming off injuries and Myles Garrett was gearing up for a breakout season. Three spots after Mayfield, the Browns drafted cornerback Denzel Ward.

    "From the people they're putting together in this group but then also the belief I have always had in myself (I knew),'' said Mayfield. "I said it back at the (NFL) combine when everybody said I was a short quarterback that couldn't do much, I said if anybody's going to do it, I believed in myself to do that. That's something that I carry with me, and I hope our guys believed in themselves as well."

    Not only did Mayfield boldly state at the combine that if "anybody's going to turn that franchise around it would be me,'' he noted that "they're close. They're very close. They have the right pieces. I think they just need one guy, a quarterback to make that difference.''

    And why did he feel he was he right man for the job?

    "Accuracy. I can make any throw,'' he said. "Winning is most important, but the way I've been able to get my guys around me to play, not just the offensive players around, the 10 guys, but the defensive players, special teams. The energy I bring, the passion I bring, it's infectious. You can ask anybody on that Oklahoma staff. That's what I bring to the table."

    Now, three games into the Baker Mayfield era, his words have proven to be prophetic. The Browns were closer than many thought, and he was just what they needed.

    "Baker, he's a playmaker, man,'' said Rashard Higgins, expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL but who plans to be back after next week. "He just knows how to win. Some got it. Some don't. For Baker to come in like he has and to get us where we're at right now is unbelievable. Hat's off to him. He's the quarterback of the future."

    Higgins noted that Mayfield's "not all riled up. He's poised. He's embracing the moment and he lives for moments like this. In college he did the same thing and it just so happened to carry on to the NFL. He's a baller. He knows how to win and we're with him 100 percent."

    Mayfield has already turned the Factory of Sadness into a Factory of Gladness, sending fans home with hope and joy after victories over the Jets and Ravens. He has another shot at it this week, with the 3-2 Chargers and red-hot quarterback Philip Rivers (13 TDs, two interceptions, third in the NFL with a 116.4 rating) coming to town.

    "That's what we are hoping for,'' said Mayfield. "We feed off of the crowd's energy. Our defense does, as well. We need to continue that, and this needs to be a place that people need to fear coming to play. It needs to be so loud that they can't communicate, and it needs to be a harsh place for an offense to come in. It needs to be exciting when our offense goes out there to keep the crowd in it. Keep building momentum. Keep stacking wins."

    Mayfield knows he can't cry over reversed third-down conversions or missed kicks that dug the Browns a 2-2-1 hole.

    "We're at a one week at a time mindset,'' he said. "We've moved on from the first four games of the season.

    "Now, we're onto the second quarter. We're looking at a chance to go 2-0. If you win each quarter, you are looking at a great possibility of going to the playoffs. We just have to take care of business one game at a time. Obviously, the end goal, yes, is to win the division and make the playoffs, but you do not do that unless you take it one week at a time."

    That the Browns were denied a few victories has them scratching and clawing to dig out of that hole.

    "Yeah, I would say so, especially with our games we've had so far in our division,'' said linebacker Joe Schobert. "You can just see that it's achievable ... and to kind of build towards hopefully winning an AFC North division championship is definitely a main driver for a lot of people.''

    Randall said Wednesday the Browns are as good as his playoff teams in Green Bay and that they're a contender this year. His teammates agree.

    "Absolutely. I know we are,'' said Higgins. "We've got one of the best defenses, and the offense is major as well. People tend to sleep on us, but we're going to wake them up."

    But the playoffs as a legit possibility?

    "Absolutely,'' Higgins said. "That's the only thing I'm thinking about."


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    Check here for the live first-round leaderboard for the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic 2018 in Malaysia.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Justin Thomas, Marc Leishman, Paul Casey, Ryan Armour, Brandt Snedeker, Billy Horschel, Kevin Tway, Ryan Moore, Ernie Els, Jason Kokrak, Cameron Smith, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and defending champion Pat Perez are among those in the field for the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic 2018 this week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Round 1 begins Wednesday night (United States time).

    Snedeker, Moore and Tway are coming off a playoff at the PGA Tour's 2018-19 season-opening Safeway Open last week in California. Tway won.

    PGA TOUR
    CIMB CLASSIC
    Site: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
    Course: TPC Kuala Lumpur (West). Yardage: 7,005. Par: 72.
    Purse: $7 million. Winner's share: $1,620,000.
    Television: Wednesday-Thursday, 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Golf Channel; Friday-Saturday, 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., Golf Channel.
    Defending champion: Pat Perez.
    FedExCup leader: Kevin Tway.
    Last week: Kevin Tway won the Safeway Open.
    Notes: This is the first of a three-week swing through Asia with limited fields and no cuts. ... Justin Thomas won his first two PGA Tour titles at the CIMB Classic. He is among 10 players in the field who were in the season-ending Tour Championship three weeks ago. ... Sixteen players competed in all three Asian events last year. Only three of them made it to the Tour Championship -- Xander Schauffele, Paul Casey and Kyle Stanley. ... Perez made 56 percent of his regular-season FedExCup points during the three-tournament Asian swing last year, starting with his victory in Malaysia. ... Tway and two players he beat in a playoff at the Safeway Open, Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore, are among 30 players in the field who played in California last week. ... Thomas and Moore have two victories in Malaysia. ... Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand is making his debut as a PGA Tour member.
    Next week: CJ Cup in South Korea.
    Online: www.pgatour.com
    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    In the last two postseasons, the Indians have given right-hander Trevor Bauer a staggering amount of responsibility.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Indians have played eight postseason games in the last two years and Trevor Bauer has pitched in five. It's staggering to think how much responsibility they've given him.

    Last year he started Games 1 and 4 against the Yankees in the ALDS. He pitched Game 4 on three days' rest and it went poorly, but the Indians obviously knew something wasn't right with Corey Kluber.

    This year Bauer, coming back from a stress fracture in his right leg, started the ALDS in the bullpen because the Indians knew it was their weakest link. Manager Terry Francona said it was not an easy sell.

    "We had to kind of work through that a little bit," said Francona in Wednesday's end-of-the-season press conference. "I think in his perfect world, he would have pitched in all five games. I tried to tell him in my perfect world he was going to also."

    Bauer's season was derailed by a Jose Abreu line drive on Aug. 11 that hit him above the right ankle and put him on the disabled list for the first time in his career. He did not take it well.

    "I had to remind him a couple of times, 'Hey, man, I didn't hit you with that line drive,'" said Francona. "That was somebody else. That's how much we appreciate his pitching. He's turned himself into one of the best pitchers in the game."

    Bauer appeared in all three games against Houston in this year's ALDS. He pitched a mop up inning in Game 1. Francona waited a tad too late to get him into a 3-1 loss in Game 2. Finally, in Game 3, Bauer entered the game in a perfect situation with the Indians leading, 2-1, in the sixth inning. He worked a scoreless sixth, but lost his control and the game in the seventh when he made two errors and allowed three runs on four hits in one-third of an inning.

    It was the second straight year the Indians put a starter in the bullpen for the postseason thinking he'd be a weapon. Last year it was Mike Clevinger. This year it was Bauer. The results have been spotty at best.

    No. 2: Indians didn't move needle with Donaldson trade

    The Indians knew they were taking a gamble when they traded for Josh Donaldson on Aug. 31. They didn't gain a whole lot, except to find out Donaldson can play the heck out of third base. But they acquired him to hit, which he didn't do.

    Donaldson, after missing three months of the season with a calf injury, was going through spring training in September and in the ALDS. Spring training against Houston's pitching staff ... now that would explain his .091 (1-for-11) ALDS batting average.

    When the Indians made the trade, baseball executives outside the organization said the best part of the deal was letting Jose Ramirez play his natural position at second base. But Ramirez never looked comfortable there. His most memorable play after the move came in Game 2 of the ALDS when he turned a 5-4-3 double play against Jose Altuve. It was a great turn, but it started when he tripped over second base.

    Who would have thought Jason Kipnis would have looked more comfortable in center field than Ramirez did at second?

    No.3: Francona, Kipnis talk over "out-scouted, out-coached' remark

    After Monday's embarrassing 11-3 loss, Kipnis said the Indians were outplayed in every phase of the game. He added that they were outscouted and outcoached to a certain extent as well.

    That must have hit a nerve because Francona said he talked to Kipnis about that remark. He did not tell reporters what the conversation entailed, but before the start of the ALDS Francona said the Indians were well-prepared thanks to the work of Dave Malpass and Tom Wiedenbauer, among others, on breaking down the Astros. Malpass and Wiedenbauer are special assistants to Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff.

    Then again, the Indians were out-hit .327 to .144 and outscored, 21-6. Kipnis, meanwhile, took a 1-for-9. So maybe the Astros' spies were better than the Tribe's.

    No. 4: Tribe coaches, executives could be on the move

    Francona said he would not be surprised if some of his coaches are interviewed/hired for one of several managerial vacancies. Bench coach Brad Mills is said to be on the Twins' interview list as is first base coach Sandy Alomar and John McDonald, a minor-league instructor. Derek Falvey, former Tribe executive, is the chief baseball officer for the Twins.

    The Twins, Blue Jays, Rangers, Reds and Angels are looking for managers. Chernoff has reportedly talked to the Mets about their vacant GM job. Chernoff just completed his 15th year with the Indians and is second in command to Antonetti.

    No. 5. What to do with options on Carrasco, Guyer?

    The Indians hold club options on Carlos Carrasco and Brandon Guyer for 2019. Carrasco's option is worth $9 million, while Guyer's is $3 million. Carrasco, who has won 35 games in the last two years, should be a no-brainer. The oft-injured Guyer is another question, even though the Indians are seriously thin in the outfield.

    "It's something we have to work through," said Antonetti, regarding Guyer. "We have a handful of decisions and the decision on Brandon's option is one of them."

    The Indians have until five days after the World Series to make a decision on Carrasco and Guyer's options.

    No. 6: Indians' foundation remains the starting rotation

    The Indians could lose as many as nine free agents this winter, but the fact that they are expected to return their entire starting rotation should position them well to win a fourth straight AL Central title.

    Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer, Clevinger and Shane Bieber give the Indians a good starting point.

    "We didn't have the results we wanted this year, but as we look at where we are moving forward, we still feel like we're in a really good spot organizationally," said Antonetti. "We're going to have two guys in the top five to top seven of the MVP voting (Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez). We're going to have four guys that are in the top 10 in the AL Cy Young balloting (Kluber, Bauer, Carrasco and Clevinger). That's a great foundation to start any offseason."


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    Check here for the live first-round leaderboard for the European Tour's Sky Sports British Masters 2018 this week in England.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen are among notables in the field at Sky Sports British Masters 2018 this week in England.

    EUROPEAN TOUR
    SKY SPORTS BRITISH MASTERS
    Site: Surrey, England.
    Course: Walton Heath (Old Course). Yardage: 7,394. Par: 72.
    Purse: 3 million pounds. Winner's share: 500,000 pounds.
    Television: Thursday-Friday, 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel).
    Defending champion: Paul Dunne.
    Race to Dubai leader: Francesco Molinari.
    Last week: Lucas Bjerregaard won the Dunhill Links Championship.
    Notes: FedExCup champion Justin Rose is the tournament host this year at Walton Heath. ... British Open champion Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, the first European tandem to go 4-0 in the Ryder Cup, are in the field. ... Rose will have a chance to return to No. 1 in the world. ... Walton Heath was founded in 1903 and had King Edward VIII as its first captain. The Old Course hosted the 1981 Ryder Cup. ... The field features four Ryder Cup players (Rose, Molinari, Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen), Captain Thomas Bjorn and three vice captains in Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson. ... The tournament dates to 1972. ... The list of champions features eight winning Ryder Cup captains -- Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance, Seve Ballesteros, Bernard Gallacher and Tony Jacklin.
    Next week: Andalucia Valderrama Masters.
    Online: www.europeantour.com

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    Bill Landis and Doug Lesmerises compare the Buckeyes and the Crimson Tide and how Urban Meyer and Nick Saban are being driven crazy by the same thing. Plus, they answer your questions.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- People seem to want to talk about Ohio State vs. Alabama, even though a potential matchup between the two wouldn't happen until December.

    So we're having an Ohio State-Alabama discussion this week on our Buckeye Talk Podcast, and talking about how these two teams are more alike than you'd think. Doug Lesmerises and Bill also talk about the Sampson James decommitment from OSU, and answer your questions on the Buckeyes.

    You can always submit questions via Twitter to the @BuckeyeTalkPod account. You can also now submit questions, comments and complaints via email to BuckeyeTalkPod@gmail.com.

    Before listening to the podcast below, make sure to subscribe to Buckeye Talk at any of these places:

    Buckeye Talk on iTunes

    Buckeye Talk on Google Play

    Buckeye Talk on Stitcher

    Buckeye Talk on Spotify

    Thank as always to ShopOhioState.com and MinuteManTickets.com for supporting Buckeye Talk.


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    Instead of drinking games, patrons of this weekend's "Neighborhood Fitness Crawl" in Beachwood will take part in 30-minute workouts, led by experts in one of four exercise disciplines.

    BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- No ales, stouts, or IPAs here. On this particular crawl, all you'll consume are sports drinks.

    This, you see, is no drunken slog from one bar to another. This is "The Neighborhood Fitness Crawl," a charitable tour this coming Saturday of the many fitness studios near the corner of Richmond Road and Chagrin Boulevard.

    "We've got a really cool thing going on in this little complex and we wanted to bring some attention to it," said Tami Schneider, owner of Cleveland Yoga, whose 15th anniversary and recent opening of a fifth branch was the impetus for the event.

    The idea came to Schneider in the middle of the night. Instead of a typical birthday bash, she'd mark her growth from a part-time operation in an apartment building to a company of 35 instructors with an event that gets people moving in a healthy manner and involves her like-minded neighbors: CycleBar Beachwood, CrossFit Distinction, and Corus45.

    All of them, meanwhile, would celebrate the coming re-christening of their enclave as a "neighborhood" and the end of work on Richmond Road, which limited access to the entire area for several months last summer.

    "We're giving people who might be a little afraid a taste of what we offer," said Hillary Zashin, owner of Corus45. "We all kind of feed off one another. We all complement each other. No one's in direct competition."

    The format of the crawl is simple: patrons at each location will take part in 30-minute workouts, led by experts in that particular discipline.

    At CycleBar, for instance, you'll ride your heart out and compete for calories and other metrics on a stationary bike, and at Corus45, you'll come to see just how weak your core is using one of Zashin's many custom "Iron Maiden" machines. Cleveland Yoga, meanwhile, will conduct shorter versions of its popular classes.

    CrossFit is the exception. Rather than ask people to drive to its location off-site and attempt to master Olympic lifting in 30 minutes, CrossFit Distinction will offer high-intensity body-weight workouts outdoors along the crawl or inside Cleveland Yoga.

    "We're looking forward to introducing CrossFit to a new audience and showing people that a few minutes is plenty of time to get your butt kicked," said Scott Supler, co-owner of CrossFit Distinction and an instructor at Cleveland Yoga.

    The locations are all within short walking distance, and along the way will be snacks by Noce Gourmet Pizza. At the end, patrons can linger for a quick freeze at North Coast Cryo and a party at Moxie. Proceeds will go to the Cleveland Browns Foundation.

    The 15th anniversary and expansion of Cleveland Yoga may be the catalyst, but it's far from the only or even primary reason for "The Neighborhood Fitness Crawl." In addition to Schneider's success, the participating venues are also celebrating the rise of boutique fitness.

    No longer, in other words, are mainstream gyms and other big-box fitness centers the only game in town. These days, many people are taking the studio route instead, picking and choosing where they want to go and what they want to do each and every day.

    "Boutique fitness is so big right now," Schneider said. "People want to do a lot of different things."

    Neighborhood Fitness Crawl

    When: 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.

    Where: 3355 Richmond Road, Beachwood.

    Tickets: $15. Go to eventbrite.com or call 216-704-4550.


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    Crowley is a three-star prospect and the No. 35 running back in the country.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State's running back plan for the 2019 recruiting class changed earlier this week when Sampson James decided to flip from the Buckeyes to Indiana.

    So OSU needs new targets as it tries to find someone to pair with Steele Chambers in a two-back class. Four-star prospects Noah Cain and Deondrick Glass were the names that jumped out immediately when James decommitted. Here's another: Marcus Crowley.

    Crowley, a three-star prospect from Jacksonville, Florida who's committed to Miami, announced an offer from the Buckeyes on Thursday.

    Crowley, the No. 35 running back in the country, is from Trinity Christian Academy, the same school that produced current Ohio State defensive backs Shaun Wade and Tyreke Johnson.

    He's been committed to Miami since December 2017. Through seven games this season, Crowley has rushed for 1,164 yards (10.2 average) and 14 touchdowns.

    Major Minnesota visitor

    Ohio State will host five-star Class of 2020 defensive back Kelee Ringo for Saturday's game against Minnesota. Ringo is the No. 2 corner in the country, and the No. 11 overall player in the 247Sports composite ratings.

    Ringo is from Scottsdale, Arizona -- home of two members of OSU's 2020 class, quarterback Jack Miller and running back Darvon Hubbard. Though Ringo attends a different high school than Miller and Hubbard.

    The 6-foot-2 prospect holds offers from Alabama, Washington, USC, Oregon and others.

    The Buckeyes have one defensive back commit so far in their 2020 recruiting class, four-star prospect Lejond Cavazos.

    Another receiver boom coming?

    Ohio State hosted four-star all-purpose back Wandale Robinson for an official visit last week against Indiana, and now Robinson is ready for an announcement. Robinson will be making his decision on Nov. 1.

    The Buckeyes are the favorite to land Robinson in the 247Sports crystal ball predictions. They're recruiting him as a receiver, and he projects as an H-back at Ohio State. If he commits, he'd be the third receiver commitment in the 2019 class along with five-star prospect Garrett Wilson and four-star prospect Jameson Williams.

    Robinson, from Frankfort, Kentucky, is the No. 4 all-purpose back in the country.


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    Doug Lesmerises and Bill Landis get wild for the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers on Saturday. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Minnesota Golden Gophers have beaten the Ohio State Buckeyes once in their last 27 tries, a 29-17 win in 2000. 

    So a truly Outrageous Prediction for Minnesota's visit to Ohio State at noon Saturday would be to a predict victory for the Gophers, who are more than four-touchdown underdogs.

    You'll have to wait for Friday's game picks for that, though don't hold your breath on an upset selection.

    What outrageous things do Bill Landis and I think might happen at Ohio Stadium this week? Check out the video above for that forecast.

    Do it knowing that Minnesota opened the season 3-0 with wins over New Mexico State, Fresno State and Miami (Ohio). Then came a 42-13 loss at Maryland and a 48-31 home loss to Iowa. 

    Head coach P.J. Fleck is 8-9 with the Gophers after a 5-7 debut a year ago.

    Don't forget to subscribe to our Ohio State channel from cleveland.com on YouTube so you don't miss any of our videos breaking down the Buckeyes and talking to the OSU players and coaches.


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    See what time and channel you can find Ohio State's game vs. Minnesota.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State football continues Big Ten play on Saturday against Minnesota. The TV, streaming and radio info for the game is below.

    Who: Minnesota (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) at No. 3 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0).

    Time: Noon.

    Where: Ohio Stadium.

    TV: FS1.

    Announcers: Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt and Jenny Taft.

    Radio: Ohio State's state-wide radio affiliates can be found here.

    Live stream: Fox Sports Go (TV provider sign-in required), fuboTV (free trial).

    FuboTV is a paid affiliate of Advance Local Media LLC. Advance Local Media LLC may receive compensation if you access the FuboTV service through the link above.


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    The legend of the Rally Possum began at the Jets game Sept. 20 when an opossum was found scurrying in the stands before being corralled by a fan.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Will the Browns Rally Possum strike thrice this Sunday?

    After making appearances at both of the Browns' victories this season at FirstEnergy Stadium, the lucky marsupial will be at this weekend's game against the Chargers if not in the flesh, at least in spirit.

    That's because the pro shop at the stadium is already selling possum plush toys for, gulp, $25 a pop. It's important to point out the item doesn't include the Browns bandana seen in a since-deleted tweet and the stuffed toy, made by Wild Republic, is that of a generic possum, not one specifically created for the team. In fact, you can also find it on Wild Republic's site for a more reasonable price of $16.99, though it is currently out of stock. May I interest you in a lovable harp seal instead?

    If schlepping a stuffed animal around the Dawg Pound isn't your bag, there are also plenty of unofficial Rally Possum T-shirts for sale all over the Internet.

    The legend of the Rally Possum began during the Jets game Sept. 20 when an opossum was found scurrying in the stands, terrifying fans before being caught by the tail by a brave soul. Thanks to the possum's good juju and quite possibly Baker Mayfield, the Browns won the game -- their first in 635 days -- and, afterwards, the team paid it forward by humanely releasing the critter outside of the stadium.

    Then, prior to the game against the Ravens on Oct. 7, another opossum was spotted creeping and crawling outside the gates of FirstEnergy presumably looking for a way inside. No word if it was same animal, but the result was the same. The Browns beat the Ravens for their second victory of the season, thus proving with their new mascot, anything is possum-ible.

    Bring on the Chargers.


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    Lue said there is no specific target date for when he would like Sexton, the eighth-overall pick, to become the full-time starter. Lue wants to "see how it goes." Watch video

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has settled on George Hill as his starting point guard to open the season, opting to bring prized rookie Collin Sexton off the bench.

    "I think Collin has done a great job and I want him to understand the game, understand running our offense and understand picking and choosing his spots and G Hill is a great veteran to learn from," Lue said following Thursday's practice. "Watching him and talking to Collin every day and just teaching him is good for him.

    "His day is going to come. His chance is going to come. His opportunity is going to come. Just learning the game and not putting so much pressure on him to start right away I think is good for him -- even though he's probably ready. From my mindset, I just want to make sure we ease him into it and he's comfortable and he's going to have his chance."

    Lue said there is no specific target date for when he would like Sexton, the eighth-overall pick, to become the full-time starter. Lue wants to "see how it goes."

    Like the players, Lue has been incredibly impressed with the growth Sexton has shown in such a short time. Seeing Sexton work on a daily basis gives Lue plenty of belief that Sexton will excel in any role, alongside any combination of teammates.

    "The biggest thing is he's very smart. He picks things up quick," Lue said. "He knows when he makes a mistake and that's good. When you make a mistake and you're like, 'Oh I made a mistake,' you know that and he's catching himself. Biggest thing is being smart and having the work ethic that he does. I mean, that's a big advantage."

    All signs were pointing to this. The Cavs haven't been rotating teams very much during training camp. Lue has wanted his groups -- starters and reserves -- to build chemistry ahead of the regular season opener in Toronto on Oct. 17.

    While Sexton started back-to-back preseason games against Boston and Indiana, a bulk of his practice time has come with the bench group, running alongside Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Korver and Sam Dekker in a fast-paced unit that features constant movement. Sexton smiled when talking about playing with Clarkson in a speedy backcourt together and the possibilities it creates. 

    Clarkson, who was second in the NBA in bench scoring last season, should lift some of the rookie's offensive burden, keeping him from being the primary playmaker. It will also allow Sexton to evolve his off-ball game. Maximizing his time with Korver should help open the paint for Sexton to attack off the dribble while also helping his evolution as a passer -- an area where the teenager still needs to improve.

    "I think just because he's a natural scorer, being aggressive, getting to the basket and getting to the free throw line, but just talking to him, picking and choosing his spots when Korver, JR (Smith) and those guys are running and being able to see those guys," Lue said. "They are specialists and they can knock down shots. He's done a good job controlling the team, controlling the game and picking and choosing his spots. He's only going to get better."

    For Sexton, it doesn't matter if he's starting or coming off the bench. Being around Hill has helped and he will continue to soak up all information.

    "I know I can go to him about pretty much anything and I know he's going to have my back and have the best interest for me," Sexton told cleveland.com about the relationship. "It's good to have that veteran, older guy to lean on, especially so young so I can lean on him and he helps me out. That's pretty cool."

    Last season, Utah began with rookie Donovan Mitchell in the starting lineup for three of the first four games. After struggling early, they moved him to the bench for the next seven games before he forced his way into the starting lineup once again and never looked back.

    Mitchell went on to become Utah's leading scorer and Rookie of the Year runner-up to Philadelphia's Ben Simmons while guiding the Jazz into the playoffs.

    In a few weeks (or days), Lue may have a change of heart. He may feel Sexton is ready for more responsibility. But Hill, who Lue has repeatedly praised, allows the Cavaliers to take this slower approach.

    Sexton feels he's better for it. 

    "Becoming more of a leader and being more calm," Sexton said when asked how he has changed since the start of camp. "When I was out there, at first you get a little jittery because it's your first time experiencing it. Now I've calmed down a little bit."


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    Notre Dame, Clemson, Georgia, West Virginia among others remain viable at mid-season as possible 2018 College Football Playoff teams. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The first official College Football Playoff standings will not be known until Tuesday, Oct. 30, when the CFP selection committee gives its first of six straight weeks of projections. That will end Sunday, Dec. 2 when the top four teams are selected.

    Now, at the midway point in the season, should AP No. 1 Alabama (6-0) and No. 3 Ohio State (6-0) win out, as generally and statistically expected, those two teams seem most assured of making the cut. Even a one-loss Alabama seems pretty solid.

    Generally speaking, at this point, Notre Dame (6-0) and Clemson (6-0) also seem to be tracking for the final two spots as well.

    Yet with half the season still to go, nothing is assured. And there are at least few potential wrenches that could make what looks to be a small pool of contenders into a much larger one.

    The first obvious wrench would be a loss by any of the lead contenders. That would open the door for a team like Georgia (6-0) should the Bulldogs also remain undefeated, to not only get into the mix but give the SEC two teams ('Bama) in the playoffs.

    That would then leave all other power conference champions, particularly the Big 10, Big 12 and ACC along with independent Notre Dame, fighting for the final two spots.

    As of now, Clemson/ACC might appear to be the weakest of the bunch based on various power rankings, which are close but not completely in step with the weekly AP Top 25 Poll.

    But the Tigers are also statistically considered the most likely team to finish the season undefeated. OSU is another most likely to end the season undefeated, but may need Michigan (5-1) not to falter again before their season-ending matchup to bolster the Buckeyes overall strength of schedule.

    Another potential monkey wrench is West Virginia-North Carolina State. These two teams are both currently undefeated, rising up the ranks fast, and have at least one deal-breaking or deal-making game on the horizon.

    Should NC State (5-0) upset Clemson, Saturday, the Wolfpack would be first in line between the two for the ACC title and a playoff spot ahead of the Tigers.

    West Virginia (5-0) has a more daunting yet compelling Big 12 task ahead with games still to play against Texas (5-1), Oklahoma State (4-2) and Oklahoma (4-1) the last four weeks of the season. Even one loss in that bunch might not hurt the Mountaineers.

    If so, then the cancelled Sept. 15th game between WVU and NC State could loom large for both the Mountaineers and the Wolfpack's playoff chances.

    Clearly there is a lot more football to be played and questions to be answered before any team short of Alabama can feel comfortable about making the four-team College Football Playoffs.

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    Former Ohio State fullback Tyrone Harrison was killed on Saturday at the age of 49.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Former Ohio State fullback Tyrone Harrison was killed on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J., at the age of 49.

    Harrison, who was the vice principal at New Brunswick High School, was struck by a car that was involved in a drag race, according to Suzanne Russell of the Bridgewater Courier News.

    Russell added that authorities are seeking more information about the driver of the vehicle.

    Harrison was a letterwinner at Ohio State in 1989 and 1990. In his career, he had 24 carries for 92 yards, and had a reception for 10 yards.


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    The Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) play at the New England Patriots (3-2) on Thursday night.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The season is still early but the records of the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) and New York Giants (1-4) are a bit surprising.

    Sure, the Giants struggled last season, but the draft that brought in Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and the signing of Odell Beckham to a long-term contract was a recipe for a better season, at least to a better start.

    But the Giants continue to struggle.

    The Eagles, the defending Super Bowl Champions, were looked upon to make another title run. It's still possible, but the Eagles have had their ups and downs. That could change with a victory over the Giants Thursday night shown on the NFL Network, FOX and on Amazon.

    Now that Jay Ajayi is out for the season, there's talk that the Eagles will seek Philadelphia native LeSean McCoy in a trade with the Buffalo Bills.

    Sunday's games include several divisional battles. The Cincinnati Bengals, who sit on top of the AFC North, host the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have won six straight over the Bengals, and that doesn't include Steelers' playoff wins over the Bengals in 2005 and 2015.

    Sunday night's game on NBC between the Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) and New England Patriots (3-2) pits the best young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes against Tom Brady.

    NFL schedule

     

    Thursday

    Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants, 8:20 p.m., FOX/NFLNetwork/Amazon

    Sunday

    Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 1 p.m., CBS
    Carolina at Washington, 1 p.m., FOX
    Seattle at Oakland (London), 1 p.m., FOX
    Tampa at Atlanta, 1 p.m., FOX
    Indianapolis at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
    Arizona at Minnesota, 1 p.m., FOX
    L.A. Chargers at Cleveland, 1 p.m., CBS
    Buffalo at Houston, 1 p.m., CBS
    Chicago at Miami, 1 p.m., FOX
    L.A. Rams at Denver, 4:05 p.m., FOX
    Baltimore at Tennessee, 4:25 p.m., CBS
    Jacksonville at Dallas, 4:25 p.m., CBS
    Kansas City at New England, 8:20 p.m., NBC

    Monday

    San Francisco at Green Bay, 8:15 p.m., ESPN


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    Snoop Dogg -- yes, that Snoop Dogg -- has been critical of Todd Haley in the past.

    BEREA, Ohio -- Todd Haley probably never planned to get caught up in any rap wars, but when you're the offensive coordinator for a team Snoop Dogg roots for -- the Steelers -- well, things are bound to get dicey.

    The rapper was in Cleveland on Wednesday and stopped by the Browns' facility. That included meeting Haley.

    "I got to make sure that he and I were all good," Haley joked. "We had a couple of rough years there."

    Did they ever.

    Snoop took to Instagram in August of 2014 and expressed his displeasure in Haley's playcalling. Deadspin transcribed the rant: 

    "This guy sucks. Coach Tomlin, this is Snoop Dog, man. Fire that mutherf****r and get us a real offensive coordinator. We ain't won a playoff game since we had this motherf****r, man. S**t."

    You can listen below, but proceed with caution without headphones or around kids:

    "My kids keep me informed on Snoop Dogg," Haley told Albert Breer in October of that year for NFL.com. "They said he has 11 million followers. So I'll follow the old Jerry Jones rule: All publicity is good publicity."

    That wasn't the last time Snoop went after Haley. He wasn't thrilled with some of his playcalls in the Steelers' playoff loss to Jacksonville last season.

    Again...same warning as the one above:

    Now that Snoop has visited Berea, though, it's all water under the bridge.

    "Him being out there and saying that he is a part of the Dawg Pound, we are good now," Haley said. "I can go back to listening to West Coast rap."


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    Instead of signing a wide receiver, they are focusing on their young guys. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns take on the Chargers on Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium. In lieu of signing a veteran receiver this week, they will go into Sunday's game relying on their young wide receivers to step up behind Jarvis Landry.

    Landry has lofty career aspirations -- Mary Kay Cabot and I talked about that in the video above. Then we talked about the group of young wideouts who could step up this week. We also talked about the possibility of using Duke Johnson to help boost a thinning group.


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