Fellow Tipp man Tommy O’Donnell – who has been released from the Ireland camp – is among the replacements.Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has made of eleven changes from the side which faced Racing 92 in the Champions Cup almost two weeks ago.
How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire “Last year, I felt I had to catch everything a tick more out front and if I was late I was underneath it. Then that forced me to have to cheat a lot of times to hit fastballs.”There were times last year, Taylor said, when he “felt like I had a hole in my bat.” He was focused so much on mechanics – such as “what my hands were doing and a lot of these other things” – that he got away from basics, losing his posture at the plate, leading to that swing path being off.“I thought the biggest difference was in ’17 mechanically I felt great,” Taylor said. “So I could just go in there and play and play free. Last year, every couple of days I was trying to find something or change something. It makes it a lot tougher.”OPENING DAYDodgers manager Dave Roberts admitted again Friday that it is “unlikely” Clayton Kershaw will be ready to start on Opening Day, extending his franchise record for consecutive season-opening starts.But Roberts is still not ready to completely eliminate the possibility.“It’s unlikely. That’s fair,” Roberts said. “But to be definitive – I don’t want to close the door. But when you look at the calendar, it’s unlikely.”Kershaw is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Monday but has not faced hitters this spring – not in live batting practice or in a game. But Roberts is still holding open the possibility that Kershaw and Walker Buehler (scheduled to make his first spring start Monday or Tuesday) could open the season in the rotation and make a “non-traditional start” at some point in the first five games, going three or four innings and then handing off to a starter-turned-reliever like Ross Stripling or Julio Urias.Related Articles “With Clayton, anything’s possible, absolutely,” Roberts acknowledged.“That’s why I just don’t think it’s responsible for me to just close the door and say he’s not (going to start the first time through the rotation) because that’s just not the truth. … Whatever capacity and how you structure the ’pen would have to reflect that. But we’re just not ready to close the door yet.”SEAGER STEPSCorey Seager is scheduled to play five innings at shortstop in a minor-league game Saturday, his second time playing defense in a game this spring. Roberts said Seager will probably take a day off and then play seven innings as part of his progression towards being cleared to play in major-league games.Roberts said it is “very unlikely” Seager’s first game against major-leaguers would be on Opening Day but he is not concerned about when or if Seager gets into an ‘A’ game during the spring.“Do I feel it’s necessary? No,” Roberts said. “Is it ideal? Yes.” Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season GLENDALE, Ariz. — Chris Taylor and his swing mechanics have a turbulent relationship.They were very good together in 2017. Taylor committed to significant swing changes that propelled him from the classic “4-A” player to a breakout season in the major leagues featuring 21 home runs, an .850 OPS and co-MVP status in the National League Championship Series.The relationship got rocky last year. Taylor struggled to replicate that swing on a nightly basis. His numbers dropped off – he lost 34 points in batting average (down to .254) and 75 points in OPS and led the National League in strikeouts (178).“I think CT just got into a little bit of a mechanical rut that he had a hard time getting out of,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “But it really speaks to CT’s compete in terms of the year he had. If you looked back at the end of the year, CT had a really good year. There were just parts of the year where it didn’t feel like it. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “We feel having Robert (Van Scoyoc, the Dodgers’ new hitting coach) back working with him, having someone who knows his swing that well and being able to be on top of it will be a helpful thing.”Taylor has credited his work with Van Scoyoc before the 2017 season for changing the arc of his career. “Having his eyes on me all year” will be beneficial, Taylor agrees. But it has still been a frustrating spring trying to find that same comfort level with his swing, Taylor said.“I felt good the first week (of spring training) and then I think I just tried to make too many changes at once,” Taylor said. “I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind.”That was pretty much how Taylor spent last season.“I thought it was a disappointing year, honestly,” he said. “I just felt mechanically I wasn’t in a great spot last year. The bat path was the biggest thing. In ’17, I thought I got on plane a little earlier and there was more room for error. A little flatter through the zone. I thought I was able to catch balls deeper so if my timing wasn’t perfect I was still able to shoot them the other way and still get hits.
We’re just days away from the final major of the year, and several players have an opportunity to add the Claret Jug to their storybook careers this weekend during the British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.Brooks Koepka (10/1 odds), the world’s top-ranked golfer and a majors machine, can add a new feather to his cap and claim his first British Open title. British Open 2019: Tiger Woods lauds Brooks Koepka despite apparent Portrush snub Full throttle @TigerWoods 🐅 #TheOpen pic.twitter.com/oTEygo6HdU— The Open (@TheOpen) July 15, 2019And if you’re the gambling type, there are wagers to be made that can make an immensely intriguing weekend even more exciting.For those of you with a few bucks to spare on the tournament, we’ve enlisted the help of Justin Ray, Head of Content for the golf analytics company 15th Club, to help us better understand Royal Portrush as a golf course and the British Open as a unique major championship.Which metric means the most when forecasting success at Royal Portrush?Royal Portrush Golf Club, located on the northern-most coast of Northern Island, will provide viewers spectacular views, but it hasn’t offered bettors, or even golfers, much of a look at its links setup in recent years.The course hosted the Irish Open in 2012 but has undergone significant changes since with a handful of added bunkers and entirely new seventh and eighth holes, among other major alterations.5th Hole – White Rocks 🌊Perfect Portrush at its best👌 #TheOpen pic.twitter.com/3V8xufEHjL— The Open (@TheOpen) July 14, 2019However, in comparing Royal Portrush to other courses on the European Tour, Ray believes this par-71 beast provides some serious challenges.“Portrush should play as more penalizing than normal when players miss fairways and greens,” Ray told Omnisport. “And while not every links course plays exactly the same, typically the same themes arise — scrambling ability is critical, and avoiding bogeys is more important than racking up birdies.”The top of the PGA Tour leaderboard in scrambling isn’t exactly a “who’s who” of the game, but the name at the top — Patrick Cantlay (25/1) — has flirted with elite status this season and claimed into the top 10 of the World Golf Rankings in June with a win at The Memorial.Other marquee names in the top 20 in scrambling include Webb Simpson (100/1), Matt Kuchar (30/1), Tommy Fleetwood (25/1), Francesco Molinari (20/1), Marc Leishman (60/1) and Justin Rose (20/1).Notable scramblersPlayerScrambling %PGA Tour rankPatrick Cantlay67.331stWebb Simpson67.072ndMatt Kuchar65.008thTommy Fleetwood64.7510thFrancesco Molinari64.6612thJustin Rose63.9418thWhich metric means the least when forecasting success on this course?While one can certainly lose this golf tournament on the greens, it likely won’t be won with a putter, according to Ray.“Links golf tends to be less of a putting contest than normal,” he said. “Statistics like putts per green in regulation and strokes gained putting typically hold a little less weight on this type of golf course. Some of the best players on links-style courses over the last decade include Henrik Stenson (30/1), Jon Rahm (16/1) and Adam Scott (30/1) – players whose ball-striking is typically stronger than their putting acumen.”Among the golfers Ray mentioned, Rahm has gotten the most attention leading up to this tournament after finishing in the top three in his last three starts. He certainly fits the bill as a player who plays well off the tee and to the green, but doesn’t necessarily fare as well once he makes it to the short grass.Jon Rahm’s PGA Tour ranksStrokes gained2019 rank2018 rankOff-the-tee4th2ndTee-to-green15th20thAround the green62nd52ndPutting53rd147thWhich of the biggest names has a game best suited for Royal Portrush?When it comes to majors, the discussion should always begin (and usually ends) with Koepka. His cumulative score of 64 under par in majors over the last three years is 35 shots better than any other player.Two wins and two runner-ups in the last four majors 😲Is @BKoepka the man to beat at Royal Portrush? #TheOpen pic.twitter.com/O6FH5ZViAc— The Open (@TheOpen) July 16, 2019But according to Ray, Koepka’s game isn’t immune to adverse weather conditions.“The ultimate question regarding Koepka, and any other power player, is whether or not the wind will give Portrush what it needs to defend itself this week,” Ray said. “The extremely low scores we saw at the Scottish Open were largely because of docile weather conditions. More of that, and we’ll likely see players who can overpower par 4s and 5s turn The Open into a birdie-fest.”However, one number to keep in mind won’t be found on any stat sheet or scorecard, but on a birth certificate.“One thing that has been valuable in The Open in recent years compared to the other major championships is experience,” Ray pointed out. “Since 2011, the average winner at The Open is 36.1 years old, nearly five years older than the winner of any other major in that span. Four winners have been 40 or older during that stretch – the other three majors combined have had only one winner age 40 or older.”Age of British Open winnersYearPlayerAge2018Franceso Molinari352017Jordan Spieth232016Henrik Stenson402015Zach Johnson392014Rory McIlroy252013Phil Mickelson432012Ernie Else422011Darren Clarke43Are there any quirky factors to keep in mind before the boys take the course?Koepka caught a small of amount of flak ahead of the PGA Championship when he said majors were the “easiest to win” because there are only “maybe 35” players he has to worry about beating on a given major weekend.Well, he’s not entirely wrong.The last 31 majors have been won by players ranked in the top 50 in the world, but Ray said “this championship has a wide-open feel to it, largely because of the collective unknown of the golf course.”“That trait can be exacerbated if we see some wind and rain,” Ray added. “Regardless, this should be one of the most exciting atmospheres for an Open in some time.”Another trend that could be bucked this weekend is the 37-year drought for an American Grand Slam as a U.S.-born player has won the first three majors of the year (Woods, Koepka and Gary Woodland).The last time the United States held all four majors was 1982 when Craig Stadler won the Masters, Raymond Floyd won the PGA Championship and Tom Watson won the U.S. Open and British Open.Who’s someone we’re not talking about who could surprise us and be near the top of the leaderboard Sunday?If there’s one thing we know from our preparation for this tournament, it’s that we don’t know much.The course and conditions are complete wild cards, which means we’re destined for a wild-card contender.“One European Tour veteran who I like this week is Rafa Cabrera Bello,” Ray said. “He’s coming off three consecutive top-10 finishes and has had success on links courses in the past, including a win at the Scottish Open a couple of years ago. He finished tied for fourth two years ago at Royal Birkdale, too.”Cabrera Bello, 35, has longshot odds at 80/1, so a $10 flyer on the Spaniard to win would net a cool $800.Ray also tabbed 41-year-old Kuchar as a potential play in the third tier of favorites at 30/1 odds. Rory McIlroy (8/1) can win his sixth major championship on a course where he shot a course-record 61 at the age of 16.And, of course, Tiger Woods (18/1) can continue one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of sports with a fourth win at this tournament. Related News British Open 2019 tee times: Tiger Woods paired with Patrick Reed among marquee groups “Kuchar is arguably having the best season of his career, and has finished in the top 10 each of the last two years at The Open,” Ray said. “Both players (Kuchar and Cabrera Bello) would fit the ‘experience-pays’ model and I think are good bets to at least finish in the top 10.”Full 2019 British Open oddsPlayerOddsRory McILROY8/1Brooks KOEPKA10/1Dustin JOHNSON10/1Jon RAHM16/1Tiger WOODS18/1Justin ROSE20/1Francesco MOLINARI20/1Xander SCHAUFFELE20/1Rickie FOWLER25/1Patrick CANTLAY25/1Tommy FLEETWOOD25/1Justin THOMAS25/1Adam SCOTT30/1Louis OOSTHUIZEN30/1Henrik STENSON30/1Matt KUCHAR30/1Bryson DeCHAMBEAU40/1Jordan SPIETH40/1Jason DAY40/1Hideki MATSUYAMA40/1Paul CASEY50/1Graeme McDOWELL50/1Matt WALLACE50/1Gary WOODLAND60/1Marc LEISHMAN60/1Tony FINAU80/1Sergio GARCIA80/1Shane LOWRY80/1Ian POULTER80/1Patrick REED80/1Matthew FITZPATRICK80/1Rafael CABRERA BELLO80/1Bernd WIESBERGER80/1Phil MICKELSON100/1Tyrrell HATTON100/1Webb SIMPSON100/1Eddie PEPPERELL100/1Danny WILLETT125/1Kevin KISNER125/1Erik VAN ROOYEN125/1Chez REAVIE150/1Adam HADWIN150/1Zach JOHNSON150/1Brandt SNEDEKER150/1Haotong LI150/1Lee WESTWOOD150/1Alex NOREN150/1Thorbjorn OLESEN150/1Sungjae IM150/1Christiaan BEZUIDENHOUT200/1Joaquin NIEMANN200/1Andy SULLIVAN200/1Abraham ANCER200/1Bubba WATSON200/1Branden GRACE200/1Thomas PIETERS200/1Keegan BRADLEY200/1Cameron SMITH200/1Russell KNOX200/1Byeong Hun AN200/1Emiliano GRILLO200/1Lucas BJERREGAARD250/1Jim FURYK250/1Charley HOFFMAN250/1Aaron WISE250/1Billy HORSCHEL250/1Padraig HARRINGTON250/1Charles HOWELL III250/1Lucas GLOVER250/1Rory SABBATINI250/1Ryan PALMER300/1Jason KOKRAK300/1Tom LEWIS300/1Kevin STREELMAN300/1Benjamin HEBERT300/1Andrew JOHNSTON300/1Mike LORENZO-VERA300/1Nate LASHLEY300/1Andrea PAVAN300/1Dylan FRITTELLI300/1Luke LIST300/1Si Woo KIM300/1Jimmy WALKER300/1C.T. PAN300/1Kyle STANLEY300/1J.B. HOLMES300/1Jorge CAMPILLO300/1Andrew PUTNAM300/1Jazz JANEWATTANANOND300/1Romain LANGASQUE300/1Joost LUITEN300/1Justin HARDING500/1Keith MITCHELL500/1Ryan FOX500/1Kiradech APHIBARNRAT500/1Sung KANG500/1Shubhankar SHARMA500/1Adrian OTAEGUI500/1Chris WOOD500/1Ernie ELS500/1Alexander BJORK500/1Alexander LEVY500/1Shugo IMAHIRA500/1Stewart CINK500/1Miguel Angel JIMENEZ500/1Brandon STONE500/1Zander LOMBARD500/1Oliver WILSON500/1Corey CONNERS500/1Joel DAHMEN500/1Adri ARNAUS500/1Doc REDMAN500/1Nino BERTASIO500/1Mikko KORHONEN500/1Callum SHINKWIN500/1Robert ROCK500/1Paul WARING500/1David LIPSKY500/1Kurt KITAYAMA500/1Robert MACINTYRE500/1Richard STERNE500/1Patton KIZZIRE1000/1Dimitrios PAPADATOS1000/1Yuta IKEDA1000/1Shaun NORRIS1000/1Sang-Hyun PARK1000/1Takumi KANAYA1000/1Prom MEESAWAT1000/1Chan KIM1000/1Tom LEHMAN1000/1Darren CLARKE1000/1Austin CONNELLY1000/1Brandon WU1000/1Connor SYME1000/1Jake McLEOD2000/1Yoshinori FUJIMOTO2000/1Yuki INAMORI2000/1Yosuke ASAJI2000/1Isidro BENITEZ3000/1Paul LAWRIE2000/1Doyeob MUN2000/1Gunn CHAROENKUL2000/1James SUGRUE2000/1Innchoon HWANG2000/1Dongkyu JANG2000/1Sam LOCKE2000/1Mikumu HORIKAWA2000/1Matthias SCHMID2000/1Garrick PORTEOUS2000/1Jack SENIOR2000/1Matthew BALDWIN2000/1Curtis KNIPES3000/1Andrew WILSON3000/1Thomas THURLOWAY3000/1Ashton TURNER3000/1David DUVAL3000/1Odds via VegasInsider.com. Odds updated July 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET.15th Club describes itself as a “passionate team of golf professionals, data experts and software engineers” that provides comprehensive data for professional golfers, brands and media outlets. Follow Justin Ray on Twitter here.
Ivorian Bangaly Soumahoro, one of five starters who helped beat Zamalek of Egypt in the 2016 final, nodded Sundowns into the lead after two minutes.Brazilian Ricardo Nascimento doubled the lead on six minutes from a penalty awarded when Thapelo Morena was pushed in the back.Ugandan international Geoffrey Sserunkuma, who has played top-flight football in South Africa, struck on 69 minutes by sidefooting a cross into the net.The other 15 first legs are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.RELATED STORY: KCCA vs Sundowns LIVEShare on: WhatsApp Sundowns won but will have to fight against a resilient KCCA in next week’s second leg to make it.Pretoria, South Africa | AFP | Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa failed to build on a great start to their CAF Champions League title defence and won only 2-1 at home to KCCA of Uganda Friday.The defending African champions were two goals ahead within six minutes of the last-32 first leg match at Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Stadium in Pretoria.But the visitors gradually became composed and more adventurous and halved the deficit midway through the second half.The away goal means a 1-0 victory for KCCA in Kampala next weekend would see a Ugandan club reach the group stage of the Champions League for the first time.“We let ourselves down by not playing very well,” admitted Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. “Now we must go to Uganda and fight for survival.”KCCA coach Mike Mutebi said: “Scoring an away goal will boost our confidence, but a big battle lies ahead in the return match as Sundowns are a very good side.”