Matz, 3 relievers help Mets beat Miami with 4-hitter, 5-2

Standing in foul territory, Steven Matz stared at the ball he had just mishandled and started to give it an angry kick, then changed his mind and instead just picked it up.

Matz and the New York Mets keep their cool Sunday, barely, overcoming three errors and escaping the NL East cellar after a one-day stay by beating the Miami Marlins 5-2.

The Mets, who endured their worst June ever, won for only the second time in the past 12 games to reach the season’s halfway point at 33-48.

We’re all disappointed with where we’re at, Matz said. We had higher expectations. We’re just going to keep pushing.

Matz (4-5) did that in the series finale, when he pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed only an unearned run. It scored on his error, and he worked around misplays by two teammates — an encouraging sign from a pitcher still learning not to let setbacks snowball.

If I had taken my time I would have had him, but I rushed it, Matz said.

Callaway talked before the game about how the Mets needed to play better defense, but they didn’t. Second baseman Cabrera and third baseman Frazier misplayed grounders for errors.

Ohtani has been cleared to hit and will resume batting practice immediately, general manager Billy Eppler said June 28. Eppler said Ohtani had an MRI that noted improvement in his ulnar collateral ligament and said he expected to continue to see progress. The GM declined to address whether Ohtani would pitch again this season, saying the 23-year-old will see doctors again in three weeks and the Angels will give a further update at that point.

For more on what Ohtani’s injury could involve, and potential courses of action the Angels may have to take, you can read Stephania Bell’s analysis of the possibilities and the risks.

On the mound — Ohtani’s start against the Royals on June 6 was cut short after four innings because of a blister on his pitching hand. It was the second time this season Ohtani left a game due to a blister on his right middle finger. Last time, he did not miss a turn. Ohtani gave up one run on four hits and three walks, striking out four.

At the plate — Ohtani had a pinch-hit single in his lone at-bat against the Royals on June 4. His season line stands at .289/.372/.535.

Yankees’ Brett Gardner proving to haters he’s not finished

Mets lefty Jacob deGrom doubled over like he was going to puke.

He probably didn’t look too different than all those who were calling for Brett Gardner to lose his job earlier this year.

Gardner was the difference in the Yankees ‘ 4-1 win over the Mets at Citi Field on Friday night, his two-run shot breaking a 1-all tie in the eighth inning.

It came off deGrom, who otherwise looked like the ace he’s been over eight innings. deGrom left an 87-mph changeup over the middle of the plate and Gardner hammered it. When he crossed second base, he let out a big, Woo!

It’s fun to watch. That guy’s had some big homers for us, some big hits, said Giancarlo Stanton, who followed with his own home run, a solo shot, in the ninth inning that created the final score.

Gardner is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, making $11 million this season. He has a $12.5-million team option and a $2 million buyout for 2019.

Obviously he means so much to our team, the heartbeat, what he brings every day, manager Aaron Boone said. Game-plan-wise today, he was really on it and came up today in a big spot there and snuck one out of there. Just really quality at-bats all the time and for the better part of a month now, the results have followed those quality at-bats. He’s a savage up there at the top.

Aaron Hicks (B), 44 percent, New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays (Bullpen game): Not only does Hicks contribute to that, but as a switch-hitter, he’ll enjoy the platoon edge on all the Rays’ arms.

Kole Calhoun (L), 6 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Marco Estrada): It was only his second homer of the season, but Calhoun has to start somewhere, as he’s a much better hitter than what he displayed the first 2 1/2 months of the season. He’s 3-for-7 with said homer since coming off the disabled list. Estrada has pitched better lately, though for the season, he’s administered 14 homers in 77 1/3 innings.

Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher’s history (three years’ worth) as well as ballpark factors. LH and RH ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.

Yankees crush Mariners behind Domingo German, homers

The Yankees pulverized four balls well over the wall, a welcomed sign for an offense that had fallen on hard times by its own lofty standards.

More importantly, they got yet another strong showing from a starting pitcher they figured would spend most of the season in the minors.

Domingo German’s push to stay in the Yankees’ rotation long-term got another boost in a 7-2 win over the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.

Greene is a microcosm of the entire Jaguars team. The franchise is still growing, and its potential is vast. The team has some issues, of course, like every team, but it also is continuing to grow. Like Greene.

I feel like it’s time for me to take it to another level, Greene told me recently. I want to show Jaguars fans what I can really do, and I think I can do so much more.

The Jaguars lost to the Patriots in last year’s conference title game but had a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. There’s no reason to think this team can’t make a Super Bowl run this coming season. I asked Greene if that was a fair thing to say.

I believe that’s fair, yes, he said. We have to keep working and getting better and we will. I feel like we have everything we need to make it. We have a lights-out defense and an offense that can run the ball well and pass it well. I’ve seen Blake [Bortles] improve so much this offseason. His decisions are cleaner and he’s got the support of the entire team.

Carol Cullen, a long-time secretary for the Eagles, was stunned to find out that she was also receiving a ring from the club, despite having been fired several years before by ex-coach Chip Kelly.

Details regarding the unveiling of the 2018 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be available in the coming weeks. The AL All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 23 for the NL and 22 for the AL – will be determined through a combination of Player Ballot choices and selections made by the Commissioner’s Office. The AL squad will be managed by AJ Hinch of the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros, while the NL team will be led by Dave Roberts of the defending NL Champion Dodgers.

Located on a densely wooded four-and-a-half acres, the modest, 2,793-square-foot home is a private oasis, according to the listing.

The home, which has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, has an open floor plan highlighted by a foyer that leads to a great room with vaulted ceilings and access to the back deck.

Luke Kuechly expecting to be ready to go for training camp

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuchely has not yet been allowed to take part in full team activities as he recovers from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

While having to watch from the sidelines right now might be frustrating, Kuechly is firm in his belief he will be full speed for the start of training camp next month.

Manning and Beckham stayed late at practice, running routes in the rain as the rest of their teammates left the field.

It is not lost on Darron Lee that the likes of Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas did not have to adapt to a move to inside linebacker as NFL pups.

So there have been growing pains for Lee, and growing pains are always painful to young men in a hurry.

But as his third season with the Jets nears, Lee is all grown up, dedicated to his craft, believing his time has arrived.

I had to be patient with myself coming in, especially learning the gist of it, but now, I knew once I got a grip of everything, now it’s time to let the chains off, Lee told The Post.

Asked what Jets fans should expect from him this season, Lee said: A way, way, way, way better version from the first two years.

In St. Louis, Stan was a hero for everybody, Pujols said, via MLB.com. Getting to St. Louis and getting drafted by the organization, I grew up and learned about the history and what kind of man he was. It was pretty special that the Lord allowed me to spend some time with him before he left this earth. He made a big impact in my life.

Yesterday, when I tied him, I was pretty emotional. I tried not to show it too much because we still had to play a baseball game. And then today to be able to pass him, I don’t have any words to describe it. Everything that I wore pretty much and both of the baseballs are going to go to his family, because I believe that they deserve that.

Pujols still trails Hank Aaron (2,297), Babe Ruth (2,213), Alex Rodriguez (2,086), Barry Bonds (1,996) and Lou Gehrig (1,995), but could rank fourth on the all-time list by the end of the season if his performance stays on pace.

Pujols, 38, is hitting .256/.294/.412 with nine home runs, 36 RBIs and 23 runs scored in 252 plate appearances this season.

My response to that is I’m just happy that we are on the same team and he only gets to hit me maybe once or twice a year, rather than a full game, Barkley said with a grin Wednesday after the Giants wrapped up their second of three minicamp sessions.

Kellen Winslow II arrested for sex crimes

Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II’s legal troubles are getting deeper.

Winslow was arrested by San Diego Sheriff’s Department on Thursday and is facing a long list of sex crime charges. Winslow is being charged with two counts of kidnapping with intent to commit rape, two counts of forcible rape and two counts of residential burglary. He also faces charges of sodomy, forcible oral copulation and indecent exposure.

He is scheduled for arraignment on Friday.

Wilkins, who doesn’t call herself a feminist, said she is pursuing justice for other women who will be part of that legacy one day.

According to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio, the Eagles have parted ways with Dr. Peter DeLuca (their head team physician) and Dr. Gary Dorshimer (team internist). No reason was given for the move, but both doctors had been with the team since the Andy Reid years.

They’ve also named a new head athletic trainer.

The team announced that Titans assistant athletic trainer Jerome Reid has been hired. Reid had been with the Titans the past four seasons.

He replaces longtime athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi, who stepped away earlier this offseason after 19 years with the Eagles.

On a conference call to promote ESPN’s draft coverage, Bobby Marks, a former Nets executive, said too much attention is paid to individual workouts and favoring 18-year-olds over 21-year-olds. Marks’ contention is going with the more proven commodity even if two years older is fine. Bridges, a redshirt junior, was at Villanova for four years.

William Jackson: People will definitely know about me this year

Cornerback William Jackson wasn’t able to get on the field for the Bengals during his rookie season due to a torn pectoral muscle, but the 2016 first-round pick started showing why he was such a high pick by the time the 2017 season came to an end.

The process of the catch proviso failed on two major fronts. For starters, it took one of the fundamental acts of the sport and turned it into a burlesque farce. Members of the viewing audience can’t be convinced that they witnessed a drop when the player possessed the ball and took multiple steps before it was jarred loose. Secondarily, it’s the responsibility of a professional sports league’s competition committee to foster rather than eliminate spectacular athletic maneuvers on the field of play.

There was actually a positive energy on both sides, Taylor said.

That means New Jersey might not have betting in place for the end of the NBA or NHL finals or the Mets-Yankees series this weekend. Then there’s the World Cup, which begins next weekend.

Still, there’s an outside chance Monmouth Park in Oceanport will open its long-planned sports betting operation Friday afternoon.

The Baltimore Ravens will get slightly less preparation for the 2018 NFL season than the rest of the league, and they’ll be forced to pay for it. On Wednesday, the Ravens forfeited two of their OTAs (June 7 and 8) and received a fine for violating the CBA’s offseason workout rules. The violation and resulting penalty was first reported by Jeff Zrebiec. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, owner Steve Bisciotti was fined $100,000 while coach John Harbaugh got stuck with a $50,000 fine.

Whether I was or whether I wasn’t, I’m not there anymore, Taylor said. That’s his decision moving forward. I still feel that I’d done more than enough to stay where I was. But at the end of the day, they made a decision to move forward, and that’s their decision.

Taylor said McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane kept him informed of trade talks before the Bills sent him to the Browns on March 9. He said the phone conversation informing him of the trade wasn’t a bad one.

Columnist thinks coach could lose players for making them (gasp) run

Lions coach Matt Patricia’s short tenure has had some unexpected twists and turns. Now, even before the end of his first offseason program with the team, he’s facing his first locally-generated hot take.

A columnist in Detroit thinks Patricia could be in danger of losing his players, because (wait for it) he makes them run at practice as punishment for mistakes.

The players’ actions were characterized by some and perceived by some as disrespectful to the flag, our country and our military, and what should be a unifying moment for our communities and our country has become in some instances another source of divisiveness.

Surely, the Eagles had to say something. Ultimately, the Eagles opted to say next to nothing.

It’s a continuation of the fear with which the NFL regards the President and his base. For a league that constantly fights and fights and fights and fights anyone and everyone and anything and everything, the NFL has finally found a foe who is capable of making the league run up a tree.

Brown said Monday that it’s not something he’s currently focused on.

My agent is handling that, he said following practice. I trust that everything is going to happen in good time and when it’s supposed to. For now I’m just concerned with this moment, embracing every day that I have here in the offseason. This is the first time that I’ve been able to work with this group of guys in the offseason and I’m really cherishing it and enjoying it. It’s my 11th year I’m going into so I’m not concerned with that. I’m concerned with improving as a player, helping my group up front improve and doing all I can for this team and everything else will work itself out.

Former Devil Devante Smith-Pelly helps put Capitals on verge of Stanley Cup

Devante Smith-Pelly showed what kind of streaky scorer he could be when he first joined the Devils at the end of the 2015-16 season.

He’s on one of those runs again right now at the most important time of the season with the Washington Capitals.

I knew coming in, you only get so much chances to stick, Smith-Pelly told The Washington Post after Game 4. I knew that this could be my last one. I took the buyout personally.

Smith-Pelly scored the Capitals third goal on Monday, giving Washington a 3-0 lead over Vegas with 20.5 seconds left in the first period.

Oddly enough, Smith-Pelly could have easily been a Golden Knight. He was one of the players exposed by the Devils in the 2017 Vegas Expansion Draft. The Golden Knights instead selected defenseman Jon Merrill.

Getting ahead of Trump’s attempts to use the NFL as political leverage was a large part of the reason why a new national anthem policy was passed in May.

I honestly believe that had we done nothing that the anthem protest would have subsided on its own,” an NFL owner told SB Nation’s Thomas George. But the risk of giving Trump another football to kick was too great. A lot of his fan base is our fan base.

But Trump showed Monday that he’s still plenty capable of leveraging the opinions and social activism of NFL players into political opportunity.

Collins is the best bargain on the Giants as he counts just $1.94 million against the salary cap in his final year before entering free agency. He plans to ditch the barely noticeable carbon fiberprotective equipment on his arm before the season kicks off.

Padres’ Jose Torres suspended rest of season after domestic violence charges

jets_020San Diego Padres pitcher Jose Torres has accepted a suspension without pay for the rest of the year by Major League Baseball after his December arrest on domestic violence charges.

Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement Friday. The penalty is retroactive to June 5 and covers 100 games. Torres has agreed not to appeal and will take part in an evaluation and treatment program.

That’s exactly what we needed to see, he said. We all knew that he had to get back to commanding the fastball down in the zone, and he did just that.

The Tigers took only four pitches to grab a first-inning lead on doubles by Leonys Martin and Nicholas Castellanos, but Bauer quickly settled down.

Cleveland tied it in the fourth on Alonso’s two-out RBI double. Edwin Encarnacion scored from first, but Alonso was thrown out trying for his third triple in nine major league seasons.

Hurdle says the Pirates were being proactive and trying to settle him down by placing him on the DL.

Rodriguez is 1-2 with a 2.38 ERA in 22 relief appearances. Pittsburgh also called up right-hander Dovydas Neverauskas from Triple-A Indianapolis.

MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, one of those aforementioned Statcast wizards, and Baseball Prospectus’ Russell Carleton both leaped headlong into the data and came to similar findings.

The shocker was this: Pitchers walk more batters when throwing in front of a shift. In fact, the extra number of walks exceed the number of singles saved by the strategy.

Shifts do significantly lower batting average on balls in play, which is why the practice has caught fire. Petriello’s analysis of the 2017 and 2018 seasons showed that BABIP against shifted defenses has been .281, versus .299 without it. However, once you factor in the walks and the slightly higher home run rates (i.e., the increased launch angles meant to hit the ball over the shift), batters have put up a .336 wOBA against the shift versus a .334 on non-shifted players.

Josh McDaniels says he wants to be a head coach again, happy he stayed with Patriots

Patriots assistant coach Josh McDaniels spoke to the media Friday for the first time since backing out of the Colts head coaching job, and it appears he’s still happy with the decision he made earlier this offseason to remain with the Patriots as offensive coordinator.

While speaking with reporters at Gillette Stadium where all of New England’s assistant coaches were made available to the media, McDaniels fielded questions about turning down the job saying he was “very happy” and “thankful.” However, he also reiterated that he still wants to become a head coach again.

Not calling the Giants seemed utterly foolish, but if the Jets were indeed comfortable with Mayfield, Darnold or Josh Rosen, which is the case according to Breer, then ultimately their move was the right one. It looked expensive to give up all those picks for a shot at their third option and it looked foolish not to call the Giants and try to guarantee themselves one of the top two picks. But they did some nice due diligence, guaranteed they could get one of the quarterbacks they believed was a franchise signal caller with their pick and didn’t sacrifice a future first-round pick to do it.

On the first passing play of what turned out to be the final start of his NFL career, Johnny Manziel rolled into his drop after a play-action fake and was hit — hard — by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford just moments after whipping an incomplete pass. This was back in December 2015, and the hapless Browns went on to lose, 17-13, of course. It was the first of five times the 6-foot, 207-pound Manziel would be hit behind the line of scrimmage, as he not only struggled to throw with anticipation and accuracy — he completed only 13 of 32 passes for 136 yards and an interception — but also took a beating doing it. Oh yes, Manziel did some Johnny Football things that day, using his trademark break-neck, Fran Tarkenton-ish scrambles to rush 11 times for 108 yards.

Bottom line: This is a pivotal year for the franchise given Lewis’ tenuous hold on the head coaching job and back-to-back losing seasons. There’s been a familiar pattern in the division the last two years, too: Cincinnati sweeps Cleveland, splits with Baltimore and loses both games to Pittsburgh. If Cincinnati can find a way to make that record 4-2 or better, then it will be in the AFC wild-card hunt. If it’s less than .500, the Bengals might be looking to change directions once and for all. Record prediction: 8-8

The NFL is planning further changes to the kickoff, hoping to reduce the number of high-speed collisions that happen on the play. A proposed new rule that owners will vote on next week will make several changes to the kickoff.cowboys_098