This week in US sports: NLCS set, Kapler gone and more NFL drama involving Cleveland

By Sports Desk October 10, 2019

The MLB season is beyond heating up. It's all full force and drama, including a crazy day on Wednesday in which one game was over before the second out was recorded and another required extra innings.

Not all the focus has been on the action, though, as one coach was fired in MLB on Thursday while another was let go in the NFL on Monday.

And the drama continues with the Cleveland Browns, as it has all year long.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.


1. NLCS set

The National League Championship Series is set, and if you managed to work out the teams involved, you either really know your baseball or you took a crazy guess and happened to be right.

The two participants without home-field advantage won both Game 5's on Wednesday; the Cardinals defeated the Braves 13-1 and the Nationals beat the Dodgers 7-3 in extra innings.

In the matchup between the Braves and the Cardinals, St. Louis scored seven runs before Atlanta recorded a second out in the first inning, and when the dust finally settled on the frame, the Cardinals held a 10-0 lead they were never close to letting get away.

As for the Dodgers and the Nationals, Los Angeles opened a 3-0 lead in the early going, but thanks to back-to-back home runs from Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto off Clayton Kershaw in the seventh, Washington tied the game and forced extra innings.

Howie Kendrick then smacked a grand slam off Joe Kelly with no outs in the 10th and the game was over and done with. And now, in an odd playoff scenario, the Cardinals will have home-field advantage over the Nationals despite having a worse record in the regular season. Why? Because they won their division while the Nationals were the wild-card winner.


2. Gruden fired by Redskins, Tomlin not thinking about job

Jay Gruden was fired by the Washington Redskins after an 0-5 start to the season and made sure everyone knew on his way out that he did not have the kind of say he wanted with the team.

"At the end of the day, if you're not the GM, you have to accept the fact that you don't get everything you want," Gruden told ESPN. "You accept the players given to you. I had input in some areas, but there are some major issues there. It is that way with most coaches. You don't have that total say. It's something you have to overcome and work with the guys you have."

After that a rumour emerged that Redskins owner Dan Snyder was interested in Mike Tomlin for the open job, but the Pittsburgh Steelers coach did not seem too worried about his current job when questioned by the media.

"I am not worried about that, to be quite honest with you. You're the first person to mention it to me in a public setting," he said.

Tomlin continued: "Guys, look: I'm the head coach of a 1-4 football team that’s going on the road to play a Hall of Fame-calibre quarterback with my third quarterback. You think I'm worried about anything this week other than that?"


3. Phillies fire Gabe Kapler

The Phillies technically got better this year, going 81-81 after going 80-82 in manager Gabe Kapler's first season at the helm in 2018, but that improvement was not enough as Philadelphia announced it had fired the skipper on Thursday.

"Several years ago, I promised our loyal fans that I would do everything in my power to bring a world championship team to our city," owner John Middleton said in a statement. "I will never waver from that commitment.

"During the second half of this season and continuing into this week, I have evaluated our organization extensively, a process that included talking to many people both internally and around the league. Reassuring to me was the endorsement that people outside the Phillies gave to the progress we have made recently, both organizationally and on the field.

"Nevertheless, with the knowledge that I have gained from my evaluation, combined with my personal reflection on the 2019 season, I have decided that some changes are necessary to achieve our ultimate objective."

It is unclear who is next in line for the Phillies, but the team is reportedly after a manager with previous experience. In that case, a guy like Brad Ausmus could be an option after he was fired by the Angels.


4. More drama in Cleveland

Well, it's a day of the week, so that means there is drama with the Cleveland Browns.

After the 49ers crushed the Browns on "Monday Night Football", San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman told NFL Network's Michael Silver he was upset with Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield for not shaking his hand in pre-game warmups.

But upon further review, Mayfield did shake Sherman's hand. The cornerback then said it was a petty handshake that ticked him off and has now said he will apologise to Mayfield.

Just another day in Cleveland.

Related items

  • Carolina Panthers hand LB Shaq Thompson four-year, $54m extension Carolina Panthers hand LB Shaq Thompson four-year, $54m extension

    Shaq Thompson has signed a four-year contract extension with the Carolina Panthers to keep him with the franchise through 2023.

    Agent Doug Hendrickson told ESPN it is a $54.2million pact with a maximum value of $57m, with $28m guaranteed and containing a signing bonus of $16m.

    Thompson, 25, was due to become a free agent at the end of the season as he was playing under the fifth-year option.

    He was drafted with the 25th overall pick in 2015 and has started every game for the 5-7 Panthers so far this season, making a career-high 93 tackles along with having three sacks and the same number of passes defended.

    "Shaq is our type of person and our type of player," general manager Marty Hurney said as the team announced the extension on Saturday. 

    "He's proven that he can play linebacker at a very high level, and he's got all the traits you want. 

    "He's smart, he's physical, he can run and he's very versatile. He fits the blueprint for what we want at the position."

    Thompson said of his new deal: "It means everything. What this organisation has done for me and my family, it's just tremendous.

    "It feels good. It shows they have trust in me and faith in me to go on with the future of this young team that we have. 

    "They see that I can help and I can be a part of the leadership of this group. That's really big for me. 

    "They showed loyalty and love towards me and my family. I was able to show them that I have potential. This is my first year being a starter and I've been able to show what I can do.

    "I want them to know I'm going to give it my all. This is just the beginning for me."

  • Tight end Njoku activated by Cleveland Browns Tight end Njoku activated by Cleveland Browns

    The Cleveland Browns have activated tight end David Njoku off injured reserve ahead of their Week 14 encounter with Ohio rivals the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Njoku, who has not played since suffering a wrist injury in the win over the New York Jets in Week 2, will now return to give quarterback Baker Mayfield another weapon over the final four games.

    A first-round draft pick in 2017, he had four touchdowns in each of his first two seasons in the NFL and caught a pass in the end zone from Mayfield in Week 1 of the 2019 campaign against the Tennessee Titans.

    The Browns are 5-7, two games back from the Pittsburgh Steelers, who currently hold the final berth in the wildcard race.

  • Eli Manning to start for Giants against Eagles Eli Manning to start for Giants against Eagles

    Eli Manning will start for the New York Giants against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14 after Daniel Jones was officially ruled out of the game.

    Quarterback Jones - who took over as the Giants' starter in Week 3, leading the team to back-to-back victories in his first two NFL outings - has not practiced all week due to a high ankle sprain.

    The rookie suffered the injury in the 31-13 home loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, a result that extended New York's losing streak to eight games.

    Manning will now make his 245th start for the franchise in an all-NFC East battle in Philadelphia on Monday.

    "He looks good. He's had a good week. He always has a good look in his eye," Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula said on Friday.

    The two-time Super Bowl winner will be aided in his return by the availability of Golden Tate. The wide receiver is set to feature after clearing concussion protocol, but tight end Evan Engram is again out.

    They will also be without Jabrill Peppers; the safety has been placed on injured reserve, bringing an end to his campaign, due to a back injury. 

    Sean Chandler - signed off the practice squad - takes Peppers' place on the roster, while the fit-again Kareem Martin replaces fellow linebacker Chris Peace, who - like Peppers - is also done for the season.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.