Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 29-26, 4th in NL Central

The Pittsburgh Pirates were in first place in the NL Central as recently as May 17. To that point, they seemed to be a classic case of a team that’s better than the sum of its parts.

Or maybe not, as they’ve since lost nine of their last 12.authentic cheap nfl jerseys

Their offense generally has more of a high floor than a high ceiling. It remains competitive by way of its ability to put the ball in play with an NL-low 19.4 strikeout percentage, but it doesn’t up the pressure on teams with either walks or home runs.

The Pirates also suffer from a lack of stability in their starting rotation. Things may change depending on how Joe Musgrove’s return pans out, but to this point it’s lacked a true stopper. A bullpen with a 4.18 ERA has picked up only so much slack.

Grade: C+

Record: 24-33, 5th in NL West

Given the excitement generated by Eric Hosmer, Christian Villanueva, Franchy Cordero and, most recently, Franmil Reyes, one might think the San Diego Padres at least have a competent lineup.

Not really.

Nobody strikes out more frequently than they do, and their .659 OPS is better than only the Marlins’. Throw in the team’s NL-worst defensive efficiency, and their lineup is actually their biggest flaw.

The team’s pitching hasn’t been much good either, but it did emerge as a silver lining in May. Led by Tyson Ross and Brad Hand, Padres pitchers managed a 3.95 ERA for the month. The latter is part of a bullpen that’s quietly been among the best with a 3.23 ERA.nfl jersey cheap china

On the off chance that San Diego’s lineup can live up to its potential, the NL West could be in for a surprise.nfl jerseys authentic cheap

Grade: D+

Record: 26-30, 4th in NL West

If nothing else, the San Francisco Giants are getting the extra offense they needed.cheap nfl jersey sell

They’ve gone from 3.9 runs per game in 2017 up to 4.1 runs per game. Brandon Belt is finally realizing his slugging potential, and Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen have provided solid support around him.

There’s also something to be said of the quality of the back end of San Francisco’s bullpen. Hunter Strickland, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson and Reyes Moronta have combined for a 2.27 ERA in 99 appearances.

What the Giants have been sorely lacking is good starting pitching. Take out Johnny Cueto and the 0.84 ERA he posted when healthy, and Giants starters have just a 5.36 ERA. That’s the pits.

Thus, time to state the obvious: Madison Bumgarner’s looming return can’t come soon enough.nfl team jerseys cheap

Grade: C

S Earl Thomas to Dallas Cowboys

The Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys discussed a deal for veteran safety Earl Thomas during this year’s draft. But NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling) reported the Cowboys were unwilling to give up their second-round pick.nfl jerseys nike cheap

However, the deal isn’t dead yet.

According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, the 29-year-old defensive back is skipping Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program as he angles for a new contract. Head coach Pete Carroll admitted he’s not sure if Thomas will show up for Phase 3 (OTAs) either.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

All of the factors that have led the Seahawks to shop Thomas are still there. His contract expires after the 2018 season, and as the release of Richard Sherman showed, Seattle is trying to cut down on the big pacts for aging defensive players.

Meanwhile, a Cowboys team that annually fashions itself a Super Bowl contender still needs help at the back end of the defense. While Thomas might not quite be the player he once new nike nfl jerseys cheap  was, he’s still pretty danged good.

A Round 2 pick may have been too much for the Cowboys in April, but feelings change. So could the cost of acquiring Thomas should he decide to hold out into the summer.

Matt Miller’s Scouting Notebook: How the Draft Really Went Down & What It Means

You watched for three days as 256 players heard their names called and saw their hopes of playing in the NFL realized. You watched as Shaquem Griffin, Jordan Mailata and others became household names. You watched as quarterbacks flew off the board in Round 1 and then disappeared in Round 2.

Those are the stories you know from draft weekend. These are the ones you didn’t see happen.

The week after the draft is my time to catch up with NFL sources and talk about what went down in their draft rooms. What player broke their hearts by coming off the board two picks too soon? Why did some of the top players in college drop down the board?

The Scout’s Report nfl nike jerseys for sale

—Failed Drug Tests Hurt Players

The NFL Scouting Combine is every year in late February and yet each season we have players fail the mandatory drug test in Indianapolis. NFL sources told me Holton Hill (Texas), Desmond Harrison (West Georgia) and Antonio Callaway (Florida) all failed the test. Each dropped in the draft because of it.

What can agents do, short of babysitting players 24/7 in the months leading up to the draft? It’s impossible to blame anyone but these players for failing a test they knew was coming. You may not care if players (or people) use drugs, and largely the NFL doesn’t either. What matters to teams is if it gets in the way of being available to play.where to buy nfl jerseys online

—Seattle Shocked the NFL in Round 1

I polled 12 NFL scouts or executives after the Seattle Seahawks selected San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny in the first round. Not one team agreed on that value. The highest grade I could confirm was a mid-Round 2 value from an AFC team.nfl china jersey

This doesn’t mean Seattle was wrong—just different. If Penny hits, the front office will look brilliant. But this is a team that’s lost some of its shine in recent years because of poor offseasons. John Schneider and Pete Carroll might finally be on the hot seat.nfl women jersey

—Sam Darnold, Not Baker Mayfield, Is Consensus QB1

Baker Mayfield was the first quarterback off the board, but only two teams were confirmed to have him as their top quarterback—the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots. On the flip side, I spoke to over 15 teams that listed Darnold as their top quarterback.nike nfl jerseys differences

The New York Mets Are Taking a Huge Risk Relying on Their In-House SP Options

The Logic

Jacob deGrom was one of the best pitchers in the NL last season, going 15-10 with a 3.53 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 239 strikeouts in 201.1 nfl authentic jerseys  innings to finish eighth in Cy Young voting.

The rest of the New York Mets starting staff was a complete disaster, though.

Noah Syndergaard (7 GS), Steven Matz (13 GS), Zack Wheeler (17 GS), Seth Lugo (18 GS) and Matt Harvey (18 GS) all missed significant time to injury, and the team used 12 different starters on the year.

The combined result of the 11 starters not named deGrom: 34-59, 5.37 ERA, 1.59 WHIP.nfl jerseys from china

Despite that uncertainty, the only notable addition the team made was to sign 35-year-old Jason Vargas to a two-year, $16 million deal. The soft-tossing left-hander made the All-Star team but fell off dramatically with a 6.38 ERA after the break.

That raised plenty of questions about whether the front office did enough to address what was a glaring hole.official nfl jerseys cheap

The Reality

The Mets are off to a brilliant 12-4 start, thanks in large part to a 3.45 ERA from the starting rotation, and Vargas has yet to make his Mets debut.

Here’s a look at how the club’s incumbent starters have fared:

Noah Syndergaard (4 GS, 2-0, 2.95 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
Jacob deGrom (4 GS, 2-0, 3.24 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)
Steven Matz (3 GS, 1-1, 3.77 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
Matt Harvey (3 GS, 0-1, 4.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
Zack Wheeler (2 GS, 1-1, 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Beyond those five guys, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are pitching well in multi-inning roles out of the bullpen and are nfl authentic jerseys cheap capable of stepping into the rotation if the need arises.

Boston Celtics: Kyrie Irving’s Knee

Kyrie Irving’s “minimally invasive” left knee procedure could wind up having an outsized impact on the Boston Celtics’ postseason hopes.nfl wholesale jerseys

A three- to six-week timetable doesn’t guarantee his return before the end of the first round, let alone the start of the playoffs altogether. And if he’s unable to suit up, the Celtics face the prospect of an immediate exit.

It doesn’t matter that they have the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed. Possible matchups with the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards (assuming John Wall returns) have close-call potential even if the Celtics are at full capacity.nfl jerseys from china

Remove Irving from the equation, and Boston may forfeit favorite status in any one of those hypothetical series.hi-res-8404aaa811b07d5cb78f5f7d71285c00_crop_exact

Indeed, the Celtics have shown they can survive without Irving. Al Horford continues to headline units that outscore opponents by 9.7  official nfl jerseys cheap points per 100 possessions whenever he plays without the All-Star point man. And the defense remains sturdy in the time rookie Jayson Tatum logs on his own.

But generating consistent offense without Irving is a chore the Celtics aren’t fit to complete in a playoff setting. They score like a bottom-three attack when he’s on the bench and don’t have a proven face-up alpha on which to lean in crunch time.

Tatum will be that player one day, just not now. Ditto for Jaylen Brown. Horford can helm an offense by himself for 43 minutes or so, but he’s not the from-scratch dribble-driver needed to excel with the game on the line. (Most big men aren’t, by the way. Boston is lucky Horford is nimble and effective at pump-and-drives from above the break.)reebok nfl jerseys

The Celtics have turned to Irving during high-pressure moments accordingly.

Among the 328 players to make at least five crunch-time appearances, only LeBron James has a higher usage rate or averages more shot attempts per 36 minutes. And just as the Cavaliers would have no way of offsetting his absence, the Celtics don’t have the experience, one-on-one maestros or healthy 6’8″nfl authentic jerseys  All-Star safety nets to last without him.