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|Zack Greinke grinned as he stepped to the plate in the sixth inning Thursday afternoon Jadeveon Clowney Jersey , and then swung at the first pitch for another hit. The Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander pitched seven innings and was an offensive dynamo , too, helping to beat the Miami Marlins 4-0.
Greinke singled twice, drove in a run, stole a base and scored. No wonder he looked to be enjoying himself.
”It’s more fun when you’re doing good,” Greinke said. ”Today was a lot of good results, so it was a fun day.”
His offensive feats were impressive, but maybe not that surprising. He leads Arizona pitchers this year with four RBIs and four runs, raised his season average to .300, and is now 7 for 7 lifetime in steal attempts.
Greinke became the first pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1969 to have a hit, an RBI and a stolen base in at least two games in a season.
”He’s a baseball player, and I don’t say that about a lot of pitchers,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”He probably has a better swing than 70 percent of the guys in the big leagues, and I’m serious about that.”
As for pitching, Greinke (8-5) won for the fifth time in his past six starts. He allowed seven hits – all singles – but walked none and benefited from several good defensive plays. The outing matched his longest this year.
”As the game goes, you kind of get that flat feeling,” Mattingly said. ”He was just a handful. He’s able to do some different things with the ball and change gears on you.”
Three relievers completed a 10-hitter for Arizona’s fourth shutout of the season.
Paul Goldschmidt continued his recent tear with three hits, and Nick Ahmed added two hits. Each scored and drove in a run.
The Diamondbacks (47-34) finished 8-2 on a three-city trip
”I can’t think of a day where we played bad really,” Greinke said. ”The defense was good Al Woods Jersey , pitching was good, hitting was good, baserunning was good. It was just a lot of good things, and we never beat ourselves.”
The Diamondbacks matched their season high by climbing 13 games above .500. They won the season series against Miami 6-1.
The finale started at 9:10 a.m. Phoenix time, but the Diamondbacks were ready to go and led 3-0 by the second inning.
”The biggest thing was being ready to go on the first pitch and not sleepwalking into it,” Goldschmidt said.
Greinke helped get his teammates going. In the second he singled, easily stole second and scored on Goldschmidt’s two-out single. He added a two-out opposite-field RBI single in the sixth to make it 4-0.
Greinke improved to 7-0 in 12 games against the Marlins. At Marlins Park, he’s 6-0 in six starts with a 1.48 ERA.
Trevor Richards (2-5) allowed three runs in four innings. Miami rookie Brian Anderson went 0 for 4, ending his 24-game on-base streak, the longest active string in the National League.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Greinke on matching Gibson’s offensive feats: ”There’s a record every game. You’ve just got to look hard enough for it.”
With runners at the corners in the second, Goldschmidt charged Bryan Holaday’s grounder to first and started a nifty ending-inning double play. Right fielder Jon Jay made a catch as he slid into the wall in foul territory to rob Anderson. Second baseman Daniel Descalso committed an error in the third but made amends later in the inning by lunging to snare Starlin Castro’s sharp grounder and save a run.
Miami backup catcher Holaday had thrown out a team record nine consecutive runners attempting to steal, but Greinke got a huge jump to end the streak.
Marlins: C J.T. Realmuto (wrist) missed his third consecutive game but expects to play Friday. Miami is 26-29 when he starts and 6-21 when he doesn’t start.
After the game, Marlins RHP Nick Wittgren was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (6-3, 3.24) is scheduled to start Friday when Arizona returns home to begin a weekend series against the Giants.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara, Miami’s top pitching prospect, will be recalled from New Orleans to start Friday against the Mets. Alcantara, acquired in the trade that sent OF Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals, will make his Marlins debut. He’s 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 14 starts for New Orleans this year.
ESPN is set to make a major trade this weekend: LeBron for Lucio. Brady for Bastion. Serena for Soldier: 76.
North America’s biggest sports platform is ready to embrace competitive gaming, and it’s wagering that traditional sports fans are Shane Lechler Jersey , too.
The Overwatch League, an esports circuit with teams in three continents, will broadcast its inaugural championship live in prime time on ESPN this Friday, with the Philadelphia Fusion facing the London Spitfire. It will be the first time Disney’s marquee sports channel carries competitive gaming in that slot, and it’s likely to do more over the course of a two-year deal signed with Overwatch this month.
It’s a major achievement for Overwatch, a first-person shooter from Blizzard Entertainment, and the latest indicator that esports are ready to edge into the American mainstream. The industry has converted a number of notable believers in recent years, including Overwatch franchise investors like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
Esports have been a popular pastime elsewhere for decades, most notably in South Korea. But are North American audiences really ready to invest their time and money into watching other people play video games? It’s a billion dollar question, literally – market analyst Newzoo projects the industry will do $1.7 billion in revenue by 2021.
For those who can’t tell a D.Va Bomb from a Whole Hog, here is some of what you should know before video games jump from the PC to prime time.
WHAT ARE ESPORTS?
Video gamers have been competing for digital supremacy dating to Pong and Pac-Man, but competitive gaming these days is eschewing high scores in favor of multiplayer battles. First-person shooters, strategy games and battle royales have become the industry preference, with esports athletes competing either as individuals or teams to eliminate opponents and achieve objectives – think capture the flag, but usually with a twist. Although many gamers enjoy playing on Xbox or Playstation, most competitive esports are played on PCs. League of Legends, DOTA 2, Counter Strike and Overwatch have been the most popular esport titles in recent years.
WHAT IS OVERWATCH?
Overwatch is a first-person shooter released by Blizzard in 2016 with esports in mind. It features teams of six players competing to protect designated zones from enemy capture or safely move payloads across intricate maps. Players can choose from 27 characters – like Lucio Will Fuller V Jersey , a roller-blading DJ whose music can harm opponents and heal allies, or Bastion, a robotic tank that can turn itself into a devastating sentry gun.
Each game takes roughly 10 minutes, and Overwatch League matches include five games. The first team to win two matches in the Grand Finals will be crowned champion.
WHY ARE ROBERT KRAFT AND JEFF WILPON INTERESTED IN THE OVERWATCH LEAGUE?
Traditional sports investors like Kraft and Wilpon have seen huge financial potential in esports for a while, but both held off on purchasing franchises until springing for Overwatch clubs in 2016. Blizzard convinced them to buy in by re-imagining the esports scene, mostly by giving the Overwatch League a structure familiar to North American sports fans.
Esports circuits in Asia and Europe have generally been club-based, with teams at risk of relegating into lesser leagues. The Overwatch League instead is using permanent city-based franchises – just like the NFL or NBA – but on a global scale. Currently, the league has 12 teams across three continents, and it’s planning expansion for Season Two.
The city-based structure was attractive to sports traditionalists, which is what led Kraft and Wilpon to own franchises in Boston and New York, respectively. Investors also liked the league’s generous revenue sharing system.
ARE ESPORTS ACTUALLY SPORTS?
It depends who you ask, and frankly, it’s not clear that it matters.
”It’s a good semantics argument,” Philadelphia Fusion president Tucker Roberts said. ”Honestly, yes.”
Video games do require physical skill. Even across the Overwatch League, there’s a spectrum of natural abilities, with some players boasting better reactions and coordination. Overwatch is also heavy on teamwork and strategy. People in the industry like to compare esports to darts, billiards or chess.
”There’s a difference between a sport being like, the most athletic sport Bernie Kosar Jersey , sure,” Roberts said. ”But I think the bigger question isn’t the semantics of whether they’re a sport. It’s about, what does it mean to be a competition and how high are the stakes of the competition? I think the players on our team, I know, work harder than any athlete I’ve ever met.”
For the industry, the argument only matters insofar as it affects visibility. If traditional sports giants like ESPN are on board, who cares what you call them?
WHY DOES ESPN WANT IN?
For one, ESPN’s definition of sports can get flimsy. The network has showcased events like the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the World Series of Poker and the Drum Corps International championships. ESPN has also aired soccer and football video game competitions in the past, just never live in prime time.
There’s good reason to think people will tune in. While video game viewing might be a novel concept domestically, it’s quite common in some other markets. For instance, South Korea has entire television networks dedicated to esports, and gaming events there routinely draw tens of thousands of attendees. Korean esports stars live lavish, celebrity lifestyles, with top players achieving Adidas Brent Burns Jersey ,
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