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J.D. Martinez and the Dodgers make RBI history during loss to Rockies

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J.D. Martinez and the Dodgers make RBI history during loss to Rockies

The Dodgers made franchise history in the first inning Thursday night.

They did little else of note after that.

In a 14-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, the only silver lining was a first-inning home run from J.D. Martinez. The two-run blast not only opened the scoring, but it gave Martinez 100 RBIs on the season.

Along with Mookie Betts, Max Muncy and Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers now have four players with 100-plus RBIs this year — the most the team has had in a single season.

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“It’s really impressive,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It just speaks to how talented these guys are.”

The early lead didn’t last. After a week of strong pitching during the first three games of the series, the Dodgers finally succumbed to Coors Field’s hitter-friendly reputation. Starter Ryan Yarbrough gave up one run in the bottom of the first, two more in the second — tying the score at 3-3 after a Kiké Hernández solo blast in the top half — then four in a third-inning rally that included a pair of home runs.

“It was an extremely difficult day,” said Yarbrough, the left-handed trade-deadline acquisition who will shift into a bulk-inning relief role when the playoffs begin. “When you get an early lead like that and then basically let it fall through your fingers and give it right back to them, it hits hard with you.”

Another left-hander, Caleb Ferguson, wasn’t much better, giving up four runs of his own in the bottom of the seventh.

The team’s top bullpen lefty for much of the year, Ferguson has given up eight runs in his last 4 2/3 innings.

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Dodgers pitcher Ryan Yarbrough reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Colorado’s Elehuris Montero during the third inning Thursday.

(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Is it a cause of concern for the Dodgers?

“I think it’s trying not to think too much of the recency, and look at the body of work,” Roberts said. “I know he’s frustrated. So we’ll have time for those conversations. But for me, it’s just trying to find an opportunity to get him back out there and put up a zero.”

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With the loss, the Dodgers (who are 98-61 and already locked in as the No. 2 seed in the National League for the postseason) will need to win at least two of their final three games against the San Francisco Giants this weekend to reach 100 wins.

For Thursday, their 100-RBI history would have to do.

While Martinez had four 100-RBI seasons before in his career, none was as unlikely as this year’s.

Last offseason, the 36-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers, hoping to rebuild his stock after a poor finish to 2022. While he has authored a resurgent season in L.A., launching 32 home runs (his most since 2019) and batting .274, Thursday was only his 110th game of the season after two stints on the injured list cost him more than a month combined.

“The analytics really don’t value the RBI as much as they used to,” Martinez said. “Before it was one of those things where you drive in 100 and you got paid. Guys used to fight tooth and nail for that to drive those runs in. Nowadays it’s more an opportunity thing than it is an approach-type thing.

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“But I grew up in that era where there’s a guy on third or a guy on second, you gotta get that guy in. You have to do whatever you gotta do to get that guy in. Sometimes you might look stupid chasing a pitch or something. You might look dumb swinging at something in the dirt, but it’s part of it. I value my bat-to-ball skills with driving that guy in and that’s something I take a lot of pride in.”

Indeed, getting to the century mark required standout situational production from the six-time All-Star.

Thursday’s blast was Martinez’s 15th home run and 53rd RBI with two outs this season. He leads the majors in two-out RBIs and trails only Matt Olson in two-out homers.

Martinez is also batting .325 with runners in scoring position this year, the third-best mark on the team behind Freeman and Betts.

It makes Martinez, who is set to be the club’s everyday designated hitter in the playoffs, a key factor in the Dodgers’ October fate. His 100th RBI was not enough to lift the team to a win Thursday. But his run production could be crucial in making a deep postseason run.

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“For me, I think it’s everything,” Martinez said of being able to drive in runs in the playoffs. “You have to score to win. You can get a bunch of guys on base, but if you don’t have a lot of guys to drive them in, it’s just guys on base. To me it’s a very valuable trait.”

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Dolphins ‘Hard Knocks’ shows emotional moment Jaelan Phillips tore Achilles: ‘No f—ing way, bro!’

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Dolphins ‘Hard Knocks’ shows emotional moment Jaelan Phillips tore Achilles: ‘No f—ing way, bro!’

Miami Dolphins budding star pass rusher Jaelan Phillips was enjoying a breakout season when he entered MetLife Stadium to face the New York Jets on Black Friday. But he left the field prematurely with a season-ending Achilles injury, one that was captured by HBO’s and NFL Films’ cameras for “Hard Knocks.” 

As you’d expect in that moment, raw emotion was all over Phillips’ face as he came to terms with what happened on the turf in real time.

Phillips was having a great game prior to going down, securing a sack and four tackles, two of which were for losses. But he was looking to finish strong and padding those stats in what became a blowout victory for Miami. 

Jaelan Phillips of the Miami Dolphins is carted off the field after being injured during the New York Jets game at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 24, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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But when he went to burst off the line of scrimmage, something Phillips said he’s done 1,000 times before, he immediately felt a pop in his right ankle. Phillips hit the deck and that’s when everything started to set in. 

“I think my s— popped,” Phillips told a teammate, as he was mic’d up for the game. “My Achilles. I think my Achilles popped bro.”

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“No, no, no, you’re all right,” the teammate responded. 

As Phillips laid on the turf, the Dolphins’ medical staff rushed out to see what was wrong. Watching a non-contact injury, everyone on the sideline likely feared it was something serious. 

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“I felt like someone f—ing shot me in my f—ing Achilles,” Phillips told a trainer. “I thought someone stepped on me. No f—ing way, bro! There’s no f—ing way.”

Phillips sat up while trainers continued to work on him, and that’s when all the emotion came pouring out of Phillips. All the hours training in the offseason, battling with teammates at camp, fighting side by side in the regular season with the hopes of winning a Super Bowl were snatched away on one play. 

Jaelan Phillips reacts to play

Jaelan Phillips of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after making a defensive stop against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 24, 2023. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

“Hey, you’re OK. Hey, buddy, you’re OK,” head coach Mike McDaniel said as Phillips was crying. 

Phillips was placed on a medical cart with the entire Dolphins team surrounding him and showing their support. The stadium applauded Phillips as he held a towel over his eyes, still emotional about how his 2023 season came to an abrupt end. 

Phillips underwent surgery to repair his Achilles on Tuesday. “Hard Knocks” showed Phillips in the Dolphins’ training room the next day, rolling around on a supportive scooter to keep his right leg off the ground. He was in better spirits, as he looked ahead, knowing he has a fantastic support system around him with rehab in the coming months. 

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“When I saw a clip after the game of my whole entire team surrounding me on the field, I mean, that just means everything to me,” he said. “My mom was crying on Dan Marino’s shoulder. You know, they were there for me, not just me, but my family as well. 

Jaelan Phillips on field

Linebacker Jaelan Phillips of the Miami Dolphins in action against the New York Jets on Nov. 24, 2023. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

“When this is all said and done, it’s going to make me a stronger person because of it. I’m just trying to keep that positive mindset and start to attack rehab. It’s going to be a long process, but I just know that, yeah, I’m a fighter. I’m going to keep fighting.”

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Top high school football games in the Southland for regional bowls

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Top high school football games in the Southland for regional bowls

Analyzing the top high school football state playoff games this week:

FRIDAY

Birmingham (11-2) at Del Norte (11-2), 7:30 p.m.

The City Section Open Division champion Patriots have a lot to prove in the state playoffs. A 41-0 nonleague loss to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in August still has people wondering whether Birmingham can win games outside the City Section. Quarterback Kingston Tisdell has grown immensely, making 162 pass attempts without an interception. Former NFL linebacker Nick Barnett is in his first season as head coach at Del Norte (11-2), and he has 34 seniors to rely on, including quarterback Jack Schneider, who has 23 touchdown passes. The pick: Birmingham.

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Granite Hills (12-0) at Mission Viejo (11-3), 7 p.m.

Granite Hills is the San Diego Section Open Division champion with a 21-game winning streak. Freshman quarterback Zachary Benitez has shown he’s a dual threat. Running back Max Turner has scored 16 touchdowns. The Diablos are no longer considered a young team in Week 15. They are showing how good they might be in 2024. Defensive lineman Jaden Williams has 15 sacks. The pick: Mission Viejo.

SATURDAY

St. Bonaventure (11-3) vs. St. Augustine (10-4) at Mesa College, 6 p.m.

The Seraphs won the Southern Section Division 3 championship and have balance on offense with quarterback Anthony Wolter and running back Koen Glover. St. Augustine is a young team with an aggressive defense led by Isaiah Hasten, who has seven interceptions. Jon Class had four sacks in the San Diego Division I final. The pick: St. Bonaventure.

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Iowa’s Cade McNamara takes subtle shot at former team ahead of Big Ten title game

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Iowa’s Cade McNamara takes subtle shot at former team ahead of Big Ten title game

Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Cade McNamara is in a unique position to help his team gain a little bit of an edge as the team gets set to take on No. 2 Michigan in the Big Ten Championship over the weekend.

McNamara played at Michigan for three seasons before he transferred to Iowa. He played five games for the Hawkeyes this season before suffering a devastating season-ending knee injury.

Cade McNamara, #12 of the Iowa Hawkeyes, warms up before the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on Sept. 23, 2023 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

As Iowa started talking about the conference title game, McNamara surely ruffled some feathers with his words about the Wolverines.

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“I think this week, specifically, I’m not just getting Deacon (Hill) ready, I’m getting the entire team, as much as I can, because I know so much about that other team that from a defensive standpoint, from an offensive standpoint, I’m just doing everything I possibly can from an entire team standpoint to just let these guys know everything that I possibly know,” he said on “Talkin’ Hawks with The VandeBergs.”

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Cade McNamara crutches

Cade McNamara, #12 of the Iowa Hawkeyes, walks off the field on crutches after the match-up against the Michigan State Spartans at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 30, 2023 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Michigan fans took to X to express their frustration with McNamara’s comments, calling him bitter about losing his starting quarterback job to J.J. McCarthy.

However, there did not appear to be any ill-will because of that. McCarthy himself said the team had been anticipating seeing McNamara and Erick All.

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“It was obviously at the forefront of our minds at the beginning of the season to have that chance to play Cade and Erick again,” McCarthy said, via The Gazette.

Cade McNamara vs UConn

Cade McNamara, #12 of the Michigan Wolverines, warms up before a college football game against the Connecticut Huskies at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 17, 2022 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)

Iowa finished first in the Big Ten West with a 7-2 record against conference opponents and 10-2 overall.

The Hawkeyes’ last win against Michigan came in November 2016. The Hawkeyes knocked off then No. 2 Michigan at Kinnick Stadium, 14-13. The Wolverines blew the Hawkeyes out 42-3 in the 2021 Big Ten Championship.

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