Birds hope DE Curry different from past picks


Birds hope DE Curry different from past picks

Here are the last five defensive ends the Eagles have selected in the first four rounds of the draft: Brandon Graham, Daniel Teo-Nesheim, Victor Abiamiri, Jerome McDougle and Jamaal Green.

Of that group, only Graham remains, and he has a long way to go before proving himself in the NFL.

Enter Vinny Curry.

The Eagles hope Curry can do what most of the Eagles other defensive end draft picks havent been able to do.

Sack the quarterback.

Those five guys, taken from 2003 through 2010, have 11 combined career sacks, and although the jury is still out on Graham, whos been hurt since late in his rookie year, theres no question that the Eagles believe Curry can make an immediate impact as a pass rusher.

The last time the Eagles drafted a defensive end in the first two rounds who went to a Pro Bowl as an Eagle? Keep looking. Its never happened.

The Eagles acquired Curry with the 59th pick in the draft, late in the second round, after shipping the 51st pick to the Packers in exchange for No. 59 and a fourth-round selection (see story).

Curry grew up in Central Jersey as a huge Eagles fan -- He might be the biggest Eagles fan ever, head coach Andy Reid said -- and in his last two years at Marshall had 23 sacks and 39 12 tackles for loss.

Im just a natural pass rusher, Curry said. The first thing to my game is to get off the ball, and I just pride myself on everything I do. I really hustle to the ball. ... Coach Jim Washburn has great faith in me, and I can promise you I wont let him down.

Curry was Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year last year and a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which goes to the nations best defensive player. His 21 12 tackles for loss this past year was second nationally, his six forced fumbles were third in NCAA Division I, and his 11.0 sacks were sixth.

Curry stands 6-foot-4, 265 pounds and said he has no idea why he didnt get picked in the first round, as so many projected.

I have no idea, he said. Its just the way the cookie crumbled. Its the nature of the draft. You never can predict the draft.

Curry did say the draft-weekend snub will motivate him. He said hell carry a chip on his shoulder as he tries to prove all the teams that passed on him wrong.

I expected to go in the first round, but things happen, he said. This is where God wanted me to be at and this is where I wanted to be. Only thing I have to do is get ready to suit up for camp and prove my case.

Reid said the Eagles had Curry rated as a late first or early second-round prospect.

I think thats where most people probably had him, just from talking around, he said.

But the Eagles certainly werent scared off as Curry kept sliding down, through the end of the first round and then most of the second.

Things like this happen every year during the draft, Reid said. He got passed up, but its nothing against his character or his ability. Hes not a problem. Hes been a very productive player at Marshall against very good players.

The Eagles, as they promised, took the proverbial Best Player Available, even though they already have a glut of defensive ends.

He was really just the best player on the board at that time, Reid said. There was no way we could pass him up just sitting there. He wasnt an immediate need or anything ike that.

Behind projected starters Jason Babin and Trent Cole, the Eagles now have Graham, Philip Hunt, Darryl Tapp and Curry. Reid will keep four or five defensive ends.

Whos the odd man out? Or the odd men out?

That will all sort itself out over the next few months.

Thats a good problem to have, Reid said. Thats a real good problem to have. I love that competition in there. Im excited to see how Vinny works in there.

Reid said the pick is not a reflection of Graham, who had three sacks in 12 healthy games as a rookie and will be entering his third season without yet making an impact. Graham was the 13th player taken in the 2010 draft.

Its not a worry with any of the guys that we have, like Brandon, Reid said. Thats not what this is all about. Its just a heck of a young football player.

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Best of MLB: Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games


Best of MLB: Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

BOSTON -- David Price scattered five hits over seven innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of hits to extend his streak to 28 games as the Boston Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 8-3 on Tuesday night.

David Ortiz had a two-run double and a two-run single, and Dustin Pedroia added three hits to help Boston win its third straight game. Price (7-1) allowed three runs, walking one and striking out six to earn his third consecutive win.

Colorado lost for the fifth time in six games.

Jorge De La Rosa (1-4) made his first start after spending almost a month on the disabled list with a left groin strain. He gave up two runs in the first, two more in the second and left with one out in the fourth with two on and one run already in (see full recap).

Polanco, Pirates crush Diamondbacks
PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-best five runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled by the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-1 on Tuesday night.

Polanco's shot to the concourse in right-center field off Shelby Miller (1-6) in the first inning gave Pittsburgh an early boost. Francisco Liriano (4-3) scattered two hits in 5 2/3 innings and added an RBI single as the Pirates improved to 6-2 during a 10-game homestand.

After a short adjustment period, Polanco has thrived batting third in the lineup, hitting .317 (20 of 63) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 15 games. The Pirates spread their 17 hits among 11 batters.

Miller's recent recovery from a miserable start with the Diamondbacks took a step backward. Less than a year removed from an All-Star appearance with Atlanta, Miller's ERA ballooned to 7.09 after surrendering six runs in five innings (see full recap).

Strasburg strikes out 11 in Nationals' win
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg remained unbeaten with an 11-strikeout performance, and the Washington Nationals hit three of their season-high five home runs off struggling Matt Harvey in a 7-4 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.

Strasburg (8-0) gave up two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings in defeating Harvey and the Mets for the second time in six days. Strasburg has five games this season with at least 10 strikeouts and 26 over his seven-year career.

Harvey (3-7) stumbled through a third straight ineffective start, allowing five runs and eight hits over five rocky innings. The right-hander has yielded 16 earned runs and 31 hits over his last three outings.

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon hit successive solo shots to put Washington ahead in the fourth inning, and Daniel Murphy added a two-run drive off his former teammate in the fifth for a 5-1 lead (see full recap).

Justin Verlander powers his way through Phillies' weak lineup


Justin Verlander powers his way through Phillies' weak lineup


DETROIT – Back on March 26, the Detroit Tigers made the trip to Clearwater to play the Phillies during the final week of the Grapefruit League schedule.
Justin Verlander was the Tigers’ starting pitcher that day at Bright House Field. The Phillies ended up losing that game by a run when their bullpen came undone in the late innings. But earlier in the game, the Phils had pretty good success against Verlander. They knocked him around for three runs in five innings. They had seven hits against him, four for extra bases.
Two months later, the Phillies came face to face with Verlander again on a warm Tuesday night in Detroit.
This time, the Phils had no chance.
They were manhandled by the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner in suffering a 3-1 loss to the Tigers (see Instant Replay).
“Verlander pitched well,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He had a good fastball and we weren’t catching up to it.”
Yes, Verlander had good fastball and he knew it. Sixty-five of his 108 pitches were fastballs. He averaged 94 mph with the pitch and topped out at 97. That’s how hard his final pitch of night was. He blew it by the Phillies’ best hitter, Odubel Herrera, for his 10th strikeout of the night.
In all, Verlander pitched eight shutout innings and gave up just three hits against one of baseball’s worst offenses; the Phils entered the game averaging just 3.24 runs per game.
The loss was the Phillies’ fourth in the last five games and it dropped them to 25-21. They have opened this challenging road trip, which finishes with three against the Chicago Cubs, owners of the best record in the game, with two straight losses heading into Wednesday’s series finale against the Tigers. Aaron Nola will get the ball against Anibal Sanchez.
Can Nola be a stopper? The Phillies could really use a victory. To get it, they will need some offense. They got just about none until Verlander left the game Tuesday night.
“We just couldn’t get enough going,” Mackanin said. “Verlander really relied on his fastball and we couldn’t capitalize.”
Jeremy Hellickson pitched well for the third straight time for the Phillies. (He has allowed just five earned runs over 20 innings in his last three starts. He has walked just three batters and struck out 20 over that span.) But with no run support, Hellickson couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and he needed excellent defensive support – which he did not get.
Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.
In a close game with not much offense going against Verlander, Hellickson needed strong defense behind him. He did not get it from third baseman Maikel Franco in the fifth inning. With a runner on first and no outs, J.D. Martinez hit a bounding ball to Franco’s right. Franco tried to backhand the ball with a quick snap of his glove. Fielded cleanly, Franco probably could have started a double play. Instead, the ball got by him, was generously scored a double and led to a run. The Tigers scored twice in the inning to take a 3-1 lead.
“Yes, it’s makeable,” Mackanin said of the ball that got by Franco. “He got to a certain spot and then he stopped and tried to snag it instead of taking one more step toward it. I don’t think he could have gotten in front of the ball but he could have gone through it instead of stopping and trying to snag it. I thought he could have done that.
“It’s a potential double-play ball. He needed to take one more step instead of reaching for it.”
Tommy Joseph had the best at-bats against Verlander. He lined out twice to the pull side and had a base hit in the seventh. In the ninth, the Phillies rallied for a couple of hits against Francisco Rodriguez. Joseph scorched a liner to left for a sacrifice fly and the Phillies’ only run.
“He hit the ball on the nose four times, really good at bats,” Mackanin said of Joseph. “If that ball he hits in the ninth inning finds a gap, we have the tying run at second.”
Joseph has seven hits in his first 23 at-bats and has made some hard outs. He will start at first base again Wednesday and also on Friday as the Cubs will start lefty Jon Lester. After that, he could get starts against right-handers because he’s simply out-hitting Ryan Howard, who went 1 for 4 and saw his average climb to .159.
Before the game, Mackanin said Joseph could take playing time away from Howard if he continues to hit.

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.