Struggling REITs lose acquisition power

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Alex Wood, Dodgers bullpen combine to shut out Cubs, 4-0

first_imgLOS ANGELES – Your rose bushes might not be doing that well. But Alex Wood has really blossomed in May.A capable starter at times in the past (mostly with the Atlanta Braves), the 26-year-old Wood has cleared that bar by a wide margin recently. He held the Chicago Cubs scoreless for five innings Friday night and combined with relievers Pedro Baez and Chris Hatcher on a two-hitter in a 4-0 Dodgers win.Wood has not allowed a run in his past 25-1/3 innings, the longest scoreless streak by a pitcher in the major leagues this season, or five of his past six starts. Over that time, he has a 1.05 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while holding opposing batters to a .189 batting average with 46 strikeouts in 34-1/3 innings.“You talk about confidence in a player. He’s as confident as any player I’ve been around,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Wood. “He prepares. He works hard and he’s confident. Now when you’ve got that and he’s healthy – in spring training he told me he’s as healthy as he’s been in recent memory – that obviously lends itself to confidence. “Right now, yeah, you can look at him as a 1-A.”Dodgers starters have more often qualified as 4-F in the two years since Zack Greinke left Clayton Kershaw without a partner at the front of the rotation. It’s a long way to October and Roberts’ elevation of Wood to wingman status might be premature. But Cubs starter Jake Arrieta offered similar praise after coming up short in the matchup with Wood.“Alex pitched really good for five innings. He’s been throwing it well all year,” Arrieta said. “The guy who goes against Kershaw has to be lights out and now Alex has added another dominant starter for them. I was shocked to see him come out after the fifth.”Arrieta must not have noticed Wood’s pitch count racking up along with the zeroes. His Cubs teammates hit just one ball out of the infield in the first five innings (Jason Heyward’s two-out single in the second inning) and struck out eight times against Wood. But they also drew two walks and took the left-hander deep in counts. Wood needed 91 pitches to get through five innings.“They had some deep counts on me like they did my first start against them in Chicago when I walked five guys,” Wood said referring to a loss at Wrigley Field on the opening trip of the season. “They’ve got some guys who know the strike zone pretty well so you have to throw them competitive pitches throughout the at-bat to keep them from walking or getting quality hits.” Pedro Baez and Hatcher must have thrown almost nothing but competitive pitches then. Baez walked Ben Zobrist to start the sixth inning, but he and Hatcher retired the final 12 Cubs in order. Wood, Baez and Hatcher held the Cubs without a hit after the second inning.Arrieta couldn’t keep up. He only allowed five hits in his six innings but three of them were very loud.Chase Utley put the Dodgers on the board first with a solo home run in the third inning. He has homers in each of the past two games and is hitting .326 (14 for 43) since May 10. An inning later, Yasmani Grandal scorched a double to the wall in left-center field that drove in Corey Seager from first base.And in the sixth inning, Adrian Gonzalez drove a 92-mph sinker from Arrieta over the wall in center field for a two-run home run – something the 35-year-old veteran seemed incapable of doing while dealing with elbow and back issues during the first month of the season.Since returning from the first DL trip of his career, Gonzalez has begun to hit the ball with more familiar authority. He had four doubles in his first six games back and took it a step further Friday with his first home run since Game 2 of last year’s NLCS. The ball went out faster than it came in (an exit velocity of 103 mph) and it ended a string of 138 regular-season plate appearances without a home run, stretching to last Sept. 28 in San Diego.“Well, I knew I’d hit a home run before the season ended,” Gonzalez joked. “My body feels good so my swing can do things where I can drive the ball. I’ve been working on my mechanics to get rid of the bad habits from when I wasn’t good. It’s a work in progress. But it’s trending in the right direction.”Gonzalez’s matter-of-fact answers after the game contradicted the wide smile he took to the dugout after the home run.“I really haven’t seen him get into a ball like that in a couple years,” Roberts said. “You don’t expect a guy who has as many career homers as he does to hit his first homer of the year and be so relieved. But I think there’s a huge weight off his shoulders.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Europe’s heavyweights dominate final UEFA list to be crowned best in Europe

first_img 11 9. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal) 2. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus and Italy) A 10-man shortlist for UEFA’s Best Player in Europe award has been announced and there aren’t any surprises.In fact the only shock came in the initial polling when Wigan’s Will Grigg was joint 25th with Diego Godin, Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba before the list was whittled down. This means he was ranked higher than Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne.The award is given to the player, regardless of nationality, playing his club football in Europe. They are judged on their performances over the course of the season in all competitions at both domestic and international level, with Lionel Messi winning the 2015 edition. 4. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid and Germany) 11 11 11 10. Luis Suarez (Barcelona and Uruguay) 6. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich and Germany) 11 11 11 1. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid and Wales) – click the arrow above, right, to see the final shortlist for the Best Player in Europe award 5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina) 11 7. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany) 11 11 8. Pepe (Real Madrid and Portugal) 11 The final shortlist is deduced when journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations provide a list of their five top players, with the first receiving five points, the second four and so on. The 10 with the most points advance to the second vote, with the three finalists set to be named on 5 August.The winner is announced during the Champions League group stage draw on 25 August. 3. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid and France) last_img read more