Gay, Ginobili lead Spurs over Kings to clinch playoff berth

The Spurs seemed like a perfect free-agent destination as Rudy Gay searched for a guaranteed playoff berth after just one postseason appearance in 11 previous seasons.
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That assurance was eroded by injuries this season, but Gay made sure two decades of success didn’t come to an end in his first year in San Antonio.

Gay scored 18 points, Manu Ginobili had 17 and the Spurs rallied late to beat the Sacramento Kings 98-85 on Monday night and clinch their 21st straight postseason appearance.
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Last season, Yunel Escobar, Marcell Ozuna, Asdrubal Cabrera and Odubel Herrera were all in the mix of early batting leaders at some point during their respective teams’ first eight games. However, when all was said and done, this quartet, who had hit a combined .400 to kick off the season, hit a combined .289 for the season — and .281 if you started counting at Game No. 9.

In other words, a hot streak gets more diluted and means less as the season wears on. However, a slow start remains a batting average albatross the rest of the way. If you know a player’s poor first week is driving down his stats but trust his track record and recent performance, you can use that to your advantage at the trading table in May or June. Keep this in mind when looking at the numbers, because it can help you to spin the statistics in a way to ensure you’re the one coming out ahead in terms of value when making trades going forward.

Duda’s shot off Bauer (0-1) was one of only three hits by Kansas City and a rare highlight as the two teams survived nine innings with the temperature hovering around freezing.

But afterward, Bauer complained that he didn’t have enough Mike Adams Youth jersey time to warm up following the sixth inning. In an attempt to speed up play this season, Major League Baseball has cut the time between innings from 2 minutes, 25 seconds to 2:05.

First pitch of the inning, coming out, I tried to get loose, but with the new [commissioner] Rob Manfred time [nonsense], we have only a certain amount of time between innings, it’s hard to get loose sometimes, especially in conditions like that. It’s not safe, but, whatever.

Authentic Jersey Bauer said at one point plate umpire Will Little told him to speed up and he refused.

I was like, ‘Look, I’ll take the fine if I need to, but I’m not going to put myself at risk and I’m not going to put the team at risk of me having exactly what happened happen,’ Bauer said. Throw a pitch that you’re not ready to compete on because you’re still trying to get loose and it gets hit over the fence, and we lose because of it — not because of it, but it was a contributing factor.