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Bill Plaschke on the Dodgers: Momentum? Couldn’t find it.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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Inspiration? Never had it.
Season? About to lose it.
One night after one of the most emotional comeback playoff victories in franchise history, the Dodgers inexplicably strolled into Chavez Ravine on Wednesday night without focus or fight.
They followed one game’s miracle with nine innings of nothingness.
They surrendered one night’s intimidation with three hours of cringe.
They shrugged, sighed and were sucker punched.
The Atlanta Braves beat the Dodgers with six relief pitchers, beat them while facing 20-game winner Julio Urías, beat them silly and sideways and maybe even beat them into next season.
The 9-2 victory by the Braves in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium gave them a three-games-to-one lead that is the exact same edge they held in this exact same series last year before the Dodgers came storming back to win it.
“No one needs to tell us we can do it, because we’ve done it,” said AJ Pollock. “We’ve been here.”
But they’ve never been here like this.
Photos: Dodgers lose to the Braves 9-2 in NLCS Game 4
Center field has been a tough learning curve for Dodgers’ Gavin Lux
Hernández: An absence of offense during postseason could be Dodgers’ undoing
Frustrated Dodgers facing elimination in NLCS again after Game 4 loss to Braves
Eddie Rosario misses out on cycle, but hits two homers to power Braves’ win
Astros’ Framber Valdez goes 8 innings, beats Red Sox for 3-2 ALCS lead
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Gary Klein on the Rams: It appears Jared Goff is willing to forgive, if not forget.
The former Rams quarterback, who returns to SoFi Stadium with the Detroit Lions on Sunday, said Wednesday he appreciated Rams coach Sean McVay saying he could have better handled the lead-up to the trade that sent Goff to the Lions for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
McVay said this week there could have been better communication and he did not manage it as well as he could have.
“It takes a man to say something like that, so yeah, I appreciate it,” Goff told Detroit reporters. “It still happened the way it did, but I do appreciate him saying that and got all the respect in the world for them over there.”
But throughout his weekly news conference, Goff dropped several not-so-subtle hints that the sting of trade, and the way McVay and the Rams handled it, lingers. He said his emotions about returning to Los Angeles and playing against his former team are “really out the window by now.”
But they clearly seem to be occupying space in his psyche.
Sacha Kljestan and Kevin Cabral scored in the Galaxy’s 3-0 win over the Houston Dynamo.
The Galaxy (13-11-6) have won two straight after getting a stoppage-time winner from Kljestan on Saturday. Houston (6-13-12) was eliminated from playoff contention Saturday.
Kljestan scored on a penalty kick in the 39th minute and a Zarek Valentin own goal gave the Galaxy a 2-0 lead at the break. Cabral scored two minutes after halftime on a breakaway.
Greg Vanney earned his 100th regular-season victory as an MLS coach.
Cristian Arango’s hat trick, which included two goals four minutes apart late in the second half, led LAFC over a Ricardo Pepi-less FC Dallas team 3-2.
Pepi did not play after injuring a foot last week in the U.S. national team’s win over Costa Rica.
Arango tied it at 1 in the 33rd minute on a penalty kick that goalkeeper Phelipe Megiolaro got a hand on but the ball rolled over the line. Arango had a sliding finish of Daniel Musovski’s pass to tie it at 2 in the 75th, and then gave LAFC its first lead four minutes later.
Arango has 11 goals in 13 games with LAFC (11-12-7) this season, including two on Saturday.
Ryan Kartje on the Trojans: When Ishmael Sopsher first left Alabama for USC nearly a year ago, the big-bodied nose tackle was expected to add depth to a thinning Trojan interior.
But compartment syndrome surgery complicated those plans before he’d even taken the field. And while Sopsher sat out for the last six months recovering, the limited depth USC once had was decimated, leaving its defense desperate for big-bodied reinforcements on the interior.
That wait, for USC and its touted transfer nose tackle, may finally be over. After weeks of being brought along slowly, Sopsher is expected to make his debut Saturday against Notre Dame, assuming all goes well the rest of this week.
“Ish has done a really good job,” defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said. “We’ll see his conditioning moving forward, but we want to play him.”
UCLA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Thuc Nhi Nguyen on the Bruins: UCLA’s streak of 37 consecutive weeks in the top 11 ended Tuesday as the Bruins landed at No. 20 in the Associated Press preseason poll. The conservative ranking likely comes from UCLA’s new-look roster that has eight new players, including four Division I transfers.
In addition to returning All-Pac-12 guard Charisma Osborne, the Bruins brought in guards Gina Conti (Wake Forest) and Jaelynn Penn (Indiana) and forwards IImar’I Thomas (Cincinnati) and Angela Dugalić (Oregon). Guards Kayla Owens and Kiara Jefferson return to the team after opting out of the pandemic-affected season. Forward Brynn Masikewich is also back after recovering from a knee injury last season.
The NFL agreed to end race-based adjustments in dementia testing that critics said made it difficult for Black retirees to qualify for awards in the $1 billion settlement of concussion claims, according to a proposed deal filed Wednesday in federal court.
The revised testing plan follows public outrage over the use of “race-norming,” a practice that came to light only after two former NFL players filed a civil rights lawsuit over it in 2019. The adjustments, critics say, may have prevented hundreds of Black players suffering from dementia to win awards that average $500,000 or more.
The Black retirees will now have the chance to have their tests rescored or, in some cases, seek a new round of cognitive testing, according to the settlement, details of which were first reported in The New York Times on Wednesday.
“No race norms or race demographic estimates — whether Black or white — shall be used in the settlement program going forward,” the settlement said.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1950 — Tom Powers of Duke scores six touchdowns — three rushing, three receiving — in a 41-0 victory over Richmond.
1956 — Billy Howton of the Green Bay Packers catches seven passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-17 victory over the Rams.
1961 — Eddie Arcaro wins the Jockey Club Gold Cup for a record 10th time. His mount, Kelso, wins his second straight Gold Cup.
1967 — The expansion Seattle SuperSonics win their first NBA game, a 117-110 overtime victory over San Diego.
1973 — Fred Dryer of the Rams becomes the first NFL player to record two safeties in a 24-7 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
1975 — Carlton Fisk breaks up a thrilling contest with a homer in the 12th inning to give the Boston Red Sox a 7-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and force a seventh game in the World Series.
1979 — Chicago Bulls guard Sam Smith scores the first four-point play in NBA history during a 113-111 loss to the Bucks at Milwaukee.
1980 — The Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series for the first time in their 98-year history, defeating the Kansas City Royals 4-1 in six games.
1998 — The New York Yankees win 3-0 at San Diego, sweeping the Padres for their record 24th World Series championship.
2006 — Two rookie pitchers start the World Series for the first time. Anthony Reyes pitches into the ninth inning to help St. Louis cruise past Detroit and Justin Verlander 7-2 in Game 1.
2006 — Michigan State rallies from a 35-point, third-quarter deficit to beat Northwestern 41-38 in the biggest comeback in NCAA Division I-A history. Brett Swenson kicks the winning 28-yard field goal with 13 seconds left following an interception by Travis Key.
2007 — Rob Bironas kicks an NFL-record eight field goals, the last a 29-yarder with no time left to give Tennessee a 38-36 win over Houston. Bironas adds two extra points to set the NFL record for most points by a kicker, with 26. The Texans, trailing 32-7, survive backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels’ four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. Rosenfels’ fourth touchdown pass, a 53-yarder to Andre’ Davis to put Houston up 36-35 with 57 seconds to play, ties an NFL record.
2007 — New England’s Tom Brady passes for 354 yards and a team-record six touchdowns in a 49-28 victory over Miami.
2012 — Tamika Catchings scores 25 points to help the Indiana Fever win their first WNBA title with an 87-78 victory over the Minnesota Lynx.
2015 — Daniel Murphy and the New York Mets finish a playoff sweep of the Chicago Cubs with an 8-3 victory to reach the World Series. Murphy homers for a record sixth consecutive postseason game.
2017 — Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov extend their season-opening points streaks to nine games, sending the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-1.
Supplied by the Associated Press
The Philadelphia Phillies win the 1980 World Series. Watch and listen here.