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 niversal praise, but in an era when many of the leagues best quarterbacks are aging (see Tom Brady, 39, and Drew Brees, 37), Sta

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs started Monday by locking up one part of their future, and then pitcher Travis Wood made his case to be the next on the list. Wood pitched seven scoreless innings and the Cubs came within two outs of their first shutout since last August in a 9-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Wood (4-2) allowed two hits while striking out two for his major league-leading eighth quality start. Hes the first Cubs pitcher since Hippo Vaughn in 1919 to start with eight quality starts. Wood also had two hits and an RBI for Chicago, which has won three straight for the second time this season. Earlier in the day, the Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzos 7-year, $41 million contract extension. Wood, acquired in December 2011, doesnt have an extension like that, but is showing perhaps he might deserve one. "I would love to be here for a long time with the Cubs, but thats out of my hands and Im not really thinking about that right now at all," Wood said. "Weve got to go out and win tomorrow, and Ive got four more days to get ready for my next start and hopefully we can keep going on." Wood started last season in Triple-A and wasnt called up to the Cubs until May 6 and didnt stay with Chicago for good until May 22. Now hes leading baseball in quality starts and, to manager Dale Sveum, becoming a major part of the "core" of the team. He continued his run against a team that began Monday hitting .277 against left-handed pitching. "Thats as good an outing ... to throttle those guys the way they hit left-handed pitching is very, very impressive," Sveum said. The Cubs offence wasnt bad, either. With two outs in the first, Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with his fourth home run. It was Sorianos 376th of his career, tying him for 69th all-time with former Red Sox and White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk. Chicago added to its lead with three in the third on two-out RBI doubles from Wood and Starlin Castro. Woods RBI was his first of the season and just his third hit. The Cubs offence had 14 hits, one short of a season high. Along with Wood, Nate Schierholtz, David DeJesus, Soriano, Castro and Castillo each had two hits. Colorado starter Juan Nicasio (3-1) worked around a leadoff Soriano double in the third, but the five earned runs increased his ERA over the first three innings to 6.38. "We tried to be aggressive against him," Castillo said. "Trying to get a pitch on top of home plate and trying to hit and trying to get Wood a couple runs." Wood and the Cubs didnt need much more than that. Josh Rutledge hit a home run off Carlos Marmol with one out in the ninth, ruining the Cubs bid for their first shutout win since they beat Colorado on Aug. 26. The Cubs have gone 74 games between shutouts, their longest streak since going 75 in a row from May 15 until Aug. 6, 1999, according to STATS. The Rockies have lost five of six and have scored 12 runs over those games. They were shut out twice over the weekend by St. Louis before scoring eight runs Sunday. "We need to be more consistent. Weve struggled, theres no question, lately offensively," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It looked like yesterday we busted out, but we need to be a little more consistent and put together some offence on a daily basis." Nicasio recovered from a shaky first two innings to last six, allowing five runs and eight hits in his first loss of the season. Nicasio, who hasnt won since beating Arizona on April 26, allowed all five runs over the first two innings but finished with four scoreless. "When you dont have the offence and they score nine runs, you dont deserve to win," Carlos Gonzalez said. "The last series, we faced some really good pitchers and the same stories." Wood just wants to continue his own story. "Tomorrows a new day. Youve got to get after it and put my work in," Wood said. "If I feel like I need to work on something, work on it and take the ball that fifth day and hopefully be able to keep it going." Notes: Cubs pitcher Matt Garza threw a bullpen session Monday. Garza, who hasnt pitched this season in the major leagues because of a strained lat suffered during spring training, is expected to make a rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa. After that rehab start, his fourth, the Cubs will determine whether to activate Garza. ... Weiss said OF Dexter Fowler was getting the night off. Fowler is 2 for his last 26 and is hitting .262. ... Cubs 3B Luis Valbuena was not in the lineup for the second straight game after suffering a jammed right pinkie Saturday in Washington. ... Colorado hasnt won a three-game series at Wrigley Field since Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2006. .... Tuesdays pitching matchup is the Rockies Jeff Francis (1-3, 6.90) against the Cubs Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 3.02). ... Rizzo went 1 for 5. Greg Van Roten Jersey . Brandon Morrow allowed five runs on six hits over three innings. He struck out two, walked one and hit a batter. Edwin Encarnacion had a two-out, bases loaded two-RBI double in the third inning. Efe Obada Jersey . -- Ken Appleby made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the Oshawa Generals to a 2-0 win over the Belleville Bulls on Wednesday in Ontario Hockey League action. . Despite dominating possession, Schalke needed an own goal from Nicolas Hoefler for the breakthrough a minute before the interval. The Freiburg midfielder misjudged Jefferson Farfans corner and bundled the ball into his own net. Andre Smith Jersey . If ever they start actually putting pictures beside words in the dictionary, the Blue Jays left-handers mug will appear beside “Consistency. Stitched Carolina Panthers Jerseys . Wilson hit Schenn from behind during Tuesday nights game in Philadelphia, earning a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. He has a phone hearing with the department of player safety, which limits any potential suspension to five or fewer games. Topics this week include players who could move at the trade deadline, Matthew Staffords resurgence under Jim Bob Cooter, Teddy Bridgewaters prognosis of a full recovery, and more.Will any teams make deals at the trade deadline?Coming up Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET is the NFLs trade deadline, where theres usually more speculation than action.Some of the names likely to come up between now and then include San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley and wide receiver Torrey Smith, Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, and maybe even Cleveland Browns cornerbacks Joe Haden and Tramon Williams.But coach Hue Jackson stomped on any speculation the Browns would be willing to move offensive tackle Joe Thomas.We are not going to trade Joe Thomas, Jackson said this week. Joe Thomas has a lot to do with what were trying to accomplish here in the future.As usual, players whose names emerge as available are on struggling teams. It makes sense for those teams to try to recoup compensation now. The truth is, these players can be traded after this season as well, giving teams an avenue to receive compensation while still getting the players services for the remainder of this season. It is one of the many reasons NFL trades are difficult to consummate.Another factor is that a wide receiver would have to come in and learn another teams offense and playbook at midseason, which isnt an easy task.Then there are the salary-cap issues. Even though the Vikings could use more help along the offensive line, they only have more than a half-million worth of salary-cap space, making a deal for an offensive tackle financially challenging.Just last week, a 49ers official insisted the team would not trade Staley. The Browns have adopted the same stance with Thomas and other players, even though some teams believe there are Cleveland players available in a trade. Teams trading players typically want a lot back in return, as they should. It all makes deals rare and challenging.Theres a new breed of NFL general managers who are young, aggressive and daring. The hope would be that they will stimulate the usually dormant trade market. But the chances are, beyond a potential trade of Smith, it wont. There usually is more talk than action.-- Adam SchefterLions wont break up the Stafford-Cooter relationshipDetroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford entered the NFL with a golden arm but a ton of skeptics. Before ever throwing a pass, he had signed a six-year, $72 million contract as the top pick of the 2009 draft. That included $41.7 million in guarantees.The same skeptics cringed when the Lions, looking for salary-cap relief, renegotiated Staffords rookie deal and signed him to a three-year extension for $53 million and an additional $41.5 million guaranteed in 2013.Maybe its time to get over it. Stafford will be just 29 years old when the current contract expires at the end of the 2017 season. It is very?realistic to expect Stafford has at least two mega contracts yet to be signed.And, yes, earned.On Sunday, Stafford punctuated his 100th game with an 18-yard strike to Anquan Boldin to beat the Washington Redskins 20-17. It was his 24th game-winning drive since entering the NFL.Stafford also has thrown for more yards (27,890) than any quarterback in his first 100 games. That might not earn him the highest accolades, but there is newfound respect around the league as he thrives in his first season without Calvin Johnson, one of the dominant receivers of this era. Stafford is arguably having his best season, and it is well documented that everything has clicked with offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who got the job after the team fired Joe Lombardi 16 games ago during the 2015 season.Cooter is?only 32 years old, so he will probably remain as Staffords playcaller for a few more years. Talk of Jim Caldwell being replaced as head coach has quieted since the team has put together a three-game winning streak, but even if he is, most league executives believe Lions general manager Bob Quinn probably would consider Patriots?defensive coordinator Matt Patricia over Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel as the replacement. There is no rush to break up the Stafford and Cooter partnership.Stafford will have to win more games and have playoff success to earn universal praise, but in an era when many of the leagues best quarterbacks are aging (see Tom Brady, 39, and Drew Brees, 37), Stafford should have ample time to build a compelling portfolio by the time he is done playing.-- Chris MortensenNo guarantees on Bridgewaters return to the fieldNearly two months after he dislocated his knee, Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is making strides in his recovery, and Vikings officials are pleased with his progress. But other doctors around the league know there are no guarantees Bridgewater will be able to return to the type of quarterback he was, if he makes it back to the NFL at all.If he didnt make it back, it wouldnt surprise me, one doctor who has worked with NFL teams said last week, echoing the sentiment of other medical officials in and outside the league. This is a bad injury, about the worst knee injury a player can have.It is an injury that prematurely ended the NFL careers of former Patriots running back Robert Edwards, former Raiders running back Napoleon McCallum and former 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore.Bridgewater does not play running back, and he does have other advantages. He did not suffer nerve damage in his knee, he did undergo successful surgery, he is only 23 years old and he has a great attitude and fighting spirit. Bridgewater also has an awful lot of people pulling for him and hoping he can make it back.-- Adam SchefterDont expect more change in NFLs overtime rulesSeahawks coach Pete Carroll understood where his quarterback, Russell Wilson, was coming from after the 6-6 tie between Seattle and Arizona on Sunday night, a game in which the Cardinals?Chandler?Catanzaro and the Seahawks?Steven Hauschka?left everyone scratching their heads with horrible missed field goal attempts in overtime.Wilson proposed that the team that wins the coin flip gets one shot at a 35-yard field goal. Make or miss, the game is over. Make it, you win. Miss it, you lose.?I dont think that one will fly, Carroll said, chuckling. Russells point is lets not have tie games. Its weirrd to play that hard and that long in a meaningful game and walk off the field without winning or losing.dddddddddddd.Wilsons idea might have been birthed in the teams competitive practices. Carroll explained, Well end a standoff where we have our nose tackle will kick for our defense and the center will kick for the offense. Or, we have a lot of shoot-offs that are fun and competitive like that. We always want a winner or loser.Carroll himself did not have a specific proposal for overtime. When the league was debating a solution to the former overtime rule at the owners meeting a few years back, Carroll told his peers behind closed doors that he did not like college OT rules. He had just?returned to the NFL after a successful run at USC.?I cant even remember now why I didnt like the college rule, Carroll said. I just know I do like a sudden-death aspect in overtime.The NFLs modified overtime rules come with exceptions to sudden death. Each team gets the opportunity to possess the ball unless the first possession results in a touchdown or a safety. Otherwise, after the first possession, any score ends the game.?Carroll wonders why teams cant just keep playing until one side wins the game, but concerns about player safety are a higher priority. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said his players were spent to the point where they would not have been able to play anymore after the 15-minute overtime.There have been only six ties since 2000. Thats probably not enough to generate real change.-- Chris MortensenChicago, Cleveland are baseballs best but among footballs worstThe Cubs and Indians have lost a combined six games this postseason -- including two while facing each other in the World Series -- which is as many or less than the number of games the 1-6 Bears and 0-7 Browns each have lost seven weeks into this NFL regular season.Chicago and Cleveland are celebrating their baseball achievements, which allows those cities to overlook their football disappointments.Chicago is a team in transition at the most important position in sports. Jay Cutler injured his thumb, Brian Hoyer broke his wrist and is expected to miss the remainder of the season, and now it looks as if Cutler will get another turn Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings, which amounts to an audition for another NFL team.The Bears are widely expected to move on from Cutler after this season, one way or another, whether that means trading or releasing him. Moving on from Cutler will free up $13 million in salary-cap space, though Chicago will have to use a good part of that to find another starting quarterback.?As for the Browns, while they are not winning, what they are accomplishing actually is impressive. Despite having 19 rookies on the 53-man roster, despite having six players attempt passes this season and deploying four starting quarterbacks, despite playing five of its first seven games on the road this season, Cleveland has been a tough out for every team except New England. Each week the Browns play tough, smart and feisty, no matter whos at quarterback.Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, who has battled shoulder injuries and a concussion, has been productive. Clevelands running game has been powerful. The team has been very well coached, even if its record doesnt reflect it.Even though the Browns are back home Sunday to play the New York Jets, there are other obstacles on the horizon. Clevelands bye does not come until Week 13, the latest bye of the season, a challenge for a rookie-laden roster. By then, those players have been used to having their football seasons over. Clevelands rookies will have to re-program their bodies for one final stretch in a lost season.It will be the final challenge in a season full of adversity for the great baseball cities but struggling football cities.-- Adam SchefterEmptying out the notebookESPNs fantasy football domain adapted this week to make?Ty Montgomery?of the Packers eligible as both a running back and wide receiver as he takes backfield snaps while the Packers work through injuries. Some real football inquiries even surfaced as to whether Montgomery would?have to change his jersey number 88 to a running back number (20-49). Thats not the case. The rules that govern player jersey numbers do not require a change if an offense-eligible player has participated at his position at?least one season.?Montgomery did that as a rookie receiver in 2015.Midway through the NFL season, most people would not be able to name the NFLs leading tackler. Carolinas Luke Kuechly? Arizonas Deone Bucannon? The New York Giants Landon Collins? How about Buffalo linebacker Zach Brown, who now is the leagues leading tackler and a player who once again will need to come up big Sunday against the New England Patriots. A former Titans linebacker, Brown signed a one-year deal with Buffalo in April, and it has looked like one of the top offseason acquisitions.In case you missed it, ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian, who once was the driving force on the NFLs competition committee, said he expects more discussion in the offseason to enable teams to bring more than one player back from their injured reserve list during a season. There has been some concern expressed about teams?stashing young players on the list, but a current competition committee member says that further expansion of practice squads with safeguards could be one component to more liberal IR rules.After the Lions 20-17 win last week, Washington offensive line coach Bill Callahan now owes his son Brian, who is Detroits quarterbacks coach, dinner at this winters scouting combine in Indianapolis. The father and son bet dinner on the outcome of their Week 7 game. Detroit won, which means dads buying again.Yes, some teams were concerned about Jay?Ajayis knee when he was coming out of Boise State, which is part of the reason he fell to the Dolphins in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. After Ajayi rushed for his second straight 200-yard game, a veteran scout who had a higher grade on Ajayi offered a reminder: Anyone who worries about longevity in a running back is ignoring the obvious -- running back is not a position where longevity can be expected.-- Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter Cheap Adidas Hockey Jerseys Wholesale College Jerseys Cheap Nike Basketball Jerseys Cheap Football Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Baseball Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Jerseys From China Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Nike NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Authentic Cheap MLB Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Soccer Jerseys China Cheap NCAA Jerseys China Stitched NFL Jerseys Cheap Custom Jerseys China Cheap Basketball Jerseys Authentic NFL Jerseys China Cheap College Jerseys Wholesale Football Jerseys ' ' '

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